Get to know the leadership team at FBCLS!

Ministry Staff

Blake McKinney - Lead Pastor

Blake McKinney has been our pastor since 2010. He has also served churches in Arkansas, Ohio, and Georgia. He is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University, Southern Seminary, and Fuller Seminary. Blake is married to Gayla, and they have 3 kids: Justin, Caleb, and Sarah. You can read some his work here: To connect with Pastor Blake, click here!

"Never tell me the odds." - Han Solo

Gary Snowden - Associate Pastor

Gary Snowden has served as the associate pastor of FBCLS since September 2003. Prior to that time, Gary and his family served as missionaries in Argentina and Mexico for 16 years. Gary (originally from Texas) is married to Annetta Marie, a native of Kansas City and they have four sons: Jason, Joel, Joshua, and Jonathan. They are also the proud grandparents of Kelsey, Andrew, Nathan, and Jonah. To connect with Gary, click here!

“Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” - Jesus

Randy Buffington

Randy Buffington has been the Minister of Worship/Arts since 1993. He has served several other churches in Missouri since being called to the music ministry in 1977. Randy is a native of Missouri and received his undergraduate and graduate music degrees from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO and Missouri State University in Springfield, MO. To connect with Randy, click here!

"Improvise, adapt and overcome" - Clint Eastwood, Heartbreak Ridge

Jaron Moots

Jaron is married to his beautiful wife Madeline. He has lived in Raymore his whole life. He loves people, music, and he has a great passion to lead all people of all ages in worship to God through music. He leads our contemporary worship service is currently serving as the interim Student Pastor. To connect with him, click here!

Beth Garner - Minister of Administration and Mobilization

Beth became FBC’s first Church Administrator in February 2004 and the first Minister of Administration and Mobilization in January, 2015. A farm girl at heart, she grew up on land that has been in her family for almost one hundred years, and became a Christian at a white country church on a hill. She and husband, Allen, have two grown children and several wild grandchildren. To connect with Beth, click here!

"The cure for BOREDOM is CURIOSITY. There is no cure for CURIOSITY." - Dorothy Parker

Rachel Esely - Director of Preschool Ministries

Rachel Esely is our Director of Preschool Ministry. She has been a Pre-K teacher for 10 years, an assistant preschool director for 2 years, and has served in Preschool and Kid’s ministry for 12 years here at FBCLS. Rachel has a degree in English from the University of Missouri - Columbia. Her passion is early childhood education! Rachel loves teaching little ones and equipping others to share the love of Jesus with preschoolers and their families through hands-on learning, fun, and fellowship. Rachel is married to her best friend, David, and they have two kids: Kendall and Dylan. To connect with Rachel, click here!

Kimberley Attaway - Minister to Children

Kimberley Attaway is our Minister to Children. She has a Music Education Degree from Ouachita Baptist University and a Master's Degree in Christian Ministry, with a concentration in Children's Ministry from East Texas Baptist University. In addition to making puns and quoting random facts about her home state of Texas, Kimberley is passionate about partnering with families to teach children how to have a life-changing relationship with Christ. To connect with Kimberley, click here!

"Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." - Helen Keller

Matt Parker - Minister to Students

Matt Parker has been Minister to Students since August 2020. When he’s not hanging out with teenagers and student ministry leaders, he is playing games with his 4 remarkable kids, working on projects with his wife, Misha, or running. One of his core values is that parents are the primary spiritual teachers of their kids, and it’s his passion to equip them to fully embody that role. He graduated from Ouachita Baptist University and Dallas Theological Seminary.. To connect with Matt, click here.

“In this life you can be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. For years I was smart, I recommend pleasant.” Elwood P. Dowd

Support Staff

Katie Rowland - Administrative Assistant

Katie Rowland Katie is a part-time Administrative Assistant creating graphic design and providing support for ministry staff with communication and promotion needs. She went to The Art Institute of Kansas City for graphic design and has taught art classes for all ages for many years. She's incredibly enthusiastic to create, learn, and grow in her skills. Take a look around the church and you might find something she's had a hand in creating. To connect with Katie, click here!

“In raising my children, I have lost my mind but found my soul.” - Lisa T. Shepherd

Paul Morales - Children's Ministry Coordinator

Paul Morales Paul Morales is the director of First Arts Academy, an arts program for

Kindergarten through Sixth grade. The Academy runs on Sunday evenings

through the school year. Paul holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education

from William Jewell College and a Master of Music from in Music

Education/Conducting from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort

Worth, Texas. To connect with Paul, click here!

"Bet chya didn't know that! Huh?" - Not Becky

Debbie Whitford

Debbie is a part-time Administrative Assistant performing financial duties and providing support for ministry staff with communications needs. To connect with Debbie, click here!

“After all, tomorrow is another day” - Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind

Seth Valet - Facilities Manager

Seth is just one of those guys who has too many facets of interests, from automotive repair to property management to chasing his 3 kids around the church, he possesses a multitude of skills that compliment our growing congregation and the needs of the church. Besides working for FBCLS, Seth manages two companies and is the training coordinator for a police department in the North Kansas City area. He loves to sing, play the pipe organ, teach, and he leads the safety program here at FBCLS! If you want to reach him, you may do so here!

Karen Sherman - Ministry Assistant

Karen Sherman has been working as an assistant to Worship and Administration for First Baptist Church since September of 2007. She is married to Mark and they have two beautiful teenage girls: Hannah and Sarah.  They have been members of First Baptist for 18 years. To connect with Karen, click here.

"She's the nicest person on staff." - says Everyone On Staff

Tanya Thierry - Ministry Assistant

Tanya Thierry has been attending First Baptist Church since 1961. She has had the privilege of teaching various ages in Sunday School and Vacation Bible School over the years, currently serving with the youth and young adult ministries. She began working in the church office on February 25, 2002 and is the ministry assistant to the Pastor and the Minister of Students & Recreation. To connect with Tanya, click here!

"Don't kill the spider!" - Tanya