2 Minute Tuesday – Craig Gyergyo, Bible Museum on the Square

Welcome to another installment of Tour Collierville’s 2 Minute Tuesday! This week, Keith sits down with Craig Gyergyo of the Bible Museum on the Square in Collierville, TN to talk about the Square, the ministry, and the importance of community.

Watch the video here, or read the transcript below.

Craig Gyergyo Video Transcript

Keith:  Hi, I’m Keith with Tour Collierville, and we’re here for our 2-Minute Tuesday with Craig—and I’ll have to admit, I cannot say your last name.  If you could us a lot about your last name…

Craig: You and a lot of people.  Craig GEAR-go.

K: Gyergyo.  Okay, yeah.  Great.  Craig Gyergyo of the Bible Museum just down the street.  I am happy to have you here today.

C: Thank you, Keith.  It’s good to be here.

K: Good, good.  So to start off, tell us a little bit about you and your background.

C: A varied background, I feel like, at this point in my life.  From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; that’s where I grew up.  And we moved to Memphis, my wife and our children, moved to Memphis 11 years ago.  And I’ve worked the ministry—

K: From there?

C: Yeah, from the Pittsburgh area. And I’ve worked in—

K: Steelers?

C: Oh, of course.  I’m a Steelers fan.

K: Still the Steelers?

C: Yes. That’s something that never dies.

K: Once it’s in you, it’s a part of you.

C: It never dies.  Absolutely a Steelers fan.  So, we moved here 11 years ago, to the Memphis area, and came here for ministry purposes. I worked on staff at Hope Church for six years, which was a great experience.  I’ve also worked on staff at Highpoint Church, which was another great experience. And now, I’m at the Bible Museum.

K: I didn’t know that background.  What did you do there, at Hope?

C: At Hope, I was the children’s minister.

K: Yeah, that’s cool.  So you’re in—you’re not—you don’t live in Collierville now, right?

C: We do not live in Collierville, but we really love and appreciate it.  It’s an incredible neighborhood. I really think it’s probably the best suburb in all of the state.

K: Well we do, too.

C: For sure, absolutely.

K: So the Bible Museum is in Collierville, on the Square, and that’s got to be a little different than working at a couple of churches.  A lot of people, including myself, don’t 100% know what is a bible museum.  What is this Bible Museum?

C: It’s a good question, and our bible museum is dedicated to helping people understand the scripture.  The Bible, though the most widely read and purchased book in all of history, is also probably the most widely misunderstood book. Or, the most doubted book in all the world’s history.  And so our work, really, depends on us being able to clearly help people understand the authority, the authenticity of the scriptures.  And we do that through history and culture.

K: Okay.  So when you say “history and culture,” it’s taking whatever that passage is about and looking at when it was written and trying to get it in context and historically accurate?

C: That could be a piece of it.  We actually have a collection of artifacts and manuscripts that verify the biblical record. The people and places in the scripture can often be traced archeologically to their roots in the Holy Land. And so the collection we have it’s actually really incredible and interesting. It helps people have a sense of confidence that the people and places that are listed in the Bible are true and accurate.

K: So how did this place on the Collierville Square come by these artifacts?

C: There’s three main people who started this up: Nancy Bassett, Don Bassett, and B’Lou Carter.  And they had a vision collectively to have, originally, a Biblical resource center, which would be something for lay people to come and study and prepare Sunday school lessons and things like that. It actually grew into being also a museum. They travelled to Europe and the Holy Land and they acquired replicas of several artifacts from the Louvre and the British Museum.

K: Really?

C: Yeah.  So this is like… When we say “replica,” you tend to think of a cheap version of a Steelers jersey, right?  Not at all.  These are things that are like one of a kind.  They don’t even make them anymore.  And so it’s a really unique collection.  It’s one of a kind.

K: Wow.  That’s awesome.  So there’s other things happening down there too.  I mean, when I walk by there and see events and some things that are going on, different themed stuff…

C: For us to be a part of the fabric of the community is really, really important. So we have a Bible study that happens every Tuesday night.  We have 75 people coming to our Bible study, which is incredible.

K: Wow.  Are these adults?

C: Yeah, 75 adults.  We actually had to move out of our gallery.  We meet, actually, at the sanctuary on the Square now.  Steve Wiggins teaches the Bible study.

K: So it’s not you.  You’ve got someone.

C: Yeah.  Steve is a really good teacher. We have kids programming, kids workshops regularly.  We have Bible stories for children, and then scholarly lectures as well. So we have a variety of programming that supports, you know, the kind of work we do at the museum.

K: Cool.  So how do you get engaged?  Just walk in and ask, “What’s going on?”

C: Yeah.  That’s a great thing to do. You can go to our website, follow us on social media.  Bible Museum on the Square. We really try to be active there, and not only tell our story, but what else is going on in all of Collierville.

K: Speaking of events that happened down there, is there anything coming up?  Or anything interesting for the holidays?

C: There is!  So, coming up in November, November 13 through January 18, we’re going to be returning Away in a Hundred Mangers, which is our exhibit of over 100 nativities from over 50 countries, all around the world. It was really, really well-received last year, and we’re hoping that people make it a part of their holiday tradition here on the Town Square of Collierville.

K: So it’s down at the Bible Museum?

C: Yes.  In our gallery.  We deck it all out.  And really, it’s an incredible collection.  Again: a one of a kind collection.  There’s a local physician, his name is Dr. Doug Campbell, and most of the nativities come from him, though this year, we’re looking to crowdsource some, too. Last year, we had so many people tell us that they had great nativities, interesting pieces from around the world, and so we want people to bring those in. So if you’ve got a nativity, bring it in.  We’d like to see it, and we’d love to put it on display as part of the collection.

K: That’s awesome.  There you go, guys: Open invitation if you’ve got some stuff you want to bring in, some nativity stuff. So do you need tickets or anything?  Do you just come by?  Is it walk in?

C: It’s… You can come by, and you can purchase your tickets right at the door there.  It’s $5 a person, $15 a family, and we have group rates as well.

K: Gotcha.  And it’s fine for kids and everything?

C: Oh, it’s great for kids.  We’ll have kids activities as a part of it.

K: Speaking of all of Collierville, I know that you do some things outside of the Bible Museum, too, right?  Is there something with Main Street?

C: Yeah.

K: What’s… Tell me about that.

C: So there’s a Main Street Business Alliance, and I’m a part of that team.  We’re dedicated to promoting everything that’s great about Main Street.  There’s a lot that’s great about Main Street.

K: When you say “Main Street,” it’s just the main thing?

C: Yes.  Yes.  The Town Square.  And we want people to come here and shop. We want them to come here and enjoy the great restaurants we have.  And just really savor the whole experience.  So we work together to do that.

K: Would do you, specifically, do as a part of that?

C: This year, I’m actually the Chairperson of the MSBA, which has been a real good experience for me.  I’m learning a lot and getting to know other people on the Square, which is good.

K: So when you commit to Collierville, you go head first.

C: Amen.

K: Just go straight to the Main Street of Collierville.

C: Yes.  I’m a Rotarian as well.

K: What’s that?

C: Rotary Club.  Yeah, Rotary Club is a long-standing international club, and we have a great, great chapter here in Collierville. We meet every Tuesday, recommending to—

K: Before Bible Study.

C: (laughs) Well yeah.  Tuesday afternoon at lunchtime.  And we meet just down the street here at Simply Done Catering.

K: So very active in Collierville.  Are you still doing anything with any churches?  You doing any preaching? Or what’s happening?  I heard that you are.

C: Yeah.  I’ve recently finished up a series at High Point Church, where I was teaching.  And I’m going to be teaching there again in the month of November, which I am really excited about.   And I’ve been asked by a few other congregations to come and speak, so if you’re looking for a preacher, I’m in.

K: Gotcha.

C: I like to preach.

K: That’s cool. We appreciate you coming by and being a part of Collierville and all that you do.

C: Thank you.

K: I think it’s important for everyone to hear the story of what’s happening down at the Bible Museum.  There’s certainly a lot going on.   As a spiritual leader in the community, obviously you’re engrained in Collierville.  Is there anything—while you’ve got the camera—is there anything you’d like to say to the community or to the public overall?

C: Well, you said something about me getting involved in Collierville, being a part of Rotary and MSBA here in Town Square… I think that’s the Collierville Way.  And one of the things I’ve learned about this community I really love—and what I think makes it the best community—is not just the amenities and the great restaurants and the great shops and the great museums, it’s actually the fact that the people of the community are invested in being leaders.  So my only message would be, to those who are in my generation and younger: We gotta keep that going.  The people have to be involved in community outreach, opportunities, and strengthening everything that supports the great way of life here in Collierville.

K: Gotcha.  Well, I’ll do my best. You’re speaking to me—although I’m probably not your generation, I’m probably a little older, a little more gray in my shadow.  But that’s great advice.  We appreciate that.  Thanks for coming by.

C: Thank you.

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