I have a rather offbeat sense of humor. And, because many people believe that preachers don’t ever laugh or have fun, I often have to remind people that I wasn’t born a preacher. In fact, I didn’t answer the call to the ministry until I was in my late thirties. It was then when I realized that, throughout my life, God had been preparing me to serve.
So, after an over twenty year career in retail and outside sales, I set my sights on following God’s call. I quit my job as a store manager for La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries and enrolled at UT-San Antonio to finish work on my degree in Political Science. Then I was accepted to seminary, Brite Divinity School on the campus of TCU in Fort Worth, where I received my Master of Divinity in December 2005.
After seminary, I was called right back to my home church to be their pastor. That doesn’t happen very often. In fact, it’s extremely unusual, but God’s hand was definitely in that process, just as God’s hand brought me to First Christian Church- Corpus Christi in January 2014. I feel so blessed to serve this Spirit-filled congregation as pastor. If you are looking for a church home, please consider giving us a try. There is always room for one more at our table.
Besides serving God, I have a great many other passions in my life. My wife, Amy, and my two beautiful children, Madeline and Julia, top that list. But, I am also a rabid Chicago Cubs fan. In addition, I love smooth jazz, talking politics (weird, huh?), the Cubs, American and World history, cooking, singing, and Chicago Cubs baseball.
Someone once asked me if I miss my old life in sales and I reminded him that I was still in sales, but now I have a better product and I can’t wait to get up each day and share my joy.
Contact Pastor Rusty at email@example.com
Rev. TJ Bird- Associate Pastor
Over the many years serving in different positions in the Church, God called me into the ministry in 2011. I am currently in my fourth year as a commission minister. I am looking forward to serving God and First Christian Church. My gifts are Pastoral Care and Evangelism and I love meeting new people and sharing the love of Christ with them.
I don’t have “a favorite” verse, but the two that top the list are Proverbs 17: 22 – “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” I enjoy having fun and laughing. Serving God should be fun. You should enjoy being with God’s people. Tell a joke or tell a story and keep a smile on your face, show the world you’re happy.
The other is from Matthew 28: 19-20 – “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always to the very end of age.” This was the last command given us so it must be very important. Tell others what God has done for you, nobody else can tell your story.
I am married to the love of my life, Patsy and we have been married for 47 years. We have two sons, Troy and Travis. We have three grandsons, Tyler, Taylor and Kevin. And then, God gave us a granddaughter, Lauren.
Patsy and I are owners of Bird’s Rubber Stamps and we both work full time in the business. We are blessed to have our son Travis and grandson Tyler working with us making it possible for me to be available for my bio-vocational ministry.
David Bartlett- Youth Pastor
I grew up without structure in my life; however, structure is what I hungered for and so at the age of 13 I was able to convince my mother to let me join a military cadet program (US Naval Sea Cadet Corps) which provided me the structural nourishment I so eagerly desired. Due to the four years I spent in that program I gained a great many skills that remain with me to this day and that led me to join the US Army as a paratrooper. After leaving the army I worked for the US Government overseas and it was there that I really noticed the great service that military chaplains have in the lives of our brave service members and their families.
After coming back to the United States another hunger began to develop within me; a hunger I could not quite identify, other than I needed to continue my education and so I did. I enrolled at Liberty University earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Christian Ministries with a minor in psychology. Currently I am enrolled at Logsdon Seminary earning a Master of Divinity in Spiritual Care.
I have had a desire to serve Christ since I became a Christian and God allowedly has blessed me to do so in a number of ways, from VBS to street evangelism. God has also continued to favor and bless me with my acceptance as a reserve naval officer in their chaplain candidate program. All of this has led me to my new position here at First Christian Church as the youth pastor.
It is my desire for everyone at FCC to know I am completely approachable and that I covet your prayers as I help lead our youth to the fullness of Christ that God has planned for them. I, myself, as a parent of teenagers know the difficulties and the blessings that come with parenting this new generation; and so let us rejoice and cry together as we watch them develop into the godly men and women they are destined to become.
Contact David at firstname.lastname@example.org
Beth Hoekje- Choir Director
I came to Texas in 1978 after spending most of my life as a church musician and public school music teacher in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Because I had been a church member and part of the music staff at High St. Christian Church in Akron, I immediately sought out another Disciples of Christ congregation…. and found First Christian Church. Or perhaps I should say, First Christian Church found me.
After my first Sunday at the church, I was visited by an elder who recognized that I was a musician. By the next week I had been hired as pianist. Shortly after, I was asked to direct the Chancel Handbell Choir. A few years later, I was invited to be the alto soloist. In 2002 I started the Youth Handchime choir, and now after 35 years at FCC, I am also Chancel Choir director.
First Christian is my home where I have friends who are like family and talented musicians with whom to praise God.
Leslie Peart- Organist
Leslie Peart, until his retirement, was fulltime Minister of Music in three long-term positions – First Baptist Church, Toledo, Ohio, First United Methodist in Corpus Christi, and Central Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
After retiring, he was Organist of Central Christian Church, Decatur, Illinois, until he decided to move back to Corpus Christi to escape winters!
And for the past twenty-five years, he has organized tours of England for American, Canadian and Australian organists – July 2014 will be his twenty-sixth tour.
While at First United Methodist in Corpus Christi, he also represented the Moller Organ Company, the company that built the organ of First Christian Church.
He has been Organist of First Christian Church- Corpus Christi since December, 2009.
Linda Butler- Church Life Coordinator
I was born and raised in Corpus Christi, TX. I met my husband in high school. After attending Del Mar College for two years, I married my husband, who had joined the Navy. We lived in Italy for 12 years and 3 three years in Hawaii. We moved back to Corpus Christi to take care of my father before he died. I have two grown children. I began working for FCC in August 2004. A family friend, who was a member of First Christian Church, recommended me for the secretary position. My experience includes being administrative assistant for a non-profit agency for 15 years before taking some time off before coming to work for FCC.
Contact Linda at coordinator@fcc-cc-org
Open Position (but hopefully not for long)
Priscilla Gonzalez- Head Custodian