Senior Pastor and Head of Staff
Howard was born and raised in Midland, Texas where he grew up attending the First Presbyterian Church of Midland. Led by his Southern Baptist grandmother, Howard made a commitment to follow Jesus when he was just 6 years old. He was later baptized at the First Presbyterian Church of Midland. Growing up in Midland, Howard loved playing sports like soccer, basketball, baseball, and football, but basketball was definitely his favorite sport.
While a student at Trinity University, Howard attended the First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio, and he became a Bible study leader with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship where he discovered a love for God’s word as he led different inductive Bible studies. In 1996, Howard graduated from Trinity University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and Economics.
After college he moved to Dallas, Texas where he worked as a Management Consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers for four years. While in Dallas, he joined Highland Park Presbyterian Church (HPPC) where he served as a lay leader in the Singles and College ministry. As a part of HPPC, he discovered God had given him his greatest spiritual gifts of knowledge, faith, teaching, and preaching. Encouraged to use his spiritual gifts, Howard helped with the College and Singles ministry at HPPC by leading Bible studies, speaking at retreats, and teaching Sunday school classes. During his time at HPPC, Howard also met and married his beautiful wife, Sarah Browning. Sarah is a native of San Antonio where she grew up attending the First Presbyterian Church. She graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Special Ed.
After hearing God’s call to occupational ministry, Howard left his job as a Management Consultant in Dallas to attend Princeton Theological Seminary. While at Princeton Seminary, he served as a Teaching Assistant in the Speech Department under Dr. Robert Jacks, and he worked at the Presbyterian Church of Toms River and later Central Presbyterian Church in Summit, New Jersey.
After graduating from Princeton, Howard joined the staff of the First Presbyterian Church (FPC) of Houston in July 2003 to serve as the Associate Pastor for Singles and College. During his time at FPC Houston, Howard developed a network of covenant small groups in the College and Singles ministry. He also organized and led several international mission trips and local service projects while at FPC Houston.
In August of 2006, God called Howard back to Highland Park Presbyterian Church, where he became the Associate Pastor of Missions and Outreach. In this position, Howard helped mobilize the 4500 member church for local and global missions, with a particular focus in West Dallas and Kenya while serving as one of the primary preachers of the Contemporary service.
In November 2010, Howard was called and installed as the new Senior Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Amarillo. In 2013, Howard help lead First Presbyterian Church out of the PC(USA) and into ECO. He is excited to be a part of this new movement of God as we seek to be a missional, intergenerational church that makes disciples who make disciples by building Christ centered, grace filled communities.
In 2015 Howard received his Doctorate in Ministry from Fuller Seminary after completing his dissertation on How To Preach The Absolute Claims of Scripture in a Postmodern Context for Spiritual Transformation.
In 2022, after 12 years of service, Howard became the third most tenured Pastor in First Presbyterian’s history. His favorite thing about First Pres are the people and their commitment to intergenerational ministry with a faithful willingness to serve the Lord through both local and global missions.
Howard’s favorite verse is John 15:5 where Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” Howard knows that fruitful ministry only happens as we abide in Christ. Howard and Sarah have three children: Hannah, Elizabeth, and John. Howard’s favorite things to do are to travel with his family, go on lunch dates with Sarah, go on hikes with his daughters, play golf and H.O.R.S.E. with his son, and play Pickleball with Sarah and anyone else who wants to play.