Thomas Beavers, New Rising Star Church

Thomas Beavers is the pastor of New Rising Star Church in East Birmingham. He is currently leading the process of purchasing Century Plaza Mall with plans to relocate the church there to accommodate future growth.  I sat down with him to learn more about how he reached this milestone.

Beavers explained that over time, he developed this dream to see former Century Plaza Mall revitalized to serve as a hub for the community of East Birmingham. Not only will this property serve as home to New Rising Star Church, but Beavers also plans to start a charter school in the space. The remaining 743,000 square feet of space will be dedicated to nonprofits and other agents of change whose missions align with the church’s.

As his plan has materialized, Beavers has faced many challenges.  Pursuing this dream has demanded a lot of his time and energy, in addition to the normal strains placed on a church pastor.  He compared his experience with Joseph in the Bible.

“He had a dream and he told his dream to his brothers, and the moment he opened his mouth was the moment he started going through all of these trials. But inevitably, his trouble was transportation to the fulfillment of his dream.  Everything that seemed bad was really pushing him to where God said he would be,” said Beavers.

New Rising Star Church has always been a part of his life. Beavers grew up in the church under the leadership of his grandfather, Tommy Chappell, who pastored for 35 years. Following his grandfather’s retirement, Beavers stepped in as pastor in 2010.

At Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School, Beavers wrote his doctoral dissertation on Biblical pastoral transitions. That enabled him to transition smoothly into the role of pastor, moving forward along the path his grandfather had paved.

I asked Beavers if he always knew he wanted to preach. He looked up with a sheepish smile and chuckled to himself, saying, “I got a lot of preachers in my family and I always said, ‘I never want to preach.’”

Despite Beavers’ defiance, the Lord got his attention.

“I was in four car wrecks in three months.   In every car wreck I walked out of the car without a scratch on my body, and I could hear God telling me, ‘I’m calling you to preach, ’” said Beavers.

Beavers originally went to Kentucky State University on a basketball scholarship with plans to become a doctor. Over time, though, he realized that he didn’t have the passion to succeed in medical school, and chose seminary at Beeson instead.  As he accepted the call to preach, his fear was dispelled by peace.

I attended his church one Sunday and I was amazed by the warm welcome I received, as well as the joy that erupted from the congregation’s unified praise. I sat by Beaver’s secretary, Carol Hatcher, who turned to me during Beavers’ sermon and remarked, “The pastor I see behind the pulpit is the same pastor I see day after day.”

Pastor Beavers is a charismatic leader who is passionate about growing his church while also expanding the church’s influence in the city of Birmingham. You can read more about Pastor Beavers and the story of New Rising Star Church in the upcoming Spring issue of The Local.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Phantom of the Opera” is here… inside Birmingham

Photo from https://www.flickr.com/photos/eschipul/4702637227 through Creative Commons

The Broadway classic “The Phantom of the Opera” will grace the stage of the BJCC Concert Hall April 5-16.

Produced by Cameron Mackintosh,  directed by Laurence Connor and overseen by Matthew Bourne, the North American tour presents the musical tale like never before. New costumes, design elements, lighting and staging have been implemented to create an updated version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s esteemed masterpiece.  It features a 52-person cast and orchestra as well as full creative team bringing the drama to the United States. Experience your favorite Phantom, Christine and company moments in a whole new light for two weeks only.

The musical is part of Theatre League’s annual Broadway in Birmingham lineup at the BJCC. It is the last show of the 2016-2017 series before the new series picks up in December. Other acclaimed shows from the past season included “Broadway Christmas Wonderland”, “Dirty Dancing”and “Once”. “The Book of Mormon” will also play as a season add-on in October.

Tickets start as low as $50 and range up to $600 depending on date and seating choice. For more information about ticketing,  the Birmingham production of “The Phantom of the Opera” or the upcoming season, visit http://theaterleague.com/birmingham.

Hungry? Get a Taste of Homewood

On Thursday, March 9 at 5:30 p.m., all of your favorite Homewood eateries will come together for the 16th annual “Taste of Homewood”.

Hosted by the Homewood Chamber of Commerce and presented by the Homewood Star, 30 Homewood restaurants are gathering in Rosewood Hall to provide food and drink samples to the over 400 hungry patrons they expect to host. New restaurants to the vendor lineup include biscuit specialist Holler & Dash, to-go caterer Lunchbox Express and seafood chain The Shrimp Basket.

Each restaurant will give eaters a glimpse into their cuisines, encouraging them to return for a meal and explore other areas of Homewood. Allen Barlow will provide acoustic music for guests to enjoy while dining and socializing.

To encourage socialization, Homewood Chamber of Commerce communications manager Sarah Anne Elliott suggests using the hashtag #tasteofhomewood on social media posts throughout the night.

“This year we are encouraging attendees to use the hashtag #tasteofhomewood to post on social media and be entered to win a Shop Homewood Instagift gift card and the chance for their photo to be featured in the marketing of next year’s event,” Elliott said. Entries will be taken from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Tickets are $30 until the day of the event, when they will increase to $40 at the door. The proceeds go to Chamber of Commerce scholarships and Homewood community development. Brings the kids, too! Children under six enter free.

Interested in visiting one of the featured restaurants ahead of time or stopping for a full meal following the event? Click on the map below to explore the locations of your tasty options.