For a man whose blond tips stand out amongst a crowd and who claims that his favorite color is “bright,” Dr. Stephen Eccher’s stylistic preferences aren’t the only thing that he’s bold about. After sitting down with him this week, three major things became incredibly evident about Dr. Eccher.
1. He’s passionate about the local church.
As a proud members of Open Door Church, Dr. Eccher challenges students to “take very, very seriously their involvement and membership in the local church.”
“Without that, we get lost here,” Eccher added. “If we study history, theology, philosophy, ethics, etc., and if those things remain confined to theory and head knowledge, it is of no benefit either to the Kingdom or to ourselves.”
“When you find a local church, be committed to it, love it,” urged Eccher. “Warts, defects, problems and all.”
2. He’s intentional about investing in students.
Through his classes, Eccher aims to help students understand the importance of “where we’ve come from and the missional impulse behind the church.” Eccher teaches students to rightly understand the development of theology, why that understanding matters, and how it fits within the overall historical context.
“I think you gain a love for the local church by immersing yourself in the local church,” shared Eccher. “But I also think you can gain an immeasurable amount of respect and love for the church if you understand the church from the academic, theological and historical perspective.”
Beyond his aim to teach church history and historical theology rightly, Eccher is intentional about spending time with students outside of the classroom. Whether that’s through pickup basketball games in Ledford, involvement in his local church, or short term mission trips, Eccher makes it a priority to spend time with students outside of the classroom.
“I feel like I’m teaching through those encounters as much as I’m teaching standing in a classroom,” shared Eccher.
3. He’s serious about the Great Commission.
Recently, Dr. Eccher was part of a team from Southeastern that went to Toronto to work alongside a church plant there. While there, the team helped by promoting and coordinating the church’s Easter outreach event and were able to engage about 500 community members, many of whom were not believers.
In addition to the Easter outreach, the team was able to minister all over the city of Toronto by simply speaking with those they encountered. Whether it was a coffee shop, a mall downtown, or a university campus, the SEBTS team members were able to engage the people of Toronto with the gospel.
Throughout their encounters with people of various backgrounds, faiths and nationalities, Eccher shared how encouraging it was to see evidence of the Holy Spirit at work as they were faithful to share the gospel.