Our Leadership

Cordele First UMC is a part of the connectional system of the United Methodist denomination. 

At a local level this means that our Lead Pastor and Hispanic Pastor are appointed to our church by the South GA conference. They are called Elders, and focus on preaching and teaching the Word of God, administering the sacraments of baptism and communion, ordering the church for its mission and service, providing pastoral care, and exercising pastoral supervision. All other Ministers and Staff are hired directly by the church to serve over specific ministries.

The role of our Pastoral staff is to equip the people of the church for the work of the ministry. This is called the ministry of the laity, which every believer is called to accomplish. Our Lay Leadership team works with the ministry staff to fulfill the vision of the church. They model Christian discipleship and live out their faith daily. Church members are asked to serve in these leadership roles on a yearly basis. Serving on these committees and in these leadership roles allows the church to effectively make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Our Pastors & Ministry staff and Lay Leadership team are listed below.

*For any questions or concerns about our Pastoral, Ministry, or Lay Leadership team please contact the church office.

Our Staff Team

  • Larry Rollins

    lead pastor


    About Larry: 

    Favorite Food: 

    Favorite Scripture: 

  • David Diaz

    Associate Pastor, Nuevo Pacto Pastor

    My name is David Aurelio Diaz, originally from Mexico. I come from a very poor family or limited economically; I am come from county farmer people. I grew up in a small town called Palestina, Durango, Mexico.

    My life changed at the age of 16, when Jesus Christ gave me my greatest wealth, when I accepted him as my Lord and personal Savior on February 20, 1986 at 8:45 pm in a Bible Study at the Mexican Methodist Church “Jesus de Nazareth” in Durango, Mexico. I have been the happiest person to have obtained a deep inner peace, the forgiveness of my sins.

    I am married to Elizabeth Diaz. God gave us the privilege of being parents 3 sons: Jezreel Abraham, Jaaziel Abisai & Jonathan Asiel.

    Favorite Bible Verse:

    Isaiah 48:17 “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you profitably, who leads you on the path you must follow”

    There are three things I would like to share about this verse and how it really blesses me in my life.

    1. I am Jehovah your God

    It is not only God it is MY God, which make a huge deference. It is not a distance divinity with which I do not have any kind of relationship, on the contrary, it is MY God, it is MY Heavenly Father, it is a close, personal, intimate and individual God who cares about every aspect of my life, with whom I can have a close and unique communication. That gives me tremendous security, gives me peace and comfort in every situation. He is MY God, He is YOUR God.

    2. God willingly teaches me

    It teaches me for my good, for my benefit. Everything that God allows in my life is part of His school, it is His teaching method. There are lessons that I enjoy and others that I would prefer not to learn, but all are useful for my growth and for my goal in this life: to become more and more like the character of Christ.

    3. God leads me on the path I must follow

    It shows me the steps I must take to reach the full life that He promises, to fulfill the divine purpose that He forged for my life since before my birth. He guides me in every decision, at every crossroads, he takes me by the hand and leads me along the path I must walk. And when that does not happen, it is not because He has left me aside, but because I have let go of His hand.

    Favorite Color: Red.

    Favorite Food: ground beef with potatoes.

    Favorite Music: I enjoy listening to Christian contemporary music, cumbia, merengue, salsa, and mariachi. It is more of all kinds of music; I enjoy worshiping to God in every style of music.

  • Ben Drennan

    Minister of Music & worship arts

    As Minister of Music and Worship Arts, Ben is responsible for ensuring that all of our worship venues here at Cordele First are running efficiently and accomplishing our mission of Making Disciples for the Transformation of the World. He is directly responsible for planning the musical and creative content of each service and working alongside the other pastoral staff to ensure that each service has a feeling of cohesion throughout. Ben provides oversight and leadership to our Children’s and Youth Music Ministries as well as helping to coordinate media, technology, and digital communication as it pertains to worship and the life of the church.

    About Ben: Growing up a ‘navy brat,’ home was often where his father was stationed, but his family has always considered Cordele ‘home.’ Ben finally moved to Cordele with his family in 2001 and completed his high school years at Crisp Academy and went on to study music at Mercer University. During college, Ben served churches in Pinehurst, Macon, and Vienna, Georgia. After college, Ben served churches in Tampa, Florida and Americus, Georgia where Ben met his wife, Elizabeth. Ben and Liz have spent the past 9 years down in the Panhandle of Florida serving in different congregations including a contemporary church plant, a mainline traditional congregation and one in a tourist/vacation town context. Along the way they have welcomed Isaac, their two year old son to the family. During his time in the Alabama-West Florida Conference, Ben served on the CORE Team as the District Representative for Music and Worship. In addition to Ben’s work in church, he was also an Adjunct Instructor at Pensacola State College in the Music and Theater Department. Ben and his family are excited to be back in Cordele and serving at Cordele First.

    Ben is very interested in church growth and new church development as well as engaging and equipping creatives both inside and outside the church walls to use their talents to reach people for Christ. Equally comfortable in a comtemporary service or behind the console of a pipe organ, Ben believes in a both/and approach to worship and not either/or.

    In Ben’s spare time, he is an avid boater and reader and is very involved in Musical Theatre. He is also a FAA licensed Commercial Hot Air Balloon Pilot and he and his family love traveling all over the country with their balloon.

    Favorite Food: Fresh Gulf Seafood

    Favorite Scripture: Isaiah 43

    "Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

    I have called you by name, you are mine.

    When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;

    when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,

    and the flame shall not consume you.

    For I am the LORD your God,

    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. "

    Favorite Song: currently No Longer Slaves by Bethel Music

    (changes weekly)

    Favorite Thing To Do: Annual Trip to the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival in New Mexico every October.

  • John Eidenire

    Emerge Worship Leader

    As Emerge Worship Leader, John helps lead our church in worship each week at our Emerge worship @ 9 AM in the Activities Center. He oversees our Emerge band - including all practices and scheduling.

    About John: John has a passion for leading worship, and also agriculture. He is currently enrolled at GSW college in Americas Ga. He had been farming and going to school, until this year when he decided to go to school full-time so he can hurry up and finish! The reason he leads worship to this day is because seven years ago he prayed and promised God that he would worship him for the rest of his life if God answered that prayer. A few weeks later he was surprised with his first guitar, given to him by his earthly father, and now here he is - worshiping God with a guitar!

    Favorite Song: Come As You Are by David Crowder (you should check it out HERE)

    Favorite Scripture: Hebrews 13:5 which says God will never leave you nor forsake you. This verse has helped me throughout my life multiple times.

    Favorite Things-to-do: I love being outside, working hard, eating chicken, hunting & fishing, and farming. 


    Director of Youth Ministries

    As Youth Minister, Kody aims to guide students into a better relationship with Christ. Although he ultimately desires to assist all people, his focus is on students in particular. Students have different needs than adults, and these needs and experiences can affect them for the rest of their lives. One of the most important factors of his ministry is showing students that accepting Christ into their lives is the same as joining a family. His goal is to help them to reach a point in their walk with Christ where they are able to effectively state their beliefs, know why they have faith, and know how to share it with others. He desires for students to not only accept Christ into their lives but to be totally transformed by Him. This means that they resist sin, learn to pray effectively, study God’s Word, worship Him, serve others, and share their faith. Once they are able to accomplish these things they should be able to walk others through these processes as well.

    About Kody: Kody aims to share the love of Christ with others, and to make disciples that make disciples. He recognizes that students today are under an increasing pressure from society to neglect their relationship with Christ. He looks to develop leaders in Christ that can impact their families, friends, churches, and entire communities. Kody is a lifelong resident of Cordele where he lives with his wife, Katy, and their cat, Leo. He graduated from Crisp County High School in 2009 where he played for the soccer team. After high school, Kody attended Georgia Southern University where he graduated with a degree in Biology in 2013. Soon after, he finally answered God’s call to join the ministry. He enrolled in SEBTS in 2015 to pursue a Masters of Divinity with a focus in Youth and Family Ministry. He was the Children’s Minister at Pinecrest Church in Cordele for 3 years.

    Favorite Food: Pretty much anything with rice and gravy.

    Favorite Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (HCSB): We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the Gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.

    Favorite Stuff To Do: Be outside and play soccer.

  • Kathy Minor

    Director of Children's Ministries

    As Director of Children’s Ministries, Kathy works with an incredible group of adult volunteers and other staff members to lead our church’s work with children. She enjoys her role in making sure all of the children’s pieces fit together to make disciples of children from birth through 5th grade. You might see her around in Sunday School, Children’s Church, Wednesday Night Children’s Programs, After School Music Program, Hispanic After School Tutoring, Upward Sports, and Mother’s Morning Out. She also gives the Children’s Message during the 11 am Traditional Service and coordinates the meals for Wednesday Night Suppers.


    About Kathy: Kathy grew up in Gulf Breeze, Florida where she and her family were an active part of a local church. After high school, she attended The University of Southern Mississippi where she was active in the Wesley Foundation Campus Ministry. She enjoyed her summers as a camp counselor growing in faith and gaining experience working with children. She graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Elementary Education. Kathy taught 4th grade in Gulfport, Mississippi before beginning her journey in children's ministry. She served for 3.5 years in a similar role at Ashland Place United Methodist Church in Mobile, Alabama in fall 2011 before following God’s call to Cordele First United Methodist Church.


    Favorite Food: Ice Cream


    Favorite Bible Verse: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

    Favorite Things-to-do: Kathy enjoys board and card games, like Sorry and Canasta. She likes to play tennis and spend time outdoors camping or hiking.

  • Cindy McLemore

    Administrative Assistant

    I put together and print a weekly bulletin and newsletter and once a month a calendar and birthday/anniversary list. I assist those who come in requesting help with their utility bills. I answer the phone, update the weekly prayer list, Plan menus for the Wednesday night suppers and get a reservation list for the weekly suppers. I attend to the needs of church members who come in with questions, concerns, or need assistance- mainly to be the hands and feet of Jesus and show his love as much as I can. 

    About Cindy: I graduated from high school in 1980 and attended Middle Georgia College in Cochran, GA. In 1982 I began working at First State Bank where I worked in bookkeeping, as a Customer Service Rep., and as a teller for a brief time. I left there on June 17, 1998 and began working at First United Methodist Church on June 18, 1998. I have been here since and love waking up every day and coming to work. 

    Favorite Food: Apple crisp

    Favorite Scripture: Proverbs 3:5 & 6 " Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths."

  • Tricia Joiner

    Financial Secretary

    I am responsible for the finances of the church, including Offerings, Accounts Payable, Payroll, & Benevolence Assistance. I also maintain employee records, insurance files, and computer information. I assist the janitor with buildings and grounds issues and I assist in keeping membership records current. 

    About Tricia: I grew up in this church as a child and youth and Cordele FUMC was instrumental in my spiritual development. As a young adult, I joined other Methodist churches in other cities where I lived. I re-joined in 1994 with my husband Joe at the same time we baptized our son, Alec. We also have one daughter, Lexie. I have a BBA degree in Accounting from Georgia Southwestern University and had experience in retail, government, and industry accounting before coming to work at Cordele FUMC.

    Favorite Food: Chocolate, Watermelon, Okra

    Favorite Scripture: Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

  • Michael Fraser

    Audio/Visual Director

  • Michael Barnes

    Facilities Manager

  • Elbert "tater" Terry


    I am the custodian for the church. I do a little bit of everything from electrical to plumbing, from painting to mopping floors. I also help people with any job that need to be done around the church.

    About Tater: I am married and have three children (1 girl, 2 boys). I like watching football games and going fishing. I travel when I can. 

    Favorite Food: Fried Chicken

    Favorite Scripture: Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

  • Barbara Stripling

    Church Keyboardist, Choir Accompanist

    I am responsible for selecting and preparing for the Prelude and Offertory music for the 11:00 Traditional Service. Selection comes from a study of the subject matter/sermon the pastor is presenting. Preparation includes private practice at the church and joint practice with the pianist. Tune selections and composers or arrangers are given to the church secretary in order that they may be listed in the printed Sunday bulletin. Congregational songs/hymns are selected for the service by the Choir Director and these songs are prepared and performed during the worship service. As needed, the organist accompanies the Adult Choir during rehearsal on Wednesday night and accompanies the choir on Sunday during their special music. 

    About Barbara: I began my study of music when I was 6 years old. I took private piano and flute lessons for 12 years and following graduation of High School attended college at the University of Georgia on a dual music scholarship. I am presently a member of the Redcoat Alumni Band and occasionally attend Homecoming in Athens where we, once again, march between the hedges. In 1969 I moved on scholarship to Samford University, Birmingham, Al. where I studied music for 2 years, being the first instrumental major at that University. My professor was a member of the then known Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Due to a death in my family, I returned to Ga. and attended Ga. State University in Atlanta continuing my music education. In 1971, I meet a young man from Dooly County, Vienna, Ga. who was visiting a friend in Atlanta. He swept me off my feet, married me within a few months and moved me to South Ga. He is the father of my three children, Tripp, Holly and Lynn Stripling. I was privileged to be the church pianist and organist in Vienna, Ga. both in the Baptist and the Methodist church, for approximately 15 years. In 1988 we moved our family to Cordele and I became the full time organist at the First United Methodist Church where I served under the direction of Scott Hearn for 6 years. Incidents in my life took me back again to Alabama, however, I came home in 2008 and began attending church again at FUMC. I accepted the position of part time organist to substitute services with the regular organist. I enjoy being part time as I am now a grandmother and also the caretaker of my parents who still live in the Atlanta area.

    Favorite Food: BBQ Ribs

    Favorite Scripture: Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."