Meet Our Team

Ministry Directors
  • Jess Backus

    Director of Early Childhood Ministries

    Jess Backus was born in Baltimore, Maryland, but spent much of her youth in the…

  • Ryan Bandy

    Pastor of High School Ministries

    Pastor Ryan, a graduate of MBI (Moody Bible Institute) in Chicago, IL most recently served…

  • Jane Jackson-Fowler

    Executive Asst. to the Sr. & Exec. Pastors

    Jane was born in and has lived in the Charleston area all her life. She…

  • Emily King

    Director of Special Needs Ministries

    Emily grew up in Columbus, Ohio. She attended Word of Life Bible Institute and then…

  • Steve Neill

    Pastor of Children's Ministries

    My greatest passion is not only to see girls and boys come to know Jesus…

  • Ted Tanzey

    Pastor of Counseling Ministries

    Ted has been a professional counselor for over 25 years. He is a Nationally Certified…

  • Richard Thompson

    Pastor of Care Ministries

    Pastor Thompson has received training from Moody Bible Institute and Liberty University and holds a…

  • Paula Toney

    Director of Hospitality

    Paula is a graduate of Appalachian Bible College, where she previously served for 10 years…

  • Steven VanHorn

    Director of Technical Arts

    Steven grew up in Charleston and holds a Bachelor’s degree from Marshall University. With a…

  • Jessica VonCrist

    Director of Communications

    After studying aviation, Jessica completed a Bachelor’s degree at Piedmont Bible College and a Master…

  • Lee Walker

    Director of Business & Development

    Lee Walker is a graduate of Appalachian Bible College and has an MBA from Marshall…

  • Josh Willetts

    Pastor of Middle School Ministries

    Pastor Josh Willetts received a B.S. in Youth Ministry and Christian Education from Cedarville University…

Jess Backus

Director of Early Childhood Ministries

Jess Backus was born in Baltimore, Maryland, but spent much of her youth in the Kanawha Valley. The daughter and granddaughter of missionaries, Jess grew up traveling West Virginia with her parents and grandparents. Her travels continued throughout high school, as she assisted her parents in raising support for their mission to Poland. While in college, Jess spent time serving at Word of Life, Poland. From 2011-2013, Jess served with her husband, Andy, at National Community Church in Washington, DC.  She has spoken at parenting and women’s events around the country. Jess and Andy have seven beautiful children: Drew, Reagan, Lincoln, Jefferson, Ford, Hayes, and Ike.

  • Oversees all Early Childhood Ministries: Nurseries, Preschool, and AWANA Cubbies and Puggles
  • Recruits, develops, and leads Early Childhood Ministry leaders
  • Introduces children to God and the wonder of who He is through fun worship time, interactive and applicable Bible lessons, games that reinforce our theme, and creative scripture memory
  • Equips parents as they train their children in the Lord and intentionally integrate Christ into their homes
  • Shepherds families through tough life events and provide help and resources as needed

Ryan Bandy

Pastor of High School Ministries

Pastor Ryan, a graduate of MBI (Moody Bible Institute) in Chicago, IL most recently served at Twin City Bible Church in Nitro, WV as the Student Pastor and a Teaching Pastor for over six years. He previously served as a full-time pastoral intern in Michigan while finishing his degree. His passion is for the people of the Mountain State to see and experience the glory of God alone, which he believes comes through the faithful teaching and preaching of the Word of God, sharing the gospel, and through relationally reproductive discipleship. His young ministry has been influenced greatly by the Puritans, whose works he reads.

He has been married to his wife, Stephanie, a native of Michigan, for 7 years. The Bandys have one daughter, Annalise, who is soon-to-be 5 years old, and are also in the process of fostering to adopt.

Jane Jackson-Fowler

Executive Asst. to the Sr. & Exec. Pastors

Jane was born in and has lived in the Charleston area all her life. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from West Virginia State University. After working in the financial planning industry for twenty-eight years, Jane felt the Lord was calling her to a greater purpose. Passionate about serving Him, moving to Bible Center Church was a natural fit.  After much prayer, she joined the staff in 2016.

  • Serves as the Administrative lead for the Senior and Executive Pastors’ offices
  • Represents the Senior Pastor when communicating with members of the congregation, other churches, and the community
  • Takes initiative for new and special projects, as requested by the Senior Pastor

Emily King

Director of Special Needs Ministries

Emily grew up in Columbus, Ohio. She attended Word of Life Bible Institute and then graduated from Appalachian Bible College where she met her husband, John. They have served with ministries in Argentina, Florida, Ohio, and California. It was during their 5 years in California that Emily fell in love with the Special Needs Ministry. While there, she was able to serve as the volunteer coordinator/ administrative assistant for the ministry. At Bible Center, Emily serves as the administrative assistant for Family Ministries and as the Director of our Special Needs Ministry. Emily and John have 3 girls: Allison, Alana, and Abigail.

Steve Neill

Pastor of Children's Ministries

My greatest passion is not only to see girls and boys come to know Jesus Christ but also to be a life coach for moms and dads, assisting them in navigating these different phases of their children’s lives. Each phase of shaping these creative young minds to live and love like Jesus has its own set of tools and questions to be answered. I desire greatly to encourage parents and to teach children to have a passion to love others, to love God, and to discover what it means to live a full life in Jesus.

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

Ted Tanzey

Pastor of Counseling Ministries

Ted has been a professional counselor for over 25 years. He is a Nationally Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and a Qualified Rehabilitation Professional. He is a graduate of both West Virginia University and Marshall University with a Master’s Degree in Counseling and specializes in relationship, marriage, addiction, grief, rehabilitation and life counseling. From June 2006 through June 2017, Ted served as a part-time contractual Counselor at Bible Center Counseling Ministries. On July 1, 2017, he joined the Pastoral staff at Bible Center Church as the Pastor of Counseling Ministries. He is a former Pastor at River Ridge Church in Charleston. Ted has been married to his wife, Beth, for 24 years and they have three children (Mike, Leanna, and Jayden). Ted has a passion for counseling and helping those in need and for missions and has led 17 short term mission teams to the former Soviet Union countries in the last 10 years.

  • Oversees the Counseling Ministry
  • Offers Counsel and Care for those in need
  • Assists the Global Outreach Committee

Richard Thompson

Pastor of Care Ministries

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 seven children.

  •  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

Paula Toney

Director of Hospitality

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 Church Campus

Steven VanHorn

Director of Technical Arts

Steven grew up in Charleston and holds a Bachelor’s degree from Marshall University. With a wide and diverse background of live production and touring, Steven brings a versatile set of skills and experience to the team.  He’s passionate about seeing creatives empowered and creating environments where people feel loved and welcomed, and where they can experience God in a new way. Outside of Bible Center, Steven enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors.

Jessica VonCrist

Director of Communications

After studying aviation, Jessica completed a Bachelor’s degree at Piedmont Bible College and a Master of Arts degree at Liberty University. She first joined the Bible Center team in 2001 and has previously worked in desktop publishing and IT. Jessica and her husband, Carl, have one daughter and love traveling and having fun together.

  • Manages projects for all creative and communication processes
  • Leads the communication team in developing designs and publications
  • Develops and maintains the app and websites for the church and school
  • Develops and maintains the Bible Center brand to ensure the message is clear and consistent across departments
  • Leads volunteers in photography, graphics, and social media development
  • Leads and trains staff in using software for communication and ministry management
  • Serves all ministries by helping them to effectively and creatively communicate their messages

Lee Walker

Director of Business & Development

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 and served as Executive Pastor until 2017.  He is married to Marty, has two children, three step-children and 17 grandchildren.

Josh Willetts

Pastor of Middle School Ministries

Pastor Josh Willetts received a B.S. in Youth Ministry and Christian Education from Cedarville University and a Master of Divinity from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary.  He previously served as a youth pastor for four years in Michigan and has taught at Bible Center School for four years as the middle school Bible teacher.  He and his wife, Kate, are the parents of Karis, Judah, Hudson, and Asher.

  • Oversees and facilitates the Middle School ministries (Grades 6-8)
  • Provides counsel to students and their families
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