After serving churches in south Texas and San Antonio, Dr. Wende was appointed to his present position in 2001 as senior pastor of First Methodist Houston.
Dr. Wende is a noted speaker and serves as contributing editor for Preaching Magazine. He has been recognized for his work in the areas of spiritual growth, evangelism, and mission outreach. In addition, he has served in numerous leadership positions in the United Methodist Church, including the Board of Ordained Ministry, the Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry, the Task Force on Evangelism, and election to the last six United Methodist General and Jurisdictional Conferences.
Due to his high interest in the welfare of the community, Dr. Wende has served as a Director of the Methodist Hospital of Houston, a Director of the Texas Methodist Foundation, a Trustee of Huston-Tillotson University, a Trustee of Houston Christian High School, a Commissioner of the Methodist Home of Waco and a Trustee of Texas Wesleyan College.
A native Texan, Dr. Wende 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 Karin Susan Wende, a noted Bible scholar and teacher. They have two children: Michelle and her family live and work in Washington, D.C., while Meredith and her husband live in Wharton, Texas where she is the pastor of First United Methodist Church.
At First Methodist Houston, Dr. Wende serves a church begun in 1839. In 1910, the congregation moved to the corner of Main and Clay streets with the building of the present downtown sanctuary. Over the years the church has founded First Choice Television, Wesley Community Center, Clarewood House Retirement Home, and Christian Alliance Ministry. In 1993 the church added a second campus to better serve the west side of the city. The Westchase campus offers additional worship opportunities, the Wesley Academy (for grades K-8) and the Quillian Recreational Center. In 2013, the congregation completed the first phase of a full renovation of the downtown facility to provide for the many younger members joining.
Dr. Wende, the forty-seventh pastor of First Methodist, continues to lead the congregation in its strong tradition of outstanding preaching and music