Meet our Staff

Matt Marston

Senior Minister

Born and raised in Memphis,Tennessee, Matt Marston was the son of a pastor who served in Memphis for 29 years.  In his early years, Matt’s parents instilled a love for God and the church. After receiving his Bachelor or Arts in Religious Studies from Millsaps College in Jackson, MS, Matt attended Duke Divinity School where he earned his Masters of Divinity with a certificate in Baptist Studies. In November, 2009, Matt was ordained at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. Soon after, he was called as the Senior Minister at Trinity Baptist Church in Moultrie, GA where he served for 10 years. Matt is married to Elizabeth, a social worker in private practice and the couple has two children. His first Sunday at FBC Athens will be October 18, 2020.

Frank Granger

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.

Randy Brittain

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.

Janet Cleland

Minister for Children, Families, and Outreach

Janet comes to First Baptist Church of Athens, GA after having served as Associate Pastor for Children at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Carrollton, GA. Before moving to Carrollton, she was a life-long resident of California. She served in California as a Children’s Pastor, Church Planter Missionary, Minister of Education and Administration, Minister to Preschoolers, YMCA Center director, and Principal of Merryhill Country School. In addition, she has been a conference leader and trainer in curriculum development, a women’s retreat speaker, and a Christian Education consultant for the California Baptist State Convention.

Emily Harbin

Minister to Students and Young Adults

Emily Harbin joined First Baptist as the Minister to College Students in August 2017.  In the fall of 2018, she assumed responsibility for our Youth Program as well. She leads Wednesday night Youth Activities, teaches the College Sunday School class, and is leading the Young Adult Group.  Emily 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.

Anne Brittain

Organist and Music Associate

Anne has a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, a Master of Music degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the Bachelor of Music with Distinction degree from the Eastman School of Music.  In addition to her duties as Organist/Music Associate at First Baptist Church, she currently teaches voice on the faculty of Toccoa Falls College here in Georgia.  She has also taught on the music faculties of North Carolina Central University, UNC-Greensboro, and Mars Hill College (NC).  She has served as Director of Music at churches in North Carolina and as Organist for churches in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia.  She is married to Randy Brittain, has one son, Rhett, and enjoys fine art painting, needlecrafts, and cooking.

Connie Ivester

Interim Missions Minister

Connie Ivester and his wife Martha, members of First Baptist Church since 2014, live in Elberton, Georgia. Connie and Martha are active in many areas of our church life and mission, and are members of the 10-10-10 Sunday school class where Connie serves as one of the teachers. Prior to their membership here, Reverend Ivester served as a pastor for over 40 years in various congregations in Northeast Georgia. He is also retired from Advantage Behavioral Health Systems, where he was a counselor. Additionally, he served as an adjunct faculty member for Truett-McConnell College and Athens Technical College. His current community involvement includes membership on the following boards: Friends of Advantage, Elbert County Board of Health and the Elberton Housing Authority. He and Martha have two children and four grandchildren. Connie says of their involvement here: “We are extremely happy to be a part of the Athens First Baptist family and are always eager to serve alongside such wonderful people.

Sharon Jenkins

Communications Manager

Sharon Jenkins joined the FBC staff in January 2015 after serving as a church communicator in Cincinnati, OH for over seven years.  She is a graduate of the Grady School of Journalism at UGA and oversees the website, print publications, and social media for FBC.

Keisha Ryals

Ministry Associate

Keisha joined the staff of First Baptist Church in October 2019.  She provides support to the Clergy, Church Teams, and Volunteers. 

Mark Channell

Facilities Manager

A retired High School Principal from Oconee County, Mark joined the staff of First Baptist Church in the Fall of 2014. He oversees the overall maintenance and scheduling of the church facility.

Cheri Rose

Administrative Associate

Cheri joined FBC in January 2008. She is the church bookkeeper and she provides administrative support to the Deacons and Administrative Division committees.

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