Pastor Lee Hsia – Houston’s First Baptist Church Downtown

During this Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May, Lee Hsia talks about success in life and with a living God.  

When Pastor Lee Hsia looks out his office window in downtown Houston, the view is different.  Nine years ago, Hsia was rising through the ranks of Houston’s corporate world.

“It is a glimpse of heaven, the diversity of Houston and the thriving community of downtown Houston. But with Christ in people’s lives, it certainly would be of what heaven would become –of people filled with the joy of Jesus Christ, love, forgiveness that only God can offer them and people having purpose to make the world a better place to live. It starts right here in Houston,” Hsia said.

Hsai was born in Shanghai, China. He immigrated to the Houston area when he was 7 years old.  His family lived in Sugarland.  During his high school years, the former Buddhist became a Christian. As an immigrant, he faced challenges.

“It is the culture of humility that my parents and grandparents had. Humility is a Christian trait as well. I think Asians tend to be too humble at times that they don’t spur in their children, their family or friends the confidence that is needed to flourish in a western type of society. Otherwise, externally from what I remember, all of my friends from dfferent ethnicities–white, black, Latino and Asian were all encouraging,” Hsia said.

Hsia went to Rice University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Management.  While at Rice, Hsia was President of the Rice Program Council  and involved in university community outreach. He received the Dean’s award for Distinguished Service.

After Rice University, Hsia spent nearly 10 years in Houston’s business world and climbed the corporate ladder.  He was promoted every year at Computer Science Corporation.  Hsia went from Associate Consultant to Regional Recruiting Manager of Southwest United States for the company.  As the Internet  became more popular,  Cool Jobs, Inc. hired Hsia to be its Global Director of Sales and Chief Operations Officer.

 After corporate life, Hsia went full-time for God.  He became an ordained minister and missionary for Evangelism Explosion International.  During his 5 years there, Hsia trained pastors, church leaders and congregations on how to share Jesus and God’s forgiveness with the world.

In 2008, Houston’s First Baptist Church hired Hsia to be its Minister of New Initiatives, a position created for him. Pastor Hsia helped First Baptist, one of Houston’s largest churches, become more diverse and expand its outreach. He also introduced more technology to bring the church’s online presence into the 21st century and more relevant in a changing world. 

When Houston’s First Baptist Church opened a downtown campus, it tapped Hsia to lead the diverse congregation of  young families, college and university students, medical center staff, homeless and members of the main church.

“I feel it is something God called me to do. I’ve always been in leadership roles ever since Dulles High School in Sugarland, Texas. It was that high school that first gave me the opportunity to take the leadership role –Student Council, broadcasting, reading the morning announcements a lot in high school  That gave me a lot of confidence to move forward in positions, being president of the Rice Program Council at the university,” Hsia said.

Hsia says he’s excited to lead Houston’s First Baptist Church downtown campus. The downtown church at 1730 Jefferson Street opened in October 2011. It also has future plans to expand. Pastor Hsia credits God, his parents, teachers, professors and mentors for his success.

“God has given me life and all that I have. So many mentors who’ve encouraged me through the years.  The professors and job opportunities. More so, it was their encouragement and belief in me,” Hsia said.

With the Internet and life’s distractions, Pastor Hsia has this advice for the Class of 2017.

“My advice to the Class of 2017 is to find something you really love and that you’re really good at and makes you come alive….If you find something you really love and you’re good at, dive deep into it. Give your heart and soul to it. That will make someone successful,” Pastor Hsia said.

While Hsia is a busy man for God,  he’s also active in groups outside the church– Faith Center Union Baptist Association, the Rice University Admissions Advisory Board, the Rice Alumni Association,  the Houston Theatre district and the American Bible Society. Hsia also supports A Second Cup and Radiant Hope, two organizations that fight human trafficking.

Pastor Hsia also enjoys running, swimming, traveling and the performing arts.

—Carol Lim

Source:  Houston’s First Baptist Church staff biography, Houston Chronicle


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