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A tax collector becomes a disciple of Christ ... anyone who’s been to Sunday school would recognize this story. But here’s a new version—Dr. Phil Humphries’ personal testimony.
Dr. Humphries was born and raised in Virginia and made a profession of faith when he was 12, but he had been living far from Christ since then. He majored in public administration Virginia Tech, and went on to become a tax auditor for the state of Virginia for seven years.
“It was through my job as an auditor that I had an encounter with a pastor that changed the course of my life,” he said.
The pastor led a church with a Christian school in Roanoke, Virginia, and the laws at the time required taxation of churches and Christian schools. After a bit of a disagreement, the pastor stopped and asked Phil if he had ever trusted Christ as his savior.
“At that moment, the Lord convicted me and I became very emotional. My chin started to quiver, my eyes teared up. I said, ‘Yes, I have, but I’ve been living apart from him for a long time.’ When I left that meeting, I got on my knees and rededicated my life to the Lord.”
Later, the tax law was repealed.
“I think that law existed just to bring me back to Christ.”
Meanwhile, God had been at work drawing his wife, Kim, in a different way. She also trusted Christ at an early age, but hadn’t pursued much growth in her faith. She had recently started attending a women’s Bible study with a friend, and there she began to grow spiritually.
The Humphries began attending church and became AWANA leaders. He soon became a deacon, and it wasn’t long before he felt that God was calling him into full-time ministry.
“Kim was pregnant with our second child when I told her that I was ready to move to Dallas and start seminary.”
He completed the Th.M. program at Dallas Seminary in 1986, in the Christian Education track and then went back to the church in Roanoke to become associate pastor of church education.
“I worked under the same pastor who had asked me that question, and he became a mentor to me.”
After 5 years in that position, he was contacted by Neil Ashcraft, then pastor of Scofield Memorial Church in Dallas about coming on staff as their director of small group development. Then, when Dr. Ashcraft retired in 1997 Dr. Humphries was offered the position of executive pastor, overseeing the staff, the church, and the elementary school.
Earlier this year, God led him to make a change.
“I was clearly hearing that I needed to start a church for the unchurched in the Richardson area.”
The church, which launched June 21, is called Clearwater Community Church and meets in the Omni Hotel in north Richardson.
One day, as he and his wife were discussing the church plant, he told her that ideally, he would also like to teach at Dallas Seminary.
“When I got home that night, I had a call from Mike Lawson asking me to consider coming on staff at DTS in the Christian Education department.”