Dr. Craig Ward is originally from Maryville, Tennessee, where he served local churches for 24 years. The first five years of his ministry were spent as a student pastor and an associate pastor. Next, he served for 19 years as a senior pastor with six of those years as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Strawberry Plains, followed by 13 years as Senior Pastor of Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church in Newport. After that, he moved to Georgia and began serving as Senior Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in August of 2013, where he has been ever since. This August, he will complete his 10th year of ministry with the Bethlehem family.
Dr. Ward earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, TN, and his Master of Arts and Doctor of Educational Ministries degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Family is a major part of his life. He and his wife, Anne, have been married for 29 years. Their children are Aaron and Hannah Brooks, Julianna Ward, Micah and Sydney Ward, and Noah Ward. They also have two grandchildren, Thomas Brooks and Joyce Anne.
Dr. Ward has a heart for people and an earnest desire to see the principles of Scripture applied to every aspect of life. He has a passion for the community and a desire to see people not only know Christ but grow daily in their relationship with Him. His sense of humor, passion, genuine love for people, and his practical application of Scripture are a trademark of his ministry.
Dr. Ward loves spending time with his family and is an avid jogger.
Minister of Worship
Matthew hails from the booming metropolis of Auburn, GA. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia. He has been serving in local church ministry for 32 years. He and his wife, Jennifer have been married 29 years and have 2 children, Bryson and Brianna. Matthew loves movies, cooking, reading, and motorcycle riding!
Minister of Families/Senior Adults
Chip grew up in Thomson, GA. He is a graduate of Shorter College (now Shorter University). He has served in local churches for 24 years. Chip and his wife, Deann, have been married 28 years. They have 3 children – Annie, Lily, and Cooper. Chip enjoys reading, sports, grilling out, and attempting to golf.