Meet our Staff

  • Gary mitchener

    Lead Pastor

    Pastor Gary started the 1st FWB Church of Ozark on July 15, 1993 with his wife, Brenda and three children, Christi, David (and wife, Lindsey) and Rebecca (and husband, Keith). They are blessed with 3 grandchildren as well, Silas, Wesley, and Kole.

    Pastor Gary was ordained in 1976 and has pastored for over 40 years in Missouri, Arkansas, and Kansas. He has served as Associate Moderator in Kansas, as well as chairman of the Kansas State Missions Board and Missouri State Missions Board. He enjoys golfing, fishing, restoring antique cars, and playing with his grandsons. Brenda is active in the church by supporting her husband as "Pastor's wife" along with a great love for people,  and teaching children''s classes. Brenda enjoys reading, shopping, teaching and working with children. Brenda says she enjoys being a Pastor's wife and ministering in the church.

  • Greg Smith

    Music Minister and Associate Pastor

    Greg has been on staff since the summer of 2000 and has taken the music at 1st FWB, Ozark, to a whole new level in Christ. Greg is a 1992 graduate from the Free Will Baptist Bible College in Nashville, Tennessee (now known as Welch College).

    Greg, along with his wife, Kim, have served in Church Music Ministry for over 20 years. Greg was licensed and ordained as a Minister in November, 2001. He enjoys fishing, hunting and riding his motorcycle. Greg and Kim have three boys, Layton (and wife, Stephanie), Daylen and Caysen, along with their grandkids Micah and Adah!

  • Chuck Meppelink

    Administrative Pastor

    Being semi-retired, he has joined the staff as an Administrative Assistant and also teaches the Adult Sanctuary Class. His wife Kay carries on an exhausting schedule as a hair stylist in her own salon. Her people skills and love for the Lord make her a great asset to her husband and their ministry. Chuck was ordained to the ministry in 1965 and has pastored in the states of Michigan, Connecticut, Texas, California, Illinois, and Missouri. He has also ministered overseas on several occasions in Africa and several European countries.

    Chuck said, "We feel blessed that God has allowed us to serve alongside the Pastors and staff of the Ozark Free Will Baptist Church. The desire of our hearts is to lead people into a greater hunger for the Word of God and to help them grow into the image of Christ. We hope that the skills learned over the past decades of ministry will be of value to the church family.”

  • Kim Smith


    Kim is the wife of our Music Minister and Associate Pastor, Greg. She does a wonderful job as our church secretary. Her title does not capture the full array of things she does for our church. Kim leads the Children's Music Ministry and leads in our worship service along side Greg (her husband). She enjoys working with children, playing the piano, singing, and being with friends. Greg and Kim have three boys, Layton and his wife Stephanie, Daylen and Caysen. Along with their grandkids Micah and Adah!

  • Gene Crewse

    Heritage Campus Pastor

    Brother Gene has pastored for 42 years and has been ordained for 47. He is currently the moderator of the Greater Springfield District Association of Free Will Baptists. 

    Gene started pastoring at Heritage in May of 2018, when we adopted Heritage as part of our family. We are excited to see what God is going to do at Heritage!

  • Layton Smith

    Kid's Pastor

    Layton Smith graduated from Welch College in Nashville TN, with a degree in General Christian Ministries in May 2018. He studied under their Youth and Family Ministry degree, while ministering in a couple of churches in the Nashville area. He is 23 years old and has just recently joined our staff here at Ozark 1st Free Will Baptist Church.

    He and his wife, Stephanie, got married on July 8, 2017 and began their new family on August 1, 2018, with their boy Micah David Smith. Layton and Stephanie both grew up in our church! They have a deep love for the people here and are looking forward to the great things God is doing and is going to do in our church!