Pastor Brian Abeyta, formerly leader of Castle Rock’s Calvary Chapel, is starting over. Three months ago, he led the debut service for Beauty for Ashes Fellowship in a rented space at the Lone Tree Recreation Center.
Abeyta left his senior pastor post at Calvary Chapel in 2011. He took a corporate job on the East Coast, but said he soon realized it wasn’t a good fit.
“It wasn’t fulfilling for me,” he said. “Within the next 30 days, it was so clear God was calling us back to the area we really loved to plan another church. We moved 20 minutes up the road and just said, ‘Let’s start all over again.’”
About 120 people attend the weekly 9 a.m. service, during which Abeyta conducts a verse-by-verse study of the Bible. His wife, Jenipher, and one of his four daughters help lead the musical portion of the service.
“Our worship is very contemporary, very simple,” he said.
It’s a compelling weekly message for Lone Tree resident Kim Johnson.
“He’s not afraid to touch on those topics a lot of churches will just run away from,” she said. “He’s extremely passionate and has a great sense of humor.”
The clean-cut but heavily tattooed Abeyta, 41, doesn’t fit the pastor image. The designs on both his arms were inspired by Biblical verses, but their origins aren’t immediately obvious.
“A lot of people who have tattoos are stereotyped,” he said. For me, it’s just a part of my personality. It opens up an opportunity for dialogue and to minister to a totally different group of people. Our demographics are so vast — guys with tattoos, an older group in their 60s and 70s, and everything in between. I love that.”
The name “Beauty for Ashes,” taken from a Biblical verse, reflects Abeyta’s belief that good often comes from bad.
“The idea is, God can take a situation that seems completely hopeless, turn it around and make something great out of it,” he said. “We really feel like with the economy, unemployment and everything the way it is, people need hope. And that they can find that in God.”
During Abeyta’s near-decade at Calvary Chapel, he said the church experienced dramatic growth. While he hopes the Lone Tree church grows, he said he learned from his experiences in Castle Rock.
“The year and a half away from ministry was really good for me,” he said. “The retrospect of being able to look back and see, ‘I made some mistakes.’ I was doing seven services a week; I got exhausted. We’re going to put safeguards around myself and my family so we don’t lose focus.
“Our desire is that it will grow. But maybe we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. I’m just taking it week by week.”
For more information, visit www.beautyforashesfellowship.org.