About the Pastor


Dr. James Nelson (Jim), a native of Mississippi, has been the senior pastor of First Baptist Church since June 25, 2009. Dr. Nelson is a graduate of Mississippi State University, the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served churches in Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina. His wife, the Reverend Twyla Nelson, is a hospice chaplain employed by First Health of the Carolinas, and serves clients in Moore and Montgomery Counties. The Nelson’s have three adult children and four grandchildren.

Dr. Nelson’s ministry philosophy centers on the servant-leader model of Christ, who did not come to be served but to serve. He believes the primary task of the church is to glorify God by fulfilling the Great Commission and by living according to the Great Commandment, to love God and one’s neighbor.

Dr. Nelson’s desire for the First Baptist Church is for it to become a genuine Christ-centered community of believers which serves and ministers, in Rockingham and Richmond County and beyond, as the genuine presence of Christ, a church that is actively and constantly involved in knowing Christ and making Him known.