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About Us

Our Staff

Jeff Bartell

Lead Pastor

Jeff has been the lead pastor of First Baptist Church since 2008, but prior to God leading him to FBC he spent 14 years as a missionary to the country of Albania. While in Albania, God gave him more than just a growing ministry, but a growing family. In 1993 Jeff married his wife, Erla, in her home town of Tirana, Albania. They now have two daughters, Marisa and Milena. Jeff has, and always will have a passion to see the gospel reach those who have yet to hear. So whether it’s in a foreign country or a local church, Jeff will cast vision through preaching, teaching and training to develop people into fully equipped followers of Christ. Jeff has most recently taken up cycling and can still remember a time when he was decent at golf, but still enjoys playing. You can follow Jeff on Twitter, @jeffbartell or check out his blog,

Matt Braucher

Associate Pastor

Matt joined the staff at FBC in June 2014. Prior to that he worked as a Tool Design Engineer at Gradall in New Philadelphia for 17 years. In 1998 Matt gave his life to Christ in a service here at First Baptist, and has believed since that God has a plan for him that involves something other than a career in engineering. He was married to Ginny in 2003 and together they have 3 children: Alayna, Lylah, and Westin. Matt leads Family Life, our ministry to young families here at the church and also oversees many of the facilities ongoing improvement projects. In his free time Matt enjoys any kind of exercise that involves weight lifting, running, or biking.

Craig Warner

Kids' Pastor

Craig grew up at First Baptist Church, and FBC continues to be a big part of his life. He met and married his wife Katie here, and they are excited to raise their daughter Emma as a part of this church family. Craig has served at FBC, as both a volunteer and staff member, in several different ways. He has volunteered in our children's, high school and young adults' ministries. As a staff member he has scrubbed toilets, interned in 180 Youth Outreach, created media and served as our Youth Director. Craig is now our Kids' Pastor, and believes that our children should be our greatest contribution to God's Kingdom. Craig also enjoys media and design in all forms and is a self-proclaimed “Gadget Junkie”. You can follow Craig on Twitter, @craigwarner, or on one of his many other social networks at

Kale Horvath

Youth Director

Kale has attended First Baptist Church all his life. He has come up through all of our children and student ministries here at FBC. He married his wife Brooke in 2012, and came on staff as a ministry intern in 2013. Kale currently leads our highschool student ministry, Ignitec and oversees our youth department from middle school to high school. Kale is an avid disc golfer, adequate musician, and a do-it-yourself handyman. You can follow him on twitter or instagram @TheKaleman.

Tonia Nester

Financial Secretary

Tonia has been a part of First Baptist Church since 1990 and has been employed at FBC since 2000. Tonia is a single mom and would say that God brought her and her son Preston to FBC at a time when they needed a family. Tonia has spent 18 years serving anywhere from the Toddlers’ class of the Children’s Ministry to where she is currently serving, in our Middle School Ministry, Xtreme. And she has loved every minute of it. Tonia is also an animal lover, a reader and she enjoys making unique, beaded jewelry.

Chris Van Sickle

Office Manager

Chris along with her husband, Mark, and two kids, Corey and Nikki, have been attending First Baptist Church since 1997. In 2000 Chris began volunteering in the church office for a few hours a week and it has turned into a full time job. Chris enjoys being able to handle the administrative work around the office to free up the leadership team to minister to the church body. Chris and Mark volunteer as the Guest Services coordinators, and do an excellent job at making guests and church members feel welcomed every week. Chris enjoys reading, bible study and helping her husband with their printing business.

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