Northminster members joyfully approved Rev. Kirby as their new senior pastor on April 19, and he begins his ministry in mid-June.
Michael comes to Northminster from Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood on Chicago’s Southwest Side, where he served more than 11 years as pastor. Michael’s ministry has reached far beyond Good Shepherd — into the neighborhoods of Chicago, in the Presbytery of Chicago and in leadership roles in the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. (PCUSA).
Michael has served on numerous Presbytery of Chicago committees, councils and task forces including the worship, music and fine arts work group; the permanent judicial commission; and the connectional mission design task force.
He was a commissioner to the PCUSA General Assembly in 2012. Michael has authored or co-authored eight overtures and rationales adopted by the Presbytery of Chicago, four of which have been adopted by PCUSA general assemblies.
He was on the team that drafted the authoritative interpretation and amendment to the Book of Order recognizing marriage equality that were approved by the PCUSA General Assembly in 2014. That amendment was co-sponsored by Good Shepherd, Northminster, Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago and other churches in the Presbytery of Chicago.
This year, Michael was appointed to the editorial advisory board for the 25th anniversary revised edition of the Book of Common Worship of the PCUSA, which will be published in 2018.
Michael grew up Baptist in Houston, Texas. He graduated from Baylor University with a degree in political science and communications. He also earned a law degree from Baylor. Michael was a commercial and appellate litigator in Houston and, as hiring partner and mentor at his law firm, oversaw the hiring and development of new attorneys.
During his law career Michael felt called to serve God vocationally. He studied at Columbia Theological Seminary in Georgia and earned at Master of Divinity degree. After graduation he was called to Good Shepherd.
Michael maintains a close relationship with his family in Texas and is a member of the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus. He is a founding member of The Well, a group of progressive pastors across the United States that meets annually to discuss scripture, theology and the future of the church. He also is a member of NextChurch, a network of PCUSA leaders which, according to its website, believes “the church of the future will be more relational, more diverse, more collaborative, more hopeful and more agile.”
Michael makes terrific turkey chili, sour cream pound cake, balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts and scones.
My ministry here includes reaching out to visitors and prospective new members, leading classes for new members and offering pastoral care for folks who are homebound or in the hospital. I believe the heart of ministry is relationships — helping people journey through the hilltops, plains and valleys of life.
I grew up in Chesterfield, MO, a suburb of St. Louis, and I’ve been active in the Presbyterian church since my youth. I attended Knox College in Galesburg, IL, and taught history and coached track and field at Gage Park High School in the Chicago Public Schools. I received my Master of Divinity degree from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.
I live in Evanston with my husband, Ryan, and our son Nathan.
If you want to know more about our church community, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I hope to see you at Northminster.
Contact Pastor Jessica.