In 2010, Tom founded The Row House, Inc. in the historic city of Lancaster, PA.
The idea came to him in a dream. Tommy James was strumming Crystal Blue Persuasion in a flaming Chevy Corvair and pointing to a sign along that road that read
Nothing Is Not Sacred.
OK, that’s a bit embellished.
But it is accurate to say that Tom’s life work is The Row House Forum and that he believes that nothing is not important to God. Which is why Tom is interested in just about anything. That would make him a Generalist and the perfect person for curating surprises.
He’s hosted close to 100 events that are always hospitable, civil, utterly human, and a fair bit whimsical.
Over the years, besides hosting public lecture events, he’s presided over concerts, meal discussions, and speaking engagements.
He even wrote a book about the real story of the inception of The Row House, its DNA, and what he dreams about for God’s kingdom on God’s earth (see sidebar).
Tom is married to Rebecca Johnson Becker. They have five grown children and one 55 pound dog, Rue. They live in a row house (uh…yea!) in Lancaster. They are long-time members of Wheatland Presbyterian Church are active in many ways there.
If you are a head-hunter and are interested in trying to lure Tom away, here’s his LinkedIn profile.
His hobbies include, but certainly are not limited to, bicycling, town life, auto design, photography, traveling, peanut roasting, dog therapy, vigorous dance parties, and managing anonymous Instagram accounts.
Tom loves to speak. Here’s what he’s best at:
• The examination of Christian faith at the crossroads of contemporary culture
• The theology of place, incarnation and vocation
• The doctrines of God's grace in the Bible
• The cultivation of Christian community and practice
• Power through weakness and the tales of ordinary saints
And any kind of Bible teaching and preaching. He’s licensed to preach in the Susquehanna Valley Presbytery (PCA).
The best way to reach him is by email: email@example.com. You could also try setting up a hardwood fire pizza oven in Buchanan Park, and he’ll be there in a jiffy.
-submitted by Hugh Van Gelion, Poet Laurette of Watsontown, PA and aspiring roller disco king
Tom’s Creds and a Bit O’ History
Tom Becker studied for his Bachelor of Science in Speech and Communication at Bloomsburg University of PA and earned his Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary, focusing on Christianity and Contemporary Culture through the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute. In November 2000 he was ordained a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
In 1999, The Becker family studied at L’Abri, a residential study center in Hampshire, England.
From 2000–05 Tom initiated and pastored Reformed University Fellowship at Millersville University, and from 2006-2010 he taught Liberal Arts, Theology and Writing at Veritas Academy.
Prior to settling in Lancaster, Tom worked among college students in campus ministry at Bucknell, Bloomsburg and Susquehanna Universities.
Becky and Tom were married in Voorhees, NJ in 1985. She home-taught their five children and continues to study the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason. Becky loves kids, reading, cooking, music, and serving women in their church.
You will see either of them riding around town on their Honda scooters, exercising at the Y, or hanging around with family and friends in their row house on College Avenue.
TOM'S STORY IN HIS OWN WORDS
I was raised in a small PA town by conscientious store proprietors. I sometimes attended our PCUSA church youth group but really didn’t hear the God's news of Christ until I attended Bloomsburg University in 1980. I was headed toward a career in radio, TV or film but found my greatest gifts lay in verbal communication.
I had been reading the Gospels the summer before college and was intrigued by Jesus. Through campus groups, I found myself believing the Gospel and following Christ. I soon became active in a comedy/drama group and IVCF leadership.
I also began a complete intellectual and cultural overhaul through my reading of solid books by the likes of J.I. Packer, Francis A. Schaeffer and John R.W. Stott (not to mention a healthy dose of sarcasm from the likes of musician Steve Taylor and publication The Wittenberg Door). At Urbana conventions and via a ten-day stay at Jesus People in Chicago, I gained a formative exposure to the strategic nature of urban mission work, hospitality and relational justice.
I continued in campus ministry as a staff for eleven years at Bucknell University through IVCF and DiscipleMakers. Prior to that I married Becky in 1985, and we unwittingly started our family of five children whom we’ve mostly home-taught and now consider our best friends.
The Reformed faith became my grid for understanding life and ministry virtually from the start of my walk of faith. The motif in all my ministries has been a passion for grappling with all of life under the lordship of Christ, and it is in that pursuit where I find I have been most helpful to fellow pilgrims.
I get inspiration for my faith and ministry not only from theology but also from C.S. Lewis, poetry, biographies, film and the arts. I am indebted to the Schaeffers and L’Abri for their practice and vision. I have a high regard for the Church as an institution with all her scars, but mostly for the Word, sacraments and discipline that she conveys.
Invite Tom to your town!