Staff Q&A with Eli Byrd
January 19, 2017
Eli Byrd is the Director of Certificate Services and a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He shares about his work to help equip people for ministry.
1. Tell us about yourself.
I am originally from Jacksonville, Florida. I was recruited out of high school to play football at Charleston Southern. While there, I found my wife and I found Christ after stepping away from football. My wife and I have four children: Micah is three, Veda is one, Zoe is with the Lord and we have another due in February.
2. How did you come to SEBTS?
I became a pastor of a church while we were in Charleston. It was around that time that another pastor told me I should check out seminary. I was skeptical at first, but John Piper’s book Think convinced me to study more. We were planning on attending another seminary, but decided to stop by Southeastern on our way to spend Thanksgiving in Maryland in 2012. We fell in love with the school and moved to campus in January of 2014.
3. What do you do at Southeastern?
I am both a student and a staff member at Southeastern, so depending on the context, I answer differently. I am getting my M. Div., and I am the Director of Certificate Services, which are affordable, at-your-own-pace, options to study with Southeastern.
4. On what are you currently working?
On the school side, I am continuing to work on my degree. I recently took a hybrid course on Bible exposition with Dr. Jim Shaddix and loved it.
As far as my work goes, our team is working hard to learn how to better engage students so that distance learning doesn’t feel so impersonal, as it can at times. We want the students in our certificate program to have the best experience possible.
5. When you get home from work, what do you look forward to doing? (What are your other passions?)
I love spending my free time with my kids and my family. The Lord has blessed me with an amazing family. My wife is a phenomenal woman, and one of the many things I love about her is how fun loving she is.
6. Who are your role models?
Growing up, my parents and my grandmother were huge role models for me. My mom, who passed away earlier this year, taught me what it means to follow the rules and work hard. She never wavered in her parenting. My grandmother is the spiritual matriarch of the family, and her faith is strong.
I grew up learning about the law and the importance of following rules, but my college pastor John Davis showed me the importance of grace.
Finally, “Aunt B” was a woman I worked with who wasn’t a blood-relative to me or the other people who looked up to her, but she loved us like we were her nieces and nephews. She wed truth and grace together very well.
7. What has God been teaching you lately?
He’s been teaching me about what it looks like to have the character of an overseer, from 1 Timothy 3:1-7. Also, we’re buying a house right now, so he’s teaching me about wisdom and discernment through that.
8. If a prospective student asked you, “Why Southeastern?” what would you say?
You learn a lot of weighty things in seminary, but being here, I’ve learned that seminary is not just about the head knowledge—it’s about the heart. You have to grow in your love of the Lord in seminary, and Southeastern does a great job encouraging that. It feels like a family here, and they love my family so well.
9. What is your favorite part about your position at Southeastern?
I love how many people I get to meet through my job—whether it be potential students, Southern Baptist Convention employees or others. I also love being in our office—it’s a great work environment.
10. How does your position fit into the mission of Southeastern to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission?
I think about Ephesians 4:11-16. Through the certificate program, I get to help equip the saints, laypeople in our churches, for the ministry. We want to help in this way however we can.