Meet our Pastors and Staff
We welcome David Gushee as the Interim Pastor of First Baptist Church Decatur. David has been a pillar of our lay-led church for the past 9 1/2 years. From the dynamic Bible seeking community he has fostered in the Seeking the Kingdom Sunday morning class to his sermons in these times of transition, David portrays his heart for Jesus on a daily basis to FBCD.
He began an “interim-plus” arrangement on October 16, 2016 focusing on the church’s need for leadership and pastoring, not just preaching. David will be in the office on Wednesdays, and while fulfilling his responsibilities at Mercer, will do his very best to attend the essential committee meetings (deacons, finance & personnel), as well as meet pastoral needs.
David wants to pastor this congregation, all of it, and will do his very best to meet the needs of the congregation while serving on a part time basis. He will coordinate closely with the ministerial staff to meet the church’s needs and will supervise the staff. He will be stretched, but is enthusiastic about this new responsibility. “Fixing Our Eyes on Jesus” is how David wants to lead and preach in the coming months, as in past months. He wants to build unity by calling us to the very core of our identity and commitment as followers of Jesus. David wants to promote a balanced approach that takes seriously both internal and external needs. He wants to see that needs of the existing flock of FBC Decatur are met, and met well; he wants to grow the church spiritually and numerically; and he wants us collectively to serve the community and world in Christ’s name. He is committed to excellence so that everything we do, we do well, in Christ’s name and for his sake.
Bob Williamson joined the FBCD staff in 1990 when he was still a child. Bob has worn just about every conceivable ministry hat at First Decatur (one of his spiritual gifts is flexibility). Bob is Margie's husband, Scott and Jenna's Dad, and Nate's and Ava’s PawPaw.
Bob has his Bachelors degree from THE University of Georgia, a Masters in Religious Education from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Educational Ministry degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Running a few miles each day has been a habit for over 30 years and he would rather be outdoors than eat. He enjoys reading more technical stuff than anything fiction and he bleeds Starbucks. What is of most importance is building connections with, growing relationships with, and investing in the lives and ministries of the people of FBCD.
Peter Rhea Jones
Peter Rhea Jones served as pastor of First Baptist Church, Decatur, Georgia from 1979 to 2000. He was also pastor of several churches in Tennessee and Kentucky. Before coming to Georgia, Dr. Jones served on the New Testament faculty of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky from 1968 to 1979. He earned his bachelor's degree at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee; a master of arts in English from the University of Mississippi; a master of theology in preaching from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey; and a master of divinity and doctor of philosophy degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Peter Rhea is the author of Teaching of the Parables , Studying the Parables of Jesus, and 1, 2 & 3 John, as well as numerous articles for journals, periodicals and books.
Pastoral resident for young adult ministry
FBCD has called Matt Snyder, to a newly created one-year position as Pastoral Resident for Young Adult Ministry. Matt is a graduate of Friends University in Kansas and a recent graduate of the McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University. He has served successfully as a youth minister, worship leader, and overseas missionary, working primarily with trafficking abolition efforts. At McAfee, Matt studied in the Christian Social Ethics track.
The purpose of this position is to strengthen the ministry of FBCD to young adults in the Decatur area and beyond. This will involve both going to young adults, meeting them where they are, and also helping our church offer programming of various types that will attract young adults to Christ and to our church. This initiative, together with our search for a new full time Minister to Families with Children, indicates the seriousness with which FBCD is attempting to serve young adults and young families. Matt began his new role on January 30, 2017.
Pastor for Children and Families
On Sunday May 21, 2017, the FBCD Congregation voted unanimously to call Kristen Koger to the new full-time position Pastor for Children and Families. Kristen received her Master of Divinity at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond in 2015. Her most recent ministry position was Pastoral Resident at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia.
Kristen loves spending time with people of all ages, and views her role to be a pastor to the whole Church, not just to children and families. She enjoys finding ways to connect people to one another and helping them find things they have in common.
When Kristen isn't at FBCD, she can often be found hanging out with her dog, Dietrich "Bonehoffer" and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. She loves to welcome people to her table, or bring food to theirs. She also enjoys reading and listening to podcasts, especially if it can be done from the comfort of her hammock with a good cup of coffee or tea. She is excited to be in a new place and to explore the wonderful things Decatur, Atlanta, and Georgia have to offer!
Worship Leaders & Organist
Worship Arts Leader
Kathryn Hartgrove came as the Worship Arts Leader at First Baptist Decatur in the summer of 2014.
As a singer, she has been heard throughout the United States, South America and Europe and has performed with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera's National Tour, Chicago Opera Theater, Lodz National Opera of Poland, Chamber Opera of Chicago, Istanbul National Symphony, the Pesaro Chamber Orchestra, Pasqua Festival in Italy, the Dimitria Festival in Thessaloniki, Greece, the Atlier Concert Series in Paris and the Grant Park Symphony of Chicago. She has performed solo recitals in Europe, South America and the United States and has been heard on radio and television in Brazil, Turkey and the United States. As a professional stage director, Kathryn staged in Brazil, Italy, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Maine and Milwaukee. Her conducting credits include opera, oratorio and clinics in Illinois, Italy and Brazil. She is Artistic Director of Festival of International Opera of the Americas in Brazil.
Kathryn is an Associate Professor and voice coordinator at Georgia State University. She received her Master’s degree in vocal performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and continued her study at Northwestern University.
INTERIM FRESHSTART worship leader
Jeremy is the worship leader for the FreshStart Service at First Baptist Church, Decatur, held at 8:45 a.m. on Sunday mornings.
His passions include: Music, Preaching, Writing, Congregational Health, Intergenerational Ministry, Theology/Ethics, and Christian Education.
Jeremy has been leading worship for 12 years in various churches and bands. He’s served in ministry vocationally for 6 years, and was ordained in 2013. Jeremy received a B.A. in Religion and Church Health at Samford University and a M.Div. in Christian Social Ethics from McAfee School of Theology.
When he is not at FBC, Jeremy teaches guitar lessons around Atlanta. Jeremy has played in rock bands, blues clubs, jazz ensembles, metal bands, folk groups, jam bands, and in worship bands in churches, for youth retreats and church conferences.
Jeremy and his wife, Ashley, were born and raised in Pensacola, FL, and they live in Midtown with their hamster, Fuzz.
First School Director
Harriet Holland is the Director of the First School, a children’s full day preschool. Harriet comes to FBC with previous experience as a preschool teacher and more recently director of The Glenn School for Young Children for seven years. She has been a member of FBC Decatur for over 25 years and has served as a Mission Friends teacher, Deacon, and chair of Finance. She was active in the youth ministry chaperoning various mission activities. A graduate of Wake Forest University and Bowman Gray School of Medicine Physician Assistant School at Wake Forest, Harriet worked for 15 years in the pediatric field. She is married to Wilson Holland and has one son, Carter.
EXECUTIVE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
Administrative and finance manager
Interim communications Coordinator
Food Services Manager
Verdery Counseling Center Staff
Phone Monique at (404) 369-1041