An Iowa native, Tom came to Elgin during middle school—near the time he began following Christ. Seeing the changes Jesus was making in the lives of his parents, he says, turned his heart from an
agnostic bent to a pursuit of God that has deepened with each passing year. He holds a degree from Judson College, but an InterVarsity Bible study at Elgin Community College was even more life-changing—that’s where he met Jill. Married in 1983, they have seven adult kids and five grandchildren.

In 1995, Tom set aside a successful sales career to pastor Elgin Vineyard. He has a gift for preaching the Word and puts a high priority on prayer, worship, and the presence of God. For 15 years he served Vineyard Midwest North Region as an Area Pastor, coaching and encouraging eight other senior pastors. He enjoys praying regularly with the leaders of other churches in the Elgin community.

In his free time, Tom can often be found reading (favorite authors are Charles Spurgeon and Charles Price), riding bikes with Jill, and spending time with their family.

Turning point

In 2001, a man asked Tom to pray for him, but during the prayer, the man suddenly produced a knife and slashed Tom’s throat. Miraculously, the weapon missed the major blood vessels, but there was plenty of damage. As he was bleeding out, Tom had a unique encounter with Jesus that changed his perspective on life. He recounts the story in a 15th anniversary sermon that he preached in 2006 (click on Audio Testimony). Tom and his son Lane also tell what happened in a short, impactful book they wrote together, “Who Holds the Knife."

In this short video, Tom tells the story again, focusing on a different part: how the Father spoke healing to his broken heart, restored his trust, and gave him courage to get back up again and preach with confidence that God is good. Nearly two decades later, this event continues to influence who Tom is, how he leads and how he loves.