Tommy became the seventeenth pastor of University Baptist Church (formerly Tenth Avenue Baptist Church) in February 2009. He comes to UBC with a commitment to local church ministry and a desire to grow UBC’s campus ministry. He has a particular concern for peace, justice, and social change, all of which he believes are at the core of Christian mission in the twenty-first century.
A native Hoosier (do not hold it against him), Tommy received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Relations from Judson College (now Judson University), in Elgin, Illinois, in 1980. His Master of Divinity degree comes from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Lombard, Illinois, in 1984. His areas of specialization at NBTS were urban ministry and New Testament studies. Part of his seminary training was with the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education (SCUPE), during which he was a seminary intern at the Irving Park Baptist Church in Chicago. The Irving Park Baptist Church also ordained Tommy in 1984.
Following seminary, Tommy served the First Eel River Baptist Church, Churubusco, Indiana (1984-1986), and Covenant Baptist Church, Indianapolis, Indiana (1983-1995), before taking a position as a research associate at The Polis Center, on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. His research work was in the Lily-funded project on Religion and Urban Culture. Next, he went to New York for doctoral work in the History of Religion in North America, studying with Randall Balmer at Columbia University in the City of New York. Tommy received his Ph.D. in 2007, after successfully defending his dissertation, William Miller: A Common Sense Life.
Tommy is married to Crystal, who is currently the Director of Teen Services at the Kansas City (MO) Public Library. They married in 1980 and have two adult children, Naphtali, now the youth consultant for the Missouri State Library in Jefferson City, Missouri, and Thomas, who is studying Construction Management at Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri. Tommy and Crystal both look forward eagerly to the day when Crystal can find a position in a library in Central Ohio.