Dr. Tompkins went to New York City in September 1947 to try to break into show business as a magician.He found work in an office in New York, but while he did some shows, never made it big as a magician. It was while he was living in NY that for the first time in his life, he heard the message of salvation. Under the preaching of J. Allen Blair, he received Christ as personal Saviour. In that church he also met and married Helen Everham (now deceased). He did his first presentation of Gospel magic at First Presbyterian Church of Flushing, NY and 4 or 5 children made professions of salvation.
Dr. Tompkins attended Providence Bible Institute; San Diego Bible Institute and Seminary (now Southern California Seminary) and Anchor Theological Seminary. Since then he has served churches in New Jersey and western New York State, and was for ten years regional director for a mission serving the communist block countries. For fifteen years he served in the winter as chaplain in RV parks among the “Winter Texans” while summers were used in camp and VBS ministries.
Dr. Tompkins has authored The Good News Visualized (available in magician supply stores) and MINISTRY, a handbook for preachers and teachers. Mr. Tompkins wrote this book after his son was tragically killed in Thailand. As the pastor he asked Deacon Glenn Swanson to take the evening service while a friend handled the funeral service. Richard's funeral was the catalyst to development of this book. Dr. Tompkins said: “It occurred to me that lay people in the church should be able to fill in on occasion in emergency situations,” Over the years, he collected his notes and studies and he says they just kinda sat there. Finally, in August, 2008, the information that Tompkins had been gathering since the late 1970’s was published in a book to aid people in the church. Mr. Tompkins book "“MINISTRY- a handbook for preachers and teachers" can be found on Amazon.com. Currently Mr. Tompkins is retired but does occasional speaking and blogs on Ministryhelps.blogspot.com
Mr. Tompkins children have followed him into ministry in Texas/Mexico, Pennsylvania, Gambia (West Africa) and Tennessee.