Burkhead Begins Minister at First Baptist

A Houston native has begun responsibilities as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Houston.

Dr. Howell Burkhead, who most recently was senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Cleveland, Texas, for the past nine years, was recently approved unanimously by the church where he had served as interim pastor after moving back to the family farm last fall on Lilly Road.

“I am absolutely overwhelmed,” Burkhead said. “I have never known such sweet affirmation. During all of my years of ranging everywhere else, this is where my heart wants to be. It also seemed to be so impossible as to be unthinkable. But now it is reality, and words are not adequate to communicate my job.”

For Burkhead, the pastorate means he is coming home.

“Mom and dad brought me to the First Baptist Church [in Houston] the first Sunday I was in the world,” he said.

In February 1967 he surrendered to the ministry at the same church and later served as the minister of the Valley Center Baptist Church between Hartshorn and Akers during high school. He jokingly refers to that time as being a “boy pastor.”

He graduated from Houston High School in 1969. Burkhead, the son of Walker and Edith Burkhead, graduated from Southwest Baptist University in May 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and English literature. He also completed the secondary education program, and he is life certified to teach high school speech and English in Missouri and Illinois. He later earned a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth and a doctorate degree in philosophy from the same institution, where he has served as an adjunct professor. He also has completed post-graduate study at Baylor, Wheaton College and the University of Chicago.

He has also held pastorates in the St. Louis area, as well as Fort Worth.

Burkhead and his wife, Tiletha, have two grown children, Emily, who is in the mission field in China; and Jim, who is employed in Stephenville, Texas.

The Burkheads enjoy horse riding and have varied interests. He is an avid reader, who enjoys historical and political biographies. She is an accomplished vocalist who enjoys various sports, including the St. Louis Cardinals.

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