Fred Lodge Senior Pastor
Fred joined the FBC family on July 17, 2005, coming from a nine year ministry in Nashville, TN. In 1976 he received his Master of Divinity Degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY majoring in New Testament Greek interpretation and application, and pastoral counseling. He completed his Doctor of Divinity work just prior to coming to Blairsville. He and his wife, Valeria, have three sons, all who are married and involved in vocational ministry. They have seven grandchildren.
Derrick Hartley Minister of Spiritual Development
I was born and raised in Birmingham, AL (Sweet Home Alabama and Roll Tide). That’s where I fell in love with Jesus, church, and my wife, Leigh Ann. I have three great kids (Chance, Clair, Cooper) and two spoiled dogs (Louis, Opie). I enjoy spending time with my family, the outdoors, fitness, and college football. My passion, however, is seeing people mature in their walk with Christ and nurturing them in that process. It’s great to be a part of the FBC family!
Ed Lawrie Minister of Music
Eric Purser Associate Minister of Music
Eric joined the FBC family on September 1, 2010. Prior to his calling as a minister in Blairsville, Eric was the bi-vocational minister of music at Towaliga Baptist Church in Jackson, GA. Eric also taught band classes in the public schools of Jackson, Folkston, and Fort Valley. He and his beautiful wife, Laura, have two sons of which they are very proud.
Debbie Braswell Children's Minister
Debbie joined the FBC family July 2016, after serving 18 years at a church in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Debbie began her spiritual journey at FBC Blairsville as a child – she was baptized in the Rock Chapel when she was 8 years old. She is a graduate of Tift College, The University of North Georgia, and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, with a Master of Education degree in Early Childhood Education, and a Master of Arts degree in Christian Education. Prior to pursuing full-time ministry, Debbie taught elementary school for 9 years. She and her husband, Randy, enjoy spending time outdoors in these beautiful North Georgia mountains.
Stephanie Gore Assistant Children's Minster
Eric Van Pelt Minister of Missions
Eric Van Pelt serve with SIM USA currently as the Southeast Regional Director after serving for 12 years in Peru. Eric's ministry there was 2 fold as the Project Director for Campamento La Joya outside the city of Arequipa and teaching in a Theological Education ministry. Since returning to the US in 2012 and serving as the SE Director, Eric also serves as the Staff Minister here at First Baptist Blairsville. Eric and his lovely wife Tina have 3 awesome children: Joanna, Matthew and David. It is my privilege to use the experiences that God has given me on the mission field to expand the mission's emphasis here at First Baptist and many other churches and Universities around the Southeast as well as prepare SIM mission appointees as they prepare to serve God around the world in over 70 countries.