Criswell News

From the Pulpit to the BBQ Pit

Kendall Lyons |October 5, 2021

Travis Cox graduated in 2017

Travis Cox started in ministry, working with youth, later taking on the role of pastor of a small church. Now he’s serving BBQ and the Gospel as pitmaster of 1701 Barbecue.

Cox graduated from Criswell College with a B.A. in Ministry and a minor in Biblical Studies in 2017. For five years, he served as a youth minister in Athens, TX, and later took on the role of pastor at Friendship Baptist Church in Groves, TX, just southeast of Beaumont.

Cox learned about Criswell through the pastor of his church, who was also a Criswell alumnus.

“When I felt the call to ministry, it was a natural progression to end up at Criswell. So, I heard about the school through the local church,” Cox said. “There was a short time I didn’t have a ministry job, but in 2010 I was called to pastor Friendship Baptist. I grew up in Groves, so being able to come home and pastor a church in my hometown was exciting at the time.”

Time spent serving within the walls of a church gave Cox a chance to grow as an ambassador in his community. Those who come to 1701 Barbecue experience Cox’s style of outreach.

“The reception I have received has been great. The owner of 1701 Barbecue is a third-generation funeral home director who owns a prominent funeral home in south Texas. Given my background as a pastor and doing hundreds of funerals, we have a connection that doesn’t have to be explained. I even did a wedding for one of the pitmasters here. The other pitmaster is my cousin. So, everyone knows my background, and they appreciate what I bring to the table,” Cox said.

Serving at 1701 gave Cox a chance to do Kingdom work and develop relationships.

“I think my position here — other than pitmaster — is bringing into work every day the reality and the possibility of the Kingdom of God. Working with people, encouraging them, giving them dignity, listening to what they are saying, empathizing with their troubles, not publicly, but just thinking about them, and being sensitive to their needs, is producing a kind of culture that I think only one who is sensitive to the Spirit’s presence can bring,” Cox said.

Criswell College admits students who are Christians of good character, without regard or reference to race, national or ethnic origin, color, age, disability, or sex (except where regard to sex is required by the College’s religious tenets regarding gender and sexuality) to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of these classifications in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and other school-administered programs.