2012-04-05 / Faith

T.O. native growing congregation at Camarillo Church of Christ

Preacher shares Bible’s solutions to modern-day problems
By Roxanne Estrada


LOVES TO SING—The Rev. Alan Beard joined Camarillo Church of Christ as a minister in September and has seen attendance at the church double. The director of an a cappella singing group at Pepperdine, Beard enjoys the a cappella worship music at Church of Christ. 
IRIS SMOOT/Acorn Newspapers LOVES TO SING—The Rev. Alan Beard joined Camarillo Church of Christ as a minister in September and has seen attendance at the church double. The director of an a cappella singing group at Pepperdine, Beard enjoys the a cappella worship music at Church of Christ. IRIS SMOOT/Acorn Newspapers It may be more than Alan Beard’s a cappella singing that has doubled the congregation at Camarillo Church of Christ.

The energetic preacher also has an innate ability to connect the teachings of the Bible to daily life, said the church’s administrator, Mark Malloy.

“He really focuses on what the Bible really means in our lives and how the stories reflect what we deal with every day,” Malloy said. “I never imagined we would get such a great person.”

Since Beard started as the new preacher in September, church attendance has grown from about 40 to 80.

Although Beard has held various church responsibilities, this is his first time being a lead minister.

He said it’s an opportunity he has wholeheartedly accepted.

“I’m really blessed by being there,” said Beard, a Thousand Oaks resident. “I’ve never met a more humble, encouraging and open-minded group of Christians.”

A storyteller

Beard, 41, earned his bachelor’s degree in music and his master’s degree in public policy from Pepperdine University.

He met his wife, Sharon, while attending the college. The pair have 9-year-old son, Parker, and 7-year-old daughter, Emerson. The children attend Bethany Christian School in Thousand Oaks.

Sharon Beard still works at Pepperdine as the associate dean of students. Alan Beard is an adjunct business professor.

Beard was first introduced to Camarillo Church of Christ through former pastor Keith Whitney, a full-time business professor at Pepperdine.

Whitney invited Beard to lead a worship in December 2010 and the following summer asked him to be the lead pastor.

Beard agreed to lead the church as a part-time preacher because he still works full-time in the marketing industry.

He is co-owner and co-founder of McBeard Media, and he creates marketing content for companies’ social media networks such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

Leading a church wasn’t something Beard planned on doing, but he said he has enjoyed his newfound home at the pulpit.

“The biggest challenge (as a new preacher) is what is the best message and how can I do the most good in the way that I should,” Beard said. “It’s a great challenge for all Christians.”

Beard said his approach to preaching is to be a storyteller. His sermons focus on biblical stories that he presents with new insight or explains with contemporary examples.

“Storytelling is one of the most effective ways of communicating a message,” Beard said. “People are pretty resistant to being told what they should think or believe. I like to focus on things that are repeatable and can be understood by children and adults.”

“Music of praise”

Beard has been the director of Pepperdine’s Won by One a cappella group for 15 years. The sixmember group tours the country each summer to sing at churches.

The Camarillo congregation sings all worship songs a cappella to honor the historical roots of the Church of Christ, which began during the American Restoration Movement in the early 19th century as a means to re-create the early church of Jesus’ lifetime.

Beard grew up attending Church of Christ services and singing a cappella worship songs.

“I’ve always loved it,” Beard said. “It’s pure, participatory, and you can hear the voices. It’s a peaceful and very communal experience to sing together and be the music of praise.”

Several of the new members at the church know the Beard family through Won by One or Pepperdine. Many of them are families with young children, Beard said, and now the church has a revived congregation of youths. His wife is the head of the church’s school program.

Beard said the addition of young families to the church was a natural transition because “we’re a young family and the people we know are young families.”

“It’s been amazing,” Beard said. “Lots of young families have come with us to help grow this church, and it’s better than anything I could have hoped for.

The Camarillo Church of Christ, 515 Temple Ave., has Sunday worship service at 10:30 a.m.

For more information call (805) 482-3505 or visit www.camarillochurchofchrist.com.

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