Matt Mitchell joined us as our 12th Stated Pastor on August 1, 2011. Matt received his B.S. in Occupational Therapy from Texas Tech University and his M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary. Matt had served as Director of Youth and Associate Pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Lubbock, TX.
He and his wife, Ami, are the parents of Lorelei, Will, & Gracelyn.
In his free time, Matt enjoys playing with the kids, golf, hunting, & fishing.
Statement of Faith
I believe God is one yet exists in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit as revealed in Scripture. God, in His very nature, is a relational God. God desires to be known, and throughout history He has continually revealed Himself to humanity. All of humanity has turned away from God and chosen to go their own way. Thus, the human race is separated from God through sin. The consequence for this sin was spiritual death which is eternal separation from God in hell.
God’s love is given to us in the person of Jesus Christ who took all of our sin and paid the price by dying for us, through His atoning work on the cross. Christ died a human death, and was buried. Three days later God conquered death through Christ’s resurrection from death. Jesus was resurrected in His own flesh and blood. He appeared on earth and then ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. Christ now and forever reigns over His kingdom. Jesus is the one and only Lord and Savior, and the only name by which humanity is saved.
I believe that the Holy Spirit is alive and active in our world. The Spirit convicts people of the truth of God and salvation in Jesus Christ. The Spirit imparts new life and dwells within the believer, sealing them until the day of redemption. It is the Spirit that leads us in mission to witness to the world. The Spirit stirs our hearts to proclaim the gospel, bringing those who are far from Christ near to him. It is the Spirit that transforms us into the people that God desires for us to be.
God’s people make up the Body of Christ as the church. Its mission is to serve people and be a witness to the world. Christ is the head of the church. Christ is committed to and in covenant with the church in all ways. His promise to the Church is expressed in His gift of sacraments. In baptism God puts a sign on us to show that we belong to Him. In baptism God fulfills His promise to us. Baptism is not a private event, but one for the whole body of Christ to witness. It is a time for people to remember their own baptism and to be a supportive and uplifting community to those baptized into a covenant relationship with God.
The Lord’s Supper is the sign of the new covenant we have in Christ. The bread and cup are symbols of Christ’s broken body and bloodshed for us. The table is a place to remember what Christ has done through his death on the cross. It is where the people of God are reminded, humbled, and nourished through the mysterious power of the Holy Spirit. It is a celebration of God’s grace and a sign of His eternal love for us.
I believe that Scripture is the inspired Holy Word of God. Scripture directs us in the way that we may glorify and enjoy God forever. Through the faithful study of God’s Word, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, God’s Word will always lead us to the truth. That truth is Jesus Christ. Scripture should be at the center of our lives, our church, our mission and our relationship with Christ.
Jason received his Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary in Saint Louis, MO. He also has a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from The Texas Tech University. Jason served as the Director of Youth Ministries at Woodland Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Memphis, TN for seven years. He and his wife, Michelle, are the parents of Annabelle and Lillian. In his free time, Jason enjoys running, playing golf, and watching movies.
Jared began his ministry with First Presbyterian Church as the Youth Director in August 2011. He is a Belhaven University graduate, earning a degree in Biblical Studies. Jared enjoys watching and playing all sports, reading, playing board games and spending time with the Youth Group doing an assortment of things. When Jared isn’t with the Youth Group he spends the rest of his time with his wonderful wife Madison and their three kids Titus,Torah and Elsie.
Director of Youth
Jamie Cowart joined the staff in September 2018 as the Children's Director. She graduated from Mississippi State University with a degree in Communication. Jamie and her husband, Jason, are the parents of Jacob and Jillian. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends.
Director of Children's Ministries
Callie is a life-long member of FPC and joined the staff in January 2011. She received a Bachelor's degree in Corporate Journalism from Auburn University and teaching certification in English and Special Education from the University of Mississippi. Callie also works as the librarian at Central Elementary in Pascagoula. Callie and her husband, Seth, are the parents of Olivia and Rhodes.
Director of Communications
Ric, a life-long resident of Ocean Springs, joined our staff in 2010. A graduate of Ocean Springs High School and the University of South Alabama, Ric attended the Eastman School of Music from 1999-2002. A gifted tenor, Ric has sung with the Southern Opera, the Eastman Opera Theatre, the Mississippi Opera, the South Alabama Opera, and the Mississippi Symphony. Ric is currently choral director at Ocean Springs High School. He is married to Kate, and they are the parents of Emma and James.
Director of Music
Ashton Gibbs joined us as Worship Leader in October 2017. She is a recent graduate at the University of Mobile and majored in Communication while minoring in Music. She enjoys playing all types of music involving strings or drums, playing sports, and eating good food with friends and family.
Contemporary Worship Leader
Mrs. Jan Hardy has the longest tenure on the staff having served as organist and pianist since 1996. Jan received her Bachelors degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and has completed course work toward her Masters degree. Jan has previously served as organist and/or pianist in numerous Mississippi churches. She and Robert Hardy were married in 2010.
Kim has served as Administrative Assistant since 2006. She is married to Rick Nyers and together they have four children, five grandchildren, and one beloved dog, Daisy. Kim enjoys spending time with her family and friends.