How BDI’s Kevin Bryant finds confidence through 3 simple words
From Debbie Freeman, BDI Contributing Writer
How does one go from a profession in the entertainment field – rubbing elbows with the likes of ZZ Top, REM and the Black Crowes – to building partnerships with faith first nonprofits?
Some might find it a curious career path.
But for BDI’s Kevin Bryant, it was a unique journey.
“God gives us a past so we can apply it to how we do things now,” he says. “I’ve sometimes wondered why certain things happened to me only to have the ‘aha!’ moments later. Now I get it – it’s the Potter’s Hand!”
And for Kevin, that means seeing and allowing God to shape, mold and use him.
Kevin spent the early part of his career hosting publicity concerts and events for the largest record company in the U.S. His years on the road with movie premiers and recording sessions was only a precursor to the visits he makes to Gospel Rescue Missions today.
“I once spent a week in Daytona Beach, filming on the set of YO MTV Raps. Then did a star-studded benefit concert to free James Brown from jail. I even spoke alongside the ACLU at an anti-censorship rally. I have Gold Records on the wall that my kids think are really cool. Well, yeah, me too!”
But then, Kevin says, something happened.
Even with his success, there was an emptiness in his heart… and a search to fill it led him to the back row of a local church. “I remember hearing people sing these old hymns that I thought I hated as a kid. After grumbling through the first two songs, I had an awakening… it was like someone had pulled ear plugs out. Hundreds of people of all ages, praising God around me, singing in harmony to words that were their testament. I was humbled, then extremely interested to learn more.”
“As I grew with a family and in my faith, I realized I’d been given talents and gifts I could use on a different team. I used to think Popular Culture was important. Now it’s the Gospel and impacting those… less popular.”
Shortly after that moment, Kevin developed and produced a 3-dimensional direct mail appeal using… wait for it… Christmas music for the organization Paralyzed Veterans of America. The campaign was so successful, it became their flagship program, raising millions and winning an international ECHO award – and thrusting his direct-response fundraising career forward.
For the last two decades, Kevin has applied past experiences (as he says, good, bad and ugly) along with his skills in marketing, advertising, media, account strategy and consultation to help faith-based organizations across the country – including The Salvation Army, Guidepost Ministries and Rescue Missions – serve those in need.
He remains true to the course by focusing on Christ’s directive to Ask, Seek, Knock.
“My philosophy is you have to constantly seek Him in everything you do and knock (or pray) consistently. Success comes from staying grounded in my faith – led by a really great 2,000-year-old book.”
That spiritual grounding is especially important in Kevin’s current role developing new business as BDI’s Director of Client Partnership – building relationships and consulting on fundraising strategies while also sharing stories of God’s faithfulness in his life with nonprofits across the nation.
“The concept of Ask, Seek, Knock allows me to have the confidence of knowing why I’m making these connections – to advance the Kingdom.”
“The people who run these Missions are awesome and I hear miracle stories every time. I always ask… what got you here? For example, how did you go from the trucking industry to being the development director for a downtown Mission? The answers often give you chills. The transformation these people go through is like what I went through – what God did to get me out of the entertainment industry and into ministry.”
When Kevin’s not on the road, he’s at home in Alpharetta, a suburb of Atlanta. “I married a beautiful Georgia Peach, Elaine, 37 years ago and we raised two awesome kids who are now thriving adults,” Kevin says. “Today, our two Shelties, Chloe and Sadie, keep my wife and me warm and in shape.”
He still plays praise and worship music on Sundays, but occasionally turns back to his roots, where his journey began. He plays bass in local blues clubs, jamming with musicians – drummers, keyboard players, singers – he’s never before met.
Connecting and collaborating with new friends, like his work. Maybe so.
But we know the source of his confidence: Ask, Seek, Knock. For Kevin, “That’s the epic adventure!”
You need to read this! Click here to read “11 Ways To Be a Successful Leader in 2022 – Part 2” from BDI’s CEO and President, Michael J. Tomlinson.