Church selects new pastor: Congregation to vote on choice

First Christian Church’s congregation will vote Sunday on a new pastor selected by the church’s search team and elders, the next step forward after the previous pastor was charged with criminal felonies.

Columbus native Steve Yeaton, 50, son of Columbus resident and former 1960s First Christian associate minister Richard Yeaton, is their choice, according to a letter sent to church members and a notification on the church’s website.

He has served as full-time senior minister of Batesville Christian Church, starting with a part-time role in 2004 and full-time since 2011, according to his resume posted on First Christian’s website.

His background also includes a former full-time teaching role as associate professor of practical ministries at Cincinnati Christian University. He also served as senior minister of Cornerstone Christian Church in Brownsburg from 2000 to 2003.

First Christian’s current schedule calls for Steve Yeaton’s first Sunday of preaching at the local church to be Aug. 13. The congregational vote is basically a formality, said Steve Wiggins, chairman of First Christian’s elders.

Yeaton will be the successor to Justin White, who submitted his resignation from his senior minister post March 12 after six years of leadership. White was arrested March 24 and faces felony charges of insurance fraud and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Those charges stem from a burglary White is accused of staging Dec. 18 at his Skyview Estates home in Columbus. His trial date has been sent for Sept. 5.

White is accused of filing an insurance claim for the burglary when he staged it to obtain money to pay a drug debt, court records state. The charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor relates to White being accused of seeking to have a juvenile commit an act that would be a felony if committed by an adult, dealing in a narcotic drug.

Yeaton told First Christian’s search team during an early interaction of his respect for First Christian, according to the congregational letter.

“I love Columbus and I have a lot of respect for the leading role FCC has played in pointing so many to Christ in the Columbus area,” Steve Yeaton said. “Having grown up in FCC’s shadow, the idea of serving with the church has always lingered in the back of my mind.”

The elders and search team laud Steve Yeaton as “a gifted preacher and administrator with a heart for people and a strong love for Jesus.”

The church averages 700 to 800 people worshiping weekly, according to the elders. It also is among the most visible Christian ministries in Bartholomew County, both because of the church’s community involvement and its building’s integral stature in the city’s celebrated architectural community.

A look at Steve Yeaton

Born: In Columbus.

Age: 50.

Family: Wife Cindy. Two grown children and one grandchild.

Currently: Serving as senior minister of Batesville Christian Church, where he has been since 2004.

Education: Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts

Doctor of Ministry Degree, 2009

Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Master of Divinity, 1999

Master of Religious Educa

tion, 1994

Master of Arts in Practical Ministries, 1993

Bachelor of Arts (Christian Education), 1992.

Author photo
Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.