When I was working as an engineer, God made it clear that I was in the wrong place; He wanted me to prepare myself to serve him for the rest of my life. I have never regretted it and have never looked back! -Ellis
Name: Ellis Orozco
Wife: Priscilla Ruth Orozco
Children: Gabriel Antonio Orozco (22); Michael Andrew Orozco (16); Celeste Iliana Orozco (15)
Church: First Baptist Church, Richardson, Texas
Number of years: 5 and a half
Where did you grow up?
How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?
I was 14-years-old. I remember a small, loving Baptist church where I was led to Christ through the preaching and teaching (Sunday School), and where I was baptized. I remember caring parents who encouraged me and affirmed me in my spiritual journey.
Where did you do your undergrad?
Texas A&M University (B.S. in Mechanical Engineering), 1986.
If you did any post-graduate work, where did you attend and what degree did you earn?
Master of Divinity with Biblical Languages, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, 1993.
Doctor of Ministry (Biblical Preaching and Exegesis), George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Waco, Texas, 2004.
What is something unique about your church?
We are one of the oldest churches in the area, founded in 1865. We were one of the first churches to build on I-75. We have a history of being innovative and progressive.
What is a mission or ministry that you are most proud of your church for doing?
There are so many. If I have to choose one it would probably be our ministry to Internationals. We have one of the longest running ministries to Internationals in Texas Baptist life. We teach ESL and other courses to over 300 Internationals annually.
How did you know you were called to be a pastor?
God called me to his ministry one night while I was working as an engineer. That night, He made it crystal clear that I was in the wrong place, and He wanted me to prepare myself to serve him for the rest of my life. I have never regretted it and have never looked back!
What book(s) are you currently reading?
I teach every Wednesday, and right now I am teaching through 1 Samuel. So I spend a considerable amount of time each week reading several commentaries: Word Biblical Commentary on 1st Samuel (Ralph W. Klein), The Old Testament Library Commentary on 1st and 2nd Samuel (A. Graeme Auld), The Smith & Helwys Commentary on 1st and 2nd Samuel (Tony W. Cartledge), The Interpretation Commentary on 1st and 2nd Samuel (Walter Brueggemann), and The David Story (Robert Alter).
I am also trying to develop a seminar on preaching, so I am reading: Design for Preaching (Henry Grady Davis), Preaching and Homiletical Theory (Paul Scott Wilson), and trying to read Biblical Hermenuetics (Bruce Corley, Seve W. Lemke, Grant Lovejoy). Corley and Lovejoy were both professors who taught me at SWBTS.
I love reading on biblical backgrounds so I always try to stay in a book of that nature - so I am currently reading: Jewish Life and Thought among Greeks and Romans (Ed. Louis H. Feldman and Meyer Reinhold). I also started reading The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ (Daniel Boyarin), and I can't put it down. I really enjoyed his book on Paul - A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity, so I thought I would try his take on Jesus…fascinating stuff.
I try to read at least two leadership books per year…so, I am forcing myself to read - The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever About Your Organization (Peter F. Drucker with Jim Collins, et. al.). Boring! Same old leadership stuff recycled again and again and again, ad nauseum. Can you tell I hate reading leadership books? But it really is important.
And finally, I just finished reading the novel, Darkness at Noon (Arthur Koestler) because I'm trying to work my way through "The Modern Library" list of 100 best novels.
This does not include whatever I am reading for the next sermon.
What is your favorite topic to teach on? Why is it so meaningful to you?
I love to teach verse by verse through the Bible. That's what I do on Wednesday nights and it is my favorite time of the week. I love making the Bible come alive for people - watching them delight in God's Word. No favorite topics - just the Bible.
What are life lessons you've learned from being a parent? A pastor?
Wow! How much time do you have? Mainly, that it's just about people. My wife, my kids, the people God brings into my life. These are not just the most important part of life…they are life. Life is the relationships that you form and the people you love and the God you serve. Everything else is, at the end, inconsequential.
In your blog, Karooso, you often suggest to your audience to share the love and grace of Jesus Christ with others. What is your advice to someone who has never shared Christ?
Just make a friend. Build a relationship. And then be sensitive to the "divine appointment" - that moment when a window opens in your relationship and you have a chance to share what Jesus has done for you. That's it. Remember, a witness in a courtroom can only share what they know - what they have experienced - everything else is hearsay. Just share what you know.
What are you most passionate about and how does this play into your everyday life?
I am most passionate about my church. I love the church. I love everything about it - the good and the not-so-good. Most of my waking hours are consumed with my family and church. I don't have time for much more.
What is your favorite baseball team?
I usually root for the home team, wherever I happen to be living at the time. So right now, I am a Texas Rangers fan. I grew up in Houston, so I was an Astros fan as a kid. My parents are still avid Astros fans. They rarely miss a game on TV. When I call my mom and ask her how she is doing, she begins her answer by giving me the latest Astros score.
If your life had it's own soundtrack consisting of 5 songs, what would they be?
Great question! Sorry … I can't do 5. Here are 10. I really need 20.
1.Imagine - John Lennon (Oh, the possibilities).
2.Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon and Garfunkel (For bridge people)
3.I'll Be There - The Jackson Five (Can you tell I grew up in the 70s?)
4.You've Got a Friend - James Taylor (I hope to be a friend)
5.Titanium - David Guetta (Unstoppable)
6.Let it Be - The Beatles (There's always hope)
7.Don't Stop Believing - Journey (Just like the song says)
8.Chariots of Fire - Vangelis (The movie moved me, so does the song)
9.Piano Etudes, Opus 10 - Frederic Chopin (They are like heaven)
10. Amazing Grace - John Newton (It says it all)
These are not my favorites necessarily, but just off the top of my head…
What story does your family always tell about you?
The time I got lost at K-Mart, and started crying. I was five years old! Can we let it go?!!
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Paint like Michelangelo. A close second…. write like Ernest Hemingway.