The Rev. Dr. Phil Snider is an award-winning writer, activist, public theologian, pastor, and teacher who has served as the senior minister of Brentwood Christian Church since 2003. In addition to providing religious commentary in various local and national media outlets, including NPR affiliates and nationally-syndicated radio and television programming, his work has been featured in the Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches, Slate, Fox News and USA Today. He is perhaps best known for his speech on equal rights for LGBTQ+ people, which has been viewed on YouTube over five million times. Phil’s books include Preaching as Resistance, Justice Calls, Preaching After God, The Hyphenateds, and Toward a Hopeful Future (winner of the 2011 Mayflower Award for best book in church and society), which he wrote with Emily Bowen-Marler . Phil did his undergraduate work at Missouri State University (Springfield, MO), then earned his masters degree at Phillips Theological Seminary (Tulsa, OK) and doctorate at Chicago Theological Seminary (at the University of Chicago). He also holds a certificate in pastoral care and counseling from Forest Institute of Professional Psychology. In addition to teaching religious studies courses at Missouri State University and Drury University, Phil has previously served in various leadership capacities in the Springfield area, including: President of the Drury University Board of the School of Religion; representative leader to the Springfield Interfaith Alliance, member of the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council at Missouri State University, founding member of the Center for Diversity and Reconciliation at Brentwood Christian Church, founding member of the Greater Springfield Race and Faith Collaborative, co-chair of the Springfield chapter of the NAACP Religious Affairs Commission, and chair of the leadership table for Faith Voices of Southwest Missouri, which is dedicated to promoting economic dignity and race equity for all Missourians. He and his wife Amanda are the proud parents of three children, Eli, Sam, & Lily Grace.
The Rev. Emily Bowen-Marler has served at Brentwood since October of 2001, and became the associate minister in 2004. After growing up in southern California, she moved to Indianapolis to attend seminary, then moved to Springfield to work for Brentwood. Her primary responsibilities include the cultivation of vibrant, rich expressions of worship, music, and the arts, as well as offering oversight to children’s ministries and assisting with congregational care. An accomplished singer and musician, Emily has led worship at the Disciples of Christ General Assembly and was the music director for the 2010 Disciple Women’s Ministries event Quadrennial. She holds degrees from Phillips Theological Seminary (MDiv), Christian Theological Seminary (MA), and Chapman University (BM). She is the co-author with Phil Snider of Toward a Hopeful Future: Why the Emergent Church is Good News for Mainline Congregations (Pilgrim Press, 2010).
Reed Dressler is the Minister for Youth and College students at Brentwood. He is from Bolivar, where he attended Southwest Baptist University. He graduated in 2016 with a B.A. (Summa Cum Laude) in Theology & Philosophy. While at SBU, he received numerous honors, including the prestigious “Life Beautiful Award,” which is given annually to just two students who exhibit exemplary traits of leadership and character, as well as the “Outstanding Theology Scholar Award.” In addition to being very successful in speech and debate, he was the founder and council member of One in Four, an anti-sexual assault advocacy group at SBU. He is currently a grad student at Phillips Theological Seminary.
Reed has been involved in numerous outreach and service projects, and most recently worked as a Victim Advocate at The House of Hope in Bolivar. He also served in youth ministry during college, but over the course of his time at SBU and beyond he’s gravitated toward more progressive approaches to Christianity that are quite reflective of the theological ethos at Brentwood.
The Rev. Sarah Stephenson is the Children’s Minister at Brentwood. In addition to her work at Brentwood, she is a seventh grade English and Reading teacher at Pleasant View Middle School. Her Bachelor’s degree is in Elementary Education from MSU and her Master of Divinity degree is from Brite Divinity School, TCU. She is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She’s served in a variety of ministry positions for over 20 years. Sarah loves to make homemade cards and enjoys paper crafts, reading, writing, and a whole list of other activities too long to name. She lives in Springfield with her husband, Rick.
The Rev. Charlie Bahn joined Brentwood’s staff in April of 2005 as part-time Minister of Congregational Care. He leads Brentwood’s Stephen Ministry program and focuses on overall pastoral care within the congregation. Charlie holds degrees from Brite Divinity School (MDiv), Washington & Lee University (JD), and Southeast Missouri State University (BS).
Vickie Van Zandt, Custodian. Vickie joined Brentwood’s staff in 2006 and does a wonderful job of keeping Brentwood’s building ready for all kinds of activities. She is a proud mother and grandmother, with one son and two granddaughters. She loves to sew and is a very talented quilter. She was born in Springfield and has lived here most of her life.
June Thomas, Secretary. As the newest member of our staff, June works in the office and handles most of the administrative duties related to Brentwood.