Greg Riggen first visited a United Pentecostal Church at the age of 11. Although his parents were very much against it, he continued to attend. He received the Holy Ghost and was baptized in Jesus’ Name when he was 12, and subsequently led his father, mother, two brothers, and 77 year-old grandmother to the Lord. He felt a call into the ministry that summer, and preached his first message on a Wednesday night at the age of 13.
After completing High School in Dallas, Texas, Pastor Riggen received his Th.B. from Texas Bible College in Houston. With a 4.0 average, he was valedictorian of his graduating class.
Upon receiving his degree, he began his ministry teaching in the ACE school of Rev. Wayne McClain in South Houston. He began pastoring at age 24, and has pastored in Texas, Colorado, Mississippi, and Kansas.
In 1988, Pastor Riggen published his first book, The Madness and Method of Modern Music. He has written numerous articles, and has written several lessons for Word Aflame Publications (for both the Adult and Elective Series). He recently developed a one hour Bible study entitled, Do All Speak with Tongues? which he hopes to make available to the public shortly.
Through the years, Pastor Riggen has held the following positions: Youth Camp Teacher, Youth Camp Principal, Sectional Foreign Missions Director, Sectional Secretary, and District Home Missions Secretary. For six years, he served as the Kansas District Sunday School Director and Newspaper Editor. In May, 2002, he was elected as the District Secretary, a position which he held until March of 2004. At that time, he was elected as Superintendent of the Kansas District UPC, a position he held until May 2007. He has also served as Vice-Chairman of the Human Relations Commission for the City of Olathe.Pastor Riggen’s Personal Blog
In the Fall of 2003, Rev. Merriman was transferred to Minot, North Dakota. There, he worked with the Pastoral Ministry Staff, serving in Youth Ministry and Sunday School. The following year, he was deployed to Iraq and proudly served our country during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In 2005, Rev. Merriman left the Air Force and returned to Southern Illinois. There, he assisted in a Home Missions church, wearing many hats of the ministry. During this time, he also completed his Bachelor’s Degree at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. It was also during this time that his third daughter was born.
Upon graduating from college in the Spring of 2007, God led him and his family to Kansas City and New Life Pentecostal Church. Under the direction and leadership of Pastor Gregory Riggen, Rev. Merriman experienced personal and spiritual growth as he fulfilled various roles while serving on the local Ministry Staff. Among those roles were the offices of Sunday School Director, Youth Minister, and Corporate Secretary for the church.
In the Summer of 2013, as a result of Pastor Riggen’s vision for the Kansas City Metro, God began dealing with Rev. Merriman about starting a church in the neighboring city of Gardner. After much prayer, fasting, and counsel, Rev. Merriman felt the confirmation of God to plant the Truth Church of Gardner. On Easter Sunday, 2014, the first service was held. God continues to bless this endeavor, and the church continues to grow.
In 2015, Rev. and Sister Merriman added to their family by adopting two siblings (a boy and a girl). They are excited about the opportunity to not only bring these children into their lives, but, more importantly, to raise them in a Christian home.
As has already been mentioned, his grandfather was a minister. Rev. L.D. Hilton had not only been pastor of New Life, but had served in other ministerial capacities, including evangelizing. The influence of Grandpa Hilton, however, was abruptly taken from him when his grandfather was promoted to Glory in 1996. In spite of this seemingly devastating loss, God replaced that void with the coming of Pastor Gregory Riggen, the current pastor of New Life Pentecostal Church. These men have greatly affected the direction in which God has drawn Rev. Brandon Hilton to serve the Kingdom of God.
Rev. Hilton is currently active in teaching the New Converts’ Care on Sunday afternoons. He is also leading the effort to plant a new satellite location in LaCygne, Kansas. Every Wednesday evening, Rev. Hilton drives more than an hour each way to hold a weekly Bible Study. Already souls are coming to God, and lives are being changed.
Rev. Hilton is married to Pastor Riggen’s middle daughter, Andrea. They have two daughters and a son.
Having acknowledged his calling into the ministry at the age of 14, he preached his first message, A Declaration of Dependence” when he was only 15. In November of 2014, he began serving as Youth Minister at New Life, and continues to hold that position to this day.
Rev. Hilton is currently working full-time for Dynamic Consultants Group while continuing to pursue the will of God. He took several courses from what is now the Institute of Conservative Apostolic Theology, and is currently enrolled in the Apostolic College of Biblical Studies based in Tulsa, Oklahoma (under the direction of Bishop Gary Howard). He expects to complete his studies in early 2017.