Christian YouTube Pastor Allen Parr of "The Beat" Addresses Tough Biblical Questions Verse by Verse!
It was a pleasure to interview Allen Parr! I came across Allen's ministry, "The Beat," when I was looking for a place where I could receive solid biblical teaching. The website listed Christian leaders focusing on biblical teaching with no tricks or gimmicks. That's exactly what I was searching for. Since then, I have been following his channel. It has been a blessing to learn so much about God's word. His teaching style is simplistic, enabling even those easily distracted to comprehend and retain the information. I appreciate Allen's ministry because he teaches straight from the Bible. His love for God, the Bible, and people are admirable. The following is my interview with this wonderful pastor, man, husband, and father of two.
Hi Allen, good morning! Hello!
So nice to speak with you. Thank you so much for calling.
It is a blessing to interview a true man of God. Thank you for this opportunity, and thank you so much for allowing me to tell your story. I am honored to share my testimony and my story.
I have been following your online ministry for quite a while, and it has blessed me tremendously. Thank you. How did you learn about my YouTube channel?
Allen, I’m hungry for the word of God. I wanted to be a part of a community where the true word of God was being taught. Today's world is becoming increasingly harder to find someone teaching the sound doctrine of the word of God and not a watered-down gospel. I'm a pastor's daughter, and my dad taught like that. He taught straight out of the Bible, which I'm used to. So, when I found your station, I noticed that you teach the word of God without deviating from that, and I love that. Sometimes we don't realize how we impact others' lives. But you have impacted mine. I listen to your YouTube channel regularly, which has helped me grow in my Christian walk. So, this is truly an honor for me. Thank you, that's a blessing, and I want to thank you so much. I'm so humbled and echo the sentiments of everything you said.
Thank you very much. There is a growing difficulty in finding good solid Bible teaching, which you will hear about today. This is one of the reasons I decided to start this ministry. There's no doubt we'll talk about that, but it's a huge contributing factor. It's also a reminder that we never know who we're reaching when we put a video out there. So, thank you very much for that, and thank you for all your hard work.
It’s my pleasure. So, Allen, let’s dig in. OK
Aright Allen, where are you from, and what was your childhood like? As a child, I lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was born on November 15th, 1975, and mostly grew up in a Christian single-parent home.
My parents divorced when I was six, so I was co-parented from age six through the 12th grade. Despite this, my parents have always been very involved in my life, now and then. Throughout my childhood, I was always supported by my parents, and I never felt unloved by them. Whenever I played baseball or any other sport, they always showed up to support me.
Growing up, I experienced quite a bit of divorce. Having a dad who was divorced three times and a mom and sister who were twice divorced heavily influenced my singleness and marriage journey.
At what age did you give your life to Christ? I became a Christian at the age of eight.
Were your parents Christians? My father was not a Christian at the time my parents were married. Due to the difficulties of divorce, he soon surrendered his life to the Lord.
As a result of his decision to follow Christ, he led my sister and me to Christ. After becoming believers, my sister and I were baptized. At the time, I was eight, and she was ten years old. So, my journey began.
What type of church experience did you have during your formative years? Even though I grew up attending church every Sunday with my mother, I never truly had a relationship with The Lord. I just kind of went through the motions.
Could you please tell me more about the motions? I sang in the children's choir and did all sorts of things with the youth, but I did not read my bible or study it regularly. I didn’t do much praying or look forward to going to church.
I can relate to what you're saying. I've been there myself. I call that insane moment in my life a season of stagnation. I believe that the moment when you genuinely become hungry for Christ is when God begins to reveal to you that you are only a churchgoer. In the moment of that revelation, you have a decision to make, ignore the Holy Spirits calling or decide to get serious and make it a priority in your life to know Him. I chose the latter.
It's hard enough for adults to obey God's voice, but when you're young and ready to explore the world, it can be extremely difficult because there's so much distraction. How was your teenage experience? In high school, I was involved in behaviors that I probably shouldn't have gotten involved with, including a brief dating period and promiscuity. You know, things like that.
When did you graduate high school? After graduating high school in 1993, I attended college.
What was your college experience like? As a freshman in college, I did not attend church because I was living away from home and enjoying myself. My relationship with the Lord blossomed and flourished during my sophomore year in college.
I want to take you back to when you were eight and accepted Christ as your Savior and Lord. At that time, did you understand what you were doing and what being a Christian meant? I believe I understood the gospel at the age of six. My understanding of sin as a child was strangely profound. Growing up, I recognized the sacrifice of Jesus and felt the spirit of God in me, which led me to know that I was saved. I sometimes felt as if the Lord was speaking to me, telling me not to do this, not to do that, not to go here, or not to associate with certain people. There was a strong sense of conviction in me. My understanding and salvation were genuine at that age, so I felt I understood.
Were you able to see the Godly principles being implemented in your home? Other than marriage and relationships, I would say yes. As far as love, respect, dignity, and integrity are concerned, yes. Both of my parents deserve an A plus for that. In no way did I see any sort of abuse or dishonesty among my parents.
Many people do not accept Christ until they are adults. Young people who receive Christ as children face unique challenges. Because of the culture in which they live, they are exposed to a great deal of peer pressure at school, resulting in an easier acceptance of their secular environment. If you were a born-again Christian entering college, what advice would you give young adults about balancing Christianity and secularism? One of my most significant pieces of advice is to think critically about every decision since it only takes one abysmal decision to alter your life dramatically. You may be in the car with the wrong group of people going somewhere where there will be violence or shootings. The only reason I'm still alive today is by the grace of God.
In my later high school years and college, I remember attending clubs where shootings broke out; thankfully, I was not hurt. I also remember a lot of places where people were engaging in promiscuous behavior or drinking and driving. By God's grace, I managed to escape. Making good decisions is essential.
It is also vital for young women to protect their hearts. An understanding that a woman's heart is the gateway to her body is essential. Personally, I think that both men and woman should guard their hearts. A heart that is not guarded can pose many problems for women, including low self-esteem.
I would encourage young men to get a wise, experienced, and mature mentor to whom they can be honest and vulnerable. Good mentorship should be characterized by excellent advice and wise counsel.
Additionally, I would encourage them at a young age to take ownership of their faith. Make sure you figure out what you believe and why you believe it before you go out into the real world. In addition to asking themselves why they believe the way they do, teenagers should also ask themselves why they are Christians. Is it because of their upbringing, or are they true believers?
Yes, absolutely. While in college, you pivoted from a Christian lifestyle to doing things your own way. What were your thoughts at that time, or was there a particular event that caused you to take a temporary transitional path? Yeah, I think it was from the typical path of experiencing freedom for the first time. I also think a large part of my pivoting came from my being in high school. Not only was I the smartest kid in the school, but I also played on the golf and baseball team. Because of this, I didn't necessarily get as much attention from women while in high school. An intelligent student who takes calculus isn't necessarily considered cool in high school.
I think that's hilarious! Could you imagine me attending high school, a black boy wearing glasses and carrying a golf club? Back then, that was considered uncool.
Perhaps you should have started falling out of your chairs. You would have gotten all kinds of attention if you had done that. You wouldn't have obtained favorable results, but you would have gotten attention. (laughs) In my case, I just didn't receive that level of attention. However, when I went to college, everything reversed. That’s when I met young ladies who valued intelligent men who were educated, had a future, and going places in life. As a result, I allowed the attention and affirmation to consume me. I also pledged to a fraternity that I am a member of, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
What university did you attend? I went to “Case Western Reserve University” In Cleveland, OH. I majored in electrical engineering.
That's awesome! What professional degrees do you hold? I have both a bachelor's and master's degree in electrical engineering.
When did you finish your education? I finished in 1998.
Congratulations! Thank you! Even though the party life and the girls seemed exciting, interesting, new, and novel at the time, I am thankful that none of my poor decisions seriously affected my life.
Sometimes in our Christian walk, it takes something radical to shake and wake us up. For me, it was a tape that I had received from a pastor. The message was life-changing. What would you say happened in your life that turned the course in your direction? Like the story of the prodigal son, how did you return to your senses? Yeah, so a very interesting story. I remember this like yesterday. It was 1995, my sophomore year, I met a Deacon named Deacon Kevin Miller, and he served at a local church. Mr. Miller decided he wanted to pour into the lives of young adults in college. So, he came down to our campus and said, "Hey, would you like me to do a Bible study a couple of Fridays every month?" He assured me there would be no strings attached. He planned to have me and a few of my friends get together for a bible study.
Because I grew up in church, I considered myself a Christian. So, because the guy seemed cool, I said, “yeah, why not.” We didn’t have anything else to do, so I accepted the invitation.
In the first Bible study we had, he taught the parables. I was highly intrigued about trying to figure out these parables. Every parable had a hidden meaning behind it. Before then, I had never heard the Bible being taught that way. For the first time in my life, I was interested in reading the Bible and studying it. I never had that feeling before. And so, this unlocked a new interest for me to start reading.
Also, how he was applying and breaking down the scriptures to us forced me and others to evaluate our lives as to whether they were Christlike. During that time, I was in a promiscuous relationship with a young woman. Thus, we were both faced with a decision.
My question to myself was, am I going to continue to go to church every Sunday, act like I'm a Christian, sing, shout, worship, and do all the things that look like Christianity but live an ungodly lifestyle behind closed doors? So, that was the point in my life when I took a vow to celibacy.
How old were you? I was 19 years old when I decided to take the vow of celibacy and save myself for marriage.
What an extraordinary story! You worked as an engineer in your field of study at some point. Let us talk about it. Yes, I graduated in 1998 with my Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and got hired at Ford Motor Company in Detroit, MI. I thought that I had my dream job! I was making lots of money, and I was enjoying myself. My first opportunity to preach and teach the word of God came around 1990, and I will never forget it.
Awesome, tell me about that. My first speaking opportunity was at a small storefront church. The pastor told me I was permitted to preach if I desired to do so. Keep in mind that I had never preached a sermon or taught any bible studies at that point in my life. However, despite my hesitancy, I tried, as something within me told me I could.
Praise God! I’ll bet it was a wonderful experience! I'll never forget the feeling I had when I preached my first sermon. It was as if the scales fell from my eyes, and I felt the significance of God's calling on my life for the first time. I never felt while serving as an engineer at Ford Motor Company. The two feelings were incomparable.
So, at that point, I had a decision to make. As a 23-year-old engineer, I had to decide whether I was going to stay in my comfort zone where I was making about $80,000 a year working for a Fortune 500 company, living life, using company credit cards, driving company cars, and just having a fun time versus pursuing this newfound calling to become a minister.
That's a serious choice to make at any age! Yes, and I always tell people that was the easiest hard decision I ever had to make. It was the hardest regarding the monetary benefits that came along with it, such as money, status, and position. Despite this, I felt the most peace as I followed God's call. So, after two years of working for Ford Motor Company, I resigned and enrolled in “Dallas Theological Seminary in the year 2000.”
Wow, that's a remarkable story of a young man with a love for God and a willingness to submit to the calling of the Holy Spirit. That is awesome! So, you attended the Dallas Theological Seminary, where you received a plethora of biblical knowledge. What year did you graduate, and where did you go from there? After graduating from Dallas Theological Seminary in 2004 with a Master of Theology degree, the highest master's degree you can get at the school before you start going into the doctoral programs, a church offered me a position. Unfortunately, my first church experience was not positive. I found it extremely challenging. My pastor and I didn't see eye to eye, so I was fired without any wrongdoing.
Sorry to hear that. Yes, so in 2006, I decided to seek employment because my dreams of being in full-time ministry were shattered.
Any young person, especially at 23 years old, would be discouraged by such a situation. For two years, I served in full-time ministry. After that, I vowed to never again put myself in a position where a church could fire me. As a result, I concluded that working and being in ministry simultaneously is a wiser choice. Therefore, I sought a full-time position and did ministry part-time.
What type of employment did you take on? Following that, I taught math in high schools for 11 years. As far as ministry, I was a bi-vocational minister.
Did you only teach 11th-grade math? For most of my teaching career, I have taught calculus and precalculus, the highest math level, and I have had immense success there. I even won teacher of the year in 2015.
Awesome! I'm so proud of you! Thank you! Being selected for such a prestigious award was a huge honor.
At that time, what were you doing regarding the ministry? I taught, led worship, and preached for many years in response to invitations.
You sing; I didn't know that! That is awesome! Yes, I sang, played the piano, and led worship for many years.
Are you a songwriter, or have you ever recorded a worship CD? In terms of original work, I've never done any. As far as recording anything, I've only sung covers; I did do an instrumental CD of myself playing worship music, but that's about it.
From your observation,