Senior Minister

Kern has been senior pastor since January 2014.  Prior to that, he served as Minister of Music for four years.  He and his wife, Barbara have been in the Athens area for 28 years.  They have a daughter and son-in-law, Bridget and Andrew Scott of Athens and a son and daughter-in-law, Tiffany and Robby Railsback of Bryan, Texas.  Kern has a Bachelor of Music from Baylor University, a Master of Church Music from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Master of Music Education from University of Texas at Arlington.

Kern's vision for the church is that First Christian Church remains a strong church that ministers to all ages, races, and cultures. His gift of music combined with his sermons helps the church have a strong worship experience.  Come be a part of First Christian Church.

Colossians 3:16 "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."



Rita started to work at FCC in September, 2005.  She is married to Weldon and they have three children, all girls!  Rita worked for AT&T for 25 years and also met her husband at work.  

Rita stays busy at the church working Monday through Thursday of each week.  She works with the church's financial data, produces the weekly newsletter and order of service, as well as a million other things for church members and staff.  We are thankful that Rita faithfully serves our church.  

When asked what her favorite part of her job she said, "working with church members--so many wonderful Christian people."  Her favorite verse is Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths."


Minister of Children and Youth

Barbara is the Children's and Youth Minister at First Christian Church. She has recently retired as the music teacher at South Athens Elementary School (the school next door to the church).  She is also the wife of the senior pastor and is mother to Bridget Scott and Robby Railsback.  She is also very active in the church's music ministry.

Barbara holds an education degree from Baylor University and is very creative in ways of reaching new children and youth for our church.



Pastoral Counselor

Kyle is an ordained Disciples minister and a retired Army chaplain with experience in providing pastoral care and counseling in church, military, prison, and hospice settings.  He holds a Master of Divinity degree and has additional graduate training in counseling, educational research, and neuroscience.  He has over two years of chaplaincy training in medical and state hospitals.  He has held two national counseling certifications through the American Counseling Association.  Kyle is a published author in the pastoral counseling field as well as an active researcher.  Kyle is a Visiting Professor at Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, TX and an Associate Faculty Member at St. Stephens College in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  He holds memberships in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and the Society for Pastoral Theology.

Visit our Pastoral Council page to learn more.