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. 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, Illinois. 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, both local and international, with youth and college students. 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 and help 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 sprits 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
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 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.