Rev. Michael Riggs

Michael Riggs


Rev. Michael has served as our Senior Minister since September, 2013, helping lead our congregation in transforming into a mission-oriented community of faith. Holding a deep passion for biblical scholarship and praxis, he strives to connect people's personal faith development with acts of compassion and social justice in their various communities and in the world around them. Recognizing the Church as much larger than just the local congregation, he strives to build relationships of radical empathy that are life-giving and effect real change. He is especially committed to racial reconciliation and building a just and loving solidarity between peoples.

Known for his intellectual, emotional, and dynamic presence in the pulpit, Michael engages the people with the good news of God's love through his bold and inspiring preaching, and he challenges us to go be the good news to others in our daily living. He leads our weekly Bible study and enables people to critically connect the biblical text to important issues facing the Church and society. In addition to his various administrative tasks as "Head of Staff," he deeply treasures sharing with people in moments of pastoral care and being a presence of God's love in the midst of human need.

Hobbies and Interests

Rev. Michael is a mixed bag when it comes to hobbies and interests. He is a musician and loves to play jazz gigs when available on his bass or piano. He enjoys exploring the outdoors by hiking on trails or road cycling, and he's an avid fan of Kona Bikes specifically. He revels in a game of chess with anyone who's willing, and he has been known to "nerd out" and solve his trusty Rubik's Cube in just a few minutes. He likes reading sci-fi/fantasy literature, turning wrenches on his old project car, learning how to cook cuisines from around the world, and collecting mixology glassware. He also delights in playing board games with friends (from classics such as Risk and Clue to complex ones such as BattleTech) and looks forward to finally playing the game Punderdome!, much to everyone else's linguistic torment.

Michael is married to the Rev. Cassie Sexton-Riggs, and together they have two hairy Maine Coon cats that, if the species had evolved to develop opposable thumbs, would certainly take over the world in short order.

Education and Experience

Rev. Michael is an alumnus of the Brite Divinity School at TCU, having earned a Master of Divinity degree in 2009 with a concentration in Black Church Studies. He was named a Walker Scholar in 2008 and again in 2009 by the prestigious Granville and Erline Walker Ministerial Scholarship Foundation, recognizing outstanding potential for a preaching ministry. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree at Phillips Seminary in Tulsa in the specialization "Pastoral Leadership in Church and Society: Collaborating for Change."

Michael is also an alumnus of TCU itself (GO FROGS!), having earned a Bachelor of Music degree in theory and composition with additional studies in conducting, performance, and the humanities. He was named Outstanding Freshman Jazz Musician in 1996, the Presser Scholar (overall outstanding TCU music student) in 1998, and Outstanding Senior Jazz Musician in 1999. As an undergraduate, he received Departmental Honors from the TCU School of Music and was named TCU Senior Scholar in Music, graduating magna cum laude in 2000. He then received the TCU Graduate Assistantship in Jazz Studies, and in 2003 he earned a Master of Music degree from TCU in composition. He is a former chorister and soloist for Schola Cantorum of Texas, former pianist for Dallas' Original Jazz Orchestra with Galen Jeter, and former bassist for Polk Street Jazz (Chamber Music Amarillo).

Before coming to First Christian, Michael had served a number of Disciples and United Methodist churches since 2000 in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and in Amarillo, Texas, to include worship & music ministry, education, and congregational leadership. From 2010 to 2013, he also served as the Director of Chapel for Brite and was also a founding member of the TCU Honors College Board of Visitors.

With Tulsa now his home, Michael looks forward to seeing First Christian's future continue to unfold as we work to fulfill God's hopes and dreams for our ministry in the name of Christ and for the life of the world to come.