Our Mission & Values
Welcome to First Baptist Church Elberton. Our mission is to lead people on a life changing journey to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:28-30). We encourage this life change through: growing, loving, serving and sharing.
We embrace the fact that God has made us all uniquely. We believe the Church is at its best when we are practicing our individual gifts, as well as supporting each other in unity. With that in mind, we focus on these biblically-based beliefs:
AUTHENTICITY. None of us are perfect - from our pastors, to our deacons, to our Bible study leaders to our nursery workers. We have God-given strengths as well as weaknesses. Through all of this, we desire to pursue holiness and unity for His glory alone. Honesty, truth-telling and biblical conflict resolution are essential to relational authenticity. (Romans 3:23, Ephesians 4:25-32, John 17:23, Matthew 18:15-20)
EXCELLENCE. We believe that we do all things not for man's applause, but as unto the Lord, our most important audience. We do this to honor God and to encourage others to do what God is leading them to do. (1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:17, Malachi 1:6-14, Proverbs 27:17)
PEOPLE. Relationships were there from the very beginning through the example of the Trinity. We follow this example by knowing that people and relationships are important. How we treat others, including those outside the Faith, is a reflection of our relationship with Christ. (Luke 5:30-32, Luke 15, Matthew 18:14)
KINGDOM-MINDSET. We're not the only church out there. God has given our community many churches that teach and preach the Bible. Our staff engage the leaders of those churches regularly through fellowship and worshipping together. We encourage our members to do the same. It's not a competition. (John 17:23, 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, Romans 10:14-15, Mark 4:10-12)
Dr. Ben Brammer
Dr. Brammer is currently an associate pastor of Christian Studies and Assistant Director of Admissions for Clamp Divinity School at Anderson University. He has served as an interim pastor at several local churches. Dr. Brammer has two sons - Zachary and Seth.
Pastor Tim began his duties as Associate Pastor in July of 2021. He brings more than 20 years of pastoral experience. Tim also serves as teacher in The Gatherings each Sunday and in Celebrate Recovery on Thursdays. Tim holds a degree in pastoral ministry and biblical studies from Leavell College at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Tim and his wife Petrea have two children - Rachel and Will.
Jarrod Gunn began as Student Pastor in January of 2023. He served for seven years as part of the ministry team at Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina while completing his Masters of Divinity at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jarrod and his wife Heather are both Georgia natives and have been married for twelve years. They are glad to be back in their home state and look forward to discipling the next generation of believers in Elberton.
Gary has been married to Margaret Mitchell Purvis since November 22, 1975, and they have three children: Elizabeth P. Hill of Mooresville, NC; Courtney P. Hart of Dewy Rose, GA; and Anna Purvis. They also have four grandchildren: Hailey, Carson, Cameron and Caroline.
Gary received his Bachelor of Arts from Southeastern LA University, his Master of Church Music from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor, BCPPC.
His main hobby is cooking, and his birthday is March 30th, if you'd like to get him a present.
Courtney Hart is our Children's Ministry Director. Courtney is a native of Elbert County and graduated from ECCHS in 2002. She went to college and became a teacher in 2008. She now works in the country office for Hart County Charter System. Courtney and her husband, Jason, have three children and live in Dewey Rose, GA. Courtney is passionate about building relationships with children and teaching them about the Bible in ways they can understand and enjoy!
WEE School Director
Sherry is our WEE school director. She has been on staff with our WEE school for 20 years, 18 of those as director. She is a Hartwell native. She is a member of First Methodist Church. She is married to Brian, they have two sons Tyler and Tanner.
Robert is a native of Lawrenceville, GA. He has lived in Elberton for the past 20 years. He has a BBA in Accounting from North Georgia College. He started his career as Controller for a surveying and engineering firm in Lawrenceville and then became a professional Farrier for 25+ years. He is now handling all financial business for FBC Elberton.
Renee is an Administrative Assistant who manages the front office responsibilities. She is an Elberton native and long-time member of FBC. Before joining the Office staff Renee was a part of the WEE school ministry at FBC and served as Wee school director for several years. She is married to John, they have three adult children together Corey, Caitlin and Alex.
Reese is an Office Assistant at FBC. She began working at FBC in August of 2021. She is a senior at ECCHS and part of the work base learning program. She was also apart of the varsity volleyball team. She was born in Elberton, Georgia but raised most of her lifetime in Franklin, North Carolina.
what we believe
In essential beliefs - we have unity. "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Ephesians 4:4-6 NKJV)
In non-essential beliefs - we have liberty. "Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful thing. Who are you to judge another man's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves." (Romans 14:1, 4, 12, 22 NKJV)
In all our beliefs - we show charity. "And though I have the gift of prophesy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:2 (NKJV)
We believe the Bible is God's written revelation to man. It is verbally inspired in every word, and absolutely inerrant in the original documents. We affirm the infallibility, sufficiency, and authority of Scripture.
We believe that there is but one living and true God, an infinite, all-knowing Spirit, perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - each equally deserving worship and obedience.
We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and His personal return in power and glory.
We believe that the salvation of man, who is sinful and lost, is instantaneous and accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God when the repentant sinner - enabled by the Holy Spirit - responds in faith. This salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redeeming work of Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not on the basis of human merit or works. All the redeemed are kept by God's power and are thus secure in Christ forever.
We believe in the Spirit-filled life. As the supernatural and sovereign Agent in regeneration, the Holy Spirit baptized all believers into the Body of Christ at the moment of salvation. The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption.
We believe in bodily resurrection of both the saved and the unsaved; the saved unto the resurrection of life and the unsaved unto the resurrection of damnation.
We believe that all who put their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual Body, the Church, of which Christ is the head. The purpose of the Church is to glorify God by building its members up in the faith, by instruction of the word, by fellowship, by keeping the ordinances, and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world. The formation of the Church, the Body of Christ, began on the Day of Pentecost and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own at the rapture.
Our Lifestyle Statement
What We Practice: B.A.P.T.I.S.T. Beliefs are not worth much unless they are translated into actions. Based on what the Bible teaches, we feel very strongly about the following seven practices:
Bible as our sole authority
"...from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 3:15 NKJV)
Since God's Word is the only completely reliable and truthful authority, we accept the Bible as our manual for living. Our first question when faced with a decision is "What does the Bible say?" We practice daily Bible reading, Bible study, and Bible memorization. The Bible is the basis for all we believe.
Autonomy of each local church
"And He [Christ] is the Head of His Body, the Church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have preeminence." (Colossians 1:18 NKJV)
Christ is the recognized Head of our church, not any person, group or religious organization. While recognizing the value of associating and cooperating with other groups of Christians, we believe every local church should be self-governing and independent from any denomination's control.
Priesthood of every believer
"[Christ] loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." (Revelation 1:6 NKJV)
"...you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;" (1 Peter 2:9 NKJV)
The Bible teaches that every Christian is called to "full time" Christian service, regardless of his or her vocation. We practice the truth that every believer is a minister by encouraging every member to find a place of service and ministry. Every believer has a direct access to God through prayer and Bible reading (Romans 5:1-2).
"And all the tithe of the land...is the Lord's." (Leviticus 27:30 NKJV)
At First Baptist Church of Elberton, we practice tithing for the support of Christ's Body, the Church, as God commands. We recognize that giving 10% of our income is the Biblical standard of giving.
"buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead." (Colossians 2:12 (NKJV)
We practice baptism by immersion under water - the way Jesus was baptized and the way the Bible commands.
(Jesus said) "I am the Vine, and you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5 NKJV)
We believe the only way possible to live the Christian life is by God's power within us. So, we seek to practice a daily dependence on God's Spirit to enable us to do what is right. See Philippians 2:13, Ephesians 5:18 and Colossians 3:16.
Telling others about Christ
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you." (1 Peter 3:15 NKJV)
It is the responsibility of every Christian to share the Good News with those God brings into contact with us. We practice personal sharing about Christ and inviting friends to join us in worshipping God at church.