Meet our Team

Matt Friend

Senior Pastor

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Matt Friend was born in Charleston and grew up in the Kanawha Valley.  He attended Hayes Middle School and Cross Lanes Christian High School.  After receiving his undergraduate degree in Bible he and his wife, Sarah, traveled the country for five years in itinerant evangelistic ministry.  From 2007 – 2010 he served as Pastor of Outreach and Pastor of Student Ministries at Bible Center.  He is a 2016 graduate of Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky and prior to returning to Bible Center he served as the Executive Pastor of the East Campus of Sojourn Community Church in Louisville.

  • Serves as the primary voice of the pulpit
  • Develops and leads the Pastoral and Staff Ministry Team
  • Cares for and shepherds the congregation
  • Provides vision and direction for the church
  • Works directly with the Elders to enrich and protect the spiritual health of the church


Lee Walker

Executive Pastor

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Lee Walker is a graduate of Appalachian Bible College and has an MBA from Marshall University.  He previously served for 29 years at ABC, working mainly in administrative areas including Development and Business.  For 16 years he was Executive Vice-President of the College.  Pastor Walker began his service at Bible Center in 1998.  He is married to Marty, has two children, three step-children and 17 grandchildren.

  • Oversees staff, ministry, finances, operations, technology and facilities
  • Works with the ministry staff to achieve the purposes of the church
  • Serves directly with the Deacons and Elders as a Pastoral liaison to these leadership groups


Bill Tanzey

Pastor of Community Ministries

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Pastor Tanzey holds a Doctorate Degree from Masters School of Divinity. He is also a graduate of West Virginia University where he holds a Masters Degree in Counseling. Dr. Tanzey is a Licensed Professional Counselor. He and his wife, Doris, have three sons and six grandchildren.

  • Oversees Adult Ministries – Adult Bible Fellowships, ManUp! Men’s Ministries, Discipleship and Equip Classes
  • Oversees and implements the Counseling Ministry
  • Oversees Christian Education


Matt Garrison

Pastor of Family Ministries

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Pastor Matt Garrison holds a B.S. in Youth Ministry from Liberty University and a Masters in Arts and Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He previously served for nine years as the Youth Pastor at New Life Baptist Church in Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Andrea, are the parents of Sydney, Tyler, Sierra and Troy.

  • Oversees and facilitates the Student Ministry, 6th-12th grades
  • Co-leads college ministries
  • Provides counsel to students and their families


Richard Thompson

Pastor of Children's Ministries

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Pastor Thompson has received training from Moody Bible Institute and Liberty University and holds a B.S. in Church Ministry from Andersonville Baptist Seminary. He previously served as Assistant Pastor and Children's Minister at Lyona Bible Church in Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Michelle, are the parents of five children.

  • Oversees and facilitates the children’s ministries, including Base Camp and children's summer camp
  • Recruits and trains a children’s ministries volunteer staff of over 500
  • Provides counsel and input to children and their parents


Michelle Thompson

Early Childhood Director

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Michelle has a Bachelors degree in Christian Education from Andersonville Bible College and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree at Southwest Bible College and Seminary. She previously served as the Physical Education teacher at Bible Center School. She and her husband, Richard, have five children.

  • Oversees all church Preschool Ministries, including Nurseries and Sunday School, as well as Awana Cubbies and Puggles
  • Recruits, manages and trains over 400 ministry volunteers
  • Visits our newborns and their families, and coordinates Child Dedication Services


Caleb Korth

Pastor of Worship Arts

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Caleb is a graduate of Appalachian Bible College with a B.A. in Bible and Theology. He has previously served as a Youth Pastor in Virginia. He and his wife, Tiffany, reside in Charleston.

  • Oversees and leads Adult Praise Team
  • Oversees and leads Youth Praise Band
  • Leads contemporary worship on Sundays


Chad Cowan

Pastor of Care Ministries

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Pastor Chad Cowan joined the Pastoral Team in May of 2013.  Chad has local roots, having grown up in Dunbar and graduating from Cross Lanes Christian School.  After receiving a degree in electrical engineering from WV Tech, he spent the early part of his career working for a defense contractor in Maryland where he met his wife, Melissa.  After answering God’s call into ministry, he moved to Texas where both he and Melissa graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary.  Chad holds a Masters of Theology and believes God has truly prepared them and brought them to West Virginia for ministry at Bible Center.

  •  Oversees spiritual care for those who are hospitalized and/or are chronically ill
  • Seeks to provide godly counsel and comfort to those experiencing the loss of a loved one
  • Engages seniors in ministry to assist them with fellowship and service


Robert Ballard

Pastor of Worship Ministries

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Pastor Robert Ballard graduated from Liberty University with a Master of Worship Studies from Liberty University after earning a Bachelor’s in Music Education from West Virginia State University.  He previously served as the Worship Pastor of Cross Lanes Baptist Church.  He and his wife, Erin, have three children:  Landon, Luke, and Liam.

  • Oversees all music and worship-related ministries
  • Recruits, trains, and prepares musicians for worship
  • Prepares and plans worship services


Paula Toney

Hospitality Director

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Paula is a graduate of Appalachian Bible College, where she previously served for 10 years as Secretary to the President. She grew up in the Beckley, WV area, but her family now resides in Richmond, VA.

  • Oversees the First Impressions Ministry with over a 100 volunteers
  • Serves as the church Wedding Coordinator and host for special events
  • Schedules facility use for the Southridge Campus


Christy Corbin

Volunteer Coordinator

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Christy has a Bachelors degree in Mathematics Education from Bob Jones University. She previously served as a math teacher at a Christian school in South Florida before moving to the Charleston area to teach.  She taught at Bible Center School for three years before transitioning onto the church staff as Service Programming Coordinator and Volunteer Coordinator.

  • Coordinates with all church ministries and staff to determine volunteer needs
  • Works with church volunteers to determine the best place for them to serve


Josh Bacchus

School Principal

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Josh Bacchus is a Graduate of Clearwater Christian College with a degree in Special Education and a minor in Bible.  He has earned his MA from Marshall University in Leadership Studies with an additional Superintendent certificate.  He has previously served as an elementary school and middle school principal with his most recent position being the Director of Facilities in Boone County.  Mr. Bacchus has served in various ministries at Bible Center Church. He and his wife, Jessica, have 3 children.

  • Leads in the cultivation of strong spiritual and academic standards
  • Recruits, develops and leads faculty and staff
  • Maintains strong relationships with parents and students
  • Oversees curricular planning and development


Vicki Hess

Preschool Director

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Vicki is a graduate of Marshall University and has completed additional classes through Appalachian Bible College, West Virginia University, and the University of Charleston. She had taught at Bible Center School since the early 80's and had also taught in the Lincoln County and Kanawha County public school systems. She and her husband, Reed, have one daughter and 2 grandchildren.

  • Oversees the daily operation of Bible Center Preschool
  • Recruits, hires, trains, and supervises staff necessary to maintain quality preschool program
  • Works with families to encourage positive mental, social, physical, emotional, and spiritual growth and development in preschool age children