Pastor Thomas Beavers aspires to make Jesus famous on the world’s stage. He, more than anything, desires his congregants and those introduced to his ministry to walk away with one truth: “Jesus is the answer for the world today.” He lives out this calling each and every day as the pastor of New Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. He has a visionary, multi-tiered approach to reach his community through financial literacy programs, workforce development, affordable housing, recreational opportunities, education, and the local church.
“I really have a heart to develop our city and our community. So how do you develop a city? Cities and communities are made of people, not buildings, so you develop the people,” says Pastor Beavers.
One of the ways Grace is partnering with Pastor Beavers to bring his vision to fruition is by offering a theological education. Grace is currently equipping students in Alabama through online courses, and plans are underway for a teaching site in the future.
“I think Grace is very important because of how it is structured,” he says. “By Grace being affordable, accessible, and attainable, we are able to offer a quality education that anybody can get it if they have the desire. There are no boundaries.”
Pastor Beavers has earned both a Masters of Divinity and a Doctor of Ministry from Beeson Divinity School, so he has experienced the value of education firsthand within his own ministry.
“Before I went to seminary, I had zeal but not a whole lot of knowledge. Zeal without knowledge hurts people. Through seminary, I learned how to dig into Scripture and rightly divide the Word of Truth,” says Pastor Beavers.
However, his time at seminary yielded more than just theological knowledge. It also impacted his ministry relationally.
“I thought I was going to seminary for my craft of preaching, but the relationships that I developed while I was there were very valuable,” he says. “I met a guy who has become a mentor of mine, particularly in helping my marriage transition from barely surviving to a place of thriving. The relationship has truly helped me in my spiritual journey.”
The relationship between Grace and Pastor Beavers is a God-appointed and divinely-timed connection that has the potential to impact Birmingham and beyond for years to come.
“As long as Grace is training and raising up Christian leaders, Grace will have a major impact in Birmingham. We want to do everything we can to move that forward,” says Pastor Beavers. “We already have people enrolling, and we are looking to grow that number as soon as possible. Some of those students will stay here to serve but others will go worldwide, and Grace will have a major role in that.”