Bill Hardee joined the staff as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in February 2009. He is a native Georgian and grew up in Jesup. He adores his lovely wife Jane and is proud of his three children. He earned his PhD at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Throughout his ministry, Dr. Hardee has also served as Chair of the Religion Department at Tift College, Headmaster of Cross Keys Christian Academy, a Hospice Chaplain, an adjunct professor at Mercer University, and has pastored 6 Churches.
Pastor Bill is known for his contagious laughter and his fun-loving ways. When he is not being knocked of sailboats or becoming lost in the Canadian Rockies, he and his wife enjoy traveling, hiking, cycling, and watching reruns of their favorite television programs. He is terrible at golf but enjoys being with friends in the out-of-doors wandering in the woods looking for his golf ball.
Steven Norris joined the staff of First Baptist Church as Associate Pastor in May 2018. Though he was born in Meridian, MS, he calls Memphis, TN his hometown. He has been identified by many roles and titles throughout his life: pastor, teacher, fire chaplain, missionary, musician, author, professor, photographer, artist, nature-lover, storyteller, world traveler, and bibliophile (book addict). His most important roles, however, are those of husband and father. Steven and Michelle have been married since 2002 and they have two amazing boys.
Steven’s high school job at an office supply store has made him a certifiable “pen snob.” His love of coffee probably borders on an addiction. He is also pretty sure that he was blessed/cursed with the spiritual gift of sarcasm. Steven is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, the North Carolina School of the Arts, and Gardner-Webb University with degrees in music and theology. He has served various churches and schools as music minister, senior pastor, adjunct college professor, and middle/high school theology teacher.
Sarah Murray began serving First Baptist Church of Griffin as Minister to Families with Children in July 2014. With a love for people and for stories, Sarah is driven by a calling to help families discover their place in God’s story through the routine and the extraordinary. Through experiences with her family of origin and the church families she’s been a part of, Sarah is confident that although life together is not always easy, we are better servants of Christ and one another when we live out our faith in the context of community. Fred Rogers is one of Sarah’s faith heroes and models for equipping and encouraging children and parents in Christian faith.
A native of Thomasville, Georgia, Sarah is a graduate of both Mercer University and McAfee School of Theology. Prior to First Baptist of Griffin, Sarah served First Baptist of Fitzgerald, Georgia. She is married to David, and they enjoy traveling, doing household projects together, trying new foods and recipes and making one another laugh. Sarah has an infectious enthusiasm and is courageous! Growing up, she asked repeatedly for a pet snake! Also, for four years she created children’s sermons “on the fly” based on a random object children would bring to worship.
James G. Patterson, Jr. (Jim)
Jim earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion from William Carey College, the Master of Divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and the Doctor of Ministry degree from the Florida Center for Theological Studies, Miami, Florida. He has had a varied and rich ministry beginning with his military service. He had the privilege of serving in four of our five Armed services: as an enlisted man in the U. S. Army, where he was called to ministry, and then as a Navy Chaplain serving with the Navy, Marines, and the United States Coast Guard. Jim retired from the Navy after 23 years of active duty with the rank of Commander June 2000. He has been the pastor of three churches, Associate Pastor of a large multi-staff church, and interim pastor of one church. For the past twelve years, he has served in the healthcare community working with end of life issues and senior adults, first as a hospice chaplain and then as chaplain at a large continuing care retirement community. He and his wife, Sabrina, came to First Baptist Church Griffin July 2017 when he began his ministry as Minister of Pastoral Care.
Jim hails from Alabama but has lived on both coasts, in several states, and in foreign countries. He and Sabrina have five grown children and eight grandchildren. They enjoy traveling, history, and antiquing/junking. Jim enjoys reading, collecting old books, college football, and fishing.
Seth Brown earned his Bachelor of Art in History from Georgia College and State University. He has a diverse ministry background. His call into ministry began with his work at children’s homes in North Carolina and also Georgia. He has served at three different churches as minister to students, most recently at First Presbyterian Church of Griffin, prior to joining the staff of First Baptist Griffin in March of 2018. He is married to Emily, and they have two boys: Xander and Sheppard.
Seth grew up with a love of sports and the outdoors. In his hometown of Lilburn, he is a neighborhood two hand touch football legend. He is a huge fan of Duke Basketball, the DAWGS, music, and coffee. If he is not in the middle of a nerf gun battle or a trampoline wrestling match, you will probably find him listening to some music, sipping coffee on the back porch. He doesn’t believe in participation trophies, skim milk, or drinking from a day-old pot of coffee. He does believe in Chaco tans, sarcasm being a love language, and the fact that fractions are indeed evil.