FBCE Staff & Leadership
Where to Turn for Religious Guidance
Dr. Ryan Johnson
Dr. Ryan Johnson is originally from Quitman, AR. He graduated with a marketing degree from the University of Central Arkansas in 2014, a Master of Divinity in Christian ministry in 2017 and a Doctorate of Philosophy in New Testament in 2021 from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. His research specialized in the Gospel of Matthew. He also serves as Assistant Professor of Bible at Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville, FL Ryan is an avid Arkansas Razorback fan, and loves to read and golf.
I am wife to Ashlee and mother to Wylee. We have been attending First Baptist Church of Elkins since 2014. I enjoy serving as a Youth leader, Sunday School Teacher, and Children’s Church Teacher. I am passionate about the Church, and specifically First Baptist Church and its role in helping individuals and families grow in their relationship with Jesus and live out their faith in the communities they are planted in. I am thankful for the many leaders and volunteers who have invested so much time and prayer into the lives of our kid and our family, and have made First Baptist Church a home for us. Being able to officially join the staff here at First Baptist Church has been exciting and I am enjoying getting to interact with the First Baptist Church family daily.
"Miss Joanna,” as our littlest ones affectionately call her, has been in charge of our nursery care for 15 years. She is passionate about expressing Jesus’ love to them on the Sundays & Wednesdays when they are in her care.
Joanna and her Husband Tony celebrated their 30th Wedding Anniversary November 2020. She has spent the last 21 years being a Paraprofessional working in the Special Education Classroom. Her hobbies include reading, painting and crocheting. But her favorite thing to do is to spend time with her family and 3 grandchildren. All volunteers who assist in FBCE’s nursery rooms have cleared background checks along with Miss Joanna. You can rest assured that your children are being expertly cared for while at FBCE.
If you have not heard Stephanie play the piano you are missing out on hearing a true talent from God. Stephanie Straight-Richards graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1994 with a degree in piano. She has participated and won several piano competitions and opened Stephanie’s Musique in Dec. of 1994. In 2011 she released her first CD and the second one was released in 2014 - both of which were recorded in Nashville, TN. She has been blessed to serve as the pianist for Lakeview Baptist Church and for First Baptist Elkins. Her favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Stephanie, her husband and little boy Braden reside in Springdale.
Lori Welch & Sheril Boaz
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them. For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19.14
We offer a nursery for infants and toddlers with loving volunteers and staff. Our classes for preschool and elementary students are designed to lay the foundation for kids to have conversations about God and teach them to truly experience God in their lives. Our teachers strive to create an atmosphere that is fun and exciting so kids look forward to coming and experiencing God, not only on Sunday mornings, but also at AWANA on Wednesday nights.
Sheril Boaz & Lori Welch, Children’s Ministry Co-Directors: Sheril & Lori are all about KIDS! For nearly 20 years they have worked side-by-side in initiating & running the AWANA program at FBCE, maintaining vibrant weekly Bible studies for children in pre-school through the 6th grade & putting on an exciting Vacation Bible School each summer. They also organize FBCE’s involvement in children’s summer camp at Camp Siloam. Sheril & Lori are always thinking up new ways to get kids enthused about God!
Keith & Amy Cazer
Children's Ministries: 1st-4th Grade
Keith and Amy Cazer have been married for 26 years. They have 5 children, Brianna, Garrett, Joey, Andy, and Lucas, ranging in age from 24 to 11 years of age. They came to know Jesus as adults and have been members of FBCE since 2004. Keith and Amy have always been committed to displaying their unwavering, love and grace to all the children and youth that they teach and minister to. They are currently teaching Sunday School for grades 1st through 4th and have been involved in AWANA, VBS, Church Camps, and various committees and events and ministries during their time at FBCE. They are excited about what the future holds for First Baptist Church of Elkins and their continued involvement there.
When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Young Adult Bible Studies
Don't worry, we have a place for those over 18!! Through classes and small group programs, our main goal is to make adult ministries at FBCE a place where anyone in our congregation can grow closer to community and each other while ultimately growing closer to Christ through Bible study, shared meals, and simply enjoying life with other adults in a positive environment.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
“I have always had a passion for young people to understand the power of prayer and the importance of how to pray. As a young person in a troubled world I want to teach them the basics of being a Christian so they can grow in the scripture. I look forward to growing my class and invite anyone to please come join me every Sunday. I was saved at a young age and met my wife of 48 years, Towana, at church camp. I have a son Ryan, a daughter-in-law Melissa, two grandchildren, Logan and Sydney, a granddaughter-in-law Madison and a great grandson Hudson. I am blessed!”
Ernie & Carol Heymsfield
Adult Bible Studies
For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am with them. Matthew 18.20
Carol & Ernie have been members of FBCE since they moved to Elkins in 2001. Their passion is to lead others in meaningful Bible study. They are especially eager for folks to discover how relevant Scripture is to life 2,000+ years after it was written! Consider joining them this Spring as they explore a 13-week study entitled “Fundamentals of the Faith” on Sunday mornings.
Adult Bible Studies
Bobbye Sexson is the leader for Women in Christ and has been married to Jim Sexson for 58 years.
Women in Christ is a diverse group of ladies, bound in our love of God and longing for a deeper knowledge into the character of God and how he works in and through our lives. They are studying in the book of Isaiah. The class welcomes all ages and loves sharing with each other different experiences and how God can be seen in their lives today. These ladies laugh and we pray together as they worship God.
Wonderful words from Bobbye “I am a 70+ year Christian, forgiven and freed to live a life without limits. God has protected and guided me in good times and bad. But I think the most wondrous gift God has given me apart from salvation is a deep and abiding joy. In Him I can let go and have the joy of knowing He will see me into tomorrow”.
Bobbye is a true gem to our Church and thankful she leads this class.
Bob Bryant &
Senior Adult Studies
Bob & Jim combine their years of experience & discipleship to lead our Senior Adult group in Bible study each Sunday morning. They welcome one & all to their lively, interactive study of God’s Word, currently in the book of Luke, moving on to the books of Job & Ecclesiastes this summer.
They invite you to “Come study with us! We’ll treat you in so many ways, you’re bound to like one of them!