Our Ministry Team

Pastoral Ministry Team

Rev. Dr. Paul R. Gilliam III


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Paul Gilliam began his service at First Baptist in February 2017 as Interim Pastor. Paul became permanent pastor in August of the same year.

Paul got his start in ministry via Young Life – an outreach to unchurched high school students – during his years as an undergraduate student at Gardner-Webb University. During this time, Paul and his then future wife Lou Ann started the first ever Young Life club at Crest High School. The lessons learned then have served him well as a pastor – the importance of personal relationships, relevant preaching, and intimacy with God through Christ.

After college, Paul attended and graduated from the Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity while serving as pastor to Henrietta First Baptist Church. During this time, he was given the opportunity to experiment with university teaching at his alma mater. As a result, Paul fell in love with the classroom in addition to the church. He then pursued further academic training. While serving as pastor to Caroleen Baptist Church, he worked towards and received a Master of Arts degree in religious studies from UNC Charlotte. Next, he and his family moved across the pond to Edinburgh Scotland, where Paul received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in early Christianity from the University of Edinburgh.

Paul and Lou Ann have a nineteen year-old daughter Matty Grace and two cats, Tabby and Bubba, who get along with one another better than they ever have before.

Rev. Anita D. Thompson

Associate Pastor

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Anita D. Thompson joined the staff of First Baptist Church of Ahoskie as Associate Pastor on April 15, 2002. An Ahoskie native, she is a graduate of East Carolina University (B.M.), the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.C.M.), and the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (M.Div.).

Prior to joining the staff of FBC Ahoskie, Anita served as Minister of Music, Minister to Children, and Minister of Youth for churches in Kentucky, Louisiana, Virginia, and North Carolina. First Baptist Church of Ahoskie had the privilege to ordain Anita to the ministry in 1997.

Anita’s household includes two canine pals, Carlton and Lucy, and one feline, Ashley. For personal enjoyment Anita loves to read, sew, and spend time with family and friends.

Rev. Dr. Jesse J. Croom

Pastor Emeritus

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Jesse J. Croom, a native of Burlington, served as the 23rd pastor of First Baptist Church from 1991-2005.  He was educated at Elon College, Wake Forest University, and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Dr. Croom has served six other churches in North and South Carolina.

Dr. Croom and his wife, Mary Anne, now call Edenton, North Carolina home.

A beloved former pastor and mentor to our current pastor, Dr. Croom is honored to continue serving First Baptist Church as Pastor Emeritus.

Music Ministry Team

Mr. Bland Baker

Music Associate/Pianist

Miss Bridget Deveney

Music Associate/Organist

Bridget Deveney joined our staff on August 16, 2020. Bridget is a native of Rochester, NY. This week she began her first semester as a graduate student at East Carolina University. She is pursuing a master’s degree in sacred music. In May 2020, she graduated from Seton Hill University, Greensburg, PA, with a Bachelor of Music in Sacred Music with Honors.

Administrative and Facilities Ministry Team

Miss Jessica Pyle

Communications Coordinator

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Mrs. Janice Cesil

Financial Secretary

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Mr. Selton Vaughan