Senior Pastor- Jim Bethany
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.
Associate Pastor- Richard Lavoie
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.
Church Administrator- Martina Langton
Martina joined our staff in September of 2018. She was born and raised in Germany, where she met her husband while he was stationed there with the military. They moved to Hartwood with their three children in 2008. Their oldest daughter has recently graduated from college, and their two youngest are in high school.
She loves to minister the Gospel of the Kingdom, bringing hope and healing to a lost generation. She also loves spending time with the greater body of Christ and has a great passion to see unity in the Church of Jesus Christ. Her favorite hobby is being with the city-wide church in worship and intercession. She also enjoys hiking and catching up with friends.
Her administrative skills she has attained in working at a car dealership, an international shipping company, homeschooling her children, and in more recent years, working as an assistant teacher.
She is grateful to be at Richland and being able to be part of what God is doing here in Stafford County.
Preschool Director- Amanda "Mandy" Howard
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.
Worship Leader- Tari Foltz
Tari fell in love with Jesus on June 8, 1998 at the age of 29.
She started playing piano at the age of 35 and the rest is history!
In addition to loving Jesus, she loves her husband, Jeff, and their three sons.
She has a passion for unity among the churches, worship, and prayer! She is a Level II graduate of In Christ’s Image Training School and gets excited to see others walking in Christlikeness and Christ-centered destiny. Tari believes that walking with Jesus is the absolute best adventure and can’t wait for our area to be transformed by the love of God! And...she thinks s’mores are pretty great too!
Children's Minister- Sharlene Kraus
Sharlene was born and has lived her entire life in Hartwood, Virginia. She came to Richland Baptist Church as a newborn. Her parents were active members of Richland Baptist Church. Many of her ancestors were also members of Richland Baptist Church. She accepts Christ as her Savior when she was twelve years old.
She has two grown sons, Carson and Carter, her son Carson is married toMonica (Sharlene's daughter-in-law). One of Sharlene's favorite thing in life is to get hugs from her two sons.
Sharlene graduated from Stafford Senior High School, she earned her associates degree from Germanna Community College and her Bachelor degree from Mary Washington College: University of Mary Washington. She worked 27 years at the local Kmart, until February 2017, when it closed. She is a preschool teacher at Richland Baptist Church Preschool since 2009 and loves every minute of the job.
Sharlene is a very active church member at Richland Baptist. She has served on Children Groups, Sunday School teacher for several ages of children and youth, as well as youth groups, leader of Mission Friends, leader of Children-in-action, and as a teacher/director of Vacation Bible School for 35 years. Also she has served in adult groups, serves as a deacon, been on the Finance Team, Nominating Team, and Fellowship Team. She is currently a member of the SAFE ladies group at Richland.
Outside of Richland Baptist she has served on the Fredericksburg Baptist Association as the head leader of Mission Friends, for 5 years she was a den leader for pack 579. She has volunteered at the Salvation Army Church on special occasions.
She loves to spend special times with her members at Richland Baptist Church. She also loves to visit her other friends and family members. She loves football for all ages, but especially the High School and NFL, she loves baseball and NASCAR. She is very thankful and has the true respect for the firefighters. police and paramedics plus all the military and their families. Her youngest son, Carter, is a National Guardsmen for the Army.
She loves to spend time with children to teach and show them the love of Christ. Also she feels if they start loving and worshiping Christ when they are young that when they grow up it will be easier for them to seek Him first in everything that they do in life.
Youth and Young Adults Minister- Matt Mellone
I grew up in the church, I was taught when the church doors are open, you should be in them! My family has been a huge influence in my life, learning from the older siblings and parents. As a 12-year-old young man, I acknowledged my sin and need of a Savior. At age 12 I gave my life to Christ and received the love and forgiveness that only Jesus can give. I continued to grow in my walk with the Lord throughout high school and into college.
My minds focus however was clouded by athletics as I got older and into college. As a sophomore in college, the Lord convicted me of my distractions and focus. He showed me exactly what he wanted me focused on and what he wanted from me the rest of my life. In December 2008, I changed my major to study and prepare myself to go into the ministry. I graduated in December 2010, from Ferrum College. In the spring of 2011, I started my first job in the church, at Northwest Baptist Church. I worked there for 4 years in the student ministry. After my time serving in the youth ministry, I felt the Lord moving me into more of a pastorate roll. In August of 2014, I have had the privilege of speaking at different churches throughout the county. In Spring of 2015, God called us to Pastor at King Street Baptist Church in Cocoa Fl. We served there for close to three years. After our time at KSBC, God called our family back to Virginia and now we are serving at Richland Baptist as Youth/Young Adult minister.
In spring 2009, in college, I met the woman I would eventually marry. I met Ann Michelle, began to date in college. Both of us graduated and decided to move to Florida. On April 15 2011, I asked Ann Michelle Bolt to marry me. She said Yes! October 1, 2011, we got married, we celebrated 7 years this past October. Five years on October 11th we had a sassy, yet beautiful little girl, Averie Michelle Mellone and on November 30th we added our son Hudson who will turn 2 this year.
I think ministry is about getting the name of Jesus out to people. I believe all people are born with a void in their heart that only Jesus can fill. I take the Great Commission more as a command from Jesus. He has called all believers to take proclaim the Gospel. My favorite verse and ministry focus are found in Acts.
13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished, and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
The disciples were simple people, just ordinary guys who relied of Jesus, had a willingness to make his name known, and because these courageous yet “unschooled, ordinary men”, the gospel message spread and the church grew. I think each of us has our own personal ministry, doesn’t matter how big or small, only thing that matters is what name we are lifting up and making known.
Church is made up of people, church isn’t a building. I believe the key to church is making the name of Christ known. I believe in loving the community and serving the community. Each church needs to ask themselves the question: if this church wasn’t here, would the community miss it?
I base my ministry on what the Word of God says, not what Matt says or anybody else. We need Gods word, not man-made traditions, laws, rules etc. We simply need to find what the Bible says and yield who the church is, and who we are to His Word!