Bio of Bishop Thomas
Our Pastor’s Story
Many people turn to God when their lives hit bottom. Bishop Phillip O. Thomas likes to tell his congregation that he hit bottom the day he was born.
His mother had MS and a problem pregnancy.”When she went into labor at ten months, the doctors told my grandmother they would only be able to save one of us,” he says. “I was the last of four children, and my dad was an alcoholic who was already gone, so Grandma told them to save my mother. So they pulled out my little blue body and set it on a table while they worked to save my mother. But when they turned back around, I had turned bright pink and started kicking. That’s why I’ve dedicated my life to serving people, because I know that’s what I’m here for.”
Bishop Thomas grew up in inner city Baltimore where his grandmother was the strong force in his life. “My mother was a devoted woman of God who suffered terribly from her illness, losing first her sight and then her legs. But she and my grandmother insisted I spend practically every waking moment in church. Grandma would come get me off the basketball court, so I grew up enveloped in church community.
Putting Christ First
Still it was not until tenth grade that he decided to put Christ first. “A fellow student challenged me on some activities that were not in line with the Christianity I was professing. He challenged me to put my communication skills to work for Chirst. And that’s when I made a mature commitment to become a Christian.”
After accepting the call to preach the gospel, he earned Bachelors degrees in Biblical Studies and Biblical Counseling from Washington Bible College in Lanham, Maryland, and The Christian College Seminary in Independence, Missouri, where he has also completed the Masters of Divinity degree. He completed a Doctoral degree from Florida’s Jacksonville Theological Seminary in 2006.
During that time, Bishop Thomas developed a successful career as a telecommunications account executive while also touring the mid-Atlantic preaching and singing with a Gospel group. It was on one of those tours that he sang at Highview Park Christian Assembly in Arlington, Virginia. A powerful singer with a gift for lifting hearts to the Lord, he was offered the pastorship in 1997. After 2 years of ministering part time, he walked away from his job at Bell Atlantic to devote full time to ministry. It was also at Highview that he met his wife, Cynthia Thomas, and was married at the age of 19. The Thomases raised one son, Phillip Jr., and twin daughters, Brittany and Brooke
Total Man Ministry
In 2004 he moved the church to a larger facility, its current home in Fairfax, Virginia. His vision is to create a “total man” ministry that reaches body, soul, and spirit. “When someone comes to Highview, I want them to be able to say in 5 years, ‘I’m not only a better Christian but a better mother or father, husband or wife, and a better contributor to society.’ I can’t wait until our new facility in Fairfax permits us to become a 24/7 operation… a place where people of any race or background can find themselves and find God.”
Reaching into the world beyond his own congregation, Bishop Thomas helped to build a support network among Christian congregations that are not affiliated with a denomination. For several years he served as President of the Northern Virginia Black Pastors’ Council. In 2004 he was elected as Bishop for the state of Virginia in the Praise Covenant Interdenominational Fellowship (PCIF). He is President of PTM Resources, Inc., a consulting service to help build strong congregations. He has traveled and done ministry work in India, Africa, and Latin America.