The Elders of The Moody Church are excited to announce that Pastor Philip Miller of Olympia, WA has accepted the calling of God to be the 17th Senior Pastor of The Moody Church. In a special congregational meeting held March 29, the membership voted overwhelmingly to affirm his candidacy.
Pastor Philip has served as Senior Pastor at Olympia’s Westwood Baptist since 2013, having taken over from the former senior pastor who retired after serving 41 years. He and his wife Krista have four children: Claire (9), Violet (7), Cora (5), and Jude (3).
From Pastor Lutzer
Let me be among the first to congratulate Philip Miller on being called as the new Senior Pastor of The Moody Church!
I am pleased that after years of prayer and waiting, God has brought him to us. When he and I met some time ago, I sensed that he was the man of God we had been waiting for. He has my complete support and blessing and I look forward to doing all that I can to make his ministry at The Moody Church successful!
Rebecca joins me in celebrating this important moment. We are excited as The Moody Church embarks on a new future.
The Moody Church
Meet Pastor Philip Miller
In Philip’s own words
We are so grateful for the Lord’s kindness to our family and the trust extended to us in this invitation to serve as the next Senior Pastor of The Moody Church. It is with great joy and a growing sense of inadequacy that we enthusiastically accept this call. We look forward to getting to know our new Moody Church family more in the coming months. We come to listen, learn, love and then lead.
We don’t come with all the answers; we come with lots of questions and with servants’ hearts, willing to say “What do we need to learn? What do we need to grow in? What do we need to experience, to stretch and adapt and figure out what it means to fit into this new ministry setting?”
Of course there are all sorts of things that aren’t going to change. The Word of God is central, truthful, unwavering. The gospel is clearly proclaimed. It’s the verse on the back wall: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” And because God is with us, He’s got us. We trust Him above all else. Culture’s going to change, ministry methodology changes, but the bedrock foundations of the church are enduring from generation to generation. And we hold fast to that.
I look forward to proclaiming God’s Word in the historic Moody Church. For me the “win” in preaching is when people put their pencils down, stop taking notes, lean in, and the worship starts. The goal of preaching is worship—to draw people’s hearts, minds, and souls to attend in worship of our great God.
May God give us all great grace as we prayerfully move forward in dependence on Him. We look forward to serving with you all the days that the Lord allows. To Him be the glory now and always!
In Krista’s own words
I grew up in a Christian home, and came to faith when I was five years old. One night I actually snuck out of bed after I’d been tucked in, and asked “could I get saved?” My grandparents were staying with us, and my grandfather took me on his lap and shared the Scriptures with me. It was such a sweet moment.
One thing we think about as a family, kind of our family motto, is “loved into loveliness.” We think about it in two ways. First that God’s love is what is making us (slowly but surely) lovely; also that in the way we love others—as we love each other, as we love our kids, the people in our community, our neighbors—we get to have a small part in bringing loveliness into their lives. That’s so significant for us.
The Millers with their children: Claire (9), Violet (7), Cora (5), and Jude (3).
Media and Links
Cedarville University, 2004
B.A. in Pre-Seminary Bible
Graduated magna cum laude
Dallas Theological Seminary, 2010
Th.M. in Pastoral Leadership and New Testament Studies
Graduated summa cum laude
- Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament: Manuscript, Patristic, and Apocryphal Evidence, edited by Daniel B. Wallace
- For the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ, edited by William E. Brown
Pastor Philip's Testimony
I grew up in a Christian home and at the age of four accepted Jesus as my Savior. While I didn’t fully realize what I was doing, I knew Jesus loved me and had died for my sins. Much time during my early years was spent learning to obey and do what was right. I considered myself a pretty good person.
But then I hit my early teens. I found myself thinking and feeling things that I knew were wrong. There was a part of my heart that was monstrous: vicious, lustful, and wicked. Yet on the outside, I played the part of the perfect Christian kid. While I was getting awards at church I was crying myself to sleep at night, ashamed of the monster inside me. I lived in fear that if people ever discovered who I really was, they would never accept me. I was disintegrated and my life was disintegrating.
It was then that I discovered the wonder of God’s grace. Discovering my brokenness, I realized that I was not a good person who occasionally messed up; I was a sinful person deeply in need of a Savior. I needed Jesus, not only as the one who saves me from my sins, but as the one who saves me. I cried out for help, and God began to teach me to live in him by grace. It was sweetness from beyond.
His Calling to the Ministry
It was during my senior year in high school that I knew God was calling me into ministry. But I didn’t want to be a pastor. Pastors were strange bearded creatures with bad breath. And they were poor. I wanted to drive a certain kind of car, live in a certain kind of house, and have a certain kind of life. But God gently and persistently tore that dream from my grip. He called me to give my life to his work. I knew that it was a turning point; and finally, on a tear-filled January night, I surrendered all of me and all my future to God. I would be his man… no matter what.
In response to God’s call to ministry, I entered training by studying Bible at Cedarville University (B.A., 2004), where I met my wife Krista, and then completed a Masters of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M, 2010). I was ordained at Stonebriar Community Church in 2010. My two years working with Swindoll (2008-2010) and three years at Christ Community Church (2010-2013) were formational to my identity as a pastor and my understanding of ministry.
In 2013, God moved our family to beautiful Olympia, Washington to become the Senior Pastor of Westwood Baptist Church (2013-Present). Pastor Lee Forstrom was retiring after 41 years of fruitful ministry and together we carefully navigated a seamless handoff of this significant ministry. While we made mistakes along the way, the strength of the transition came down to the personal relationship between Pastor Lee and myself.
These past six years have seen strong growth at Westwood. My arrival brought renewed energy, purpose, and clarity which resulted in strong growth. We expanded ministry outreach to adults, kids, and students. We remodeled much of our building and modernized our worship while maintaining a traditional service offering. It’s been a joyous experience to see God working in and through this church, and I am honored to have played a part in that.
After seeking the Lord in prayer and consulting with valued mentors, Krista and I sensed that the Lord was releasing us to pursue his calling wholeheartedly with The Moody Church, a church that shares our passion to both pursue the lost and make disciples.
His Ministry Experience
I began my ministry career in 2008 as a staff intern at Chuck Swindoll’s Stonebriar Community Church. Under Chuck’s leadership, I gained valuable teaching and leadership skills. I was honored to be ordained by Dr. Swindoll in May 2010.
In 2010, following my time at Stonebriar, I became an Associate Pastor at Christ Community Church in the Chicago suburb of St. Charles. I oversaw all of the Adult Ministries at the DeKalb campus of this large multi-site church—the equivalent of The Moody Church’s combined Communities and Equipping ministries.
In August of 2013, I answered the call to become Senior Pastor of Westwood Baptist Church in Olympia, WA, transitioning leadership from the outgoing founding pastor, who had served for 41 years.
And now, in March of 2020, I’m delighted to begin serving as Senior Pastor Elect of The Moody Church. I anticipate beginning ministry with you in July of this year. See you very soon, Lord willing!
- Over the years of ministry at Westwood, the Millers have developed deep relationships. As they say, there are a lot of people they love who love them, people they’ve done a lot of life with, and the thought of stepping away from those family relationships is hard. Please pray that the Lord will ease the transition for all, and will provide His comfort for the inevitable grief of separation.
- They also would be so appreciative of prayer for their family, especially their children. Please pray for wisdom for Pastor Philip and Krista as they seek to “lead them and love them well.” The children are young and resilient but tender. Pray for an easy transition and that the children will be exited about new friends and a new home.
- Pray for the logistics of their transition: that they will be able to “leave well” without leaving a lot of loose ends; that they’ll be able to find a home that fits their needs, and preferably within walking distance of the church; that the move will go smoothly; and that they’ll settle in quickly and that Chicago will start to feel like home.
- Pray for our congregation’s reception of Pastor Philip and his family. Pray that we would follow his leadership well, that we would be willing to accept and embrace change, and that we will all have patience and give grace during the transition. Change is hard, but we trust that God will lead and guide us.
- Pray specifically for Westwood Baptist Church, and the church family that the Millers are leaving behind. Pray that God will lead them quickly to the new Senior Pastor He has for them, and that He will comfort and guide them as they enter this transition period.
Pastor Philip and Krista also said this:
We’ve been praying for YOU throughout this whole process. God’s got it; we’re trying to be helpful and say “yes” and discern His heart. So we trust Him, and it’s a real joy. We’re looking forward to meeting all of you in person. God bless you, and we’ll see you soon.
Our hope is to have Pastor Philip begin preaching the first week of July, but we leave the timing in God’s hands. We will keep the congregation informed as any updates become available.
The Millers are currently looking for a home to purchase in the city, preferably within walking distance of the church so that they can minister to the immediate neighborhood.
When Pastor Philip officially starts in his role as Senior Pastor, the most immediate change will be with our staff organization. Per his job description, he will report directly to the Elders, and will be responsible for leading the staff and preaching in our worship services. The Executive Pastor and Managing Director of Operations will report directly to him. Pastor Philip will also hold a vote on the Elder board.
He will also take over the primary responsibility for preaching in the Sunday morning service. His involvement in the Sunday night service will be worked out over time, but we expect that he will also preach in that service at least on a part-time basis.
As Pastor Philip and the Elders continue to work out more details, we will share them with the congregation.