Meet Our Staff

Meet Our Staff

Michael Overton - Senior Pastor

Michael Overton

Senior Pastor
I have been Senior Pastor of FBC, Springfield since 2005. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. While there, I met my precious wife, Denise, and we were married in 1993. We have two daughters, Madison (husband Wes) and Rachel.

I enjoy spending time with family, playing golf, mowing my yard, and eating chocolate. My favorite Bible verse is John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” and my favorite chapter in the Bible is Philippians 4.
Betty Austin - Pastor and Worship Secretary

Betty Austin

Pastor and Worship Secretary
I serve as Pastor and Worship Pastor secretary. One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:13 KJV, "I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me". This verse has been our joy and comfort many times during our 58 years of marriage.

My husband, Floyd and I have two children, son, Randy married to Christine and Jennie married to Ryan Hart. We also have three grandchildren, Jonathan Austin, Isabel, and Anna Hart who are very special. Floyd has been a member here since we married in 1963 and I have been a member since the age of nine.
Rich Bitterman - Evangelism and Outreach Pastor

Richard Bitterman

Evangelism and Outreach Pastor
My wife, Joy, and I joined First Baptist in January of 2022. We have two daughters: Haley and Sydney both of which are stay at home moms. We also enjoy three grandchildren.

I have many hobbies including fishing, gardening, and playing classical guitar. I also love socializing and learning about people. I have a Bachelor of Biblical Studies Degree and a Master’s of Theological Studies from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Seeing people come to Christ and grow in relationship with Him in the local church is my passion.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Eph. 2:8-9.
Tim Garten - Administrator

Tim Garten

Administrator
The people at First have blessed me by allowing me to serve them as their full-time administrator since 2021. Besides this position, I have been able to serve as a deacon, a Sunday School teacher, and helped lead church-wide Bible Studies from time to time. I love spending time with my wife Jacquelyn and our Corgi Zuzu. Jacque and I enjoy traveling to see God’s creation and we enjoy serving our Lord and His church. We are blessed with three sons, all now on their own, and two granddaughters.

I like to spend time reading how God has used common ordinary people. Colossians 3:23 tells us, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men”.
Jeremy Garten - Administrative Secretary

Jeremy Garten

Administrative Secretary
It has been my joy and privilege to be the Administrative Secretary for FBC since June of 2021, and a member of this church family since 2018. I have been blessed to serve in church ministry since 2013. You don’t have to know me very long to figure out I love sports, and I have the distinction of being a diehard Kansas City Royals fan in the middle of Cardinal country! My other major sports fandom is the Kansas City Chiefs, and I am also privileged to be part of the game day staff for the Drury University Panthers and Lady Panthers basketball teams.

My other hobbies include reading, movies, and sports trivia. Uncle is my favorite title, as the lights of my life are my nieces Lucie and Olivia, to whom I am affectionately known as “Funcle.” A fun fact about my family is that I, along with my parents and 2 brothers, are pictured all over the country on the official billboards and brochures for Fantastic Caverns! Praise the Lord I am saved by his Amazing Grace, and my life verses are Proverbs 3:5-6 and Colossians 2:13-15.
Joel Johnson - Youth Pastor

Joel Johnson

Youth Pastor
I started as the Student Pastor at FBC Springfield in August 2020. I graduated from Southwest Baptist University with a degree in Christian Ministry and a minor in Psychology. I'm currently pursuing my masters from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and have been in student ministry for almost 18 years. My wife Laura and I have been married for 15 years and have 4 beautiful kiddos: Kinsley, Micah, Isaiah & Noah. My life verse is Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths".

I enjoy spending time with my family, being out in God’s creation and watching sports, especially the Chiefs, Royals, Cardinals & The Kansas State Wildcats. I also teach history to 7th-12th grade students at Truth Academy which meets at FBC Springfield.
Laura Johnson - Children’s Director

Laura Johnson

Children’s Director
My name is Laura Johnson and I have a passion for seeing kids learn about Jesus! I am privileged to be a part of that experience in the lives of the children in our First Kids and First Kids Jr programs at First Baptist. My husband, Joel, and I were married in 2006 and have a daughter and three sons! I love BBQ, spending time outside with my family, chocolate, and going to flea markets. I am excited for what God has in store for the future at First!
Chris Wassam - Media Director

Chris Wassam

Media Director
First Baptist Church has been my church home for 40 years. My wife Jenny and I met in 1982 and I started attending immediately following. We were married at FBC in 1985 and have been actively involved in all areas of service ever since, raising our two daughters in this church. I have always had a passion for media and have been heavily involved for the last 35 years as a camera operator, switcher, graphics engineer and director of broadcast and livestream.

In 2018, I transitioned to a staff position as Media Director, leading and directing a team of very talented volunteers in the areas of video, sound, graphics, and broadcast production. I am very passionate about bringing a quality experience for both our in-house as well as our at-home audience. I am extremely blessed to serve the Lord in an area I enjoy so much.
Ethan Penrose - Tech Team Audio Coordinator / Website Technician

Ethan Penrose

Tech Team Audio Coordinator / Website Technician
I run sound for services and events at the church and make sure people can hear clearly so we can all share together in worship. Otherwise, isn’t it always the sound guy’s fault?

I also maintain the church’s website so everyone can easily and quickly find what they need. I’m from Springfield and enjoy going on hikes with my dog, bicycling, movies, music, and of course coffee!

Proverbs 17:17, "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity".
Doug McKinney - Maintenance Manager

Doug McKinney

Maintenance Manager
I have been married for 20 years and have 5 children, 3 boys and 2 girls. I have worked in the Maintenance Department at First Baptist Church for 17 years. I have enjoyed the fellowship with my church family. I feel blessed to be needed at FBC. My hobbies have been and are beekeeping and doing outdoor activities with my family.