Jim Birchfield grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan where he met his wife Marta in high school. After high school, both attended Michigan State University, where Jim received a BA in Advertising. Later in life, he received both his Masters of Divinity and his Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary.
In 1989, as a businessman in Los Angeles, Jim accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and began to experience tremendous transformation in his life. In 1992, Jim felt led by the Lord to leave his position as a senior executive of an international advertising agency and accept a call to serve in full time church ministry with Bel Air Presbyterian Church in LA.
Together, Jim and Marta have had the privilege of serving two large Presbyterian congregations in Los Angeles and Newport Beach, California before coming to Houston’s First Presbyterian Church in December of 2009. As Senior Pastor of First Pres, Jim is responsible for providing leadership to a dynamic congregation of over 3,100 members and works to provide support and encouragement to a number of FPC ministries and ministry partnerships both locally and globally. These partnerships include Main Street Ministries and the Nehemiah Center here in Houston, and Africa Renewal Ministries in Kampala, Uganda. Jim also serves on the Advisory Board for the Houston campus of Fuller Theological Seminary and on the Board of the Houston Church Planting Network.
In their ministry together, Jim and Marta have a special passion for discipling and mentoring young couples and young adults in both small group and one-on-one settings. They also choose to disciple and mentor the FPC community – and provide encouragement to the global church – through short-term ministry trips and teaching missions. They have had the privilege of serving ministries in Egypt, Israel, Malawi, Romania, Poland, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda and Honduras.
Recently celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary, Marta and Jim have two married daughters, Lauren Kennedy, who lives and works in Washington D.C. and Emily Shakibnia, who lives and works in San Francisco.