Gary Furr, Pastor

Dr. Gary Furr has been a pastor for over twenty years and has served as pastor of Vestavia Hills Baptist Church since 1993. Before that he was a pastor in Georgia and Texas. A native of North Carolina, he has been married since 1973 to Vickie. They have three daughters, Heather, Erin and Katie. Dr. Furr has a B.A. in Religion from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee. He received a Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and Ph.D. in religion from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he graduated in 1986. He is a graduate of The Academy for Spiritual Formation with the Upper Room Ministries and currently serves on the Coordinating Council of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Gary is often called on as a speaker and conference leader and has written for a number of magazines and journals. He co-edited and contributed to Ties That Bind: Life in the Baptist Vision and co-authored The Dialogue of Worship with Milburn Price. He was a contributor to and editor of the Library of Distinctive Sermons. He also serves as an adjunct professor of religion at Samford University. Contact Gary.
Nancy Akins, Minister to Preschool and Children


Nancy Akins began her ministry at Vestavia Hills in January of 1990 after completing the Master of Divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. She has twice served as the President of the Alabama Preschool and Children's Minister's Organization.

Her hobbies include gardening, needlework, and learning to cook. Nancy has volunteered at many places in the Birmingham area which include the burn unit at Children's Hospital and local school libraries. Contact Nancy.

Dennis Anderson, Administrator

Dr. Dennis Anderson began his ministry at Vestavia Hills Baptist in July of 1985. He received his undergraduate degree from Georgia State University and Masters and Doctor of Education degrees from Southwestern Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Karen, fill their free time with a variety of activities, including civic involvement in Vestavia Hills. His general responsibilities on the church staff include the administration of the church's general operation in the areas of finance, personnel, and facilities. As a licensed professional counselor, Dr. Anderson also assists the pastor in pastoral care and counseling ministries.
Contact Dennis.
Andy Farmer, MInister to Students

As Minister to Students, Andy is blessed to share life with youth, their families, and college students. Sensing that all we do together is formational - playing, relaxing, studying, worshiping, serving, listening - Andy finds himself drawn to those enduring growing pains and desiring light-heartedness.

Andy is a recent graduate of Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond and a graduate of Samford University. He was an intern at VHBC during college and married his wife Emily at the church in 2009. They enjoy all kinds of sports, including Alabama football and Braves baseball. Andy's interests include teaching, learning, church league softball, pick-up basketball, and the short stories of Flannery O'Connor. Contact Andy.

Terre Johnson, Minister of Music


Terre Johnson holds degrees in choral music from Troy University, Auburn University, and Florida State University, and serves as Minister of Music at the Vestavia Hills Baptist Church. He also serves as Visiting Professor of Choral Music at Judson College, and is the founder and conductor of the acclaimed Birmingham Chamber Chorus. He is National Chair for Music in Worship of the American Choral Directors Association, and is Managing Director of the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra.

Prior to coming to Vestavia Hills he was Conductor-in-Residence for Midamerica Productions in New York, and Music Director of the New Jersey Choral Society. Dr. Johnson's ten concerts in Carnegie Hall have met with critical success. In 2004 the New York Times lauded the "robust choral sound" his chorus produced in a concert which featured soprano Angela Brown, and was narrated by Olympia Dukakis. In 2006 he served as Guest Conductor and Assistant Artistic Director for the Voices in the House Festival in the Sydney Opera House, and held a similar position in the International Haydn Festival 2009 in Vienna, and in the International Festival of the Aegean in Greece in 2010. He served as Minister of Music of the First Baptist Church of Dothan, Alabama from 1990-1999, and as Director of Choral Activities at Troy University from 1999-2001. He is founder and Music Director of the Southeastern Chamber Orchestra. In recent years he has conducted three opera productions for Samford University, conducted and co-written two music theatre productions at Troy University, and conducted two concerts with the Huxford Symphony Orchestra of the University of Alabama.

Dr. Johnson has three children. Cameron is a music educator in Enterprise, Alabama, Kelly is an elementary school teacher, and Christopher is a pre-med student at Auburn University.
Contact Terre.

Mike McBrayer, MInister of Discipleship and Missions


Mike serves as the Minister of Discipleship and Missions, encouraging and supporting others to grow in faith and to live out God's call in their lives. Mike is well known by our church families, having served here for more than ten years as Minister to Students. He brings a passion for connecting others to the work of Christ in the church so that they may develop and practice their faith.

Mike is a native of East Tennessee. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. Mike has lived in Vestavia Hills, Alabama since 2002 with his wife Melissa and their children Luke and Maggie. He enjoys teaching, fishing, biking, and sharing stories around the dinner table with friends and family. Contact Mike.

Beth McGinnis, Organist and Children's Choir Coordinator


Dr. Beth McGinnis joined the staff in 2007 but has deep roots in the church, having attended Vestavia Hills Baptist as a Samford student from 1987 to 1991. She and her husband Scott met in the college Sunday School class during that time. They now have a son, William, and a daughter, Kate.

Beth holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from Samford, where she studied with VHBC's organist of 38 years, Betty Sue Shepherd. Beth also holds a Master of Music in Musicology from TCU and a Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While in North Carolina she was Minister of Music at Ephesus Baptist Church in Durham. She accompanies the Birmingham Chamber Chorus, whose home is VHBC, and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra Chorus. She teaches piano and music history at Samford and yoga at the YMCA.

Beth is the founder and director of VHBC's Arts on the Mountain Children's Camp, an interdisciplinary art experience that in 2012 offered classes in painting, origami, folk crafts, flower arranging, photography, guitar, organ, songwriting, pottery, knitting, and Orff instruments. All those who teach in the camp understand their own work as artists to be imitative of God's creative work in the world.
Contact Beth.




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