We have a passion for people, our county, and our world. Our culture and leadership is characterized by worship, the love of God, and a genuine call to ministry. These core values have been shaped by our rich history of great co-workers and energy; always pressing forward in our call to love God and love others.
Born and raised right here in Richmond County, our pastor has lived in Rockingham practically all of his life. Ronnie was raised with parents who took him to church where he began to hear the gospel at a very young age. In August of 1977, Ronnie gave his heart to Jesus Christ and was born again.
As a 1978 graduate of Richmond Senior High School, Ronnie enjoyed going to work and dating Karen Williams. Ronnie eventually married that high school sweetheart on November 21, 1981. They have four children: Grace (Brandon), Amber, Hannah (Christian), and Taylor. They also have two grandchildren (Cade and Wyatt) who they love spending time with.
Before becoming the Senior Pastor at Freedom, Pastor Ronnie served as Associate Pastor for five years. He has always had a deep love for the people of this congregation and has said that it has been one of the greatest blessings of his life. "The greatest part of our church is its people," says Pastor Ronnie.
As a graduate of Liberty University, Pastor Ronnie continues to learn, teach, and preach the Word of God on a weekly basis. He has a passion for the Lord and desires that all people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
In his spare time, Ronnie is an avid reader and collector of books, loves to hunt, and spend time with his family.
Phil was born in Fletcher, NC but grew up in East Tennessee before moving his junior year to Richmond County where he graduated high school in 2003. Phil married his "high school crush" (he was too intimidated to speak to for 4 years!) Amanda in 2008 after graduating from UNCW. Together they have three energetic boys with the strongest Bible names his wife would allow: Uriah, Simeon, and Gideon. Phil's highest desire for his boys is to see all three saved and going further in their faith than he ever did!
Phil operates his own business that he started in 2008. Besides spending time with his family, Phil enjoys marble runs, NBA basketball, and most of all Phil totally loves creating personalized music videos for his close friends and family.
There are two key elements that propelled Phil's journey of faith. During a time when Phil was struggling with his walk with God, he was reading through the gospel of John when two passages from the gospel of John (John 6:25-68 and John 14:8-10) forever strengthened His relationship with God. The second element involved Phil praying for a friend to be saved. Not only did his friend get saved, but he has gone on to become a husband, father, and full time preacher who is now discipling others.
Phil's goal at Freedom is to lead other beggars to the True Bread Giver: Jesus Christ.
Jeff James is a native of Albemarle, NC where he grew up serving as a member of West Albemarle Baptist Church. When he graduated high school in 2007, he moved to Nashville, TN where he completed his certificate for Automotive Technology at Nashville Auto Diesel College. During this time, he reconnected with a childhood friend, Heather, through the magic of facebook. As a soon-to-be graduate, Jeff was looking for a job and found one in Rockingham at Griffin Toyota where Heather's dad would be his boss. Heather and Jeff later married in May of 2012.
"I would say I always felt drawn to student ministry after I graduated high school because my youth pastor was a huge mentor to me," says Jeff. After serving in the student ministry of Freedom in various leadership capacities over the years, he felt God's calling to be a student pastor. Jeff has a huge heart for the student ministry of Freedom. He officially became a member of staff as Interim Youth Director during the summer of 2017 but has been serving faithfully during his entire membership at Freedom.
When he's not working on ministry things around Freedom, he enjoys snow boarding, playing drums in our worship team, and anything related to the Carolina Tarheels, his lab-mix's namesake. He and his wife have one little miracle baby girl named Ivy Rae.
Erin has been involved in church ministry her all of her life. Her earliest memories of church were alongside her mom and dad while they learned songs of praise and ministry with their traveling music group, Joysong. They also served as active youth leaders, choir members, children's choir director, and sound technician in our local church. She was taught at a very young age the joy that comes from serving the Lord with a grateful heart.
"I believe my call to ministry first came around the same time as my call to teach," says Erin. While her first experience of leading worship came from summers of Vacation Bible School, she remembers an encounter with Darlene Zschech during her first year of college that changed her life. "I was raised on contemporary Christian artists of the 90's like Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Sandi Patti, Steven Curtis Chapman, and many more. Their music is the music of my childhood. However, the first time I saw Darlene, I knew I wanted to be just like her. I began reading everything she wrote. I bought clothes that looked like the ones she wore on the Hillsong albums so that I could look like her as a sang in the praise team each week at my church. Then I met Darlene. That was such a different experience than what I expected. She was so soft spoken and gentle and immensely powerful all at once. She was one of the most genuine people I think I've ever met. I knew that it was the Holy Spirit who absolutely radiated from her. You could almost smell it on her! I went to that concert wanting to be more like Darlene, but I left wanting to be more like Jesus because THAT was the example she set right before my eyes."
Erin is a 2003 graduate of Richmond Senior High School and completed her Bachelor's of Music in Education and license to teach from Methodist University in 2008. As the choir teacher at Richmond Senior High School, she loves having the opportunity to instill Biblical principals into her program there while showing the love of Christ to her students each day. Her passion for young people directs many of her day-to-day decisions.
In 2006, thanks to a very fortunate post office mix-up, she met Trey, the boy-next-door (literally!) and married him in 2009. They welcomed an energetic, music-loving, dancing little girl named Nora in February of 2013. Erin is the happiest when she is singing and riding on the water with her family on Lake Tillery.
Danny was born January 26, 1994. He graduated from Richmond Senior High School in 2012 and went on to obtain an Associates in Arts degree from Sandhills Community College, specializing in the Culinary Arts.
Before he was even born, his grandma Melina prayed and declared over him that he would grow up to be a preacher of God's Word. She believed the Lord would use him and before Danny even knew he had a calling, it was declared over him by a spiritual woman in faith.
Danny experienced the calling to become an evangelist at the age of 18. He preached for the first time at his childhood church, El Shaddai, where Pastor Nelson and Yajiara Pacheco were his spiritual leaders for almost 5 years. At the conclusion of this service, two spiritual warriors of the church approached Danny saying that they were lead by the Holy Spirit to tell him that they saw preaching God's Word in his future, especially serving in the capacity of Evangelist. This prophecy was spoken over him by other people throughout the years. Not knowing what to think or do with this information, Danny chose not to pursue his calling after high school and went to college to pursue another passion of becoming a chef instead. During this time, Danny describes his spiritual life as "going downhill." "The kitchen became my God, and I turned into a workaholic." In his last year of college, the Holy Spirit began to speak again to Danny and led him to let begin letting go of his plans of becoming a chef and to head in the direction of his calling. Danny wrestled for several months. During this time, he came to know a friend named Justin. As their friendship grew, Danny began to minister to him and through this friendship, Justin came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Danny knew Justin needed a church to join and since the church he attended was out of town, Danny began helping Justin search for churches in Rockingham. Danny knew Pastor Ronnie and Bob Spears, so he brought Justin to Freedom, which became Justin's church home. Through this one person, many others have come to join the ministry of Freedom and, most importantly, to know Jesus as Lord.
Danny loves listening to music, playing guitar, cooking, studying apologetics, reading, and spending time with his friends. Some of the people he considers mentors are Phil Stone, Ronnie McLean, Jereomy Clark, and Jeron Langley.
As Danny puts it, "a fire burned in my heart to love and serve God and serve others. That became my purpose in life and where I have found my true joy."
Corinne Peacock is one half of the dynamic duo running Freedom's children's ministry. This California native met her husband, Neel, while he was actively serving in the United States Marine Corps and she was attending Biola University. After many years of friendship, they were married lived in Arizona while he worked as a government contractor on base. After their daughter was born, they both knew they wanted to move back to where he was raised in Hamlet, North Carolina. Theirs is an amazing story of how God orchestrated their relocation back to the simple life. Corinne and Neel have since had a son and Corinne spends her days homeschooling their kids and soaking up the country life.
Corrine says that she has always felt called to work with children and show them the love of Jesus. She was part of the children's director team at her prior church and is humbled and excited to be called to serve in this capacity again.
"I love being a part of children's church on Sunday mornings," says Corinne. She is also able to use her experience as the former owner of a children's event planning company to coordinate enriching and exciting events for the children of Freedom.
William "Cooney" Carlisle was born in Raeford in 1947. He is the son of two hard-working parents. His father was a supervisor in the textile industry and his mother worked in the spinning department. The youngest of nine children, Cooney grew up in the Ida Mill Village in Laurel Hill. In 1962, he moved to Red Springs and graduated high school in 1966. It was here that he met his wife, Francis May Carlisle. Cooney and Francis were saved in 1972 at West Side Baptist Church and have remained faithful to the Lord their entire lives.
In 1997, the Lord called Cooney to become a preacher and in the same year, West Side Baptist Church licensed him to preach The Word of God. In 2000, he was ordained as pastor of Shannon Missionary Baptist Church by Clybonville Baptist Church. He remained in this location for five years. During this time, the congregation grew from 5 members to 90 and they witnessed 55 baptisms under Cooney's ministry. In 2005, he was called by Clybonville Baptist Church as Associate Pastor where he served until 2011. From 2011 he was called to serve as Associate Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Raeford where he remained until early 2017.
Cooney and Francis will soon be celebrating 50 years of marriage and together they have two beautiful daughters. In 2009, their oldest daughter, Frances Susan Carlisle-Rich was killed in an automotive accident. In 2014, Cooney and Francis were granted custody of their two grandchildren, Erica and Jonathan Rich. The Lord called them to join their grandchildren, who were already active in the ministry, as members of Freedom Baptist. Later that year, Cooney joined the staff at Freedom where he is currently serving as our visitation pastor.
Brother Cooney says, "I request prayer that our church may grow in the name of the Lord. Through the trials of life, as well as the triumphs, I will continue to strive towards the mission to find and lead people to joy (unspeakable) and full of glory (1 Peter 1:8) through the grace of Jesus Christ."
Tina is the strong constant that is always helping things go well in the background at Freedom. She oversees much of the administrative and business details of our church and keeps the office running like a well-oiled machine. You can always count on a friendly voice on the other end of the phone when you call our church. She will take all of the time you need to talk to her, ask questions, or even advice. No matter what million things she may be in the middle of, she never makes you feel like she's too much in a hurry to listen or help you troubleshoot. We are very lucky to have her. She's so much more than a secretary to us!