MEET OUR TEAM

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Pastors Josh and Julie Garner have been serving as Lead Pastors here at Encounter Church for 7 years. Their compassion for our community and love for people is evident by the tremendous impact they are making in the lives of people. The Garners reside in neighboring Lavonia with their two sons Zeph and Japeth.   

Josh & Julie Garner - Lead Pastor

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Pastors Bradley and Elizabeth Collins have been a part of our community and church family for many years. They bring 20 years of family ministry experience and are dedicated to helping families encounter God in a life-changing way. The Collins reside here in Toccoa with their children Ricky and Alexis.    

Bradley & Elizabeth Collins - Family Pastor

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Pastors Jake and Courtney Russell have been here at Encounter Church for nearly four years. Their commitment to excellence and an energetic approach to worship ministry aid in creating a dynamic worship experience. The Russells reside here in Toccoa and have two children, Blake and Evie.     

Jake & Courtney Russell - Worship Pastor

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Pastors Terry and Amber Mitchell have been involved in youth ministry for 15 years! Their calling is to bring out the very best in all of our kids, equipping them to be the men and women of tomorrow’s church. They have 6 children- Amberlin, Tayler, Madyson, Terynn, Sam, and JD. They reside in the Royston area. 

Terry & Amber Mitchell - Student Pastor

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Rik has been attending Encounter for two and a half years. He has a heart to see the men of his community grow in their walk with the Lord and become all that God has called them to be.  Rik lives in Toccoa with his wife, Kim, and their two boys, David and Jonathan.

Rik Wise - Care Pastor

Lorrie Valencia serves as our Head Office Administrator. Lorrie moved here from California almost 5 years ago. Lorrie's commitment to excellence and heart to help make her an indispensable asset to Encounter Church. Lorrie currently resides in Stephens County with her husband, Rudy. 

Lorrie Valencia - Office Administrator

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Samantha Rickman serves as our Nursery Director and has attended Encounter Church for 32 years. Samantha has a heart for community and growth and works at our local Chamber of Commerce. Samantha resides in Toccoa with her husband Josh and their children Piper and Jack.

Samantha Rickman - Nursery Director

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Derek Goodwin serves as the director of our Royal Ranger program and Royal Rangers for the Georgia District. Derek has a deep conviction for mentoring young men and making disciples of Christ. Derek currently resides in Habersham County with his wife Rebecca and children: Caleb, Carson, and Kadie.  

Derek Goodwin - Royal Rangers

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Breanna Squires serves as the coordinator for our MPact Girls Ministries. Having been a part of Georgia Girl’s Ministries for 24 years, she has a heart and passion to see young girls grow into whom God has called them to be. Breanna currently resides in Toccoa with her husband, Steven.

Breanna Squires - MPact Girls

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Tony and Holly are natives of Toccoa and have been part of our church family for ten years.  They have a genuine love for God and the church. They coordinate a team of people to greet, usher,  handle distractions, and promote safety. They strive to create a warm, friendly, and welcoming environment for everyone that walks through the doors of the church.

Tony & Holly Howard - Guest Experience

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Originally from Florida, Michelle and Peter have lived in the Toccoa area for 26 years.  Michelle has lead Bible Studies and Home Groups for ages of middle school to senior adults for over 45 years. The beat of her heart is serving God, and secondly encouraging others towards Holiness, Purity and Service for others.

Michelle Brouwer - E Group Coordinator 

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Growing up in church, Amberlin has always had the heart to serve God volunteering in numerous ministries including worship and student ministry. In this new chapter, she turns her attention and efforts to the areas of media and marketing playing a pivotal role in helping share the gospel. 

Amberlin Mitchell - Media & Marketing