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.
Pastor for Youth and Families
Billy received his Master of Divinity degree from McAfee School of Theology in 2012. He graduated in 2009 from Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Management with Marketing and Social Psychology certifications. Billy is married to Katie and they are parents to Sam. Billy and Katie are active members of the FBCD congregation, including participation in the Second Cup Sunday School class. Billy also leads in the coordination of the Fresh Start Tech Team, and previously served as Summer Youth Ministries Coordinator in 2012.
Billy's experience with the FBCD youth program has strengthened his commitment to create a safe place where youth can express themselves freely as they develop in their faith. He recognizes these years are important in fostering the critical thinking necessary for strong spiritual foundations. Billy is excited about "the impact these young lives could have on our church, the City of Decatur, the people they meet on mission, my life, and my family's life."
Pastor for Children and Families
Dale Doud’s ministry to children and families spans more than 2 decades in churches in Georgia. Dale is an ordained minister and is a graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree and is a graduate of Shorter College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Dale’s experience with families arises out of his own context of being the youngest of five boys in his growing up years and now has a family of his own. He is married to Orielle K. Doud and they have two adult children, Brian and Jennifer.
Dale loves virtually anything related to spending time in nature, but in particular enjoys spending quiet days on the lake, camping by a rolling stream, hiking in the mountains, traveling and spending time with his “grandgift,” Alex. Email Dale.
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.
FRESHSTART worship leader
Kaitlin is the worship leader for the FreshStart Service at First Baptist Church, Decatur, held at 8:45 a.m. on Sunday mornings.
Her passions are her family, music, writing, and pursuing an environment of healing through encountering God within community.
Kaitlin and her family have been attending First Baptist for two years and became members quickly after they arrived in Atlanta.
She has led worship for 15 years, serving with every church she has been a part of, and is so excited to be a part of what God is doing at First Baptist Church Decatur.
Currently Kaitlin is working on a book of short stories and reflective prayers called Glory Happening: Prayers & Stories in Everyday Spaces, which is under contract with Paraclete Press.
She writes on the intersection of faith in everyday life through worship, community, and identity, with stories often inspired by her two sons, Eliot and Isaiah, and the house where they live.
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
Food Services Manager
Administrative and finance manager
Media Center Director
Verdery Counseling Center Staff
Phone Monique at (404) 369-1041