James Bethany- Senior Pastor
Jim was born into a military household in Savannah, Georgia. He lived in Hawaii as a child but has spent most of his life in Virginia, growing up in Annandale. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1980 and began studies at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Jim and his wife Peggy, who now teaches first grade in Stafford County, were married in 1981 and then spent a year in Raton, New Mexico, where Jim was Intern Associate Pastor for Music and Youth at First Baptist Church as part of his seminary training. Jim and Peggy returned to Louisville and Jim earned his Master of Divinity degree in 1984. Jim and Peggy have two married sons, Adam and Jesse, who are both in areas of Christian ministry. They also have three granddaughters. Jim has been a solo or senior pastor since 1984. From the very beginning, at the heart of his call to be a pastor was a desire to help to make the Church healthy. He has always reached beyond denominational lines because he has a Kingdom mindset. He has facilitated local ministerial associations, and Global Day of Prayer and National Day of Prayer observances. Jim sings and plays guitar and led worship through music for many years. He still enjoys being part of the Worship Team with other musicians at Richland. Jim was the pastor of Fairfields Baptist Church in Northumberland County, Virginia, for just over fifteen years. As a pastor, Jim saw firsthand how so many Christians are captive to the lies of Satan and are lacking the joy and freedom we should have in Christ, and he resolved to learn how to make a real difference, asking the Holy Spirit to teach him. The Lord moved Jim to Stafford County, and his first Sunday as pastor of Richland Baptist Church was August 22, 1999. When Jim was called as the pastor of Richland Baptist Church, he brought healing and deliverance ministry with him. He has a passion to see individual Christians experiencing abundant life, and the Body of Christ healthy and walking in freedom and authority so that the Church can accomplish all Jesus called us to do in his great name. Jim has a heart to foster authentic biblical community and to train others to minister effectively as individuals and in small teams. Through years of training, study, and extensive personal experience in ministering freedom, Jim has developed a highly effective ministry style which emphasizes ministering the love of the Father with quiet authority in Jesus’ name and a dependence upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He is constantly learning and integrating new insights into making the ministry more effective. In September of 2011 Jim founded The Church Unchained: LukeNine1&2 Ministries as a separate 501(c)(3) ministry in partnership with Richland Baptist Church. This was done because he saw the tremendous need for this kind of ministry throughout the larger Body of Christ and he recognized the need to overcome the limitations on such a ministry which are often associated with being closely identified with a specific church or denomination. Thorough and comprehensive ministry to the whole person with a systematic dismantling of the devil’s lies and the removal of demonic interference in the life of the believer is at the heart of The Church Unchained’s approach to healing and deliverance. People have come from all over the region, as well as other states, to be ministered to. Jim has ministered in Mexico, Mozambique, Israel, Kenya, Guatemala, and India (where he has a special, ongoing partnership with an emphasis on ministering healing and deliverance, training of pastors, encouraging churches, and praying for and feeding widows, orphans and lepers. The teams The Church Unchained: LukeNine1&2 Ministries and Richland Baptist Church have sent have seen God do amazing things in India, with thousands of people receiving healing, and the manifestation of miracles. Jim is preparing to return to India, and to minister in Ghana in 2018. Many who have experienced wounding in other churches have found Richland a safe place to heal, and it gives Jim great pleasure that Richland Baptist is a place where people experience the presence of God and receive healing in all forms as they are discipled to work to expand the kingdom of God.
Richard Lavoie- Associate Pastor
After twenty plus years as a construction superintendent and project manager, Richard felt the Lord’s calling to step away from his career and to pursue full time Christian ministry. In 2008, after responding to God’s call, Richard was called and Licensed as an Associate Pastor at Richland Baptist Church. In the fall of that same year Richard started attending seminary at the John Leland Center for Theological Studies. He was ordained to the Gospel Ministry on February 13, 2011. He graduated from Leland’s Diploma Program in June, 2011, with a Diploma in Theological Studies and from Leland’s Master’s Program in June, 2017, with a Master’s Degree in Christian Leadership.
Richard and his wife JoAnn started dating in high school and have been married for 37 years. They are exceptionally blessed with two Godly sons (Michael & Bradley), two lovely daughter-in-law’s (Maggie & Jenna), and three precious grandchildren (Levi, Cora Beth, and Carter). As you can imagine, Richard & JoAnn take advantage of every opportunity to visit with their children and their families since neither of them live locally.
One of the things Richard especially enjoys is spending time with family. He also enjoys sports, camping, hiking, but most of all, he genuinely enjoys seeing others experience the joy and love of Jesus Christ. Richard’s prayer continues to be that others will experience the presence of Jesus Christ and His Spirit working through him and the people of Richland Baptist Church as we all seek to faithfully love others as God has called us to do.
Darlene Flakes- Church Administrator
After retiring from a career in Government service, Darlene began working at Richland as a volunteer, helping with administrative duties, and officially joined our staff in May 2016. She enjoys working with church leaders and volunteers to ensure our church operates smoothly.
Darlene is married to the love of her life, Cornealius (Richland’s worship team percussionist), and they have three grown sons and four grandchildren. They are enjoying their empty-nest lives traveling and visiting their sons and family in different states.
Darlene’s passions include her family, cooking, entertaining, exercising & volunteering.
Darlene is so grateful to be with Christ followers each day and for the opportunity to serve the body of Christ here at Richland. You can find her ready to greet you with a smile and help you any way she can.
Mandy Howard- Preschool Director
Amanda Howard joined our staff in 2011. She grew up in Springfield, Virginia and has lived up and down the East Coast. Amanda is married to Pastor Phil Howard and has 3 children. She serves here at Richland Baptist as our Preschool Director and alongside her husband at Berea Baptist where she is the Children’s Minister.
Tari Foltz- Worship Leader
Sharlene Kraus- Children's Minister