About First Baptist Church

Involved Leadership

Pepper Puryear, Pastor


Bro. Pepper Puryear came to First Baptist Church in January of 1993.  He is native of Cisco, Texas where he graduated from high school.  Bro. Pepper received a bachelor's degree from Howard Payne University and a Master's degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  He began pastoring in 1978 as a college student.  First Baptist is his fourth pastorate.


Placing an emphasis on biblical exposition and its application, Bro. Pepper desires his messages to be riveted to reality.  Each message is designed with real world living in mind.  He is married to Debra and is the father of three grown children, Austin and his wife Haley, Andrew and his wife Brittany, and Kathleen. 
Running, reading, a round of golf, and being a fan of high school athletics takes up Bro. Pepper's spare time.  He is also an avid follower of the Boston Red Sox.


Bro. Pepper's desire for First Baptist is for us to be a family where Jesus is experienced and we are changed into HIS likeness.


Shannon Hassell, Associate Pastor of Family Ministry

Shannon joined First Baptist Church as Minister to Families in September of 2009.  After serving many years with students and pastoring for almost 8 years at First Baptist Church in Yantis,  Shannon, his wife Cyndi and boys Daniel and Caleb come as a family to minister to families and the total ministry of First Baptist, Mt. Vernon.  “I believe everyone is a part of a family, whether a family of one or ten.  The Church, the Body of Christ, is composed of families and we must be intentional and passionate about reaching, loving and supporting the family today when social pressures are tearing them down.”  Shannon accepted Christ at the age of ten, accepted the call to minister as a high school senior, and when not serving at the church enjoys sports, outdoor activities and woodworking.


Fred Randles, Associate / Minister of Music


An ordained minister Fred was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, grew up in Tennessee and educated at the University of Tennessee.  He is married to his wife Jane and they are the parents of a daughter and son-in-law Natalie and Darren Brown and have two granddaughters, Olivia and Camille.


Fred had been the recipient of certificates of appreciation from four United States Presidents, The U. S. Congress and the governments of Cozumel, Mexico and the Bahamas, as well as the entertainment division of Walt Disney World.


Fred recently came to us after 25 years of service at First Baptist Church, Sulphur Springs, Texas.

Mark Jackson, Associate Pastor of Students


Mark Jackson came to First Baptist Church in January of 2018. He is originally from Frost, Texas and has served in a variety of ministerial positions, including youth, mission, and camp ministries. Mark received a Bachelors in Christian Studies from Dallas Baptist University in May 2014 and is in the process of finishing his M.A. in Theological Studies. He also did leadership development for about three years before coming on staff with FBC. He is engaged to Sydney Davis, to be married December 2018.


Mark has a passion for developing a culture of transparency and discipleship, convinced that those two things in conjunction transition students into Bible-believing, fruit-bearing adults.


When not serving at the church, he enjoys reading, writing, exercising, and woodworking, eventually hoping to open a side business building furniture. He is an avid fan of the Dallas Mavericks, Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys, and yes, the New England Patriots.



Sherrie Rutledge, Director of KUC


Sherrie is a lifelong resident of Mt. Vernon.  Married to husband Jack, they have three grown children and 6 grandchildren.  Sherrie came to Kids Under Construction in 1999 after working in the Mt. Vernon I.S.D. school system for 10 years.  She held positions as preschool/children’s choir director, church secretary/treasurer, and numerous other volunteer positions in her former church before becoming a member of First Baptist Church.  She is licensed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, has a Professional Administrator’s Credential and holds a Certificate of Leadership in Childhood and Weekday Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  She serves on Church Weekday Education’s East Texas Regional Planning Committee for its annual training held annually at East Texas University, and has served as both president and co-president of the Northeast Texas Childcare Association.

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