In 1997, a transformation of the heart took place in Tom's life. It was a time of realizing what things mattered most to God.
It happened in Vladimir, Russia, among a group of Russian orphans. Tom, his wife, Emily, and their six-month old son, Hayden were leading a Christian camp for 140 kids. While walking in these “Fields of the Fatherless,” Tom understood how important ministering "to the least of these" is to our Father. Here were innocent children, who, because of tragic circumstances not caused by what they had done – were rejected, isolated and abandoned. He was compelled to do something!
As a pastor, Tom knew that the purpose of the church was to reveal God's love to kids just like this. As a "Father to the fatherless" (Psalm 68:5), God's heart and character is revealed through the love of His people. But in Russia, the love of God wasn't being shown to children who desperately needed it – so he knew that he would spend the rest of his life being an advocate for orphaned children.
Tom is the President of CHILDREN'S HOPECHEST, a mission organization bringing God's hope and love to orphans around the world. Their work is focused in the countries of Russia, Romania, and Ukraine. HopeChest helps churches and corporations around the U.S. Adopt an orphanage and make a real difference in the lives of orphans.
Before joining CHILDREN'S HOPECHEST, Tom was a pastor for ten years. For seven of those years, he focused on youth ministry. Tom served on the staff of several well-respected churches in Dallas, Texas including Metroplex Chapel and Hillcrest Church. While Tom was at Hillcrest, he started a youth church called Crowded House. Within a matter of months, Crowded House outgrew the new building they were in. Tom and his leaders decided that Dallas was ready for a church that ministered to post-moderns, so they started the Plaza Student Church in Carrollton.
During his tenure at Hillcrest Church and the Plaza, Tom also taught conferences and seminars with Leadership Network, an advance scout for the emerging church. Specifically, Tom worked with the Terra Nova Project, focusing on a new way of thinking about church and how to minister within that context.
A little known fact about Tom is that he is also a professional trainer in leadership development and implements training to Fortune 500 CEO’s and their executive staffs.
Fields of the Fatherless is Tom’s first book project. He is currently working on a second book focusing on "The Missing Half of the Gospel." REV. MAGAZINE has just published one of his articles, "How to Provide Mission Opportunities with a Post-Modern Mindset."
Tom's favorite thing in life is being a father and a husband. He and his wife, Emily, have been married for eight years and have five children. Anya, who was adopted from Russia in 1998, is 19, Hayden Mark – 9, Gideon Bradley – 7, Scotlyn Grace -5, Lilliana Joy – 3, and a brand new baby boy named Hudson Thomas.