Click on a name and title to read more about the staff member and get their email address.

Director of Missions

Al Phillips

I grew up in Lyman, SC. In 1976, I married Rose Hammett and we have three married children and seven grandkids who are the delight of my life. I graduated from Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, TX and served as pastor of Ben Avon Baptist and First Baptist, Arcadia in Spartanburg County for nine years before becoming the Associate Pastor of First Baptist, North Spartanburg, where I served for 22 years. I love travel, sports (especially Clemson football) and reading but my favorite thing is spending time with my family. I love the Lord Jesus and am passionate about the Great Commission.
I committed my life to Christ in 1977 during a revival at my home church in Wellford, SC. I was 21 and, though I grew up in church, I had never committed my life to Christ as my Savior and Lord. That week, I realized that I was a lost sinner apart from God and understood that becoming a Christian meant repenting of my sin and committing my life to Jesus in faith. I got down on my knees in the pastor’s office on a Saturday night and prayed, asking Jesus to forgive my sin. That night, I trusted Jesus for my salvation and committed my life to Him. By His grace, God saved me and went to work transforming my life completely. Less than a year later, God called me to the ministry and I embarked on what has been an incredible adventure that brought me here to Greenville in 2015.

As Director of Missions, I lead our staff and mobilize the churches of our association to reach the unreached, revitalize our churches and reproduce new churches starting here in Greenville and going to the ends of the earth. I am a pastor to our pastors and I cast vision for the work we do together as GBA. I love my ministry and am more excited today than ever about what God is up to here!

EMail Al

Missions Strategy Leader

Joel Thrasher

I’m a Georgia boy. Born and raised in the Northwestern corner of the state. Kathy and I met while in college, and were married in 1982. Our daughter, Brittney, came along in 1986. But, our greatest delight are our 2 granddaughters. What a joy. I guess I should mention education. Degrees are from Jacksonville State University and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. My resume is simple. I’ve only served in 2 locations – 8+ years in Anniston, Alabama, and 23+ years with GBA. Beyond family, my other loves include travel, reading, my church, and Alabama football. Roll Tide!

My journey to faith began while in college. Growing up I had been a good kid, but decided to enjoy my new found freedoms once I hit JSU. Thankfully, it didn’t take long to realize that I wasn’t having nearly as much fun as the advertisers said I would. I began looking for something different. I didn’t know what, just different. As it turns out (or was that providential) there were a couple of guys living in the same apartment complex as me who invited me to a Bible study. And I went. Most the folks there were involved in Baptist Campus Ministry. And they invited me. And I went. It was out of my BCM experiences that I came to understand that I was never going to be good enough, and the answer I was looking for is Christ. I prayed for Christ to forgive me and take control of my life. A lot happened very quickly it seems. The call to missions was another struggle. I was a follower of Jesus, and growing in my faith, but I still had my plans for my life. My senior year of college was a fight – my will versus God’s will. Thankfully, I finally gave up the fight. And it has been an incredible journey of ministry.

As Missions Strategy Leader, I am responsible for a laundry list of ministries including Mission Partnerships, Church Planting, Mission Greenville, Day Camps, Crisis Centers, Disaster Relief, Demographics, Prison Ministry, Multihousing, Literacy, Ministry Kits…and I’m sure there is something I am missing. I love what I do!

EMail Joel

Hispanic Ministries Leader

Dan Messer

I was born in Blacksburg, S. C. I lived there until I was eight; we moved near Gaffney for a year. We move to Bowling Green, a textile mill village, in north central York County. I graduated from Clover High in 1961, and two weeks later enter the Navy. I served 4 years and 4 months after discharge, I married Ann Phillips. We celebrated 51 years this past October. We have 5 granddaughters and 1 greatgrandson, Nathan (the apple of my eye). I worked for Homelite Chain Saws for 7 years, and while working there I surrendered to the ministry. Graduated from Gardner-Webb College December 1973. I received a DMin from Southwestern Seminary December 1977.

After graduation we served with FBM in South America for 8 and half years. I have pastored churches in S.C., in Texas., and N.C. retired from the pastorate July 31,2005 for one month. Then I began working for the GBA September 1, 2005. I have thoroughly enjoyed working and ministering with the Hispanic community.

I received Christ during a revival May 1953. I began attending Bowling Green Baptist Church soon after moving there. I drifted away from the Lord during the time in the Navy and didn’t really commit myself to serving the Lord until year following marriage. I had been drinking and gambling when Ann and I had been arguing. She was very angry with me and after an heated exchange, she threw a picture at me and I slap her. I realized that it was wrong. I left and went driving to cool off. While driving I past the church where I accepted Christ, I notice that they were having a revival meeting. The Holy Spirit so plain to me, I looked to see if someone was in the car. He said, “Dan tonight is the night to get your life straighten out.” I stepped on the gas and flew by the church. I heard the voice a second time. I said tonight. I turned around; found a parking place and went inside. I sat down in the back. The preacher was finishing his sermon and I don’t remember a word, but I had already heard the message. When they began singing I was the first to the altar. The next night Ann went and rededicated her life. That was May 1966. It has been an interesting and exciting journey.

The ministry with Hispanic community entails an array of responsibilities. I work as liaison between GBA, SCBC, and the churches. I assist with immigration issues, looks for leaders and workers, leadership training, and locate partnering American churches to sponsor or provide space for a Hispanic group. Some of the goals for 2017 are: start 2 new Bible study group along the White Horse Road corridor, help 2 Hispanic group constitute to churches, continue to study and improve Spanish, visit each of the existing groups 3 times during the year, and have accountability meetings with each Hispanic leader.

EMail Dan

Missions Strategy Assistant

Wanda Bridwell

I grew up in the Greenville/Spartanburg area where I attended Berea High School and graduated from Dorman High School. I was blessed to have Christian parents.
When you are a PK (preacher’s kid), and live next door to the church, you tend to spend a lot of time ”at church.” It wasn’t until December of 1958, at the age of six, that I realized that it was about more than just going “to church.” We studied about God’s Greatest Gift in Sunday School, and I understood that I needed that Gift. I needed Jesus. That day, I confessed my sins and surrendered control of my life to Him. A few weeks later, at Franklin Baptist Church, my Daddy baptized me, while I sat on his knee because my feet would not touch the bottom of the pool.

I worked at the South Carolina School for the Deaf from 1971-1982. I loved my work and the children that I worked with, and felt confident that God had placed me there, In the fall of 1982, God showed me that His plan for my life was to lead me in a different direction.

In November of that year, I began work at GBA. I am the Mission Strategy Assistant. I assist in planning and impletmenting our outreach and missions projects. It has been a joy and a privilege to serve thru GBA. God has allowed me to be a part of so much more than I could ever imagine. He has taken my life experiences and enabled me to be involved in missions both locally, as well as internationally. He has also allowed me to use my years of experience at the SCSD and my love for the Deaf community as director of Deaf ministry of my home church, Brushy Creek.

Two verses that God has used in my life to encourage me are: Jeremiah 29:11 (For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you, not to harm you.) and Psalm 144:1 (Praise and thanks be to the Lord, my Rock. He makes my hands ready for war, and my fingers for battle.) God has proven over and over that His plans are always better than my own, and that He always equips me for the work He calls me to do.

EMail Wanda

Administrative Assistant

Anna Richardson

I grew up an Air Force brat, moving all over the United States every few years following my father’s career. Home is now South Carolina as I have spent over half my life living here. I married Condy Richardson in 1996 and we have three children. I earned a Computer Information Systems degree from the University of South Carolina and spent my early career as a programmer. These days, I stay very busy as a mom’s taxi service for my family. However, in my “spare time” I am an avid reader!
I became a believer at the age of 6 during a revival service held at Calvary Baptist Church in Loring, Maine. Having attended church 9 months before my birth, I am extremely blessed to have grown up in a Christian home. However, that night during the invitation, I felt an overwhelming desire to make a personal decision to be a Christ-follower. I was baptized a few weeks later on Mother’s Day of 1980. My life’s verse is Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” As this verse promises, God is still working in my life – shaping me into the person He wants me to become.

As the Administrative Assistant at the GBA, I enjoy working with our churches and their staff. What an awesome opportunity (and responsibility) to work alongside like-minded people to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in our communities!

EMail Anna

Financial Assistant

Melissa Sample
Bio coming soon

EMail Melissa