Dr. Tommy Simons
I spend my days serving a wonderful family of faith in Saint Louis. Third is the type of community, if I were not serving as Pastor, we would join as members: we love the fellowship, location, worship style, diversity and service culture of Third Baptist.
I attempt to father two boys—Carson (13) and Colton (8). My boys have taught me about grace, patience and the utter futility of parenting guides. I am graced with Caren—a gift from God and eharmony. I am amazed at her ability to juggle life, children, home and deciding to marry someone in the ministry.
I am a native Houstonian and continue to follow my Astros (resisting urge to convert to Cardinalnation), Rockets and Texans.
After receiving Masters Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (1985)—I’ve been honored to serve four exceptional congregations: Vestavia Hills Baptist in Birmingham (1985-1994); Willow Meadows Baptist in Houston (1994-2007); Trinity Baptist Church in Memphis (2008-2015) and my present position as Pastor of Third Baptist in Saint Louis. I received Doctorate in Theology and the Arts (2014) from an exceptional Presbyterian Seminary in Memphis—Memphis Theological.
Music I Enjoy
Bob Dylan, Bruce Hornsby and the Noise Makers, Tim Story, Brent Johnson (Third’s exceptional organist) has led me to discover organ music; Phillip Barnes (Director of Saint Louis Choral Group) beauty of choral presentations, Jerry Garcia, Widespread Panic, Theolonius Monk, Miles Davis, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, R. Carlos Nakai, Brian Eno and The Who.
The Third Man, Rushmore, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Shawshank Redemption
Novels: The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides
The Old Man and the Sea by Hemmingway
History: The Reformation: A History by Diarmaid MacCulloch
Luther by Heiko A. Oberman
Martin and Malcom in America by James Cone
Truman by David McCullough
The Great Bridge by David McCullough
Augustine of Hippo by Peter Brown
Devotion: I and Thou by Martin Buber
The Beloved Community by Charles Marsh
Theology and the Arts: Encountering God Through
Music, Arts and Rhetoric by Richard Viladsau
Stages by John Claypool
Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer
Who’s Afraid of Modern Art? by Daniel Siedell
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Leadership: Perspectives on Congregational Leadership by Israel Galindo
Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times by Peter Steinke
Generation to Generation by Edwin Friedman
The Practicing Congregation by Diana Butler Bass
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
For Down Time I enjoy:
Exploring “The Lou” with Caren
Cardinal games with my boys
Saint Louis Blues
Museums in Forest Park
Associate Pastor for Students & Missions
I was raised in the small rural town of Salem, AR where I was blessed to be raised by a family that valued church life and spoke about God in a very open and dynamic way. After having an amazing God experience at camp, I received a lot of love and mentoring from my youth pastor with the hope of finding out all I could about what the Bible was, how God moved among us and where did the church fit in a world that seemed filled with such diverse and differing views. In the midst of that discipleship, I felt God calling me to help teens and the rest of the church find words that helped the world make sense and wrestle with the questions that define our identity and purpose.
As a result, my journey took me to Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge, AR to work on my B.A. in Christian Ministries. Following some amazing encouragement and inspiration from my professors, I then moved down into the Wild West country of Abilene, TX to obtain my MDiv in Pastoral ministry at Logsdon Theological Seminary. During that time, God opened the doors for me to experience the world at large as I traveled abroad to study in Malaysia, Indonesia and England. At the conclusion of my Master’s program, I spent two years working with the homeless and young people at Bloomsbury Central Baptist in London as an intern minister. While working at a church with over 35 different countries and ethnicities represented every Sunday morning, I was blessed with some very unique and challenging experiences which invigorated my interest in church planting back in my native land of Arkansas. After spending a year co-starting a home church Anabaptist style home church in Little Rock, I have found my home here at Third Baptist Church St Louis working with teens from across the city and missionaries around the world.
Needless to say, it has been a roller coaster filled with challenges and blessings. I cannot wait to see what exciting twists and turns God has planned for us all next!
What’s on my iPod:
Nothing More, Yellowcard, Ed Sheeran, Adele, Foy Vance, Rise Against
What I enjoy reading?
Simply Jesus by NT Wright
Surprised by Hope. NT Wright
What We Talk About When We Talk About God. Rob Bell
Celebration of Discipline. Richard J Foster
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Douglas Adams
Mere Christianity. C.S. Lewis
The Ragamuffin Gospel. Brennan Manning
The Nature of Doctrine. George A. Lindbeck
Post-Christendom. Stuart Murphy
What is Truth. Peter Vardy
The Drama of Doctrine. Kevin J. Vanhoozer
Basketball, Rock Climbing, Video Games
Fight Club, Star Wars Trilogy (the original ones…obviously. Han shot first), Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Rock of Ages, Moulin Rouge, Troy, Batman: The Dark Knight, Zombieland, The Big Lebowski
Associate Pastor for Children & Communications
I grew up in the small, rural community of Flintstone, Georgia. (Yes, the name of the community is Flintstone, like Fred and Wilma. However, we were Flintstone long before the cartoon premiered.) Growing up, church was central to life in the community and in my family. I grew up loving church. I loved Sunday School, where I could hear the stories of the Bible. I loved mission groups, like Girls in Action, where I could hear the stories of missionaries. And Vacation Bible School was my favorite week of the year!
I first felt called to ministry at the age of sixteen while serving in my church’s nursery. I knew God was calling me to ministry with children. When I shared this calling with my youth pastor and church, I was invited to be the assistant teacher in the church’s preschool mission group. Looking back, I am sure that I learned just as much as the children during those years, for I was mentored in children’s ministry by loving adults who had dedicated their lives to serving children in my church.
I graduated from Shorter College (now University) in Rome, Georgia, with a bachelor of arts degree in communications with a concentration in print journalism. My journey from college to ministry training took a circuitous route as I continued to discern my calling to ministry. During this time of discernment, I worked in many different fields: campus ministry, retail, nursing home administration and development. Through all of these experiences and relationships, God led me to the Divinity School at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, where I obtained my Master of Divinity degree. When I graduated from Wake Forest, I was ordained by Knollwood Baptist Church, which is also in Winston-Salem.
For me, coming to Third has a beautiful blending of two passions in my life: communications and children. When I was in college, I had a difficult time choosing between two majors: communications and elementary education. I settled on a major in communications, but often found myself in the children’s classrooms during Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. I have served as children’s minister in three congregations, and my role at Third Baptist is the first opportunity that I have had to blend both of my passions into my ministry position, which is a gift to me. (Vacation Bible School remains my favorite time of the year!)
Some of my favorite musical artists:
Little Big Town
Some of my favorite books:
The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey
A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans
In Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
Accidental Saints by Nadia Bolz Weber
Postmodern Children’s Ministry by Ivy Beckwith
Sacred Stories of Ordinary Families by Diana Garland
Some of my favorite children’s books:
The Little Red Hen
A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
Children of God Storybook Bible by Desmond Tutu
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst