Dr. Phil Christopher
Phil is a dynamic leader with 45 years of experience in various ministry settings. He retired from First Baptist Church, Abilene, Texas, in 2021 after twenty-six years as Senior Pastor. During his years in ministry, he served on staff in Second Baptist, Lubbock, and Broadway Baptist, Ft. Worth. He went on to pastor Northwest Baptist in Ardmore, Oklahoma, Highland Baptist in Louisville, Kentucky, and First Baptist, in Abilene, Texas. These churches gave Phil a broad understanding of each congregation’s unique challenges. In these settings, Phil cultivated an understanding of team ministry among the staff and church members.
At First Baptist, Abilene, he led the church through five Capital Campaigns. One campaign, “Faces and Places,” raised $5 million strictly for local and global missions rather than brick-and-mortar. The last campaign raised $8 million to purchase and renovate the First Christian Church facility and transform it into the Hope Center. This hub downtown will be home to the church’s community ministries to the working poor and homeless, the Daycare Center, and the annex to the church’s counseling ministry. Phil understands the need for the church to develop a missional identity in today’s world.
He understands the importance of the church being connected to the community and the role of servant leadership. He served as chair of the Abilene United Way Annual Campaign and as chair of the Board. He was selected as United Way’s “Volunteer of the Year.” He also served as chair of the Hospitality House, which built a housing facility across from the local prison to provide a place to stay for families visiting inmates. When he retired, the local newspaper carried a front-page article naming him “Pastor to the City.” Phil and Mary were featured in the “Abilene Scene” magazine in 2020 as “Abilene Influencers.”
He served as an adjunct professor at the Logsdon Seminary, teaching worship and pastoral ministry courses. He also taught “Ethical Decision-Making for Leaders” as an adjunct in the Doctorate in Leadership Program at Hardin Simmons University.
Phil is married to Dr. Mary Christopher, a consultant to educational institutions, and owns CGL Consulting, LLC. Previously Mary served as Assistant Dean of the School of Education at Hardin Simmons University and director of the Gifted Education Program and Doctorate of Leadership Program. He and Mary have two married children: Jeremy, a CPA in Nashville, Tennessee, and Natalie, a middle school principal in Victoria, Texas. Their chief joy in life is being grandparents to Mary Catherine and Emma Anne. His other loves are golf, the fellowship it provides, and the Baylor Bears.