Dr. Craig Ward is originally from Maryville, Tennessee. He has been serving local churches for almost 25 years. The first five years he served as a Student Pastor and Associate Pastor. The last 19 years he has served as a Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church of Strawberry Plains, TN for six years and most recently Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church in Newport, TN for 13 years.He began his ministry at Bethlehem Baptist Church in August of 2013. Dr. Ward earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee, and his Master's and Doctorate Degrees from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Anne, have been married for 20 years and have four children: Hannah, Julianna, Micah, and Noah. Dr. Ward has a heart for people and an earnest desire to see the principles of Scripture applied to every aspect of life. He has a passion for the community and a desire to see people not only know Christ but grow daily in their relationship with Him. His sense of humor and passion are quickly becoming a trademark of Bethlehem Baptist Church. He is an avid jogger and motorcyclist, and also loves spending time with his family.
Minister of Administration/Education
Dr. Clay Turner is originally from Atlanta. His experience in churches spans nearly fifteen years as a minister of music and youth, ten years as a pastor, fifteen years as an associational missionary and five years as a state missionary for the Georgia Baptist Convention. For the last several years prior to coming to Bethlehem, Dr. Turner served interim positions at several churches and has a consulting ministry assisting churches with constitutions and by-laws. Dr. Turner holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Peabody College, a part of Vanderbilt University; a Master of Church Music degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Luther Rice Seminary. He is also certified in numerous leadership and administrative programs such as Lead Like Jesus, Sunday School Mentoring, and Healthy Kingdom Churches. He has taught in colleges as well as numerous churches and associations. When asked about his passion for ministry Dr. Turner responded, ”I love administration and leadership which are two of my spiritual gifts. Helping churches as they move forward for the Lord and helping to make that journey easier by assisting them with the nuts and bolts that keep the doors open and ministry moving forward are what I enjoy best.” Clay is married to Beverly and they have six children and seven grandchildren and make their home in Cleveland, Georgia.
Minister of Worship
Matthew hails from the booming metropolis of Auburn, Georgia. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia. He has been serving in local church ministry for 26 years. He and his wife, Jennifer have been married 23 years and have 2 children Bryson and Brianna. Matthew loves movies, cooking, reading and motorcycle riding!
Director of Preschool and Children
Jessie has the privilege of being the preschool and children’s director at Bethlehem. She coordinates baby-5th grade Life Groups, Team Kid, Kid Choir and all the fun events in between. It is her hope to see this next generation of kids fall in love and stay in love with their Savior and also the local church. Outside of Bethlehem, she is the wife of Caleb and momma to 4 funny, sweet kids. She loves cheering for her favorite sports teams, baking, singing in the choir and smiling!