Meet Our Leadership Team

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Meet Our Leadership Team
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Lead Pastor - Joshua Kennon

Early Life

Joshua was born in 1979 and lived in Fredericktown, MO until 2005. At the age of 5, he gave his life to Jesus and began serving him through various music ministries. With his parents, he attended several different denominational churches, and several non-denominational churches while growing up. As a teenager, he was voted Vice President of his youth group. After graduating In 1997, Joshua began leading the student ministry at Mill Creek Free Will Baptist Church in Fredericktown. In 1999, he began attending the Bismarck Free Will Baptist Church and led worship and the student ministry there until 2001.


Youth Ministry

Joshua joined the leadership team of the 1st Free Will Baptist Church in October 2001 when he became the Pastor To Students. During his tenure as the Pastor to Students, he ministered to thousands of teenagers, and became a leader amongst youth leaders in the area.

In 2004, Joshua was brought on as a Purpose Driven Youth Ministry Mentor for the State of Missouri. Along with one other mentor, he was responsible for organizing youth pastors on the state level, and training them in PDYM.

In late 2009 Joshua helped create the ONE Initiative of the parkland area. Working with other youth leaders and youth organizations in the area, the ONE Initiative grew to minister to thousands of teenagers in the community.


Lead Pastorate

After more than 11 years as the Pastor To Students, in November 2012, Joshua was elected as the new Lead Pastor of 1st Church.


Other Community Involvements

Joshua currently serves in these areas...

  • Chairman of the Executive Committee for the St. Francois District Association of Free Will Baptists;
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors for Young Faith in Christ;
  • The Missouri State Free Will Baptist Christian Education Board;
  • Volunteer Chaplain for the Southeast Mental Health Center;
  • Park Hills / Leadington Chamber of Commerce Ambassador.
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Associate / Children's Pastor - Matthew McElyea


Early Life

Matthew was born in St.Louis Missouri in August 1986. He was raised in Cedar Hill by his parents Don and Vicky. Growing up, he learned about the Fathers love and about who his Savior was. He always saw his mother reading Gods Word. His father was always working to keep food on the table.

Matthew has three siblings: two older brothers and a younger sister.

At the age of 12, Matthew was saved in Children’s Church where they attended. He heard that he needed Jesus in Miss Wanda’s Sunday School Class, and then became a follower of Christ in Children’s Church.

Matthew began feeling God’s call to preach at the age of 16. From that point on, he started his journey to learn, study, and find out as much as he could about God through his Word. He has preached many different times in different denomination’s until he found a home church in DeSoto, where he began working with Bob Thebeau. He even worked with his father-in-law, Roger Driggs, for a short time as an associate pastor.

Matthew is married to Melinda and they have four children. He was top of his class at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school and has cooked for millionaires, but God had a bigger plan.

In October of 2015, Matthew had a car accident that left him near death. After recuperating, God called him back into the ministry. Through all the craziness of his life, God has brought Matthew closer to Him and called placed children on his heart.


Associate / Children's Pastor

Matthew now serves as the Associate Pastor / Pastor To Children here at the 1st Free Will Baptist Church and is excited to be a part of you children’s lives!

Celebrate Recovery Leader / Treasurer - Jerry Jensen

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Deacon - Garry Sloan

Deacon - Darrell Biri

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Trustee - James Coleman

Trustee - Roger Byers

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Clerk - Cathy Cockrum

Financial Secretary - Paula Gremminger