Our Staff

Pastoral Staff

Senior Pastor Search Update


The Senior Pastor Search Team. We will use the information from a survey to find common themes, and to build a solid job description to present to potential candidates.  For questions contact pastorsearch@thefirstfamily.org


According to the First Baptist Church constitution when the position of senior pastor is vacant the Deacon body will nominate a senior pastor search team.   The following steps have been taken to start this process: The deacons began to pray about individuals to nominate. The deacons have nominated individuals for consideration to be selected for the search team.We are now asking the congregation to  pray for the Deacon body as they prepare to select individuals to serve on the Senior Pastor search team. Once the team has been selected it will be presented to the church to be voted on.


The Steering Team interviewed four candidates for the position of Transitional Interim Pastor for First Baptist Church of Columbia.  The interviews were conducted over a two week period, either by phone or in-person. During this time the Steering Team also reviewed on-line sermons.  On Sunday April 11 2021, the Steering Team met to review the qualifications of the candidates.  After discussion a nomination was made with a second to the nomination. The vote taken was unanimous.  On Tuesday 13 April 2021 a called meeting was held with the Deacons and Pastors to present the candidate.  After discussion of how the Steering Team came to their decision and a time for questions from the Deacons a motion was made from the Steering Team for the candidate and a second was made from the Deacon Body, a unanimous vote was recorded.  The Steering Team presents to you for the position of Transitional Interim Pastor, Willie McLaurin. His first Sunday with us was May 2nd.
Pastor Mike and Jolene Dawson

Mike Dawson

Pastor Emeritus

Our Pastor Emeritus Mike Dawson provides pastoral support to our pastoral team and prayer support for our church. Pastor Mike stays busy serving as a transitional pastor for churches throughout our region. His wife Jolene is a wonderfully accomplished pianist and plays at local churches in our area.
Pastor Rick and Karen Blevins

Rick Blevins

Biblical Education Pastor

Pastor Rick oversees the Bible-centered teaching part of our mission. He has influence over all education programs birth through senior adults and hands-on oversight in our adult ministries. Pastor Rick joined our staff in 2000. He and his wife Karen have two children: Courtney (married to Ryan Cothran, their children: Kaylee, Sydney, and Asher) and Cameron.
Pastor Gustavo and Alma Castillo

Gustavo Castillo

Pastor, Hispanic Ministry

Pastor Gustavo shepherds our Hispanic Ministry, Primera Igelsia Bautista Columbia. He joined the staff full-time in 2013, although he has served in our Hispanic Ministry for several years. He and his wife Armida (Alma) are originally from Guatemala. They have three children: Josue (married to Peyton), Jazmin, and Vanessa.
Pastor Tim and Family

Tim Hammond

Worship Arts Pastor

Pastor Tim joined our staff in 2019. Pastor Tim has a great love for mentoring and growing Christ-followers through Christ-centered worship. He is passionate about assisting believers to fulfill their calling to follow Jesus whole-heartedly.  Tim and his wife Megan are parents to Abner and Eden.
Pastor Deron and Lourae

Deron Henry

Young Adult Pastor

Pastor Deron has been on our staff since 2007. He first served as our student pastor and now leads our Young Adult Ministry. He’s also the teaching pastor at The Well, a weekly worship gathering for young adults. It meets at Mule Town Lumberyard (1104 S. Garden St.) Sundays at 6:30 p.m. Pastor Deron and his wife Lourae have two children: Stephen and Luke.
Pastor Ryan and Family

Ryan McMichael

Student Pastor

Pastor Ryan joined our staff in 2019. He oversees our ministry to students in 7th up to 12th grades and is passionate about helping students find Christ and live their lives on mission for the glory of God. He and his wife Jessica are the proud parents of Charlie.
Pastor Joey and Kim

Joey Scruggs

Event Coordination Pastor

Pastor Joey is responsible for the facilitation and support of all special events on our campus. Recognizing that every time our doors are open is special, he works with our greeters, ushers, and Information Central staff to ensure an overall sense of hospitality for our members and guests. Pastor Joey joined our staff in 2002. He and his wife Kim have three children: Seth, Zachary, and Mollie.
Larry and Pat

Larry Wright

Director, Senior Adult Ministry

Larry and his wife Pat have been members at First Baptist Columbia since 2007. He has served as a small group leader, a deacon, our Men’s Ministry leader, and on a variety of teams and missions initiatives. “I am so blessed and humbled to serve my Lord through the ministry to senior adults. My heart is that seniors will continue to grow and serve our great God through ministry, missions, and fellowship — encouraging each other along the way.”
Pastor Gustavo and Alma Castillo

Children's Pastor

Open Position

Support Staff

Emily Burcham

Emily Burcham

Student Ministry Associate and Director of Ministry to Girls
Emily joined our staff in 2020. She oversees our Student Ministry’s administrative work and is hands on with discipleship and outreach. She’s a graduate of the University of Tennessee and has always had a passion for children and youth ministry. 
Beth and Rick Clawson

Beth Clawson

Ministry Assistant, Executive Pastor and Church Administration
Beth works with the operations side of our church’s ministry and manages our church's finances. She and her husband Rick have two daughters, Maggie (married to Christopher Turnbo; their children are Taylor and Caison) and Jessica.
Susan and Jerry Dodson

Susan Dodson

Susan, a retired speech therapist, serves as one of our part-time receptionists. Susan is married to Jerry, and they have two children: Julie (married to Andrew Ackley; their children are Luke and Lillian) and Steven (married to Kalah).
Ralph and Elizabeth English

Ralph English

Facilities Manager
Whether it’s making sure each of our 26 HVAC units is working properly or scheduling the cleaning and care of our 76,000 square foot facility, Ralph is the man in charge. Ralph and his wife Elizabeth have four children: Scott, Alan, Taylor, and Jessie.
Nancy Hopper

Nancy Hopper

Business Office Assistant
Nancy joined our staff in 2020. She recently retired as associate professor and program director of Radiologic Technology at Columbia State Community College, where she worked for 26 years.
Gayle Johnston

Gayle Johnston

Ministry Assistant, Senior Pastor
Gayle serves alongside our Senior Pastor and works with our hospital, and prayer ministries. Before coming to our church, she was at Maury Regional Medical Center for 40 years working as a nurse and director of nursing. She resides in Columbia with her fur-baby Lucy.
Ayesha and Mike Rochester

Ayesha Rochester

Ministry Assistant, Preschool Ministry/Weekday School
Ayesha serves alongside Pastor Dathan Hale in our FIRST KIDS and Weekday School ministries. She and her husband Mike have five children: Emilee; Kimberly (married to Tyler McKenzie); Jessica (married to Sean Holder); Bryan; and David (married to Emily); and three grandchildren.
Brady and Summer

Brady Ratzlaff

Tech Director
Brady joined our staff in 2020. He comes to us from Valdosta, Ga., with a degree in Mass Media. Brady is gifted in working with tech, but more importantly, he has a heart and a calling to local church ministry. Brady and his wife Summer were married in December 2020.
Tammy and Billy Rosson

Sherri Stacy

Sherri oversees catering at our church. She also serves as a receptionist in our office and helps in our Weekday School when needed. She and her husband Ed have two children and five grandchildren.
Karen and Gary Townsend
Karen and Gary Townsend

Karen Townsend

Ministry Assistant, Biblical Education and Senior Adults
Karen takes care of church membership, baptisms, guest visitation, attendance numbers, curriculum, and senior adult ministry details. Karen and her husband Gary have two children: Kevin (married to Lisa; their children are Samantha and Michael) and Melissa. 

Kacie Streeter

Elementary Kids Ministry
Kacie serves in helping lead our elementary kids ministry and helps create a fun, welcoming environment for those kids.  She joined our church staff in 2021. Kacie and her husband Jimmy live in Columbia and have 3 dogs.
Karen and Gary Townsend

Communications Director

(open position)