It is with gratitude that Toccoa Presbyterian Church announces the arrival of our new pastor–Rev. Dr. Phil Hargrove. He comes to us with a remarkable educational background, excellent pastoral experience, and gifts in shepherding, teaching, leadership, hospitality, and encouragement. He has great enthusiasm to serve and a passion to proclaim the Lord’s praises in northeast Georgia. He has a genuine love for spending time with people and building relationships, preaching the Good News of the Gospel as it connects to our everyday lives, and “making an impact for Jesus in the community and beyond.”
A native of Greenville, South Carolina, Rev. Hargrove attended the First Baptist Church of Taylors where his father has been the Minister of Education for over forty years. When Phil met his wife, Cary, at Furman University, she convinced him to become a reformed Presbyterian.
While pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion at Furman (1995), he was a cross-country runner and team captain, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a recipient of an Academic Achievement Award from the Athletic Department along with the Religion Department’s Baggott Excellence Award. After graduation he moved to Charlotte, North Carolina where he attended the Reformed Theological Seminary and received the Master of Divinity degree with an emphasis in Biblical Languages (2000). He then attended Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia where he received a Master of Theology degree with a thesis entitled Pastoral Identity and Pastoral Leadership in the Local Church (2002. In 2008 he became Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church (ECO) in Greenville South Carolina, where he served until 2017. In the meantime, he enrolled at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2011 where he received a Doctor of Ministry degree (2018). While there, his specialization track was Pastoral Skills for the 21st Century: Pastor as Leader, Shepherd, Preacher. His thesis was entitled From Study to Sanctuary: Preparing Sermons and Planning Preaching. He was called as Senior Pastor/Head of Staff by Bonhomme Presbyterian Church (ECO), in St. Louis, Missouri in 2017 and served until 2020. While there he preached in three Sunday services and shepherded a staff of 22 people and a congregation numbering 1200 covenant partners.
Phil and Cary have been married for 26 years and have four children. Phil enjoys spending time with family, taking long walks with Cary, watching college football, and nursing a cup of good coffee. His ministry philosophy verse is found in II Thessalonians 2:8, “We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the Gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.”
The congregation of Toccoa Presbyterian voted unanimously on September 10, 2023, to call him as our pastor. His first Sunday of ministry will be October 1, and all are invited to come worship with us and meet our new pastor.