Meet The Staff

Al Phillips, Director of Missions & Revitalizing Existing Churches Strategist

Al Phillips has been in the ministry for 40+ years as a pastor and as Director of Missions. He and Rose have three children and nine grandkids.  Al earned a BA from the University of SC-Upstate and an MDiv from Southwestern Seminary.  He served 9 years as lead pastor of Ben Avon Baptist and First Baptist, Arcadia in Spartanburg before becoming Associate Pastor of First Baptist North Spartanburg for 22 years.

In 2015, he became Director of Missions for Greenville Baptist Association. He loves spending time with his grandkids, traveling, and reading.

Joel Thrasher, Reproducing New Churches Strategist

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 is 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 25+ years with GBA. Beyond family, my other loves include travel, reading, 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 newfound 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 of 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 was 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 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.

I am responsible for a laundry list of ministries including Mission Partnerships, Church Planting, 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!

Reaching the Unreached Strategist

We are excited about adding this new staff position in 2024!

Arnaldo Silva, Reaching the Hispanic People Strategist

Arnaldo was born in Encarnacion, Paraguay, within a catholic family; he got saved when he was eleven and baptized when he was thirteen. The Lord called him to the ministry when he was 14 years old through a Sunday school study on the Book of Nehemiah. Later, Arnaldo finished his bachelor’s degree at Word of Life in Brazil, a master’s in divinity at BJU, and currently is working on his dissertation for a DM.

Arnaldo and Shellie met in Paraguay when they were teenagers. Shellie’s parents were missionaries to Paraguay. After 8 years of friendship and dating for 2 years, they married in July 2000. They are blessed with 4 children, Mikeila (21), Iana (20) Esteban (18), and Gabriel (14).

Arnaldo served in different countries and capacities throughout the years with teens ministry, youth ministry, camp leader, leading missions trips, teaching, preaching, church planter ministry, and pastoral ministry. Currently, Arnaldo is serving as a church planter and pastor at Iglesia Refugio.

Arnaldo considers it a great privilege and responsibility to serve the Hispanic Baptist churches in Greenville County through the Greenville Baptist Association as the Reaching Hispanic People Strategist to create access to the gospel for all – starting here!

Anna Richardson, Office Administrator

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 with ages spanning high school to medical school. I earned a Computer Information Systems degree from the University of South Carolina and spent my early career as a programmer.

Life away from the GBA revolves around our family and supporting Condy as the pastor’s wife at Fountain Inn First Baptist Church. 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 in 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 Office Administrator 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!

Melissa Sample, Financial Assistant

Melissa’s story coming soon!