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We exist to help people in the upstate
to connect with Jesus to change their world

OUR CORE VALUES

Prayer is the foundation of all that we do because without God we can accomplish nothing.
We seek to worship Him with our whole lives, mind, body, and spirit (Matthew 6:33 & 22:37).

We are real people who are honest about our flaws. We are a genuine, transparent, united
group of believers who are devoted to biblical truth (1 John 1:8-9, Matthew 23:25-27, & John 13:35).

We want to be known as passionate disciple-makers, committed to engaging the culture
both locally and globally by reaching and teaching others to become followers of Christ. This will not happen accidentally.
Our goal is to lead new believers on a journey of growth and true fulfillment. (Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 2:17, & Acts 1:8).

We are a church that values every person at every life stage and circumstance.
Married, single, divorced, or widowed, you are an important part of our family. We desire to build a community of support
where relationships thrive. Our goal is to create safe and exciting environments where children love to attend and their parents are prepared for the journey (Psalm 100:5).

We don’t just want to be people who give. We desire to be known as extremely generous investors.
We really believe it’s better to give than to receive, and we want to invest in people (Acts 20:35 & 2 Corinthians 9:7).

We want to stand out as a church that cares more about other people than ourselves.
We see serving others as a lifestyle, not an event (1 Peter 5:6).

Life happens in community, and we want to intentionally build and reproduce environments
that nurture relationships. We are created with a need for other people, and we believe life is better when we are together (Acts 2:42-47).

We desire to help people in the upstate
to connect with Jesus to change their world

We believe this is only the beginning. We are ONE Church, with ONE Prayer and ONE Life to bring people to Jesus!
For more about our ONE Initiative go to our ONE page.

MEET OUR TEAM

ALL CAMPUS STAFF

Wayne Bray

Lead Pastor

Brian Owens

Executive Pastor of Operations

Wes Walker

Executive Pastor of Creative Arts

Steve Genoble

Executive Pastor of Missions

Pat Gillen

Executive Pastor of Families
Teaching Pastor

Kathy Robinson

Strategy Director

Dallas Wilson

Teaching Pastor -
Harrison Bridge
Discipleship Director

Dustin Dozier

Teaching Pastor -
Five Forks
Connections Director

Ashley Moore

Teaching Pastor - Mauldin Upstate Sports Director

Will Bray

Teaching Pastor - Anderson
College Minister

Chuck Fuller

Teaching Pastor
Team Researcher

Rob White

Minister of Senior Adults & Member Care

Russell Hill

Operations Director

Randy Kirby

Blended Worship Pastor
Member Care Director

Corey Watson

Student Director

Emily Toole

Kids Director

Larry Rockwell

Modern Worship Director

Tom Tripp

Production Director

Jen Trest

Communications Director

Blaine Darling

Production Coordinator

DOWNTOWN CAMPUS STAFF

Josh Pratt

Kids Minister to Elementary

Kayleigh Mayfield

Downtown Student Minister

Krystal Manwaring

Kids Coordinator to Elementary - Downtown

Laura Guthrie

Kids Coordinator to Preschool - Downtown

Heather Rogers

Kids Support Coordinator - Downtown

Jeff Jennings

Connections Coordinator/
Campus Support

Alaina Robinson

CEC Director

Jessie Bolter

CEC Assistant Director

Matt Limbaugh

Member Care Team/ Accompanist

ANDERSON CAMPUS STAFF

Will Bray

Teaching Pastor - Anderson
College Minister

Cason Pyrtle

Worship Leader - Anderson

FIVE FORKS CAMPUS STAFF

Dustin Dozier

Teaching Pastor - Five Forks
Connections Director

Michelle Walker

Kids Coordinator - Five Forks

Brandon Shiley

Student Coordinator - Five Forks

Jack Martin

Worship Coordinator - Five Forks

Dustin Self

Worship Leader - Five Forks

HARRISON BRIDGE CAMPUS STAFF

Dallas Wilson

Teaching Pastor - Harrison Bridge
Discipleship Director

Ashley Meadors

Kids Coordinator - Harrison Bridge

Danielle Schoonover

Assistant Kids Coordinator - Harrison Bridge

Alise Harrison

Student Coordinator - Harrison Bridge

MAULDIN CAMPUS STAFF

Ashley Moore

Teaching Pastor - Mauldin
Upstate Sports Director

Leah Abbott

Kids Coordinator - Mauldin

Brandon Shiley

Student Coordinator - Mauldin

Sam Lawson

Worship Coordinator Worship Leader - Mauldin

SUPPORT STAFF

Susan Ballinger

Receptionist

Judy Cook

Financial Specialist

Chris Davis

Facilities Specialist

Jeff Jennings

Connections Coordinator
Campus Support

Doug McCarthy

Upstate Sports Coordinator

Melissa Nelson

AP Specialist

Kim Robinson

Ministry Assistant

Cindy Smith

Ministry Assistant

Sheryl Tepper

Ministry Assistant

Greg Ward

Facilities Specialist

Lynda Watson

Ministry Assistant

Cayden McCraw

Facilities Specialist

Neal Owens

Facilities Specialist

Wayne Bray

Lead Pastor

I’m just an ordinary guy, but God has given me an extraordinary passion and vision for his church. I am a team-building strategist who cares most about the advancement of the gospel of Christ and the accomplishment of His mission. God has given me an undying passion for the mission of First Baptist Simpsonville / Upstate Church. I truly love my church family. They are the best! This is an uncommon moment in time when God is doing a new thing, and I feel so blessed to be a part of it. Amy is my life, but our kids are pretty cool too. Nothing makes me happier than seeing our five children serve the Lord faithfully. Go Braves!

Brian Owens

Executive Pastor of Operations

After 14 years of experience leading people and business operations at Citibank in Louisville, Kentucky and also serving as a local bi-vocational pastor, I felt God inviting me to join the staff here at First Baptist Simpsonville / Upstate Church in 2009. I’m convinced that the previous season of life provided the right mix of experience and opportunity to equip me to serve this amazing church family for the past 13 years. Our family loves this place and all the incredible people here! I’m excited to lead at a church dedicated to authentic community, meaningful spirituality, and loving action. This is a family of faith committed to helping people make a connection with Jesus in order to change their world. I attended Moody Bible Institute (1991-1995) where I received a Bachelors in Christian Ministry and a Masters in Theology from Campbellsville University (2005). In 1995, I married the love of my life, Sheri (1969-2021), and during our 25 years together, we’ve had the pleasure of raising 4 spectacular children: Gideon, Titus, Lydia, and Levi.

Wes Walker

Executive Pastor of Creative Arts

I love getting to do what I do with FBS UC! My job allows me to lead worship with an amazing team, create spaces for worship with a great production team, along with multi-site design, and share what God is doing in and through our church with our stellar communications team. Absolutely love the people I serve with and we desire for people to experience Jesus in a way that will change their world. My family moved here in the summer of 2016 from Atlanta GA. My favorite people on God's earth are my wife Jana, and kids Michaela, Madison, Luken, Maleah, and Colton. We love the beach, good food, a good Netflix binge and just being together.

Steve Genoble

Executive Pastor of Missions

My service at First Baptist Simpsonville/Upstate Church began in September of 1992 as Student Minister. I was passionate about bringing students to know and follow Jesus! One of the things that drew me to Simpsonville was that our church placed high priority on missions. Now, I have the great privilege of serving as the Executive Pastor of Missions. Getting to serve alongside members on trips and witness their gifts is my greatest joy. When I am not serving in the church, you can find me working out at the gym, relaxing with my family, watching College Football or Golfing. My wife Kim and I have two adult children. We love hanging out with them and their families. Being able to spend time with our 5 grandchildren brings so much joy to our lives.

Pat Gillen

Executive Pastor of Families

I love seeing all generations grow spiritually in my role as an Executive Pastor. It’s such a joy to be a part of a church that cares about every generation and helps raise up the ones that are coming behind them. God is doing some incredible things and it’s exciting! Our family moved here in 2016 to be a part of this team and it has been a great ride so far. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, watching movies, and working on my classic Mustang.

Kathy Robinson

Strategy Director

God brought our family of 5 to South Carolina from Pennsylvania when our children were in K5, 4th and 7th grade. What drew us to this church then was its commitment to teaching God's Word, love for one another and focus on discipling children. Nineteen years later, we can say the same thing...and add to it the focus on reaching lost people in the Upstate!! One of my first volunteer roles shortly after we joined the church was to help start our "Satellite Campus". Now, we're on the verge of having 6 campuses. To say it's been a blessing to see God at work is an understatement!! In addition to reaching people through our campus expansion, as a biblical counselor I've been able to help people seek God through His Word to find the freedom and answers they need to navigate the inevitable challenges this world brings. I've had many roles since joining the staff over 13 years ago. My current role as Strategy Director allows me to use my skills and experience in the business world, as well as the various ministry positions I've held, to support our talented team in streamlining strategic initiatives and facilitating collaboration across ministry areas and campuses. Hiking or tandem bicycling with my husband, Bill, as well as reading and doing jigsaw puzzles are some of my favorite things to do.

Dallas Wilson

Teaching Pastor - Harrison Bridge Discipleship Director

I love being a part of the team at Upstate Church! Having the opportunity to preach every week at an Upstate Church Campus is such a blessing to my life. This church has been such a blessing to my little family. I moved to the Upstate with my wife Jenna and my little girl Dani in 2018. Since then, we've added another little girl, made countless friends, and seen God move in big ways! If you can't find me at the church I am probably putting together puzzles with Dani, watching movies with Jenna, writing never-ending papers for class, or doing CrossFit at CrossFit Fountain Inn!

Dustin Dozier

Teaching Pastor - Five Forks Connections Director

I absolutely love being a part of what God is doing in and through our church! Being one of the teaching pastors, not only do I get the privilege to lead the Five Forks campus but throughly enjoying teaching at all of our campuses to see what God is doing throughout the Upstate. Dustin and his wife, Sloan, along with their 3 boys joined the team in the summer of 2018. In Dustin’s spare time he enjoying spending time with his family, working on home projects, and grilling all kinds of everything on his Big Green Egg.

Ashley Moore

Teaching Pastor - Mauldin Upstate Sports Director

There is no better place to serve than FBS/UC. As the teaching pastor at our Mauldin Campus and Upstate Sports Director, I have the privilege to see God work in unique and powerful ways on a daily basis. I came to FBS/UC in 2006 from Louisville, KY with my wife, Carrie, and two kids, Caroline and Carter. Good books, a cup of coffee and a substantial pen are a few of my favorite things.

Will Bray

Teaching Pastor - Anderson College Minister

I love Upstate Church! I get to shepherd our Campus in Anderson and love the discipleship relationships that I get to build with college students across our church. We have an amazing team at First Baptist Simpsonville/Upstate Church and I am so thankful to be a part. I just bought my first house in Anderson this last year and am excited about this next season. I love the Atlanta Braves, Georgia Bulldogs, and Dallas Cowboys. So you could say 2021 was a good year. In my free time I play a lot of Catan and pickle ball with friends and love to watch a good movie!

Chuck Fuller

Teaching Pastor Team Researcher

I joined the Teaching Team in August 2021. My wife, Jessie, and I grew up in Madisonville, Kentucky, and have been married since 2002. We have two teenage children, Kaylen and Ian, who attend Clemson Classical Academy. I am also Director of the Honors Program and Associate Professor of Christian Studies at Anderson University. Before moving to Anderson in 2010, I was a local church pastor for 13 years. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies from Campbellsville University, and hold both Master of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. My primary emphasis in PhD work was homiletical theology, with additional studies in philosophy and systematic theology. In my free time, I enjoy travel, hiking, and kayaking. If I had money and time, I would be a performance car guru!

Rob White

Minister of Senior Adults & Member Care

It is an honor and privilege to serve as your Senior Adult Minister. During 47 years of ministry as Pastor and Associate Pastor, I have always loved people, especially the senior saints. My wife, Sandy, and I were born in Atlanta, Georgia and moved to South Carolina in 1989. As the interim Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church, (now Upstate Church Mauldin) we were able to walk with them through their transition period and loved what we saw God doing at FBS/Upstate Church. We are so blessed to be a part of what God is doing during these days. Sandy and I have been married for almost 60 years. God has blessed us with 3 children, 9 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren. We are truly a blessed couple. God is doing great things through Upstate Church Simpsonville!

Russell Hill

Operations Director

I enjoy working with Finance and Facilities mainly because each day is something different. Coming from the banking world, I get to use what I enjoy about numbers on the finance side, but the facilities issues require a much different skill set. I also enjoy working with both because it allows me to work with each employee here at the church. There is not much that happens at any of our campuses that does not require either financial or facility resources, so I get to help out with so many different events and projects. I started attending First Baptist Simpsonville not long before meeting my wife, who also attended here. We were married in 2009 and have 3 awesome kids! I enjoy camping and hiking when I can, and hanging out with family and friends.

Randy Kirby

Blended Worship Pastor Member Care Director

There are so many advantages to serving for many years in the same church! A,though we served in two other churches full time before coming here, my wife, Lynne, and I have been here at First Baptist Simpsonville for over 27 years now, and we love this church and the people more and more the longer we stay. For all of this time, I have served as the “Minister of Music” (it’s now called “Worship Pastor”) and I lead worship and direct our Worship Choir & Orchestra in our 8:30 blended and 9:50 blended/traditional services at our Downtown Campus. But recently I was also asked to take on the role of “Director of Member Care”, which includes leading a team of people who serve as “pastoral care” volunteers - helping care for our members and their families through hospital & bereavement ministry in all five of our campus sites. Member Care also includes ministry to our senior adults in all of our campuses. We believe that First Baptist Simpsonville truly is a church for the Upstate, and we are excited to see - and be a part of - how God is moving and working in and through these campus sites to reach more people for His kingdom!

Corey Watson

Student Director

One of the main reasons that I love FBS/UC is the God-sized vision to reach the Upstate! I get to play a part in that through our amazing student team as we seek to connect students throughout the Upstate with Jesus. The community that this church brings is unprecedented and another perk of the position! I started this position in January 2022. My wife (Melody), daughter (Anna Grace- 3), and I moved to the area not long after I started at FBS/UC. We love the area more and more each day. In my spare time, I love hanging with my family, chasing a toddler around, working out, watching sports (Go Gamecocks!), and traveling.

Emily Toole

Kids Director

Kids of all ages learning about Jesus in safe, creative, and engaging environments with consistent, equipped leaders is my ministry and passion. As Kids Director, I love developing processes and programs that will help leaders truly minister to kids and their families by seeking to create consistent, relational, and gospel-centered environments geared toward discipleship across all of our campuses. Helping leaders grow in their ministry is one of the greatest joys of my role. My husband and I moved to South Carolina in 2019 to be a part of what God is doing in this ministry and in the Upstate. In our free time, we thoroughly enjoy spending time outdoors with our family and visiting the mountains and the beach.

Larry Rockwell

Modern Worship Director

When God called me to Upstate Church/First Baptist Simpsonville almost six years ago, I had no idea that I would see Him move so powerfully in the Upstate! Having a front row seat to His glory, watching multiple campuses worship, and seeing Jesus radically change lives has been absolutely incredible! And this is only the beginning! The fact that I get to work with so many amazing people who have a heart for, and a mind-blowing talent for worshipping God is truly one of my greatest blessings. I am thankful for our leadership, volunteers, and our congregation for being all in and bringing the awesomeness of the gospel to the Upstate!

Tom Tripp

Production Director

Coming from a career designing performing arts systems, my role serving our church is the perfect blend of logistics and creativity. I love pushing our potential to create engaging services that eliminate distraction and allow our people to experience moments with their Creator. In my spare time I enjoy reading, hanging out with my dog, and trying to keep my house plants alive.

Jen Trest

Communications Director

One of the biggest perks of being Communications Director is being able to work with practically every team on our staff and with many key leaders within our membership! Helping ministries effectively communicate their events and reach those within our church and community to ultimately see them in a relationship with Christ brings me so much joy! My husband's job with the Air Force brought us to South Carolina in 2015 and shortly after we happened across Upstate Church Harrison Bridge. We've loved being a part of a multi-site church that is truly about bringing Jesus to the Upstate. In my spare time, I homeschool 3 of our children, (having graduated one already!), raise goats for the fun of it on our mini-farm, and drink way too much coffee.

Blaine Darling

Production Coordinator

One of the best parts of my job is getting to work with every campus and see first hand how God provides for His children. Launching campuses and building teams to make sure every person that comes to either a Sunday morning or one of our events can experience a moment with their Creator is the greatest motivating factor for how we push forward. I spend my weekends either hiking with my wife or working with my dad and brother on one of our many car projects.

Josh Pratt

Kids Minister to Elementary

The best part about my job is creating a fun, safe environment where kids can learn what it means to follow Jesus on their level. I believe kids are not simply the future of the church, but are the church. I believe that they are not called to be missionaries once they are adults, but are missionaries right now here in the Upstate. I love teaching and equipping volunteers, kids and parents to take the gospel wherever they do life, as they go about their week. My greatest passion is my wife Lydia and my two kids Jonah and Collins! I love hanging out with family & friends, love good food, good music, a good dance party and I am always down to hoop!

Kayleigh Mayfield

Downtown Student Minister

Seeing students, parents, and leaders connect with Jesus to change their world is the biggest gift! From Groups, to Midweek, to Events, I never tire of watching God change lives and bring students into community with Himself and others. I truly believe we have the best students and leaders around, and I'm grateful to serve them! I grew up at FBS, and I've never been more excited about where we're heading as I have been the past few years! Our leadership keeps dreaming big, but God keeps dreaming bigger. My husband Presley and I love being a part of all that God is doing to reach the Upstate. In my spare time, I love to cook meals for friends, play pickleball, read, bake, and be outdoors (hiking/backpacking).

Krystal Manwaring

Kids Coordinator to Elementary - Downtown

Being part of our Kids ministry is such a joy! I love being able to connect with families and partner with parents to help kids grow in their relationship with Jesus! As a mom myself, I have seen firsthand the blessing of being part of a ministry, and a church that has a heart to help people connect with Jesus to change their world! I visited First Baptist Simpsonville Upstate Church 18 years ago and I was so blessed to see a church that immediately welcomed me and I and my then fiancee, now husband, joined soon after! My husband is a contractor and we are blessed with two kids, one in Kids ministry and one in our Student ministry! I love to read and hang out with family and friends!

Laura Guthrie

Kids Coordinator to Preschool - Downtown

One of the biggest blessings from having the opportunity to work at FBS Upstate Church is being able to see the fruits of our labor weekly through our precious preschoolers. Watching new families and little ones join us always fills my heart with joy. Being a part of our Family Church Ministry has been such a reward for me. I love developing relationships with our volunteers and seeing their hearts for precious preschoolers too. I'm so thankful that God is allowing me to be a part of this growing community in our church. My husband (Luke) and I are originally from Spartanburg, and after moving around a bit, we've settled in the Five Forks area with our two boys (John and Will.) I taught for 12+ years in the public school system, and now homeschool our oldest son. In my spare time, I enjoy food and fellowship with family and friends and Clemson football.

Heather Rogers

Kids Support Coordinator - Downtown

As a former elementary teacher and preschool director, I enjoy getting to teach and work with kids weekly through the Upstate Kids Ministry at FBS! I also enjoy getting to work with a great Kids Team to help organize and plan kids events for all campuses. My husband Scott and I, along with our daughter Kaitlyn and son Jason, love everything Clemson and enjoy small town country living surrounded by lots of family!

Jeff Jennings

Connections Coordinator/ Campus Support

God led my wife and me here to serve in 2010 and the joy and blessings we have experienced watching the impact our church as made on the Upstate has been immeasurable. Our family has grown with the addition of 3 boys and our commitment to serving God through FBS/UC has never been stronger and more rewarding. We truly have the best staff and church family imaginable.

Alaina Robinson

CEC Director

Serving our church and community as CEC Director has been a blessing and a thrill ride. My heart has always been for serving children and their families, and at the CEC I have the unique privilege of being a part of both the physical and spiritual growth of God's precious little ones. I treasure being able to come alongside parents, and celebrate their children's early years together. My husband Miles and I moved here almost 9 years ago from the mountains of Western North Carolina. We have two children - Kyrsten, 9 and Miles, 6. We attend the downtown campus, and love serving in the Preschool Ministry on Sunday mornings. "Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." Colossians 3:14

Jessie Bolter

CEC Assistant Director

Working at the CEC has been such a blessing. I love being able to watch young children learn to make sense of the world around them through play. Watching children grow and learn is such a blessing! My husband and I are both natives to the upstate . We have one daughter, and are expecting our second daughter this fall. In our spare time you can find us chasing a toddler around and being outdoors.

Matt Limbaugh

Member Care Team/ Accompanist

I came to FBS | Upstate Church out of retirement after having served in churches as Minister of Music, organist, pianist, music associate, children’s choir coordinator, senior adults, and pastoral care in several churches over a period of 55 plus years, after having started playing in church when I was 13 years old. I graduated from North Greenville University and Carson-Newman University with degrees in voice and organ. Being a part of a church that thinks outside its walls and into the community is a blessing for Sandy and me. We love the excitement in serving God that is seen here. The music program is second to none and the preaching is excellent, presented in such a way that two of our grandchildren who attend with us, 10 and 8 years old, can understand the message presented. Sandy and I have two sons and four grandchildren. Abe, our youngest son plays bass guitar in our worship services. We feel blessed to be a part of such a growing, dynamic church.

Cason Pyrtle

Worship Leader - Anderson

I love being a worship leader for Upstate Church! My favorite part is the amazing Christ centered community I am surrounded with. Being able to reach out to anyone at any time for anything and having no doubt they care for me and will be there for me makes working for Upstate Church the best! Last summer I had the opportunity to play keys for the Upstate and everyone immediately made me feel at home no matter what campus I was serving at that week. I am originally from Reidsville, North Carolina, and now I am currently a student at Anderson University studying Worship Leadership. In my free time I enjoy writing music with my friends, watching The Office, and drinking Diet Mountain Dew.

Michelle Walker

Kids Coordinator - Five Forks

What I love most about being the Kids Coordinator at our Upstate Church Five Forks campus is being able to minister and encourage the volunteers and being able to connect with the families. My husband Bryan and our two daughters, McKenna and Brynlee, moved here in December 2016 and decided to attend First Baptist Simpsonville Downtown for the Christmas Eve service that year. It was the first church we tried and being new to South Carolina and not knowing anyone, the church immediately helped us feel welcome and loved! We stayed and never looked back! First Baptist Simpsonville | Upstate Church Five Forks is a place where my family can help other families feel welcome and loved, and for that we are blessed!

Brandon Shiley

Student Coordinator - Five Forks

I love Upstate Church! My freshman year at Anderson University, I got connected with Upstate Church to start helping with students. Not only forming relationships with students, but forming friendships with other staff members has truly been a dream. I can’t imagine being a part of another staff where they prioritize discipleship and raising up the next generation of leaders more than we do! A little bit about myself, I’m from North Augusta, SC and have an awesome family. I have an older sister and a younger brother (love being the middle child)! I graduate from Anderson in the spring of 2022, and will begin the residency at upstate church! In my free time, you will probably catch me hanging out with my friends, watching sports, or playing below average golf! Go gamecocks!

Jack Martin

Worship Coordinator - Five Forks

I grew up in the upstate not far from Simpsonville, and got connected with Upstate Students in 2018, when I was in college. The opportunity to be creative in helping to put together worship services that point people to Jesus is my favorite thing about my job. I love how our church feels like a family, and am so thankful to be a part of it. I met my wife, Alise, at our church and we were so excited to have so many from our church family surrounding us at our wedding in May, 2022. In my free time I love to watch football, play football, watch movies, and spend time with my dogs.

Dustin Self

Worship Leader - Five Forks

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Ashley Meadors

Kids Coordinator - Harrison Bridge

Getting to be the Kids Coordinator at Upstate Church Harrison Bridge enables me to show the love of Christ to children and their families. I assist in connecting families within the church and support volunteers who have a calling to teach and disciple children . I love being able to engage with many people of the church and getting the chance to meet new families. My husband, two kids, and I were a part of the downtown campus for seven years before going to the Upstate Church Harrison Bridge campus. I enjoy bringing together volunteers and families with our other campuses. In my spare time, our family fosters through DSS, I enjoy reading, music, movies, and any chance to spend quality time with friends and family. We like to travel and try new things.

Danielle Schoonover

Assistant Kids Coordinator - Harrison Bridge

One of my biggest joys in life is being able to teach the word of God to children. Being the Assistant Kids Coordinator at Upstate Harrison Bridge Church has given me the opportunity to watch God transform their lives. Together with our volunteers and families, it is so important that we raise our children in a Godly path. I have worked with children for over 15 years and taught Sunday school years before becoming an assistant. With soon to be 5 children of my own, I love to bring in a fun atmosphere and see their excitement grow week by week. Some of my favorite things to do is bake, read, spend family time with my husband and our four children, and laugh with friends.

Alise Harrison

Student Coordinator - Harrison Bridge

I am from North Augusta, South Carolina and moved to the upstate when I began studying at Anderson University. I interned in the summer of 2020 with the student ministry team, and I have been here ever since! I now get to serve with our students at our Harrison Bridge campus! It is such a joy to get to walk with them through different seasons in their lives as we grow closer to Jesus. Being a part of this church family across all of our campuses is such a gift and I am so grateful for what the Lord is doing in and through our church. In my spare time, I love visiting new coffee shops, playing board games, and being outside with our dogs!

Leah Abbott

Kids Coordinator - Mauldin

One of the biggest perks of being the Kids Coordinator at Mauldin is getting to love on all the kids & their families along with all my volunteers! I love teaching the children about Jesus & getting to celebrate with them when they make the best most important decision of their lives. I am originally from Michigan & moved to South Carolina in 1996. My husband grew up at Simpsonville First Baptist & I have been attending since 2002. In my spare time I love spending time with my family. We enjoy going on vacations to Michigan & taking cruises with Royal Caribbean.

Brandon Shiley

Student Coordinator - Mauldin

I love Upstate Church! My freshman year at Anderson University, I got connected with Upstate Church to start helping with students. Not only forming relationships with students, but forming friendships with other staff members has truly been a dream. I can’t imagine being a part of another staff where they prioritize discipleship and raising up the next generation of leaders more than we do! A little bit about myself, I’m from North Augusta, SC and have an awesome family. I have an older sister and a younger brother (love being the middle child)! I graduate from Anderson in the spring of 2022, and will begin the residency at upstate church! In my free time, you will probably catch me hanging out with my friends, watching sports, or playing below average golf! Go gamecocks!

Sam Lawson

Worship Coordinator Worship Leader - Mauldin

I am grateful to be one of the Worship Coordinators here at Upstate Church. God has blessed us immeasurably, and I love being a part of what God is doing in the upstate. Music is one of the most beautiful and unique gifts God has given us. Through singing, playing, writing, creating, and offering our praise as a sacrifice, we are able to intimately connect to our Heavenly Father. I’m passionate about helping others see and experience Jesus in the same way I have. I have lived in the upstate of SC my whole life. I graduated from North Greenville University in 2021 with a BA of Arts in Music Worship Studies. I’d love to study music again one day. I have dedicated my life to spreading the news of Jesus and using the gifts God has blessed me with to do just that. I am beyond excited to see and experience all God does. He has faithfully worked in the past, He is faithfully working today, and He will faithfully work in the future! Until then, let’s get ready!

Susan Ballinger

Receptionist

Being at the front desk gives me the awesome privilege of serving our members and guests by helping, encouraging, and sometimes just a friendly chat is needed. It's a joy and blessing that I never take lightly! David and I have been members here for 24 years and lead a 2nd half of marriage group on Sundays. We have three grown, married children and 4 grands... so far! He's a Tiger and I'm a Gamecock but thankfully we love the Lord a whole lot more.

Judy Cook

Financial Specialist

I have worked in the Finance Department for the past 9 years and I truly look forward to coming to the office every day. After 42 years in banking, God opened up my "dream mini-banking job"! I love working with money, checks, and balances. To work with our staff is an added bonus, they are the most awesome, godly, supportive group of people. Bobby and I have lived and gone to church in this area all of our lives. An ice storm brought us to Simpsonville First Baptist 20 years ago and we have never looked back. We became involved and have watched so much growth and exciting things happen. We enjoy spending time with our family, especially our three grandchildren, we are very blessed to have family close by. I enjoy working on puzzles and spending time at the beach.

Chris Davis

Facilities Specialist

Born and raised in this church I never thought about working here. If you'd like to blame or thank someone, direct your messages to Jeff Jennings. It's a blessing to work here and I love being a part of the great things that are happening through our ministries. I enjoy spending time with my family, karate, and running in my spare time.

Doug McCarthy

Upstate Sports Coordinator

As Upstate Sports Coordinator, I enjoy working with our staff and interns to provide a unique opportunity to the community for children and youth to participate in sports and learn about Jesus at the same time. Many families involved in our sports leagues, basketball camp, or the other events we hold throughout the year, are not involved in our church, and may not be involved with any church. We have an opportunity to build relationships, invite players and families to church, and introduce them to Jesus through sports. My family moved to Simposonville in 2004 and began attending First Baptist Simpsonville almost immediately. Beginning in 2007, both of our children became involved in our sports programs and played for several years. Watching our church grow, and being a part of Upstate Sports has been a blessing to me and my family all these years. I look forward to our church continuing to reach families across the upstate through Upstate Sports and our multisite vision.

Melissa Nelson

AP Specialist

My name is Melissa Nelson, and I serve as the AP specialist in the finance department. I have been blessed to work at the church a combined total of 10 years. Numbers may be boring to some, but I love them. I am thankful to play a small role in the day to day operations of the church while literally working with every single staff member in some capacity. My husband, Jon, and I were married in the chapel and have 3 children (Colten, Cullen and Calla). While standing on our worship center stage, we dedicated all 3 back to the Lord. Currently, our 3 keep us busy in many areas including basketball, golf and dance. We are so thankful for First Baptist Church Simpsonville/Upstate Church.

Kim Robinson

Ministry Assistant

I have enjoyed working at FBS the past 14 years. It is such a blessing to get to be a part of all that God is doing in the Upstate. I am a native Simpsonville-ian. My husband and I met at a church here in town many years ago. His dad was the pastor of the church my family attended. Doug was in the Air Force when we married. We lived in South Dakota for 4 years. Both of our kids were born on an Air Force Base. We have 2 kids, Krystal and Joshua. They are grown with their own families now. Doug and I are empty-nesters and we are blessed with 4 amazing and wonderful grandchildren.

Cindy Smith

Ministry Assistant

Meeting people and getting to know them is by far the best thing about working at First Baptist Simpsonville/Upstate Church. We have some pretty amazing people in our church family and I just wish that everyone could hear the stories of faith and God’s work in someone’s life that are often shared with us. Our family has been a part of this church for over 30 years so we have known four pastors (and many former staff people), built relationships with many people, witnessed our girls grow in their faith and be baptized, and have watched our church become what it is today. My husband, Danny (not the Danny who owns Danny’s Fillin’ & Fixin’. Both great guys but my Danny does not work on cars! :D), serves as a deacon and coaches with our sports program even though our girls aged out of the program many years ago. You may see him in the Kids’ area making sure everything is safe and secure on Sunday mornings. Our oldest daughter, Danielle, and her husband, Alonso live in Fort Mill. Our second daughter, Devon, lives here and attends church here (you may see her checking in your child in the Kids’ area on Sundays). Our youngest daughter, Delaney, also lives here, attends FBS/UC, and is actively involved as a girls’ discipleship leader in our Student Ministry. I love traveling, reading, cooking, and spending time with my family. If you need to get in touch with me at the office – wait until after 9:00 am so the coffee has had time to kick in!

Sheryl Tepper

Ministry Assistant

I am blessed to be working for my church with this group of people. Can you believe they have allowed me to continue working beyond retirement age? So if there is a question regarding membership or baptism, I'm your person! I get an up close view of how God is using FBS/UC. Seeing people come to Jesus is such a thrill. My husband and I enjoy our wonderful family. We have five terrific grandkids.

Greg Ward

Facilities Specialist

I have enjoyed working at FBS|UC for the past 4 years. My wife Jessica and I have lived in Simpsonville for 16 years. We have two wonderful daughters! In my spare time, I enjoy camping.

Lynda Watson

Ministry Assistant

The favorite part about working at First Baptist Simpsonville/Upstate Church is that I get to work with all ages. I have worked with students, music ministry, groups and senior adults. My husband, Pat and I moved to Simpsonville with a 3 month old and new no one 26 years ago. We walked into the Simpsonville First Baptist Child Development Center as it was called then with our son looking for a Daycare. We felt that this is where God had called us to. Our plan was to visit several churches. We visited 2 Sunday School classes and we were at home. We joined First Baptist in December of 1996. Our children Zachary and Miranda have grown up in this church. I have been on staff since April 2013. I love helping people and seeing how God is working in their lives.

Cayden McCraw

Facilities Specialist

The best thing that I love about working at FBS/UC is the close-knit family environment. Even though I have only worked at the church for about a year, I am so grateful to have been welcomed to the team. It brings great joy to my heart seeing the people of our church come through the doors every day smiling and happy to spend time with Lord. I am a student in college studying to be a Christian Counselor. This church has been so great to support my call to ministry. I live in a farm and love riding my horses and spending time with my family.

Neal Owens

Facilities Specialist

Working at FBS | UC is a true blessing. Every day I get to work with an amazing group of people. Being a part of the facilities department means I get to interact with everyone on staff and with many people of the congregation. In my spare time, I love to play bass, read, try new pizza restaurants and spend time with my family.