I fell in love for the first time when I was five years old. That’s when I first visited New York City. I was smitten with the Big Apple. Forty years later, I can’t believe I actually get to live here! Ellen and I count it an extraordinary privilege to join the Redeemer family in gospel ministry in the greatest place on earth.
Life-long Texans, Ellen grew up in Austin and I in El Paso. We met in college and have been married for twenty-one years. We have three daughters. Our two oldest, Anna (20) and Margaret (19), attend college in Texas. Our youngest daughter, Mary Caroline (16), is thrilled to be joining us in New York. These four women mean everything to me. Another way of putting it is that I have four image consultants!
My first ordained ministry position was in Dallas, where I served as a college pastor at Park Cities Presbyterian Church and the founding RUF (Reformed University Fellowship) campus minister at Southern Methodist University. Our next stop was Houston, where I planted Christ the King Presbyterian Church. Located in the cosmopolitan center of Houston, the fourth largest U.S. city, Christ the King exists in the city to promote the welfare of the city. Sound familiar? It’s no coincidence. Tim Keller and Redeemer have been extremely influential in shaping my approach to ministry.
I first heard Tim when I was a seminary student in Philadelphia. I’ll never forget my first impression: “Ah, now I can breathe!” Seminary life felt suffocating to me. But Tim was different. He didn’t talk like a ‘preacher.’ His communication style and message struck me as authentic and refreshing. I’ve been a follower ever since.
How do I feel about taking on this new role as a lead pastor at Redeemer? Humbled, exhilarated, terrified, emotional. For us, this transition represents both a significant loss and a magnificent gain. The last several months have been emotionally rough for us as we’ve had to say goodbye to Houston and our Christ the King family that we love so much. By God’s grace, my family and I have had an unbelievably wonderful church experience over the last fourteen years and it really hurts to be leaving. But I could not be more excited about what lies ahead at Redeemer.
One very important disclaimer: I will disappoint you! Isn’t it comforting that ministry isn’t about great people doing great things? It’s about broken, deeply flawed people discovering the power of the gospel and then living each day desperately dependent upon it...because they know their life depends completely upon it. I join you as one such man.