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MEET OUR MINISTRY TEAM

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Rev. Brent White

Senior Pastor

Rev. Brent White was born in Atlanta in 1970 and grew up in Tucker, GA. He became a Christian in 1984 and was an active member of the Briarcliff Baptist Church in northeast Atlanta. In fact, he met his wife, Lisa, at Briarcliff when her mother came on staff as a children's minister in the late 80s (Lisa was a student at Auburn at the time). Brent has two degrees from Georgia Tech--in Electrical Engineering and Management. Lisa and Brent got married in 1993 and joined Tucker First United Methodist Church after they bought a house in Tucker in 1996. 

Lisa and Brent took the Disciple I Bible study (as students), after which Brent facilitated the class for a couple of years. Through this experience, Brent began to sense that God was calling him into pastoral ministry. In 2004, he left his engineering career, enrolled in seminary, and pastored Christ United Methodist in Forsyth, GA, as a student pastor while completing and M.Div. at Emory in 2007.

Brent was commissioned as a Provisional Elder that year and became an Associate Pastor at Alpharetta First, where he served for six years. During those years he was in charge of the church's contemporary service, in which he preached weekly. He was ordained an elder in full connection in 2010.

In 2013, Brent was appointed to serve the Hampton United Methodist in Hampton (near the NASCAR track). He served there for five years. He was appointed to Toccoa First United Methodist Church in 2019 and has been serving here since. 

One highlight of Brent's ministry was traveling, on two occasions, to Nakuru, Kenya, where he taught the "License to Preach" course to indigenous United Methodist pastors in that country.

Brent has a passion for preaching the gospel and teaching the Bible. He enjoys Christian apologetics--defending the Christian faith and answering objections that skeptics often raise about it. 

Brent's wife, Lisa, has spent her career in education. She taught high school chemistry and physical science for nine years in Snellville, GA, before they had kids. She is now a Senior Content Specialist with K12.com, the nation's largest online education provider. She also runs a fully accredited "hybrid education" school in Tucker. 

Brent and Lisa have three children: Elisa, Townshend, and Ian. 

Brent loves his Yellow Jackets--win or lose--and has season tickets to Georgia Tech football games. He enjoys music; he collects vinyl records, goes to concerts, and plays guitar. He loves The Office TV show. And he's crazy about his dog, Ringo, an English springer spaniel. 

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Rev. April Briant

Associate Pastor

Rev. April Briant has been serving as the Associate Pastor at Toccoa First as well as the Pastor-in-Charge at St. James United Methodist Church since 2020. At her previous appointments, she has served congregations as the Pastor in Charge, the Pastor of Church Operations, and the Pastor of Communications. 

April earned a Bachelor's degree in Legal Studies (a political science degree) in 2010 and. Master's of Divinity in 2014 before entering full-time ministry. In 2022, she was fully ordained as an elder in the North Georgia United Methodist Conference. 

April is passionate about calling, equipping, and mobilizing disciple-making disciples and helping every person discover and walk out who they are in Christ. Her background in corporations (executive assistant, assistant corporate meeting planner, sales and marketing analyst) and law firms (litigation paralegal/legal secretary) helps her relate to the daily life of congregation members and people in the community. She came up in her home church as a lay person serving on many committees, serving as an advanced lay speaker, leading the women's ministries, and working on staff before moving out in response to her call to preach and teach the word of God to the people of God as a pastor. 

 

Equipping the laity to be the church will always be the primary focus for Pastor April. She delights in helping believers (1) be at ease sharing the story about what Christ has done in their lives with their friends and neighbors and (2) discovering and walking out the unique way God has equipped them to be a servant leader for the Kingdom. She loves to connect to the community and develop relationships for Christ out beyond the walls of the church, especially alongside the believers. April sees it as her privilege to learn from everyone and to encourage them along the way to share the great gifts God has placed in them for this world. She knows that every disciple has much needed hope to offer the lost and hurting in this world and in our community, each in their own unique way.

 

Pastor April has a big-picture, no-drama approach with a strong focus on details. She has been blessed with the natural ability to develop processes to increase efficiency and accuracy, engages in strengths-based leadership and creative problem solving. She is a life coach, adult interview prep resource, math and English tutor, mentor, and organization and study strategies coach; she also teaches hospitality as a service and assists in the development of mission statements. She loves the team approach as she administers programs, analyzes societal impacts, facilitates communications, and inspires leadership through service.  Pastor April calls, equips, and mobilizes disciple leaders that call, equip, and mobilize other disciple leaders for the Kingdom. 

April is the proud mama of Hope (22) and Faith (16).  She loves riding and working with horses, kayaking on still water, biking with friends on scenic routes, and investing time with her family and friends. She can be reached via cell phone at (678) 571-7818 or via email at april@fumctoccoa.org

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Dr. Rich Griffith is heading up the leadership of the Youth Ministry Team. Rich has had close to 40 years of ministry experience, 30 of which have been exclusively Youth Ministry with organizations such as Young Life (pioneering YL's Middle School Ministry called, "Wyld Life"), FCA and multiple churches. Rich is the Associate Professor of Youth Ministry at Toccoa Falls College. His degrees are in Special Education, (B.S.), Master of Theology (MA. Th.), Doctorate - Youth, Family and Culture (D. Min.), and a second Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership (MAOL). He currently pastors a church in Lula, serves on the Board of the Association of Youth Ministry Educators, is a contributing writer to D6 Family Ministry Journal, rootedministry.com, Brink Young Adult Devotional Magazine and has recently released, "Voices: Helping Our Children and Youth Listen to Wise Counsel" (Randall House Publishing). He is a frequent Conference, Ministry Leadership and Camp Speaker throughout the United States.

Dr. Rich Griffith

Youth Director

Kayla Griffith was born and raised in Oakway, South Carolina. She graduated from West-Oak High School in 2009 and then enrolled at Southern Wesleyan University, where she graduated with a B.S. in Mathematics Education in May 2013. 

 

After graduating from college, Kayla spent the next five years teaching middle and high school math within the school district of Oconee County, South Carolina. After leaving the classroom in March of 2018, she worked for several years in business administration and served as a financial manager for several up-and-coming businesses. After much prayer, she left the business field and started working as the Communications and Administrative Specialist at Toccoa First in July 2022.  

 

Kayla is married to her high school sweetheart and they will be celebrating their ten-year wedding anniversary in September 2022. They have one son, Kyler, that keeps them both very active. 

 

In her free time, Kayla enjoys day trips to the beach, Disney store searching, watching movies with Kyler, and spending time with family both near and far as much as possible. She is also a devoted Snoopy and Peanuts fan and collects them regularly.  

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Kayla Griffith

Children's Director/
Communications & Administrative Specialist

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Ken White

Music Director

Ken White is a true native of the city of Atlanta, born and raised in old East Point, Georgia. He is well known around the Atlanta area as a veteran of church music and choral direction, as well as a seasoned performer in the symphonic arts. He serves the church and professional stage community in his unique role as “singing director and conductor”, being trained professionally across many years for the opera stage.  

Ken was raised in a Christian home, with parents committed to working and serving in their local church. Ken accepted the call to Christ Jesus at age nine during a revival meeting with his father and was baptized. Ken’s mother encouraged him at the very early age of six years old to start using the musical gift she realized that God had carefully placed within him. He timidly got up, holding tightly on his sister’s hand and joined in trio singing with his sister and brother. That was the beginning of Ken’s musical journey! He continued to sing throughout his boyhood and teen years in various churches and convalescent care facilities as a traveling trio with his brother and sister. He led some of his first Sunday evening worship services in his latter teen years in his home congregation. He later went on to serve as music minister at his home congregation for 13 years in East Point on staff with his brother, also in the ministry. 

With an early start at age 21 in a music career, Ken has over 38 years invested in the church music ministry and professional music stage. He has led choirs, orchestras, handbells, soloists and children voices in over 500 indoor and outdoor music settings to various size audiences in churches and performing centers and amphitheaters around Georgia and the Eastern United States. He has participated in the formation of two distinct men’s gospel and barbershop touring and recording quartets over many years, and shares an extensive repertoire of traditional, nostalgic, classical, broadway, operatic, sacred oratorio, and gospel music.  

He holds various music studies and degrees from the University of Alabama, University of Georgia, and Point University/Seminary, where he specialized in vocal performance, orchestral and choral direction, music and church ministry. He also received private and studio vocal training at the Betty Colson operatic voice studio for 10 years in Atlanta, Ga. 

As vocal soloist, choral director and orchestral conductor, Ken has appeared with the Enrico Caruso Vocal Competition of Italy, the New York City Opera Society, the McAllister Vocal Awards in Indianapolis, the Christian Artists Seminar in the Rockies, the Indianapolis Opera Society, the Birmingham Symphony, the Tuscaloosa Symphony, the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra, the Atlanta Pops Orchestra, the Atlanta Choral Guild, the Mercer University Choral Guild, the Pensacola Choral Society, numerous churches across the southeast US, and with his own touring orchestra the Peachtree Pops Symphony Orchestra. He has presented music across the years in various distinct venues around Atlanta, Georgia to include Spivey Hall, Stone Mountain Park, Six Flags Over Georgia Park, Dean Gardens, Trilith Studios/Communities, the Fred Brown Amphitheater, the Southern Grounds Amphitheater, the Delta Flight Museum, Christian City Retirement Village, as well as various statewide churches and campgrounds.   

Ken’s wife Jodi hails from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and has been a professional agency nurse for almost 20 years. She and Ken share a passion of hospitality, and often work side by side in the production of their signature “Coffee & Classics” and “Dinner & Symphony” programs! 

Ken has three grown children, two sons and a daughter, Kenneth, Kelly, and William. 

Ken has “never met a stranger”, and has a mission for meeting people and learning ways to connect and invest in their lives. He loves to seek out the gifts that each person possesses (especially in music) and help them use them for the glory of God! 

He enjoys anything that has to do with music (of course!), sharing “formal nights out” with his wife Jodi, healthy gym exercise, the great outdoors, classic cars, nostalgic music and memorabilia, and spending time with family and friends! 

Other Church Staff

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Traci Hornick
Facilities Manager

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Jennifer Blasingame
Financial Manager

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Knox Holcomb
Maintenance

Cavonna

Cavonna Holcomb
Audio/Visual

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Ryan Chase
Audio/Visual

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Carolyn Collins
Organist

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Lia Sutherland
Nursery Worker

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Ashley Chase
Nursery Worker

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Taylor Murray
Nursery Worker

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