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 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, avocados, 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
Meet Our Staff
I am most interested in Theology. I love learning about God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Sara joined church staff in 2019, working a few hours each week 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 golf, traveling, playing games with friends and family.
Church Administration/Missions Director
Paul serves as Immanuel’s Church Administrator and Missions Director.
Assistant to the Pastor
As a work-from-home mom, April’s routine varies from day to day, but she mostly spends mornings serving churches, helping them to serve their communities with various administrative tasks.
I love what I do because I am constantly reassured that God has placed me here for this purpose. He has guided my steps. It’s exciting and rewarding!
April also loves a good Target & Starbucks run, playing with her daughter, or completing virtual marathons.
April resides in New York with her husband, Peter, and they have a beautiful 2-year-old daughter, Evie.
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.
You can expect to see Christina here on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to answer questions, point members to the proper resources on our staff and assist in keeping member and church information updated.
Every day is different and I am enjoying assisting members and working with this wonderful staff, they are truly a blessing.
Christina is a native of West Virginia who has lived in the Richmond area for the last 20 years and attended IBC since January 2013. She earned an Accounting degree from Marshall University and has worked in financial services for Dominion, Chesapeake Engineering and New Kent County. Christina was raised in a Christian home and attended church her entire life, but came to realize she had not placed her trust in Jesus as her Savior during her early 30’s and got saved and baptized at that time. She and John have brought up two children, Julia and Robb, who both still reside in Virginia.
I enjoy time with family, playing golf, hiking, board games, and have been playing indoor soccer with some fellow IBCers which has become a highlight of my week. I also enjoy the Crossroads Ministry, spending time with the college and career age group, which has been encouraging and inspiring. They keep me growing and seeking to be more like Christ.
“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.
Mondays and Sundays are my busy days, at IBC. Monday morning begins with Staff prayer and planning meetings, then I spend time studying the Pastor’s upcoming message text, so the worship music may complement the sermon. From there, I choose music, arrange for the musicians and rehearsal times, prepare copies of music for each musician, and make the projection for each service. Toward the end of the week, I wrap up final details and set up the order of service, and make sure things are ready for Sunday. Sunday is the day of action! I arrive extra early, to make sure things are up and running, before rehearsals with the worship team prior to Sunday School. Lots of other rehearsals happen on Sunday morning and evening, also, including choir.
Church Facilities Director
Scott Morris started working with Immanuel in 2014, working on painting and cleaning projects throughout the church and annex. His work on the church facilities team began in 2018 and has now taken the lead as Church Facilities Director.
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.”