BC Welcomes Bruce Hopler
Bruce Hopler has arrived at BC in hopes of sharing God's love with students.
October 10, 2011
When Bruce Hopler joined the Bluefield College family as the new spiritual formation director, he brought with him an awesome story of listening to the whisper of God, a passion for Jesus Christ, and a fire for this campus.
Jordon Owens and Bruce Hopler
“My wife and I have always wanted to be where God has called us to be,” said Hopler. “We waited for the whisper of God, and we heard the call to come to Bluefield and start a new work.”
Originally from Fairfax, Va., Hopler moved with his wife Terri and their two sons Caleb and Levi from Columbia, Md.—a large city on the outskirts of Washington, D.C.
Hopler and his wife moved to Maryland after he had graduated seminary with a Master’s of Divinity of Biblical Languages when their son Caleb was three months old. They moved there to plant a church in the predominantly non-Christian area.
“Only eight percent of people were attending any type of religious services and of those eight percent, most were Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses,” said Hopler. “There was a great need for Protestant missionaries to be in the area.”
They moved with a desire to serve God and to listen to what He was instructing them to do, even if pastoring a new church did not come with a paycheck.
“We started out with 20 members, then it went to 10, but eventually it started to grow,” he said. “The best part was that it
was multicultural and it grew with almost all non-believers.”
Hopler pastored Cornerstone Community Church in Columbia for 18 years, and he and his wife want to plant a similar church in Bluefield: a church geared for young adults and for the messy.
“If you are a Christian who has it all figured out, then this church may not be for you,” said Hopler. “It will be a place for the unchurched and the dechurched. For those who need to come together to figure out God and to love and worship Him.”
The new church he and his wife want to plant will start off meeting in BC’s Harman Chapel although it will not be just for students. Community members will be invited to come as well.
“We by no means believe that we will be the only church for students,” Hopler said. “We will
be one option. There are a lot of great churches in the area, and we are not trying to take members away from other churches. We are looking to be a sending center where if a local church needs a youth minister, we can send one of our students or alumni. I’m not trying to build my kingdom, I am trying to build God’s kingdom.”
Hopler understands the importance of building a church the correct way with a good leadership structure, and he compares the process to building a house. If you build a nice house without the proper foundation, it will crumble. He doesn’t want to see that happen here and plans to prayerfully take the time to build a good foundation.
Along with planting a church in the community, Hopler will serve other roles as the spiritual formation director. Some of his responsibilities include taking over convocation, working with faculty and staff, and leadership development and training.
“Convocation is not fully geared for the worship experience because we are an academic institution,” Hopler said. “Sometimes it will be an academic-related experience (such as President’s Convocation), sometimes I will be in charge and will bring in worship teams and different speakers, and sometimes it will be a combination of both.”
Whenever Hopler is in charge of convo, it will be for broken souls. He plans to bring in new worship teams and speakers as well as tying this semester’s speakers to one theme: the Whisper of God.
Convocation will not be Hopler’s only focus. He will lead Bible studies on campus and wants to work more with faculty and staff by partnering together to help uplift students. He will also be serving as an adjunct professor. Finally, Hopler wants to get involved with students through life coaching.
“I want to help students with determining what to do with their lives,” said Hopler. “I believe God has amazing plans, and He has a lot to say about what we need to do in life.”
Hopler hopes that after students graduate, they will take their degree and think about more than just earning a paycheck. He wants them to think about how to make a difference in this world by listening to God’s creative, outside of the box plans.
“God is not a cosmic killjoy,” Hopler said. “He wants to get to know you and have a relationship with you.”
That statement is the driving force behind Hopler’s mission at BC.