Written by Charles Zimmerman
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 00:00
Where have they gone & where are they now?
This month I continue with updates on some graduates of Biblical Seminary. This month we visit with Mike Beates. Mike was most recently at Biblical for our Conversations on Christianity & Culture series, where he gave a presentation along with Joni Eareckson Tada and others on Disability and the Gospel.
What years did you attend at Biblical, and what degree(s) did you receive?
I was at Biblical from 1984-88. I received the M.Div. and the S.T.M. (New Testament) degrees.
What have you been doing since then? Be sure to include information about your family.
Leaving Biblical, I took a position with Ligonier Ministries in Orlando, Fla. developing educational resources, planning conferences, and editing Tabletalk magazine. During my tenure at Ligonier, I was ordained by the PCA in 1992 and served a dual call with Ligonier and as an associate pastor (without pay) at Covenant Presbyterian Church, Winter Park, Fla. In 1996, I was called by Reformed Theological Seminary to be Dean of Students while continuing with the local church. After 9/11, RTS cut back staffing and let me go, so the church took me on as a full time associate. I shepherded the church through the notable death of the pastor, Dr. Jack Arnold in 2005. In 2008, I was called to teach Bible and history at The Geneva School (a Christian and Classical school) in Winter Park, Fla. More recently, I became Dean of Students at Geneva so I am shepherding 450+ students (and in many cases pastoring their parents), and helping to administer the school while still teaching the Bible classes.
My family when I left Biblical was comprised of my wife, Mary, and three children, Jessica, Jameson, and Abraham. God added Abbie by birth in Winter Park, then Elias, Shoshanah, and Josiah by adoption. They now range in age from 31-20. Mary continues her ministry in our home and has served with Bethany Christian Services “Safe Families” division as a foster mother to numerous children over the years.
Jameson (married to Tara with our grandson, Jackson) is a social worker in Reading, Penna., hoping to teach and coach. Abraham is a Naval Academy graduate and pilots a Sea Hawk helicopter for the Navy, currently stationed in Mayport, Fla. Abbie just finished a year serving Christ with “Campus Outreach” and is now preparing for medical school. Shoshanah is a baker with a local restaurant; Eli is a scholar athlete, playing soccer at Stetson University (aspiring to play for the men’s national team some day!); and Josiah has just landed a job with a local hospital in Orlando. We are thankful to God for them all.
Jessica (our oldest) has always lived with severe and profound disabilities, so her life has shaped our family in many ways, not least bringing us into contact with Joni Eareckson Tada and her ministry, Joni and Friends. I have been blessed to serve on the International Board of Directors of Joni and Friends since 2000, and authored a book released last July entitled Disability and the Gospel (Crossway, 2012).
Tell a favorite memory from your Biblical days.
I distinctly remember coming to Biblical from serving with Young Life staff and realizing that while I had been among the more conservative Young Life staff, I was probably one of the more “liberal” students at Biblical! And I remember at orientation Tom Taylor saying, “At Biblical Seminary, we are Reformed, . . . but we’re happy about it!” I have never forgotten that sentiment and try to live by it.
I was also deeply affected by Fred Putnam’s God-centered and devotional instruction in Hebrew, including his “lunch time reading club” that took a small group of students through Ruth and much of 1 Samuel. In fact, I mimicked this at RTS, conducting a similar club for 8-10 years where together we read (among other things) Ruth, 1-2 Samuel, and Genesis.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mike.beates or also on Facebook under the title of my book “Disability and the Gospel”; and a recent interview in Tabletalk can be seen here: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/disabilities-and-gospel/
Charles Zimmerman is the Thomas V. Taylor Professor of Practical Theology. He also serves as Teaching Pastor at Calvary Church in Souderton. He is married to Kim and they have two daughters, Ashley and Megan.