Our Pastors

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DAVID ATKINSON Senior Pastor

David is a native of Jacksonville, Florida. He holds undergraduate degrees in Mathematics and Sociology from Lambuth College in Jackson, Tennessee. He also attended The Divinity School at Duke University, where he earned a Masters of Divinity degree. David responded to the call to ordained ministry at the age of nineteen. He has served churches in North Carolina, Kansas, West Tennessee and Kentucky. At his most recent appointment, David served Benton 1st UMC for the past eleven years.

David and his wife Susan, have three grown children: Christopher, Stephen and John Michael.

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DEBORAH SUDDARTH Executive Pastor

Deborah was born and raised in Oklahoma, graduating from Elgin High School. Deborah began going to church when she was in Kindergarten at Grace United Methodist Church, Altus, Oklahoma. While at Red Rock Canyon church camp during her senior year of high school, Deborah felt called to youth ministry . She attended Oklahoma City University where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Religion with a minor in Psychology. She moved to Nashville and attended Vanderbilt University Divinity School where she focused on Pastoral Counseling. As a mom, wife, and pastor, she later obtained a Doctorate of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary.

Deborah and her husband Trey have 2 children: Reese and Douglas.

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TONDALA HAYWARD Associate Pastor

Rev. Tondala Hayward was raised in Memphis, Tennessee. She has conferred a Bachelor of Science in Education with sociology minor from the University of Memphis, Master of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix and Master of Divinity from Memphis Theological Seminary. She taught students at Shelby County Schools, Youth Villages and Perea Preschool. She’s an effective communicator of God’s word and is known for her practical preaching style, which helps listeners understand scripture through reason and experience.  Leading and participating in ministries in churches and communities has afforded her with many opportunities to express the love of Christ. Being a pastor and licensed teacher undergirds her with tools to cultivate individuals spiritually, academically and mentally.

Our Staff

MICHAEL ANANEA
MICHAEL ANANEATechnical Director
ERIN CRESSMAN BAKKEN
ERIN CRESSMAN BAKKENCreative Director
LINDSAY CARPENTER
LINDSAY CARPENTERMusic Ministry Administrative Assistant
BEVERLY CROSSNOE
BEVERLY CROSSNOEExecutive Administrator
MELANIE DUNCAN
MELANIE DUNCANExecutive Director of Family Life
ERIC EVANS
ERIC EVANSA/V Coordinator
SUSAN FRENCH
SUSAN FRENCHDirector of Preschool
JENNY GARROTT
JENNY GARROTTDirector of Youth Ministry
ROBIN HASTINGS
ROBIN HASTINGSOffice Manager
DON HENIGAN
DON HENIGANFinance Administrator
CLEVE HORTON
CLEVE HORTONNight Receptionist
KATE JONES
KATE JONESDirector of Modern Worship
MICHAEL PARKES
MICHAEL PARKESFacilities Manager
JILL RAWIE
JILL RAWIEAssistant Director of Preschool
TERESA RECTOR
TERESA RECTORProduction Coordinator
JENNIFER RICKS
JENNIFER RICKSDirector of Nursery
SHELBY RUCH-TEEGARDEN
SHELBY RUCH-TEEGARDENDirector of Children's Ministries
LEIGH ANN SCHLESSINGER
LEIGH ANN SCHLESSINGERFront Desk Receptionist
BLAINE TOOLEY
BLAINE TOOLEYExecutive Director of Worship & the Arts
SHARON WALKER
SHARON WALKERMembership Secretary
WAYNE WARREN
WAYNE WARRENAssistant Director of Worship
CRYSTAL WILSON
CRYSTAL WILSONChildren's Ministry Assistant