A fellowship among believers is a safe place to be – it is what Zach Beasley has witnessed during his time as a campus minister at Alabama State and Tuskegee Universities.
The students crave it!
Beasley feels that while they obviously want to learn, what really comes to play is their general desire to grow as they learn. And that includes in Christ. It is what he sees working with dozens of students at both campuses through his “RealTalk” College Ministry, a name he said was developed by students for its concept of being able to have real conversations.
RealTalk is a place where these conversations are had with biblical application centered around the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As a ministry, there are weekly Bible studies open to college age students and social events throughout each month.
“Anything we talk about is in the word of God,” he said. “At ‘RealTalk,’ we do focus on fulfillment of the Great Commission. We do evangelism on campus. We’ve had students give their life to Christ. We do local missions, stateside and international missions.
“Before that, we do service projects – somewhere in Alabama, and usually near Montgomery. And from there, those who are Christians, we invite them to do something local, then somewhere in the U.S., then international.”
Beasley talks about this with the assurance of knowing where he belongs. That where he was led is where he is meant to be. But it wasn’t always his vision. He dreams of becoming an architect, having received a degree in architecture from Tuskegee University.
“I didn’t want to go to college; my parents made me go,” he said. “I grew up in Fairfield, Alabama. In elementary school, I got into a lot of trouble. I was intrigued by gang life – not by the violence, but by the money. They ran our community and streets and made money. My parents said, ‘Oh, no, you won’t.’”
He was sent to different schools. When he graduated college in 2013, he felt the Lord calling him to Montgomery. He didn’t have a job, but his wife, Nicole, said to trust the call.
He met his wife in college around 2005. They were both led to Christ, and married in 2008. They had their first two children while in college, then graduated and had two more.
It was while working at Strong Tower at Washington Park Church sweeping floors that he was asked if he could pray one Sunday. Then, he was asked to teach. After, he was asked to pray over a new job.
Since its inception in 2017, Zach and Nicole have served as volunteers with Strong Tower iENGauge youth group. After serving as interim youth leaders in early 2019, they accepted the opportunity to lead iENGauge. Currently, Zach works with teens ages 13-18 and Nicole works with the children ages 5-12.
Beasley arrived to the State Board of Missions in September 2019, and shortly after, began working as the campus minister at ASU and Tuskegee. Together, the two campuses serve about 200 students.
Currently, RealTalk hosts weekly Bible studies where the topic of discussion is presented in the form of a question and answered from a biblical worldview using the Holy Bible as the final authority. This is all possible by the grace of God and the help of volunteers, student leadership team and ministry partners.
When Covid hit in 2020 – just a year after he started the ministry at ASU – the number of participants stood at four.
“After our first semester, many students didn’t come back to campus,” Beasley said.
Asked what made him not walk away after Covid, Beasley said, “It’s Jesus. I felt like ‘Lord, if you send one, I’ll continue to invest,’ and he sent me four. I confidently will send them into any situation: to teach, evangelize … they’ve been well trained.
“Those four students are service leaders in RealTalk. They continue to be faithful in participating and serving and trusting and growing in the Lord.”
Beasley doesn’t take credit for it all. He uses people from Strong Tower and also the community. There’s a Bible Boot Camp he offers every summer – an intense, 40-hour training, when students are taught to study their Bible, share the Gospel, and make disciples who make disciples.
The students he works with on campuses are between 18 and 25 years old. The age range is important, he said, because of where they are in life.
“If we consider the Great Commission and take the Gospel to the ends of the earth, we all should be looking to the nations to share the Gospel. But not everyone has the means to get to these different locations. The most people can afford … they can get to AUM or Tuskegee University. We reach the nations just by driving to the campus.
“You can reach the nations without hopping on a plane. The Lord has just gifted me with college kids. With college students I get to sit with them and have conversations on theology and doctrine. It is a different conversation that I don’t have with younger kids.”
Of the college students he ministers to, Beasley said, “This is what they do all day, they’re in school. As a college student, the thirst for knowledge doesn’t end with a major.”
Asked why what he does is so important, Beasley said, “Because without Christ, we would all perish. I truly believe in the Gospel as the power to save. The reality is, I am completely wholeheartedly in love with Christ. I had a student say that about me and my wife … that they want to love the Lord like we do. The Lord has given me so much.”
When Beasley originally began RealTalk, they were all college men – 12. And from there, it began to grow. And when the women learned about it, their numbers surpassed the men.
The women eventually formed RealGrace which is led by a member of Strong Tower, as well as Nicole.
“They are rocking and rolling,” Beasley said. “This is a safe place for women and men to get together and talk about Christ. All meetings are rooted in scripture. One of my student leaders facilitates the Bible studies.
“The Lord has given me great talents and gifts, but nothing brings me more joy than ministry. I’d rather have joy in the Lord than money and be miserable.”
How can you help?
You can reach Zach Beasley at email@example.com.
Do you wish to donate?
Visit Strong Tower’s website, https://strongtowerawp.com, and click on the Giving link. A drop down menu offers a link to RealTalk. Checks can be sent to 2840 Boys Club Road, Montgomery, AL 36108.
RealTalk College Ministry can also be found on Instagram and Facebook under @realtalkministryal.