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our staff

Dr. Al Southerland - Senior Pastor

(770) 971-8525, x23 -

Al was born and raised in Ada, Oklahoma. He was ordained to the ministry in 1981 and has served churches in Oklahoma, Texas and Georgia. He has served at Sandy Plains since 2008. Al has earned degrees from The University of Oklahoma (Bachelor degree) and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Masters and Doctorate degrees). Al married Jeannie Carr in October 1974 and they have two daughters and three grandchildren.

Mr. Gary McEntire - Pastor to Students

(770) 971-8525, x28 -

Gary has lived in the Atlanta area his whole life. He has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Berry College and a Master of Divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Gary has worked in student ministry for over 30 years. In addition, he has served as the network administrator for two global companies. Gary has worked with the students at Sandy Plains since 2006 and has been the full time Pastor to Students since 2009. Gary married his wife, DeAnn Self, in 1988. They have one son, Joshua, who is a recent graduate of Jacksonville State University.

Dr. Don Mason - Pastor to Senior Adults

(770) 971-8525

Don was born and raised in Alabama, graduated high school in Kentucky. He has earned several degrees - including a history degree from Howard College, a Master of Divinity from Southern Baptist theological Seminary, a Master of Arts degree from the University of Alabama and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary. Don and his wife Sandra spent 10 years as missionaries to Zambia where they developed a ministry to students, taught in the university and planted churches. Don has served as pastor at several churches - including serving as pastor here at Sandy plains for 15 years before he retired in 2002. Don and his wife Sandra have 4 children and 10 grandchildren.

Ms. Janet Porter - Children's Ministry Director

(770) 971-8525, x24 -

Janet was born and raised in Kansas where she graduated from Sterling College with a Psychology and Sociology degree. She later received an associate’s degree in American Sign Language Interpreting. She has been married to her husband, Dick, for 20 years. They have 2 children: Elizabeth, who attends the Georgia School for the Deaf, and Nate, who attends Sprayberry High School where he marches with the drumline. Janet has worked as a certified American Sign Language interpreter and has her own Pampered Chef business. In 2011, Janet's family moved to Georgia. where they soon became members of Sandy Plains. Janet worked for the Sandy Plains Weekday Preschool for 2 years before taking the position of Children’s Director in 2015.

Ms. Terri Butler - Director of Weekday Preschool

(770) 971-8525, x25 -

Terri was born in Michigan while her dad was in graduate school at the University of Michigan. Her family moved to Athens, GA when she was 2 and she quickly became a fan of the Georgia Bulldogs. She earned a BS in Computer Science at North GA College. Terri worked for 10 years at BellSouth as a Systems Analyst. While there, she met her husband, Ray. They have two children: Mitch, a 22 year old senior at GA Tech and Lindsey, a 19 year old student at the Pope Transition Academy. Terri became a stay-at-home mom for 13 years before she started as a teacher at the Sandy Plains Baptist Preschool. In 2015, Terri became the director of the Weekday Preschool program.

Ms. Janet Earnest - Financial Secretary

(770) 971-8525, x22 -

Janet was born in Clay Center, Kansas. When she was in fifth grade she moved to Bozeman, Montana. Janet attended Kansas State University and graduated with a double major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She retired from AT&T after working in the engineering department and in software development. Janet and her husband Roy have been members of Sandy Plains since 1986. She has served as the financial secretary since the middle of 2012. She and Roy have three sons and a daughter-in-law.

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