Eric, when did you attend Kingswood University, and what was your major?
I attended from 1988 to 1992 and received a BA in Religion with a major in Youth Ministry.
What ministry and graduate work did you do after graduating?
I was the first youth and young adult pastor at Coastal Community Church in Portland, Maine, then went on to be the Youth and Young Adult Pastor at Journey Wesleyan Church in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
After that we moved to Florida to be part of the launch of Asbury Theological Seminary in Orlando. I graduated with the Master of Divinity and then came on staff as their coordinator of Admissions in 2001, eventually becoming the Executive Director of Enrollment Management. I served as Vice President of Enrollment Management at Houghton College from 2012 to 2016, and then returned to Asbury as the Associate VP of Enrollment Management for Florida, Memphis, Tulsa, and Colorado Springs. In September, I accepted a position as VP for Enrollment Success at CampusEDU, a brand new educational tech company seeking to support Christian colleges and universities with their online course needs.
Tell us about your family.
I am married to Charlene (nee Stokes), who graduated from Kingswood in 1998 with a BA in Ministry and a major in Global Missions. We’ve been married for 27 years and have three wonderful children, Adebe (15), Jerusalem (12), and Jacob (11).
Briefly describe your career trajectory and what you’ve found most rewarding.
What was most satisfying in local church ministry was watching people that I ministered to grow into disciples of Jesus Christ. Many came to Kingswood to follow their call into ministry. I absolutely love seeing people embrace fully all that God has for them.
Over the last 23 years, I have been in Christian higher education.
I have loved seeing people fulfill their lifelong dream of completing a degree and then going out to be part of the local church. The coolest part of my career is that when Charlene and I moved to Florida in 1999 we didn’t know a person in this state. Now we could travel to any county in the state of Florida and know people who are leaving it all on the line for Jesus as His disciples! Only God could orchestrate that possibility!
How did your Kingswood education prepare you?
Kingswood prepared me in three critical ways:
- Dependence on God. The professors and leaders constantly shared and modeled this. If anything was ever going to be accomplished, it would only occur through connection to God.
- God’s Word is timeless and true for all time! It is the life source, and if applied, it will prepare you for whatever opportunities come your way.
- Dream Big (even bigger than you can imagine). If God has placed a call on your life, don’t be afraid to live it out and chase after the dream God has called you to. Kingswood was the place that nurtured this calling and provided me with the tools for a life I could never have imagined. If you told me 32 years ago, as I was about to begin my journey at Kingswood, that I would spend the majority of my life in higher education at some of the leading academies in North America, I would have laughed at you. My friends would have laughed at you, my family would have laughed at you, and for sure my teachers from middle school through high school would have laughed at you. Only one person was not laughing- GOD!!! Kingswood prepared me to fulfill my calling!
What changes do you envision for the Church in the coming decades?
The Church of the future will be borderless, a community able to connect with communities all around the world in ways we cannot imagine. This world will be ripe for mass communication of the Gospel on a scale we’ve never imagined. The Church’s best days are ahead with opportunities to engage in society we never thought possible. I’m optimistic because I remember Who wins.
What advice do you have for our students and recent graduates?
Say “Yes” to God every day. When your feet hit the floor in the morning, say “Yes.” It is the most important choice you make with everything else flowing from it. Obedience to God is lived out daily; it is not a one-time decision. Dying to yourself so that Christ can have full control is a daily decision. You will never regret saying “Yes”! God truly knows the desires of your heart! (Psalm 37:4).
Amen! Thanks, Eric, for sharing your heart with us.