Third's Leadership

Governance at Third Baptist is rooted in the congregation—the church members. They choose those who serve on the Church Council and on committees and ministry teams that work in support of the vision and mission of the church.

Our Staff

Dr. Tommy Simons Senior Pastor

Dr. Simons enters his ninth year as Senior Pastor of Third. He's a graduate of Houston Christian University, Southwestern Baptist Seminary, and has a Doctorate in Theology and the Arts from Memphis Theological Seminary. A native Texan, he previously served Vestavia Hills Baptist (Birmingham), Willow Meadows Baptist (Houston) and Trinity Baptist Church (Memphis). Tommy is married to Caren with two boys, Carson (22) and Colton (16).

My Story

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 and Colton. 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, and 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.

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.

Favorite Movies

The Third Man, Rushmore, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Shawshank Redemption

Favorite Books


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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 Downtime I Enjoy

  • Exploring “The Lou” with Caren
  • Cardinal games with my boys
  • Movies, Reading
  • Saint Louis Blues
  • Ted Drewes
  • Museums in Forest Park

Rev. Drew Phillips Minister to Families

Rev. Phillips is in his fifth year serving with Third. He claims St Louis as home though he can't say he went to high school here (Chillicothe, MO class of 1998). Drew is a graduate of Missouri Western State University and Campbell University Divinity School. He previously served as Associate Minister at Chowan University, Murfreesboro NC, and Chaplain at the Christian Activity Center, East St. Louis. Drew and his wife, Dani, and son Julius live downtown.

My Story

I have been involved in the life of the local church my entire life. I grew up in a pastor’s home in northwest Missouri and began to discern God’s call while in college at Missouri Western State University. For several years I was a summer missionary at the Christian Activity Center in East St. Louis. That morphed into my being called as the Chaplain there upon completing my degree from Campbell University Divinity School. From the CAC I served as the Associate Minster to Chowan University, Murfreesboro, NC for five and half years.

I have enjoyed leading and being a part of nearly 30 mission trips, local and international, with youth and college students. I believe practicing Christian disciplines in community is an exciting challenge and essential component in students’ lives. My hope for the church is that we learn our faith by doing and helping be answers to our world’s great needs. I am thankful that Third provides a loving and beautifully diverse community to play and pray together as we shape our spirits to join ourselves to service.

My wife Dani and I have been married almost four years and recently welcomed a child, Julius, to our family. Along with our cat, Addie Mae, we enjoy our downtown neighborhood as well as Cardinals games, Jazz shows, and sampling the many options the city provides. My perfect day is spent with Dani and Julius going to an independent book store and eating somewhere locally owned.

Movies and TV I Like

I like Wes Anderson’s movies, Ken Burns documentaries, and generally whatever PBS is showing. The West Wing, Northern Exposure, Scrubs, Frasier, and The Boondocks are some of my favorite shows.

Music I Like

90’s music will always be my favorite collective decade regardless of the genre, but 90% of the time these days I’m listening to Jazz.

Right now I enjoy…

  • Chance the Rapper
  • Roy Hargrove
  • Less than Jake
  • Pearl Jam
  • Pedro the Lion
  • Prince
  • Joshua Redman
  • Cecile McLorin Salvant
  • Vigilantes of Love

Books I Like

Do I read for work or pleasure? “YES!”

I love to read fiction, poetry, preaching, Civil Rights history, local history, memoirs, theology (and am trying to read from different perspectives than my own).

These are recent reads that have stayed with me:

  • Austin Channing Brown-I’m Still Here
  • Heather McGhee-The Sum of Us
  • Walter Johnson-The Broken Heart of America
  • Marylinne Robinson-Jack
  • Sue Monk Kidd-The Book of Longings
  • Greg Jarrell-Riff of Love
  • Bruce Rogers Vaughn-Caring for Souls in a Neoliberal Age
  • James McBride-Deacon King Kong

And these are authors I read, recommend, and return to:

James Baldwin, Will Campbell, Ellen Davis, Ta’Nehisi Coates, Willie Jennings, James Martin, Adam Gopnik, Christian Wiman, Yaa Gyassi, Alice Walker, Terry Minchow-Proffitt, Elizabeth Alexander, Wendell Berry, Nikki Giovanni, Kevin Young, and Tracy K. Smith.

I love to talk books, St. Louis, food, music, and am happy to listen and learn from my diverse array of friend and teachers!

Tom Kurtz Business Manager

I'm a St Louis native who joined Dow Chemical after college, in sales, office management, marketing and IT at the Michigan headquarters and in several cities. After moving back to St. Louis, I opened a branch office for Edward Jones as a financial consultant. I like wood working and home remodeling, and love sailing. I have two children and married my high school sweetheart 24 years ago. Groups interested in renting the church’s facilities should contact me.

Philip Barnes

Recognized by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as ‘Best Choral Conductor’, Philip has established an enviable reputation for choir training and programming through his work with the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus. He has conducted this professional ensemble since 1989, and has earned numerous plaudits locally, nationally and internationally for his direction. He is also known for his championing of women composers, and for the numerous premieres he has conducted. His work may be heard on fourteen compact discs, most recently on the Regent (UK) label. His commentary may be heard on Re-Choired Listening, a selection of great choral and vocal music, broadcast weekly on Classic 107.3 FM (and online). As a singer he appeared on many commercial recordings in both the USA and England, where he spent his formative years as a boy chorister and later adult member of various cathedral and chapel choirs.

He has sung, conducted, and lectured on a wide range of subjects in Europe and North America; for example, in January 2019 he flew to Moscow to address the Orthodox Patriarch’s “Christmas Readings” conference. Many of these presentations have examined the intersection of music and classical literature, which reflects his training not only as a musician but also as a classicist; the latter he employs as a member of the Latin & Greek Department at John Burroughs School, where he was the first holder of the Johnston Endowed Chair in Classics. For many summers he has also taught at the Chautauqua Institution (NY).

Philip holds degrees and postgraduate certificates from the universities of Bristol and Manchester (UK), and King’s College, London. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and in May 2019 was awarded an honorary doctorate of ‘humane letters’ by The Aquinas Institute, at St. Louis University. For the spring of 2022 he has been awarded a Bogliasco Fellowship to study in Genoa, Italy.

He is married to a lifelong member of Third Baptist, Rachael, with whom he has two children, Eliot & Sylvia.

Brent Johnson Organist

Brent Johnson came to Third Baptist Church in 2004 while working as a technician for the Wicks Organ Company of Highland, Illinois. He started there in 1998 after studying organ with Robert T. Anderson at the Meadows School of the Arts and Kenneth G. Hart at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. While at SMU he also performed with the Meadows Percussion Ensemble and was a member and Drum Major of the Mustang Band. His work with Wicks took him across the country tuning, repairing, and installing pipe organs. He is currently responsible for the care of the 72-rank Kilgen/Moller pipe organ at Third Baptist, and does freelance organ work around St. Louis. As an arranger and music director he has worked in many different fields of classical, church, and pop music, but has always returned to the organ.

In addition to his work at Third, Brent is a founding member of the non-profit Organ Media Foundation. There he oversees web development and production of the Internet audio stations Organlive and Positively Baroque, and The Organ Experience, and produces video content exploring pipe organs all over the country. In 2017, he was awarded the Avis Blewett Award by the St. Louis Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, presented to “those who have made a significant contribution to the musical life of the Saint Louis area.”

Brent and his wife Carrie Bradfield are completing the restoration of a historic house in the Carondelet neighborhood of St. Louis.

Lansin Lim Kimler Pianist

Lansin Lim Kimler comes to Third by way of Singapore. Lansin has played piano since she was 7 and enjoys a variety of musical selections. Lansin is known for playing with emotion and passion, and will soon celebrate her 12th anniversary of service at Third. Lansin celebrates life with her son, Elijah, 11 years old. Lansin enjoys hiking and camping. Her favorite artists are Bach, Beethoven and Shostakovich.

Choir Section Leaders

  • Sopranos: Heather Fehl, Christine Guthrie, Kathryn Omun
  • Alto: Jesi Hempstead, Laura Swearingen
  • Tenor: David Miller
  • Bass: Dom Moog, Stephen Schermitzler

Church Council

The Church Council serves as the board of directors for the church, and meets quarterly. The Council's Executive Committee, which includes the three Church Officers, works closely with the Pastor on matters that require ongoing attention.

  • Moderator: Clara Jackson, Church Council Chair, Executive Committee Chair
  • Secretary: Sharie Krueger, Church Council, Executive Committee
  • Treasurer: Joel Pittenger, Trustee Chair, Church Council, Executive Committee
  • Ron Littlejohn, Deacon Chair, Church Council, Executive Committee
  • Branden Brooks, Deacon Co-chair
  • Richard Stevenson, Chair, Adult Discipleship Team
  • Natalie Thiems, Chair, Family Ministries Team
  • Monica McDaniel-Collins, Chair, Community Ministries Team
  • Judy Parham, Chair, Global Missions Team
  • Jerry Bryan, Chair, Communications Committee
  • Connie Vohsen, Chair, Nominating Committee
  • Simon Bailey, Chair, Personnel Committee
  • Ric Hunsaker, Chair, Stewardship Committee
  • Evelyn Kurtz, Chair, Third Baptist Foundation
  • Dani Phillips, Chair, Urban Ministries Board

Committees and Ministry Teams

Ministry Coordinating Teams


  • Ron Littlejohn, Chair
  • Branden Brooks, Co-chair
  • Alisha Alberts
  • Ella Banks
  • Demetrius Bryant
  • Monica McDaniel-Collins
  • Deanna Davis
  • Steve Gray
  • Cietta Grose
  • Ric Hunsaker
  • Sharie Krueger
  • Portia Nartey
  • Beverly Odell
  • Monica Odell
  • Chidi Okafor

Adult Discipleship

  • Richard Stevenson, Chair
  • Harrison Gordon
  • Rob Lamb
  • Dani Phillips
  • Dennis Reinhardt
  • Nancy Reinhardt

Family Ministries

  • Natalie Thiems, Chair
  • Ruth Adikorley
  • Alisha Alberts
  • Rachael Barnes
  • Brandon Brooks
  • Demetrius Bryant
  • Emily Norris
  • Ireen Smithers

Community Ministries

  • Monica McDaniel-Collins, Chair
  • Leslie Davis
  • Caren Simons, Third Readers
  • Tena Thompson
  • Gwen Tyson

Hospitality Ministry

  • Monica Odell, Co-chair
  • Linda Ramey, Co-chair
  • Steve and Michelle Campbell
  • Bonnie McDaniel and Monica McDaniel-Collins

Global Missions

  • Judy Parham, Chair
  • Donna McDill
  • Drew Phillips, Liaison

Administrative Committees

Communications Committee

  • Jerry Bryan, Chair
  • Deanna Davis
  • Brent Johnson
  • Shannon Johnston
  • Rob and Tammy Lamb

Nominating Committee

  • Connie Vohsen, Chair
  • Robin Bailey
  • Ken Blanton
  • Samuel Governor
  • Evelyn Kurtz
  • Ron Littlejohn
  • Greg Martin

Personnel Committee

  • Simon Bailey, Chair
  • Evelyn Kurtz
  • Richard Stevenson

Stewardship Committee

  • Ric Hunsaker, Chair
  • Elizabeth Hoffman
  • Carla Jackson
  • Susan Niederer
  • Candace Thomas

Trustees Committee

  • Joel Pittenger, Chair
  • Ken Blanton
  • Steve Gray
  • Mike Niederer
  • Todd Smithers
  • Charlotte Wilkerson

Third Baptist Foundation

  • Evelyn Kurtz, Chair
  • Maria Bradford
  • Jerry Bryan
  • Carla Jackson
  • Joel Pittenger
  • Connie Vohsen

Urban Ministries Board

  • Dani Phillips, Chair
  • Leslie Davis (Community Ministries Rep)
  • Steve Gray (Trustees Rep)
  • Lois Hunsaker (Member at-large)
  • Portia Nartey (Deacon Rep)