Meet Our Graduates: Erin Graybeal

Erin Graybeal, King University
Meet Our Graduates:
Erin Graybeal
“My time at King fundamentally changed me as a person. When I began my time there, I was scared of the world hiding in a bubble protected by an ironclad worldview. My first semester at King completely obliterated that in Foundations of Christian thought and practice. I was always curious, but in a rule-following kind of way. Most of my real, deep questions were suddenly no longer taboo and that was exciting and dizzying for me. What would I do without a “Solid” foundation? What if that foundation was never really stable at all?
For some unknown reason, Dr. Don Michael Hudson saw a spark in me and invited me to join the Philosophy and Religion Department in redesigning the Foundations course. He wanted to support students like me to ask new questions without fear in small groups of our peers. He also wanted to have a solid set of readings and questions that supported that thinking and work. I had the enormous privilege of co-designing, being a teaching assistant, head teaching assistant, and nationally presenting at conferences for that course. This allowed me to continue learning by pairing my major-education-with time to continue wrestling with questions of faith, culture, and pragmatism and get paid for it. I would not be the educator or human I am today without that time.
In a space surrounded by the freedom to ask questions, and professors and friends that really cared for my growth, I was able to change for the better. King provided me with the opportunity to not know-it-all and be ok with the gray of life. It also offered me the uncommon opportunity to work hand-in-hand with world class professors to take on tasks and learn skills I had no business having by normal standards. I believe I am a part of something bigger while simultaneously believing I can change the world because of King. I can hold two opposing thoughts or opinions because of King. I can hold my own in a room of experts because of King. I know I would never have had those experiences at another University, and I remain proud of my education there.”
The full story is that Erin approached me after a class and said, “You know, I think this class could be better.” I hired here right there to help me design a better class, and she did. Her prints are all over the Foundations course, and she helped me design this class over her four years at King. This has taught me a great lesson as a professor–students should be designing our classes as well. We are deeply grateful that Erin chose to study at King, and I look forward to all the good and great things she will do. Her works and design continue to educate 100’s of college students every semester.

Meet Our Graduates: Ryan Nelson

Ryan Nelson
Craig Streetman
King University
Meet Our Graduates
Ryan Nelson
“Philosophy major Ryan Nelson (Class of 2019) applies his dual degree in philosophy and psychology in his work as a Registered Behavior Technician in Kingsport. He works with children, primarily with autism, to provide the support and tools they need to live a gainful and happy life. He notes that his degrees have proved helpful “in learning the terminology” and providing a “solid theoretical foundation” that facilitated his mastery of the theories that he applies in his work with clients. He also notes that his background in philosophy has proven particularly helpful in his work with older clients, who are naturally curious and both stimulated and calmed by philosophical conversation. Ryan has the mind of scholar and the heart of a servant. We are proud of the good work that he does for his community.”
From Dr. Craig Streetman

Meet Our Graduates: Elliott Gregory

Elliott Gregory
King University Bible and Religion

Meet Our Graduates: Elliott Gregory

“I love my job. For almost fifteen years I have gotten to work in the incredibly fulfilling and flat-out-fun field of youth ministry. It is an honor to be part of a student’s faith development as they weather the teenage years. Working in youth ministry is very exciting, but there is also no shortage of trails or heartache. That is why I am so thankful for the education I received at King.
No other span of time in my life has carried a greater impact on who I am or what I do than my four years at King. As a student, King provided me with many opportunities to learn though service and study. I loved taking part in student led worship on campus and partnering with our chaplain to organize chapel services. I was pushed outside of my normal boundaries on culture tours and developed a heart for missions on spring break mission trips.
My classes in Bible and Religion challenged and greatly strengthened my faith. I learned effective and responsible ways to study the Bible. My youth ministry classes taught me ministry models and communication techniques that I employ daily. Basically, Bible and religion showed me what to teach; youth ministry showed me how to teach it.
When I graduated, I was in the unique position to turn down job offers. While many of my friends had to continue their education in grad school to find employment, I found many churches that were eager to hire. I worked as a full time youth pastor for seven years before entering seminary. My education at King more than prepared me to face the rigors of seminary.
After working at a wonderful church in my home state of West Virginia for almost nine years I got the opportunity to move back to Bristol where I now serve as the Associate Pastor of Youth and Teaching at Discovery Church. Being in Bristol has brought me full circle and now I get to work as a professor of youth ministry at King. I love getting to mentor a new generation of youth workers in the same way I was mentored at King.
Youth ministry is perfect for anyone looking for a fun and fulfilling career that makes a serious impact on our world; and King University provides the education you need to get a job doing it.”
We are extremely proud to have Elliott as as graduate of King. And now we are also fortunate to have him as a faculty member in King Bible and Religion. Elliott brings his experience and expertise to our Youth Ministry track and minor–we couldn’t do it without him. He also teaches Foundations of Christian Thought and Practice. Thank you, Elliott, for all you do for King, Bible and Religion, and our Bristol community.