It was a cold night in late December (29th) in an eastern New Mexico town (Tucumcari) that Jesse Liles was born. He was too late for Christmas and too early for being the New Year’s baby. Jesse grew up 20 miles outside San Jon, New Mexico (population of 299 friendly people and one old grouch) and spent his entire 12 years of public education there. He enjoyed watching basketball games from his view on the bench. He did see playing time if they were 20 points ahead.
Jesse worked as a disk jockey at KTNM in Tucumcari after graduation and then spent two years serving in the Marine Corps with a one year tour of duty in Vietnam. He came back to New Mexico where he worked in radio in Tucumcari and attended Eastern New Mexico University. He married Gayla Sappington and then shortly thereafter moved to Farmington, New Mexico where he worked at KRZE radio as a country music disc jockey. He met some interesting people in radio but felt called to the pastoral ministry.
Jesse and Gayla both graduated magna cum laude from Wayland Baptist College in Plainview Texas. They then moved to Louisville where Jesse finished a Masters of Divinity degree at the Southern Baptist theological Seminary. The First Baptist (and only Baptist) Church of Lordsburg, New Mexico was their ministry for five years. First Baptist of Silver City, New Mexico was their next place of service. They served there for 15 years. Gayla worked as a school counselor and as a Juvenile Probation Officer. In addition to serving as Pastor, Jesse used his radio experience at KNFT (a country music station) where he developed a radio ministry called Life Lifters as well as other involvements in the community.
Jesse completed his Doctor of Ministry from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary while at Silver City.
What does Jesse enjoy doing? He loves playing basketball, gardening and reading. He loves his three grandchildren: Cody, Sam and Cassidy. Jesse has been on mission trips to India every year for the past 10 years. He works with an indigenous church planter to raise up a new generation of leaders to preach the gospel and care for the poor. Jesse has served at Willow Hills Baptist Church since February of 2002.