Meet Our Staff
Paul Baxley became Senior Minister of First Baptist Church of Athens in June of 2010 following more than six years as Senior Minister of The First Baptist Church in Henderson, North Carolina. Earlier in his ministry, Paul served as Campus Minister at Wingate University in Wingate, North Carolina, Interim Pastor of Wingate Baptist Church, Director of Congregational Relationships at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, Virginia and as Associate Minister of The First Baptist Church of Henderson, NC. Paul holds degrees from Wake Forest University, Duke Divinity School and The Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. Paul is a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
As Senior Minister, Paul’s primary responsibilities include preaching, teaching, worship leadership, pastoral care and working with lay leadership and other staff to provide direction to the mission and ministry of First Baptist Church. He is deeply committed to seeing First Baptist Church continue to live into the vision discerned in 2013, namely that “First Baptist Church Athens is a thriving community in Christ where we all participate in worship and are all transformed by mission.”
In addition to his ministry at First Baptist, Paul has been actively involved in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. He presently serves as a member of the Governing Board of the Fellowship, and previously served as a Moderator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia and as a member of the Coordinating Council. He has also served a member and chair of the Board of Visitors of the McAfee School of Theology, as member and chair the Board of Directors of the Baptist House of Studies at Duke Divinity School, and as a member and officer of the Board of Directors for the Center for Congregational Health. While at First Baptist Athens, Paul has been invited to preach in chapel at McAfee School of Theology and at Wingate University, and also to deliver lectures and presentations on preaching at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond and at the Mercer Preaching Consultation.
Paul is married to Jennifer, who is a Physical Therapist at St Mary’s Hospital. They have four children (Olivia, Maria, Matthew, and Caroline).
Minister of Christian Community
Frank joined the staff at First Baptist in 1989 as the Minister of Education. The title changed in 2013 to Minister of Christian Community. He serves the areas of Christian education and spiritual formation, including the Adult Sunday School, small group Bible studies, resources for spiritual growth and discipleship, young adult ministry, and other congregational community experiences and events.
Frank is a Greenville, SC native. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Religion from Furman University, a Master of Divinity in Pastoral Care from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Adult Education from the University of Georgia. Before coming to Athens, he served at Trinity Baptist Church in Seneca, South Carolina for three years as Associate Pastor of Youth and Education (1986-89).
Frank contributes to the field of Christian education as a writer, teacher, and conference leader. Published materials include adult curriculum units for Smyth & Helwys Formations Literature, and the Center for Teaching Churches Learning Module curriculum. As an adjunct with the McAfee School of Theology, Frank has taught Ministry with Adults and Church Administration. He is certified with the Prepare/Enrich program for pre-marital counseling. Currently he is serving as a board member with Baptists Today.
Frank has been an active member of the Athens community. Currently serving on the board of the Samaritan Center for Counseling and Wellness, he has served previously as Chair of the Leadership Athens Steering Committee, a Board member and president of the Athens Area Council for the Prevention of Child Abuse, and a Rotarian from 1991-2008 with the Classic City Club of Athens Rotary club, serving as secretary, treasurer, and Club President in the 2002-03 year.
He is married to Teresa Hunt Granger, a retired music teacher and Children’s Choir Coordinator for First Baptist Athens. They have two sons, Ben, who lives and works in Charotte NC, and Adam, who lives and works in Greensboro, NC. Frank enjoys cooking, bicycling, playing golf, and yard work.
Minister of Youth and Mission
Brandon is a North Carolinian, raised in High Point, graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, and has a M.Div. from Duke Divinity School. He grew up in youth group with his wife Stacey. They have a daughter Emerson, born in 2016 and a dog Calvin, 2011. Brandon likes to be outside, play golf, watch The Office, and cook.
On working with our youth…“Working with teenagers to grow and live their faith is one of the best parts of my job. The best moments are hearing High School seniors speak of their future careers being affected by their experiences of Jesus at FBC or watching them live more faithful lives than we often give them credit for.”
On his role with missions… “One of my passions, with youth and all people, is to help people’s faith grow beyond what we believe into how we live. What we believe about Jesus as Lord & Savior is the foundation, but our role as Christians is to be the light. Missions is not a feeling we get from ‘Serve the City Day’ but rather a deep commitment to living in ways that show others Jesus. One time service opportunities are valuable and important, but committing our personal and church time and resources toward being Christ in the world is our ultimate goal.”
From others about Brandon…
“Brandon connects very well with his youth group. He makes each and every one of them feel special in their own way. He guides them without judgement, but with a firmness that they respond to.”
“From the ways that he develops ongoing and personal relationships with our community mission partners to the way he regularly shows up at our children’s sporting events, Brandon’s cares deeply about people.”
“He has a knack for connecting with people of all ages. The Youth appreciate his sincerity and his love for life. The parents appreciate his honesty and his care for their children. Also, he’s a decent ping pong player, but not as good as he thinks.”
Minister of Music
Dr. Randy C. Brittain began serving as Minister of Music at First Baptist Church Athens in October 2006. He directs and oversees a rich and varied Music Ministry with choral, instrumental, and handbell choirs for all ages that serves the church and the greater Athens community. He is a native of Morganton, North Carolina and came to Athens from the First Baptist Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Randy has a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education/Voice from Mars Hill College (1983), a Masters of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (1986), and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (1994). Randy has taught voice, choral, and church music on the faculties of Greensboro College, UNC-Greensboro, Salem College, Campbell University, and Gardner-Webb University.
Randy has served as Minister of Music in Baptist churches in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. He is actively involved in the American Choral Directors Association, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and Polyphony: Fellowship of Pastoral Musicians. He has musical editions and articles published by Hildegard Publishing Company in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania on the choral music of Amy Cheney Beach (1867-1944). He recently served on the Editorial Board of the Celebrating Grace Hymnal which was published in 2010.
Randy is a strong advocate for collaborative music making among downtown churches and has left his imprint upon the churches and communities he has served with joint performances of oratorios, cantatas, hymn festivals, and church music workshops. Recent performances in Athens have included a hymn festival When In Our Music God Is Glorified in October 2015 and the High Lonesome Bluegrass Mass with the Chuck Nation Band in May 2016.
Randy’s wife Anne serves as Organist and Music Associate at First Baptist Church. She also teaches on the faculties of Emmanuel College and Toccoa Falls College. They have one son, Rhett, who is a student at the University of North Georgia majoring in Film and Digital Media Production.
Minister for Children, Families, and Outreach
Emily Harbin joined First Baptist as the Minister to College Students in August 2017. She leads Wednesday night Bible studies, and teaches the College Sunday School class. Emily also coordinates activities for students including local mission projects and fellowship events. She is passionate about intergenerational activities, and works to connect students into the life of the church.
Emily is a student at McAfee School of Theology working on her Master of Divinity with a focus in Congregational Ministry. Emily was awarded the McAfee Leadership Scholarship upon her admittance in 2017.
Emily has a B.A. in Family and Consumer Sciences from the University of Georgia. During her time in Athens she worked at the Boys and Girls Club on 4th Street and completed an internship at the Lake Oconee Community Church in Greensboro, GA. She was active in Greek life and participated in Dawg Day of Service. After graduating, she served for two years as Director of Youth and Children’s Ministries at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, GA.
Emily grew up in Dalton, GA, where she was active in the children’s and youth ministries of First Baptist Dalton. Raised by two UGA graduates, Emily is proud to claim her Bulldog roots and grateful to serve the Athens community she calls home.