Tom Severson

Lead Pastor

An Iowa native, Tom came to Elgin near the time he began following Christ—the middle school years. Seeing the changes Jesus was making in the lives of his parents, he says, melted his own agnostic heart.

Tom 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 when asked to pastor this congregation. He has a gift for preaching the Word and puts a high priority on prayer, worship, and the presence of God. His passion is to see the Church being the Church—not just on Sunday
mornings, but every day, as a true, knit-together family with a heart for the lost, a heart for the poor, and a deep hunger for God’s presence. Tom’s heart beats for the oppressed and for seeing people set free from bondage to sin.

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), bike riding with Jill, and spending time with their family.

Turning point

In 2001, while Tom was praying for someone who had asked him to, 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 2016 15th anniversary sermon (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 the 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.