Archive for the ‘Alumni’ Category

From Stand Up-Comic to Minister of the Gospel

Friday, August 15th, 2014

ETBU alumnus Chris Elrod has performed before thousands with his stand-up comedy routine. Now he is the pastor of Impact Church in Lakeland, Florida.  (Courtesy photo)

ETBU alumnus Chris Elrod has performed before thousands with his stand-up comedy routine. Now he is the pastor of Impact Church in Lakeland, Florida. (Courtesy photo)

When pastors attend a conference or training event in which they meet fellow pastors for the first time usually a series of questions are asked to break the ice.  The questions typically are:  What church do you serve at? How many do you run? (meaning average attendance of Sunday School) or have you heard any good jokes lately? 

Rev. Chris Elrod, a graduate of East Texas Baptist University, would have no problem answering the questions above.  Elrod graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the Fred Hale School of Business. 

At one time Elrod was a nationally-known comedian, averaging more than 250 speaking engagements each year. Today, he serves as the pastor of Impact Church in Lakeland, Florida.

Impact church is located in a high crime area in Lakeland. Many who attend the services come after sleeping on the streets.

The Marshall News Messenger did a feature story on Elrod that was published in the paper this week about his time on the Hill and the ministry God has called him to.

 To read “Nurturing Success” written by reporter Rebecca Holland, click here.

Before you click to another webpage, how about a good joke?

Did you hear about the time ‘Dennis the Menace’ was sitting at the kitchen table with his dad and pastor?  The pastor had knocked over his cup of coffee and it spilled right in front of Dennis.   Dennis looked at his pastor and asked, “Did your cup runneth or spilleth over, Reverend?”

 “A joyful heart does good, like medicine,” – Proverbs 17:22.

The Big “10” Just Ahead

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Starting at 11:00 and going counter-clockwise, the Bryant quintuplets (in birth order) are Austin Corley, Mackenzie Jordyn, Kaitlyn Ann, Peyton Elizabeth, and Caleb Scott.  Photo: ETBU Archives/Hilltop News Winter 2005 Issue/Brenda Fuller

Starting at 11:00 and going counter-clockwise, the Bryant quintuplets (in birth order) are Austin Corley, Mackenzie Jordyn, Kaitlyn Ann, Peyton Elizabeth, and Caleb Scott. Photo: ETBU Archives/Hilltop News Winter 2005 Issue/Brenda Fuller

They are about to turn 10 years old. Who? Austin, Mackenzie, Kaitlyn, Peyton, and Caleb Bryant will turn 10 on September 17th.  Their parents, Craig and Darcy Bryant are graduates of East Texas Baptist University.

The Bryant Quintuplets were the talk of East Texas when they were born and last week they were in the news again. The Bryants have joined an effort to help the Seals family of Maud, Texas, in which they can relate too very well.  Back in March, mother Michelle delivered quintuplets – four girls and one boy. 

 The Bryants, who live in Hallsville, have reached out to the Seals offering encouragement and participating in a diaper drive for the family. Darcy told KTBS-TV reporter Jessica Crandall “she remembers when her five came home they went through 35 diapers a day.” 

In a phone conversation with Darcy she said, “Hard to believe my children will be entering the fourth grade. Each one has a different personality.”  The Bryants also have been blessed with another daughter, Olivia, who is five-years-old.

To watch the KTBS story on the Bryant’s click here.

When the Bryant quintuplets were born, ETBU awarded them full tuition scholarships. Darcy said after learning of the ETBU scholarship over nine years ago, “The scholarship is a blessing.

When we found out about the five, one of the hang-ups I had was how would we ever provide for our children. God provides.”

Craig graduated from ETBU in December 2002 while Darcy received her degree in June 2003.

New Pastor Helping Church Continue A Long-Time Ministry

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

ETBU alum Rev. Kevin Welborn, with his wife, Cara.  Photo courtesy Clovis News Journal.

ETBU alum Rev. Kevin Welborn, with his wife, Cara. Photo courtesy of Highland Baptist website.

Mount Pleasant, Texas native Kevin Welborn graduated from East Texas Baptist University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Church Careers.  Welborn was recently called as the senior pastor of Highland Baptist Church in Clovis, New Mexico. That is a long way (520 miles) from his hometown where the past 10 years he has served as youth pastor of South Jefferson Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant.

The Clovis News Journal just recently did a story on Welborn and a ministry that Highland has been doing for years.  The ministry is helping local children in need get a solid start on the school year.

To read the story, “Highland Baptist Collects School Supplies for Less Fortunate in Area” by writer Vanessa Kahin, click here. 

Liles Plays Softball in Europe

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Lacy Liles in her Team USA uniform before playing softball in Europe.

Lacy Liles in her Team USA uniform before playing softball in Europe.

East Texas Baptist University All-American softball player Lacy Liles, who graduated this past May, had the opportunity to play a few more softball games even though her time in a Lady Tiger uniform had ended.  

Liles was chosen by the organization American International Sports Teams to play softball overseas. She represented the United States of America during a 10-day trip across Europe.

Upon returning back home to East Texas, Marshall News Messenger sports editor Nathan Hague reported on her international softball playing experience.

To read the story by Hague, click here.

Preaching the Gospel for 60 Years

Monday, July 21st, 2014

The caption read from the 2000 Martian- “ ‘Mark Warren’  (Brett Manley) reprimands  ‘Jason Fortenberry’  (Dr. Wallace Watkins) for having a hat on in chapel during the Big Switch.”  The Big Switch is when faculty/staff members switch places with students for a day.

The caption read from the 2000 Martian- “ ‘Mark Warren’ (Brett Manley) reprimands ‘Jason Fortenberry’ (Dr. Wallace Watkins) for having a hat on in chapel during the Big Switch.” The Big Switch is when faculty/staff members switch places with students for a day.

Soda Lake Baptist Association Director of Missions Randy Babin sent an email today (7/21/2014) to pastors and staff of cooperating churches of the association to share about a milestone obtained by Dr. Wallace Watkins, pastor of Central Baptist Church of Marshall.

Over the weekend, Wallace celebrated 60 years of preaching ministry.  Randy shared in the email, “Over 30 of that time has been here in Soda Lake.  We have been blessed by his ministry in our area.”

The congregation of Central Baptist recognized his faithful proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the morning service held on July 20.   

Wallace is a graduate of East Texas Baptist College holding a master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and doctor’s degree from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  He began serving his second term as pastor of Central Baptist on June 1, 2010. He had previously served from 1977-95.

From 1995-2005, Wallace served ETBU as Vice President for Spiritual Development.  He has also served as pastor of First Baptist Church of Hitchcock and associate pastor of First Baptist Church of Texarkana as well as numerous interims of churches in East Texas.

Congratulations, Bro. Wallace!

To listen to the sermon that Bro. Wallace preached at Central Baptist Church on July 20, click here. The title, “Throwing Stones,” the text from John 8:2-11.

ETBU Alum Speaks at Jacksonville College Commencement

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Rev. Richard Smith, ETBU Alum

Rev. Richard Smith, ETBU Alum

East Texas Baptist University graduate Rev. Richard W. Smith delivered the key note address for spring commencement at Jacksonville College (Texas) held May 9th.

Rev. Smith graduated from Jacksonville College with his A.A.  in 1979 and from East Texas Baptist College in 1981 with a B.A.   He also holds a master’s degree in Theology from Jacksonville BMA Seminary.

He has been serving as the pastor of Farley Street Baptist Church of Waxahachie since March 1993.  He  and his wife Kim have been  married for 33 years.

A Tiger Pride “high five” to Rev. Smith for his faithful years of service in the ministry.

She Fished and Caught a Bass Worth $500

Monday, May 5th, 2014
ETBU alumnae Allison Ratcliff holds up her "money bass" caught during the KYKX Big Bass Bonanza fishing tournament. Standing next to Allison is her brother, Mike Ratcliff, who was fishing with her when she landed the 5.88 bass and the title of Top Female Angler of the tournament.  Photo Courtesy of Allison's Facebook page.

ETBU alumnae Allison Ratcliff holds up her “money bass” caught during the KYKX Big Bass Bonanza fishing tournament. Standing next to Allison is her brother, Mike Ratcliff, who was fishing with her when she landed the 5.88 bass and the title of Top Female Angler of the tournament. Photo Courtesy of Allison’s Facebook page.

Fishing can be a very relaxing outing on a beautiful afternoon on your favorite lake.  This past weekend East Texas Baptist University alumna and former All-American Lady Tiger softball player Allison Ratcliff spent time fishing in the KYKX Big Bass Bonanza 2014 held at Lake O’ The Pines.

The relaxing part turned into an adrenaline rush as Ratcliff caught a 5.88 lb. bass fishing with a white spinner bait. The catch made her the Top Female Angler during the bass tournament and received a nice check for $500. She picked up additional prize earnings as her fish came in second in the heaviest fish of the hour competition held each day during the two-day tournament. Alison was fishing with her brother, Mike Ratcliff, when she made the money catch.

According to tournament officials over 1800 anglers participated in the KYKX Big Bass Bonanza.   The overall winner was Larry McNeese, who landed a 7.79 pound bass on Saturday, claiming the top spot winning $105,000 in cash and prizes.

ETBU was also one of the sponsors for the two-day event held by the Longview radio station.

Re-sil-ince [ri-zil-yuhs ns]

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

 

ETBU Cross Country Coach Natalie Bach-Prather (far right) gives instruction to Tiger runner Landon Price of Mount Vernon during the Centenary Invitational. Photo courtesy of ETBU Sports Information.

ETBU Cross Country Coach Natalie Bach-Prather (far right) gives instruction to Tiger runner Landon Price of Mount Vernon during the Centenary Invitational. Photo courtesy of ETBU Sports Information.

Re-sil-ience [ri-zil-yuh ns] – the ability to recover readily from adversity, or the like.

As some 36,000 runners raced in the Boston Marathon on Monday  (April 21) with an estimated one million gathering on the 26.2 mile course to show support of the runners and remember the ones who died and were injured, “resilience” is the word that comes to mind after last year’s tragic bombing at the finish line.

As I heard the news last year for the first time that a bomb exploded near the finish line my mind wondered quickly, “Is East Texas Baptist University Cross Country coach Natalie Bach-Prather okay?”

I knew she was running in the 2013 race.  As I checked various social media outlets I saw the post from Natalie’s husband, Michael that she was okay. Natalie had crossed the finished line about 5 minutes after the bomb went off.

Natalie, 2008 graduate of ETBU, raced again in the Boston Marathon finishing with a time of 3:36:20.  Last week on a report by KSLA-TV about how Americans just can’t be shaken the Marshall native said, “You can’t stop us. We’ll show up every year in bigger, stronger, better numbers.”

Yes, resilience is the word that comes to mind.

“Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.” –Psalm 37:24 (NLT)

To read more about Natalie’s experience at the 2014 Boston Marathon, click here.

Dr. Pierce Called As Pastor of FBC, Hallsville

Thursday, April 10th, 2014
Dr. Monty Pierce, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Hallsville and ETBU Board of Trustee member

Dr. Monty Pierce, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Hallsville and ETBU Board of Trustee member

East Texas Baptist University Board of Trustee member and alumnus Dr. Monty Pierce has been called as pastor of First Baptist Church of Hallsville, Texas. Dr. Pierce is the 36th pastor of FBC, since the church was established in 1870.

Thomas Richardson, who writes a column for the Marshall News Messenger titled “Hallsville Happenings”, wrote this in his column that was published on April 4th :

Dr. Monty Pierce, 53, has been called and accepted as pastor of First Baptist Church in Hallsville at a business meeting Sunday morning.

Bro. Pierce was elected by secret ballot after the pastor search committee had unanimously recommended him. He had been with the church 11 years and served as associate pastor of Education Administration. It’s hard not to say “Monty,” served as interim pastor while Dr. David Massey was ill and has continued since his death last year.

Pierce is from New Boston, graduated from high school there and received his college degree from ETBC in 1983. He received his Master’s degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in early 1991 and his Doctorate from the same school in December of 1991. He worked at churches in Arkansas and the panhandle of Texas before coming to Hallsville.

Bro. Monty is married to Candice who works at Eastman and strongly supports him. They have a son, John Calvin Pierce, who is a senior at Hallsville High School.  He is an accomplished singer and pianist who performs at church and school.

To read the rest of Richardson’s column, which he writes about the history of First Baptist Church Hallsville, click here.

Downtown Denver Hotel Has New Employee

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014
The Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Denver hotel. Photo courtesy of Hilton website.

The Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Denver hotel. Photo courtesy of Hilton website.

Christen Larsen, a 2005 graduate of East Texas Baptist University, has been appointed as Director of Sales for The Hilton Garden Inn Denver Downtown hotel.  She graduated from ETBU with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a minor in Management.

The Hilton Garden Inn Denver Downtown is a full-service hotel located right in the heart of Downtown Denver, giving easy access to many of the city’s top attractions like the Colorado Convention Center, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, a myriad of Denver museums, Denver sports venues and much more that the Mile High City has to offer.

While at ETBU, the Dickinson, Texas native received the Edwin F. Moore Award from the Fred Hale School of Business given to a student who excels in economic study.

Here is information from the press release released by Hilton:

This award-winning downtown Denver hotel is excited to add new talent to its fantastic sales team and looks forward to Larsen’s contributions to the 221-room property. Ms. Larsen has held a variety of sales positions across multiple hotel brands, most recently at the Embassy Suites Downtown Denver. An East Texas Baptist University graduate, Larsen has experience as an Event Manager with Hilton and a Group Sales Manager with Starwood. Larsen recently spent a year at Queens University Belfast, Ireland obtaining an MSc International Business, where she participated in various projects analyzing performance of global companies in all areas. She has been recognized by Hilton with the Americas Pride Award in 2006 and the Hilton Chairman’s Recognition for the 3rd trimester in 2007, as well as earning acknowledgement by Starwood Hotels as a Star Sales Representative in 2010.

Larsen started at her new place of employment in early March. Congratulations from your alma mater.