Meet our Pastors
As Senior Pastor, Michael serves the church by preaching and providing vision and leadership. To shepherd the flock, he desires to know and love the people he leads (1 Thessalonians 2:8).
Pastor Michael holds degrees in biblical studies, theology, higher education, and a Ph.D. in leadership. He serves as a Trustee at Virginia Beach Theological Seminary (Virginia Beach, VA) and on the Elected Council of Baptist Mid-Missions (Cleveland, OH).
In addition to ministry, Pastor Michael is an avid reader and learner. Marathon running, coffee, cribbage, Paw Patrol, and the Cincinnati Reds are a few of his favorite things. He and his wife, Sarah, homeschool their three children and seek to love their neighbors through Christian hospitality.
• B.A. in Biblical Studies, Piedmont International University
• M.Div., Virginia Beach Theological Seminary
• Th.M. in Systematic Theology, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
• Th.M. in Higher Education, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
• Ph.D. in Leadership, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
As Pastor of Discipleship, Jon’s focus is teaching and equipping the saints to grow in their faith in Christ and do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12). He desires every member actively form redemptive relationships with unbelievers and committed to disciple-making relationships with fellow believers (Matthew 28:19-20).
Pastor Jon’s background as a small business operator for 15 years and a church planter for 9 years gives him some unique insights on the challenges of living the Christian life and reaching the lost with the Gospel. He is passionate about Christian hospitality and fellowship.
In addition to ministry, Pastor Jon enjoys singing, watching basketball and football, hunting, and exercising. He and his wife, Liz, love to spend time together taking walks, eating good food, and sipping on espresso. They also enjoy keeping up with their 3 children who are in college and pursuing careers.
• B.S. in Productions and Operations Management, Bob Jones University
• M.Min, Piedmont International University
Student Ministries Pastor
As Student Ministries Pastor, Thomas’s focus is to train up and disciple the youth at Immanuel Baptist Church in the ways that they should go (Proverbs 22:6). His desire is to teach the youth how to be a gospel witness in their communities, and to make disciples who make disciples (Acts 1:8, Ephesians 4:16, Romans 10:14-15). This is born out of the belief that our students do not have to wait until they are older to love, worship, and serve the Lord.
Before serving at Immanuel Thomas served as youth director for a church in the Lynchburg area for a year and a half and as a graduate student assistant at Liberty University for two years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies and a master’s degree in Christian Leadership and Church Ministry from Liberty University.
In addition to ministry, Thomas enjoys cooking, model building, reading, playing video games, and gardening. He and his wife, Jessica, enjoy spending time trying out new recipes, traveling to new places, visiting local restaurants, playing with their pets, and spending quiet moments together. Thomas and Jessica grew up in Powhatan and are enjoying doing life in the Richmond area again.
• B.A. in Biblical Studies, Liberty University
• M.Div in Christian Leadership and Church Ministry, Liberty University
As a Pastoral Intern Paul serves the church by providing lay support and attaining the necessary experience to become a local Pastor and a Chaplain in the United States Army. Paul’s passion includes sharing the gospel with those in his community and a student of the word. As an intern minister, Paul finds his passion providing proper meaning to the word through preaching and teaching. As stated by the Apostle Paul, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (I Timothy 4:2)
Paul is currently pursuing his M.Div. degree with a concentration in Pastoral Studies at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts from Excelsior College. Additionally, Pastor Paul is endorsed by Associated Gospel Churches (AGC) which is a nationally and military recognized endorser for Chaplains.
In addition to ministry, Paul is fascinated by solar technology. Paul enjoys spending time with his family, reading books on apologetics, and staying physically fit. Reading, writing, listening to old preachers, exercising, and watching the Miami Dolphins are a few of the things he likes to do when time permits. He and his wife, Marlene, homeschool their two girls and seek to minister to young married couples.
Meet Our Staff
Church Facilities Associate
JoAnne has served on our church facilities team since 2018.
“I also enjoy hiking and birdwatching.”
JoAnne has a daughter, Rebekah, and they enjoy their bird named Rio!
Sara joined as part-time church staff in 2019 to manage the church website, email newsletter, app, social pages, and assist with print and communications for special projects and events.
“I am grateful to collaborate with a wonderful team of people who sincerely love the Lord and enjoy serving our church family. It is a blessing to hear the prayers of our pastors and staff during the weekly staff meeting.”
Sara enjoys serving the church in this way, along with her digital communications work with Capitol Ministries.
Sara grew up as an Army Brat in Germany where she came to know the Lord as a teenager and developed a heart for serving in any way God guides, especially in the little, unseen ways, “until the whole world hears” (Matthew 24:14).
“I initially found out about Immanuel by looking it up online maaaaaany years ago, so it is fun that this has come full circle. :)”
Sara met Peter here, in Immanuel’s “College Bereans” class in 2003, and they have one son—Jesse. Some things they enjoy: homeschooling, geocaching, disc golfing, traveling, playing games with friends and family.
Church Administration/ Missions Director
Paul serves as Immanuel’s Church Administrator and Missions Director.
Church Facilities, Senior Technician
Scott Morris started working with Immanuel in 2014, working on painting and cleaning projects throughout the church and annex. He began his work as Senior Church Facilities Technician in 2018.
A typical day for Scott includes cleaning and setting up rooms across the whole church for a wide variety of activities and events. He is responsible for maintaining the entire facility and makes sure all is functioning properly, making minor repairs where necessary. He coordinates daily with staff, church leaders, and church members in preparation for activities and events and welcomes you to send him a message when needed.
“I enjoy serving our IBC family and love to see people enjoying fellowship together, worshiping the Lord.”
“Laura and I enjoy many outdoor activities including kayaking, hiking and bicycling. I’m also an avid fan of many University of Virginia Cavaliers sports.”
Brenda has been on staff at Immanuel since 1991, first as our part-time Receptionist, then as a full-time Administrative Assistant in 1996.
Brenda takes care of church finance and office details and helps staff and church members with a variety of projects and needs.
“I most enjoy interacting with, and getting to know, my church family.”
In her spare time, Brenda enjoys crafting and spending time with her family, including her husband, Mike; kids, Kristi, Jeremy & Megan; and grandson, Abraham.
Gary supports staff with computer issues, acquires and maintains church technology equipment (such as computers, backup systems and network equipment) and works on projects such as the move of the sanctuary audio/visual operation to its new location.
“This is the best job I have ever had. I enjoy the variety of technology here at Immanuel. But the best part is working with the staff. They are a joy!”
In his spare time, Gary also enjoys playing chess and reading. You may know Gary’s wonderful wife, Liza, and their children, Rachel, Matthew, and Joshua.
Children's Ministry Director
Gloria has been on staff at Immanuel since 2012 and has quite a variety of tasks from day-to-day. Sunday mornings are for checking in with all the teachers and programs to say, “Hi!” and see if they need anything.
“I will sit in classrooms and sing along with our kids; or listen to the Bible lesson with the children; or assist during craft time.”
Gloria also checks in with our babies and toddlers on Sundays, and enjoys conversations with parents.
Wednesdays include checking in with our Word of Life Leaders and Nursery, then assisting wherever needed.
Gloria also recruits volunteers and coordinates Vacation Bible School, special children’s programs, Operation Christmas Child, and many community service opportunities, reaching out to our neighbors in nursing homes, elementary schools, fire stations, and the community center.
“All in all, my days are spent serving the needs of our children and parents in our church, and as a liason in our local community.”
In her spare time, Gloria enjoys reading, running, biking, and cooking, spending time with friends at the beach, Busch Gardens, the park, or the mall – as well as the peace and quiet as the morning dawns:
“I like to sit on my deck and enjoy the peace and quiet as the morning dawns or as the stars twinkle in the sky at night. I enjoy embracing life in the present.”
“I am delighted to have a supporting role to the work that is happening in the body of Christ here at Immanuel!”
In her spare time, Judi enjoys creating art of all kinds, spending time outdoors—walking, camping, gardening, discovering, and being with her family making the best memories together. She and her husband, Rennie, are privileged to be able to homeschool their four kids as they seek to raise children who would follow and honor God.
Music Ministry Director
Liz started as a junior church pianist at 12 years old. By 15, she was regularly playing for worship services. All of her early music teachers were church musicians, which she considers a great blessing. Along the way, Liz learned to play woodwind instruments, percussion, and organ. She is a 1991 graduate of Bob Jones University in piano pedagogy. She learned choir leadership under the direction of Dr. Fred Coleman at BJU and Mr. Larry Carrier at Morningside Baptist Church.
Liz’s music ministry experience includes teaching music to students of all ages in studio, classroom, and choir settings, serving as church pianist at Community Baptist Church in Bradenton, Florida, and leading as Music Director at Evangel Baptist Church in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. Liz also organized the church music as she and Jon planted LifeSpring Baptist Church in Arkansas.
All of her training and experience prepared Liz for a role as Immanuel’s Music Director working with the pastoral staff to coordinate worship gatherings, overseeing the worship leadership calendar, directing the adult choir seasons, leading the Easter Good Friday service and the Christmas Eve Candlelight service, and mentoring music department leaders and volunteers.
Women's Ministry Director
Sarah has served on the Women’s Ministry Leadership Team since 2013 and accepted the role of Immanuel’s Women’s Ministry Director in 2020. She also works full time as a Clinical Supervisor at a local community service board.
“I enjoy loving and serving Jesus with my brothers and sisters in Christ. Along with that, I enjoy seeing women, specifically, valued as equal image-bearers in the church, reflecting and declaring God’s glory as they are encouraged to be who God made them to be in His redemptive story.”
Sarah also loves exploring Richmond’s awesome food scene with her family and friends, including her husband, Michael; two kids; and their dog, Oh Most Excellent Theophilus Feiler (Theo, for short).