Meet Pastor Brian Coombs
I am a native of Central New York; first Fayetteville, and then Clay. Although as a young boy I wanted to be a professional hockey player, at the age of 13 I discovered guitar. As well, I fell in a competitive love with classical and heavy metal music. This led me first to guitar lessons, then through the local rock scene, and finally to Ithaca College, where I studied under Edward Flower, a student of Andres Segovia. After many a solo, duo, and trio recital, I received a Bachelor of Music in Guitar Performance in 1991.
During college, God rescued me from a life of sin, and in some cases shall we say, sheer stupidity. He gave me a new life according to His great mercy in Jesus Christ. As I look back over my life since my youth, I can see that He gave me several people and situations through which I acknowledged Him as God. But I did so in profound ignorance, and never from a pure heart. All that would change through the witness of a nearby high school friend, a Christian who also loved guitar, had a band, and a recording studio. How could we not become friends? For some time I politely dismissed his Christianity, and his loving encouragements to consider my sin and Jesus’ love. But one thing I just could not dismiss was his integrity and open love for Jesus Christ. He was very different. He later gave me a Bible just before I headed off to Ithaca with words to the effect, ‘Remember what I’ve been trying to tell you. It’s all in here. And you’ll get it, if you read it.’
So after 2 years of college, a gradual spiral into ensnaring sins, I started in Genesis – and stopped in Leviticus. ‘Sacrifices? Blood? Slaughtered lambs? We never did this in church, and I’m sure he doesn’t either!’ After a helpful conversation, he encouraged me to restart in John. At the 29th verse, something happened. Something (Someone?) now seemed so… clear. This ‘Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ – this very verse – which I said so many times at Mass – was somehow speaking to me in a way that made me uncomfortable, but yet at the same time, comfortable. ‘This must be what the sacrifices, blood, and slaughtered lambs were about! So this is why Jesus died! This is what my friend has been telling me! I am a sinner. Christ is a Savior.’ I do not know if that was my ‘moment’ of conversion, but from that point I saw my sin more and was drawn more to Christ. He was real, and so was my need to be forgiven. My conviction of sin, love of Scripture, and desire to know and please Him started about that time, blossomed to fuller maturity, and hasn’t ceased.
After returning to Central New York again, I taught guitar and gave recitals. I later worked as a janitor, forklift operator, and coffee machine technician for Paul de Lima Coffee Co. While learning and serving in the Church, I learned more about the truth of Scripture, and discerned God’s call to what, upon conversion, I said I would never be in—the ministry. So under the oversight of our St. Lawrence Presbytery, I trained at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh from 1993-1996. God confirmed His call by providing me a Masters of Divinity. His call again was confirmed when our Syracuse congregation called me in June of 1996 as a Pastor for the work of church planting, what is now Messiah’s Church. In October of 2005 the congregation officially organized with its own elected officers.
Knowing Christ, serving the Church, and having the wonderful wife and family I do, I cannot but now say, ‘To Him be the glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus!’