NEWS & PRESS RELEASES
Eric Beavers: Pushing the Accelerator
Eric Beavers, is a "make-it-happen" kind of guy. He serves as a creative arts pastor at Hope Cafe, helping church members glorify God with their unique gifts and talents.
Doing everything from live sound layout and web design to cafe management, Eric has a vital role in Hope Cafe's ministry in Raleigh, NC.
Eric is studying in BBC's Accelerated Graduate Degree program, finishing up undergraduate credits and pursuing a Master of Arts through online classes.
Originally from Madisonville, PA, Eric and his wife, Lisa, are now working together in Raleigh. They love people and have a passion for worshiping God with others through the arts.
Read more "In the Spotlights" here.
What led you to BBC?
I was enrolled at a university in the Scranton area my freshman year in a Computer Information Systems program. On my first day, I felt extremely restless, as if I was doing something I wasn't supposed to do. After my morning classes I felt like God was trying to get my attention. After a little lunch time prayer, I got into my car and drove to BBC. I told my story to the Admissions Department, and even though classes had already started they worked extremely hard to get me enrolled and signed up. The very next day I was sitting in classes at BBC.
How did you find out about BBC's Accelerated Graduate Degree program?
I contacted the Registrar's Office to see whether I could complete my electives long distance. They told me about this program. I was previously looking to complete my elective credits at BBC in order to pursue my master's degree at a college closer to where I live.
You are a creative arts pastor. How would you describe that?
I am responsible for quite a few different things. I am the music pastor. I have a music team of over 22 musicians I coordinate schedules for the Sunday services. I then lead each of those teams every Sunday, as well as our once-a-month late night worship services that mainly draw a college-age crowd. I am responsible for all audio and visual elements. We do a lot with media, and so we have a state of the art sound system and visual display system that all runs in HD. This is beneficial for our weekly open mic and the live music we offer.
We display local Christian art on the walls of the cafe that we switch out monthly, so I am responsible for coordinating that. I oversee the cafe and make sure that quality is good by training employees. I make sure we are being the best stewards of money by overseeing food and cost inventory, and I am mentoring the cafe manager. I book the bands that play every Saturday night. And I do some other things that maybe don't fall under the "creative arts" description, like preaching one Sunday a month, counseling sessions, and leading a college and career small group in my home every week.
What is Hope Cafe?
About two years ago the church Hope Fellowship Baptist decided their church building was holding them back from reaching a lot of unchurched people. So they sold the church building and now there is a hospital there. For about a year the church leadership prayed about what God wanted them to do next, and eventually this idea came out of that time of prayer. So, we built a 4,000-square-foot cafe where for six days a week we are open to the public. We serve the best espresso, coffee, sandwiches, salads and desserts in Raleigh. It is a nonprofit organization. All profits get donated to local Raleigh food pantries, homeless shelters, and counseling centers.
We do open-mic nights and have live music. We host Bible studies and other groups that are sponsored by us, as well as multiple other churches in the area. And then on Sunday, the business is closed and we use the facility to have services where the church gathers to learn, spend time with each other, and celebrate. Every month we focus on a local ministry and provide information and ways for the public to serve to all the customers who come through the doors.
How did you get involved with that?
Over the years I have become a "jack of all trades, master of none" at a lot of creative arts type things. I am incredibly passionate about facilitating ways for people to use the gifts and talents God has designed them with and for. All these things have almost tailor-made me for the role I serve in now, and when this church body was looking for someone to fill this position it seemed like a God-made fit.
What or who influenced you the most while at BBC?
My close friends who journeyed that part of my life with me are probably the ones who have influenced me the most. The most influential person in my life who is at BBC is definitely Dr. Jim King, or "Yoda" as I like to call him.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
The biggest challenge is keeping track of time in my life. I have had to learn it is ok to say no to things sometimes even if they are not bad. Too much time spent on good things isn not good for your health, marriage, and family.
What do you enjoy most about your occupation?
I love people, and I love seeing and hearing how God is working in their lives. I love seeing people come alive and live out His purposes for their lives. I love assisting people worship God - through the arts, through their passions and gifts, and through their lives.
What are the advantages of the Accelerated Graduate Degree program?
The advantages are two-fold for me. First, it allows me to complete credits long distance. I could not have finished my credits otherwise. Second, I can tailor my learning experience and instantly apply the academics to my current setting. This allows my learning to be more focused, intentional, and rewarding.
Putting the academic process into a context seems, at least to me, to make for a more beneficial learning experience. It is like the illustration used in basketball. You can sit in a classroom and learn about basketball for years but never be able to actually dribble a ball or shoot a free throw. That is why coaches take you out on the court and have you practice dribbling, shooting, and actually running drills; it is applied learning. I think it is a great advantage to having this program online.
What do you appreciate most about your BBC education?
BBC is a school dedicated to raising up leaders for the church so they can go out and train the church to spread the Good News of Jesus. The fact that this is their passion is something I always appreciate.
It is a remarkable thing to be able to work in full-time ministry and complete a graduate degree program online where class hours are not set in the middle of the day or always in the evening. Because my work schedule varies form day to day and week to week, it is incredible I can schedule my homework and class work around my work schedule and not have to do the vice versa.
What would you say to someone who is considering graduate work?
You won't be in Kansas anymore! It must be kind of what it is like for a college football player to start his first game as a rookie in the NFL.I thought the jump from high school to college was pretty big, but the leap from undergraduate to graduate work is something to be respected. It takes a little time to adjust to the speed and responsibility placed on you the student.
Learn more about the Accelerated Graduate Degree program. Take two steps forward, finishing your bachelor's degree and earning a master's at the same time. Go to www.bbc.edu/2steps.
Baptist Bible College & Seminary offers an outstanding Christian education through on campus, online, and other distance learning options. Students learn to serve and lead as they gain critical leadership and life skills.
To learn more, go to www.bbc.edu or call 570.586.2400.
Posted on: 10/27/2010 10:24:22 AM
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