Ministerial Staff

Dr. Tommy Simons

Senior Pastor


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, 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.

Favorite Movies:
The Third Man, Rushmore, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Shawshank Redemption

Favorite Books:
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
Movies, Reading
Saint Louis Blues
Ted Drewes
Museums in Forest Park

Drew Phillips

Minister to Families

My Story

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

I have enjoyed leading and being part of nearly 30 mission trips, both local and internationally with the students with whom I’ve served at the CAC and Chowan. I believe practicing Christian disciplines in community is both an exciting challenge and essential component in students lives. My hope for the church is that we learn our faith by doing it and help be answers to someone’s prayers.

I have been fortunate to serve with strong influential mentors and allowed to serve in places allowing great creativity and collaboration. I am thankful that Third provides another opportunity to love God’s people and to meet the great needs of the world, together. I look forward to learning and growing with families and students as we shape our spiritual lives and join our selves to service.

I met my wife of just over two years, Dani at Chowan University. Dani and I and our cat, Addie Mae, are enjoying getting acquainted with our downtown neighborhood as well as going to Cardinal games and sampling the many restaurant options the city provides. My perfect day is a day spent with her (and probably going to an independent bookstore).

Movies and TV I like

I like Wes Anderson’s movies, Ken Burns documentaries, and generally whatever PBS is showing, although I just finished and enjoyed The West Wing for the third time and am currently enjoying Suits. Northern Exposure is probably my favorite TV show, or at least, favorite writing for a TV show.

Music I like

Though 90% of the time I listen to jazz or NPR I contend that the 90’s were the greatest decade for music (R & B, hip-hop, rock, pop), and for a while I was enamored with the alternative Christian music scene (90s-early 00’s), which I still listen to nostalgically. This is what I’m enjoying listening to right now but week to week my “favorite” list changes:

Chance the Rapper

Herbie Hancocks’s late 70s Trio

Roy Hargrove

Javon Jackson

Less Than Jake

Harold Mabern

Pearl Jam

Pedro the Lion


Joshua Redman’s Quartet

Cecile McLorin Salvant

Vigilantes of Love

Books I like

I’m stumped when asked if I read for work or pleasure….I read the New Yorker, The Christian Century, and Sojourners pretty faithfully and try to read a book a week of different genres, with varying degrees of success; these are some that perpetually come to mind or are some recent reads that have stuck with me:

-James Baldwin-The Cross of Redemption

-Gregory Boyle-Tattoos on the Heart

-Jonathan Brooks-Church Forsaken

-Will Campbell-Brother to a Dragonfly

-J. Carter-Race: A Theological Account

-Ta’Nehisi Coates-We Were Eight Years in Power

-James Cone-Said I Wasn’t Going to Tell Nobody

-Ellen Davis-Getting Involved with God

-Steve Erickson-These Dreams of You

-Gary Giddins-Jazz

-Paul Goldberger-Ballpark

-Doris Kearns Goodwin-Wait Til Next Year

-Yaa Gyasi-Homegoing

-Greg Jarrell-A Riff of Love

-Sue Monk Kidd-The Mermaid Chair

-James Martin-Jesus a Pilgrimage

-Richard Rohr-Simplicity

-Anne Tyler-St. Maybe

-Reggie Williams-Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus

-Christian Wiman-My Bright Abyss

-Walter Wink-The Powers that Be

-And some of my favorite poets: Elizabeth Alexander, Wendell Berry, Amena Brown  Nikki Giovanni, Mary Oliver, Terry Minchow-Proffitt, Tracy K. Smith, Kevin Young

Please tell me what you are listening to, watching, and reading as I always welcome suggestions!

Tom Kurtz

Business Manager


I am a St Louis native who went to work for Dow Chemical out of college and did work in Sales, Office Management, Marketing and Information Tech in several cities and at Headquarters in Michigan. After I moved back to St. Louis, I opened up a branch office for Edward D Jones as a financial consultant.

I like working with my hands to make things and have dabbled in Stain Glass, wood working and home remodeling. I love sailing and had 7 sail boats during my sailing years. I have two children and ended up marrying my high school sweetheart 24 years ago.

Groups who are interested in renting the church’s facilities should contact Tom.

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