Leadership

Pastors & Staff

Eric Kennedy

Senior Pastor

Pastor Eric Kennedy and his family began serving Ringgold First Baptist in 2014 and are thrilled to call Ringgold home.  Eric was born and raised in Laurens, SC and gave his life to Christ as a child.  After studying finance at Florida State University, Eric spent ten years working as a stockbroker and operations manager in the financial industry before accepting God’s call to vocational ministry.  He served on staff with Central Baptist Church of Miami, FL for two years before attending seminary at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, AL, and then served as senior pastor of Community Baptist Fellowship church in Bedford, IN for seven years.  In his free time, Eric enjoys time outdoors fishing, hiking, and kayaking, and spending time with his family.  Eric is married to Dallas, TX native Lori, who is a speech pathologist with the Catoosa County school system.  Lori spent several years as a full-time missionary working in inner city Miami, FL and is a graduate of Texas Tech University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Eric and Lori are the proud parents of James and Ellie.

Brant Olivarri

Minister to Families

Pastor Brant Olivarri and his family moved to Ringgold First Baptist in 2009 where he begin serving as the minister to families.  Brant spent his childhood in Columbia, SC and though he is a USC Gamecock fan, his true college team is the University of Texas.  Brant received a Physical Education degree from Carson-Newman, where he played soccer for the Eagles.  Carson-Newman is also where he met his wife Kristy when he was supposed to be studying.  After college Brant received a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX.  Brant and Kristy have served churches in NC and SC before coming to Ringgold.  Brant and Kristy have been married since 1999 and have three wonderful kids: Sawyer, Cohen & Piper. 

Eric Purser

MINISTER  of music

Pastor Eric Purser accepted the call to serve as a minister of the gospel through music at Ringgold First Baptist in 2017. He was born and raised in Macon, GA, where he developed his love of music as he sang in church, school, and community choirs and instrumental groups. Upon completion of his Bachelor of Music in music education at the University of Georgia, where he marched with the Redcoat Band for 4 years, Eric pursued a band teaching career. This career included teaching elementary or middle school bands in Fort Valley (GA), Folkston (GA), and Jackson (GA) and earning his Master of Music degree from Columbus State University. While in Jackson, Eric discovered his calling to lead music in church while attending Towaliga Baptist Church, where he was later ordained for ministry. After two years of musical leadership at Towaliga, Eric accepted a call to be the Associate Minister of Music at First Baptist Church of Blairsville, GA, where he served for seven years. During these years, Eric earned his Master of Theological Studies degree from Midwestern Baptist Seminary.

During his free time, Eric enjoys spending time with his wife, Laura Purser, who is a pianist and music teacher, and their two boys, Ethan and Evan.  He enjoys being outdoors camping, kayaking, hiking, biking or otherwise playing with the family. He also enjoys watching UGA sports and all Atlanta area professional sports teams.

Chloe Hamlin

Music and Student Ministry

Chloe Hamlin joined our church staff in 2020 as Music & Youth Ministry Associate. She leads worship in our contemporary service and assists in our ministry to students. Chloe is a native of Winston-Salem, NC, where she grew up in a Christian home and attended Calvary Baptist Church and Day School. After graduating high school in 2016, she moved to Cleveland, TN to attend Lee University. While at Lee, she traveled the country with the touring a cappella group Voices of Lee, led worship in the university chapel services, worked as a teaching assistant and tutor, and spent a month studying Spanish in Colombia. In 2020, she graduated from Lee with a double major in Music and Spanish.

In her free time, Chloe enjoys traveling, hiking, songwriting, playing tennis, drinking coffee & tea, and watching all kinds of movies (she would love any suggestions you might have)! She loves missions and has been blessed to have traveled around the world on mission trips to various countries. She is excited to now be a part of the Ringgold FBC community, and can’t wait to see God’s plan unfold for her life as she follows His call!

Dan Nichols

Financial Administrator

Dan Nichols has been part of Ringgold First Baptist Church since November of 1970. Prior to joining the staff as Financial Administrator in 2020, Dan has served as a Deacon, Sunday School Teacher and Children’s Choir Director. He has a degree in Economics and Finance from Shorter University. He attended UTC to study accounting in preparation for the CPA exam which he successfully passed on his first attempt. Prior to joining the staff at RFBC, he worked in the banking and insurance industries.
Dan‘s interest are golf, Braves baseball, SEC football and spending time with the women in his life (his wife, two daughters and three granddaughters.

Allison Hullender

Administrative assistant

Allison Hullender joined the Ringgold First Baptist staff in June of 2018. She attended Moody Bible Institute for one year, and finished college at Bryan College in Dayton, TN. She was born and raised in Traverse City, Michigan but has settled here with her husband, a Ringgold native, Shane Hullender. She and Shane are the proud parents of daughter Promyss . Her professional journey has taken many turns, hills, and valleys, but she is happiest when she is supporting the work of others and is thrilled that she is also able to serve the Lord at the same time.

David Darnell

Piano ministry

David Darnell hails from Louisiana and joined the RFBC staff in piano ministry in 2016.  David has served in piano ministry in various churches throughout the U.S. and South Korea for almost 60 years.  As the son of a full-time evangelist, David started playing in church at 10 years of age.  After retiring in 2016 from library administration, David moved to Georgia with his wife Wilma.  Since then, David has recorded in Nashville several solo piano CDs for worship enhancement and is currently working on upcoming CD projects.
It is a pleasure for David to worship and share in ministry with the RFBC staff and church family.  His prayer is that the piano will complement the worship experience and bring comfort and joy in the grace and love of our sweet Lord.

Beth Long

organ ministry

Beth Long has ministered to Ringgold First Baptist for more than 50 years! She became our church organist in 1966 and has served under the direction of eight ministers of music and alongside eight pastors. But to limit Beth’s service to our church to the area of music alone would be a huge oversight. Beth is not only a talented musician but also a trusted spiritual leader, tireless prayer warrior, devoted friend, and faithful servant in all areas of church life. Her theology of music is that it “glorifies God and lifts our peoples’ hearts”, and she has lived out that theology through decades of worship services and countless weddings, funerals, and other events. Beth’s happiest time of the week is Sunday morning worship when she has the joy of hearing the voices of our congregation raised in praise to the Lord. Beth is happily married to Win and loves spending time with their children and grandchildren.

Lynndi Fountain

Pre-k director

Lynndi Fountain was born and raised right here in Ringgold, GA. She grew up in a Christian home with her dad, mom, and two older brothers. After graduating from Ringgold High School in 2012 with a career strand in Early Childhood Education, she devoted herself to teaching children. Whether it was through dance classes or education, she knew from a young age she loved working with kids. After joining the Ringgold First Baptist PreK and Learning Center staff in 2013, she attended Northwestern Technical College where she received her TCC in Early Childhood Education. Lynndi has served in a variety of roles in our PreK over the years, working most recently as our 2-year-old class teacher prior to becoming our PreK director in 2020. Lynndi has been married to her high school sweetheart, Tanner Fountain, since 2013. They have two wonderful children together: Church and Atlas. In her free time, she enjoys fitness activities of any kind, dancing with her children, long naps with her cat, coffee dates with her husband, and making people smile. She is so excited for this new chapter in her life and can’t wait to see all of God’s plans with the PreK program.