The first church that ever trusted me enough to let me pastor them was the Cliffside Baptist Church of Amarillo, Texas. Cliffside was a church on the verge of closing. It was a handful of mostly senior adults who were desperate to save their church. I was a young twenty-something, out-of-work, wanna-be pastor who had nothing to lose. We were made for each other. Somehow Cliffside grew under my leadership. We did the hard work of knocking on doors, reaching children, and figuring out ways to improve the broken down buildings. We painted, we prayed, and we refused to give up. I remember cleaning out the rusted baptistry for our first baptism (theirs and mine). I remember illegally digging and installing a new septic tank system (we chose a holiday weekend so that the city wouldn't notice). Remember, I was young and they were desperate. Lots of lives were changed in those days including mine. Whenever I'm in Amarillo, I always drive out to Cliffside and take a look. Here's a link to their website: http://www.cliffsidebaptist.net/.
I am the Pastor of Tolar Baptist Church, Tolar, Texas. I am the author of, "Messed Up Men of the Bible: Seeing the Men in Your Life Through God's Eyes" (Kregel, 2016). The book received the Golden Scroll: Non-fiction Merit Award. I am the founding pastor of Grace River Church in Severance, Colorado. Previously I pastored Cornerstone Baptist Church, Windsor, Colorado (9 yrs) and FBC, Lipan, Texas (6 yrs). My first church to pastor was the Cliffside Baptist Church of Amarillo, Texas. I have served on staff of the FBC, Monterey, Tennessee, Olsen Park Baptist Church, Amarillo, Texas, and FBC, Camden, Tennessee. I have served the Colorado Baptist General Convention as the Chairman of the Executive Board and as a Vice President. I have served as a Trustee for the North American Mission Board of the SBC. I have been blessed to walk alongside the love of my life, Tina, for the past 32 years. She is a talented author, teacher, singer, and song writer. Tina writes at www.tinasamples.blogspot.com and is the author of, Wounded Women of the Bible, 2013 by Kregel Publications. I have two amazing sons, Jaren and Zach, and one extraordinary granddaughter, Abigail.