A Brief Biographical Sketch from Pastor Simmons…
I grew up in North Carolina and was raised in a faithful Baptist home where we were brought
up seeing and experiencing the importance of church. But in spite of my constant exposure to
faithful Christians, good parents, and biblical preaching I had no appreciation for the spiritual
wealth to which I was exposed. But God in His providence continued to confront me with the
truth through His faithful saints as I began college. In His own time, God brought life to my
dead heart and caused me to believe the gospel of His Son. Upon returning home after my
conversion I was surprised to find that the pastor of our home church, who I previously found
boring, was not only a faithful pastor but an excellent, Bible preacher. Dr. Owens became a
mentor and a friend who showed much patience with an annoying, new convert.
Shortly after coming to faith in Christ I transferred to Columbia Bible College (now Columbia
International University) where I graduated in 1978. I began seminary at Southwestern Baptist
Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. I transferred to finish my M.Div. in 1983 at
Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tennessee. During seminary God
graciously provided for me a wife, Jane Grinton, who I had originally met while at Bible
College. I later began and finished a Doctorate of Ministry degree at Reformed theological
Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi.
After pastoring in several Southern Baptist Churches I was called as the organizing pastor of a P.C.A. church plant in Crossville, Tennessee. After nine years in Tennessee the Lord called us to pastor in an independent Dutch Reformed church in Kalamazoo, Michigan for five years. Then God moved us to the pastorate here in Tyler, Texas, where we have been since 2004. It is good to be back in the south. The only flaw we can find with Texas is that Texans refuse to be convinced of what every good North Carolinian knows—that BBQ requires pork and a vinegar based sauce. In light of all the blessings of being in Tyler we are slowly adjusting to that deficiency.
Jane and I have served the Lord together for over thirty years. We continue to be convinced
that the ministry of the Church is a ministry that must focus on the ordinary means of grace:
preaching and teaching the Bible, baptism, the Lord’s supper, prayer, and, finally, a life together
in a Church where each member of the body of Christ ministers to the other with the gifts God
has given them. These ordinary means are the means that God has ordained to do extraordinary
things in the lives of His people. We are excited about the work of the church as God continues
the reformation of His people.