Dale Thompson, Pastor Emeritus
Dale grew up in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. Saved at the age of ten, he was called to preach the gospel of Christ at fifteen years of age. He was ordained to the ministry in 1971. He began to pastor in 1973 after Graduating from Oklahoma Baptist University. Bro. Dale has pastored baptist churches in Arkansas and Oklahoma for 46 years.
He has served as a member of the executive board of the Arkansas State Convention and is the past president of the Pastor’s Conference of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. He is past chairman of the Board of Trustees at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, at Wake Forest, North Carolina. He and his wife Toni have been married since 1974 and have two Sons, Tad and Tyler, and four grandchildren
Matt Passmore, Associate Pastor
Matt Passmore is from Lawton, Oklahoma. He grew up playing sports and later earned a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education with emphasis in math from Cameron University. Matt married Lisa in 1997, and they have 3 girls, Nicole, Michelle, and Pacie and one boy, Deacon. After teaching and coaching for 7 years, the Lord gave new direction and called him into full time ministry. He served as a children’s pastor from 2004 and then joined first Baptist Church in 2009 as the Children’s Pastor and has also served as the Next Generation Pastor at FBC.
Jacob Ray, Music & Worship Pastor
Jacob grew up in Fort Smith, AR and attended First Baptist Church from elementary school through high school. He began serving in ministry as an intern in the music ministry here at FBC. Following his internship, he served in three churches before being called to be the Worship and Music Pastor here at First Baptist. Jacob has sung in choirs and played in the band since he was a young boy and received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Central Arkansas in 2009. He then completed his Master of Media and Communication from Dallas Theological Seminary in 2013. Jacob has been married to his wife Haley for six years, and they are excited to have the opportunity to serve at their home church. Jacob is passionate about developing true worshippers, promoting multi-generational worship, leading the congregation in worship of Jesus Christ, and their son, Judah and daughter Hadley.
Mark Weaver, Associate Pastor of Family Ministries
Mark has been in the ministry since 1976. He has served as pastor of two churches and recognized from those experiences that God was calling him in a different direction. In 1990 he went to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where he obtained a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Counseling and has been counseling since 1991. He joined the staff of First Baptist Church in August 2005 as Associate Pastor of Family Ministries. Mark has been married to his wife Cathy over thirty years and they have two adult children. “God made it clear several years ago that His plan for my ministry was in counseling. I’ve enjoyed the journey since then and have seen His hand in the work.”
Eli Leslie, Director of Children’s Ministry
Eli Leslie grew up in Van Buren, AR and attended First Baptist Church Fort Smith from pre-school through high school. He began serving in ministry here at FBC for many years under some wonderful pastors and leaders. Eli served in two churches as the Children’s Pastor before being called to be the Director of Children’s Ministry here at First Baptist. Eli has had a love for ministering to kids his whole life. He received his Bachelors of Science in Architectural Studies with a music minor from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville in 2015. He then completed his Masters of Arts in Christian Education from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2019. Eli married his wife Hannah in 2015, and has two beautiful daughters named Parker and Briley. He has a heart for children, and seeing them come to know Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior.
Will Boyd, Director of Digital Communications/College & Young Adults
Will grew up in Fort Smith and began attending First Baptist Church in junior high. After high school, he served in many roles at FBC, including helping in his mother’s preschool class, helping in the Children’s ministry, and being a Sunday school teacher and intern in the Youth ministry. He also worked several summers at a Christian adventure camp in northwest Arkansas. During this time, God revealed that His plan for Will was in ministry. Will left FBC in 2017 right after marrying his wife Cara, to begin bi-vocational ministry as the Children’s Minister at First Southern Baptist in Central City, Arkansas. Will joined the staff at FBC as Director of Children’s Ministry in January 2019 and then transitioned to his current position in August 2020. He and Cara are excited to be at FBC with their two children Bella Grace and Liam.
Johna Gaddis, Director of Preschool Ministries
Johna surrendered her life to full-time Christian service at age 16 at Barling, First Baptist Church. She graduated (with honors) at the University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelor’s of Science in Education the spring of 1980, which is the same year she married her high school sweet heart, Steve. It was one year later that Johna would begin serving, on staff, at First Baptist Church. God has blessed them with two children: Julaina Thornton (husband Aaron) and Sam Gaddis. Johna has served the church over 34 years and loves her Preschoolers. She has made children her life’s work. One of her greatest joys has been to see the children she loved and ministered to have children of their own.