VCI Leadership Team
Rev. Dr. Steve Wende
Dr. Steve Wende is a nationally recognized preacher, teacher, and mentor. Steve recently retired from full-time ministry in the Texas Conference of the UMC. In his “re-
In his ministry, Steve has served two of the largest and most significant congregations in the United Methodist Church. He served University UMC of San Antonio, Texas from 1980-2001. There, he led the congregation in growing from 300 to 5,000 members, with an average attendance of 3,000. In addition, he built a staff which, in the words of the noted church consultant Lyle Schaller, was “the finest I have had the privilege of observing in 42 years.” He then served at First UMC of Houston from 2001-2016. While there, he developed outstanding leaders in both staff and laity for the effective management of ministries in Houston and around the world. In the process, he led the congregation in a re-identification of its mission to the “new urban” city around it. During this time, he also led the church in paying off over $17 million in debt, while rebuilding the First Methodist Foundation and completing a major renovation of facilities.
Steve has been recognized for his work in the areas of spiritual growth, evangelism, and mission outreach. He has mentored many preachers and church leaders and been a contributing editor for Preaching Magazine. In the United Methodist Church, he has served in numerous leadership positions including the Board of Ordained Ministry, the Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry, the Task Force on Evangelism and others. In addition, he has been honored by his fellow pastors in his election to the last seven United Methodist General and Jurisdictional Conferences.
Due to his high interest in the welfare of the community, Steve has served as a Director of the Methodist Hospital of Houston, Director of the Texas Methodist Foundation, Trustee of Huston-Tillotson University, Trustee of Texas Wesleyan University, Trustee of Houston Christian High School, and Commissioner of the Methodist Home of Waco.
A native Texan, Steve graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1973 with high honors. In 1976 he received a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School and in 1992 his Doctor of Ministry degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is married to Dr. Karin Wende, a noted Bible scholar and teacher especially in the area of early Christian strategies for faith formation. They have two children: Michelle and her family live and work in Washington, D.C., while Meredith and her family live and work in the Houston area, where she is a pastor.