Troy Wilkinson

Troy has been First Baptist Church Garden Lakes’ lead pastor since 2020. He is married to his beautiful wife Deanna and they have 7 children and 11 grandchildren. Troy did not grow up in church or a Christian household but by the grace and mercy of God he was born again and eventually desired the work of a pastor. He has earned a Master in Theological Studies degree (M.T.S.), emphasizing Biblical Counseling from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, a Master of Arts in Ministry degree (M.A.) from Phoenix Seminary, and a Master of Divinity degree (M.Div.) in Christian Studies also from Phoenix Seminary. Troy has previously served Christ’s church as a deacon and as an associate pastor before pastoring First Baptist Church Garden Lakes. He loves to read the Puritans, the Reformers, church history, and all things related to expository preaching. It is his desire to see First Baptist Church Garden Lakes thrive in holiness and be impassioned disciples of Jesus Christ.

Max Beal

Max became a member of First Baptist Garden Lakes in 1982. Max is married to his lovely wife, Sherry of 47 years and they have one son, Cory. Max has served in church leadership for many years and became an elder of First Baptist Church Garden Lakes in 2012. He has been teaching adult Bible Study and Sunday School for over 30 years and he continues to be active in this role. Max was born in Tennessee where he attended and graduated from the University of Tennessee. The Beals relocated to Arizona in 1977. After 42 years working at Lockheed Martin, Max retired in 2011. Max and Sherry enjoy spending time with family, friends, and their church family. They live in Litchfield Park, Arizona.

Carl Kennedy

Carl was born in Pennsylvania and raised all over the country. He moved to Arizona with his family for his dad’s final assignment in the Air Force. Carl met his wife, Mary, in high school. They married in April of 1997 and joined First Baptist Church Garden Lakes in May of 1997. They have 3 sons, 2 daughters-in-law, and 3 grandsons. Carl is an avid sports fan, and true to his PA ties, faithfully roots for the Steelers and Yankees. He loves to play and coach sports and watch his grandsons play sports. Carl loves his family and his church family. He currently works for Dematic and enjoys travel, which work often has him do. Carl has served many years teaching Sunday school for kids and youth and hosting the youth group in the Kennedy home. He currently teaches children’s church and works in the sound booth. Carl became a deacon in 2002 and an elder in 2013.

Nick Fryberger

Nick grew up in the East Valley and was part of the Mennonite tradition and came to faith at an early age. He met his amazing wife Danielle in high school, and dated her through college, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (B.S.) at NAU, to eventually come to Tempe’s Church on Mill where they served for nearly 20 years. They have been blessed with four children, Nathan, Ryan, Liz, and Jacob. In the Fall of 2013 after perceiving a call to full-time ministry, Nick began a master’s degree at Phoenix Seminary, graduating in May of 2019 with a Master of Divinity degree (M.Div.) in Counseling and Family. He and Danielle began attending First Baptist Church Garden Lakes in January 2022 and became members in April 2022. It is their purpose in this life to leverage the gifts God has given them to serve Him wherever and however, to see souls saved and lives changed through the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Don Cozby

Don grew up in Southern California. He attended a Baptist church from birth and was saved and baptized at 9 years old. Don moved to Arizona in May of 1990 and joined First Baptist Church Garden Lakes in September of the same year. Don is a man of few words but much action. He does a great job of fixing things around the church and caring for those who need his help. Don became a deacon on August 20, 2020.

Ben Hicks

Ben has been a member of First Baptist Church Garden Lakes since 2014. He is married to his lovely wife, Corrie, and they have 3 grown boys: Zach, Cody, and Tyler. Ben has served as a deacon at First Baptist Church Garden Lakes since 2016 and he takes an active role with maintaining the church grounds. Ben and Corrie enjoy traveling and spending time with family and friends. They are our resident foodies and are often seen eating at different restaurants. They live here in Avondale, Arizona.

Kevin Rivers

Kevin is originally from New York and has been in Arizona since 1992. He is married to Jeanne and together they have 10 children. Kevin accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior in 2015 and that same year he and Jeanne became members of First Baptist Church Garden Lakes. He began to serve the church body by doing church maintenance, grounds keeping, and serving as an usher. Kevin graduated Grand Canyon University with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Christian Studies in 2019. He has earned a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (M.S.) from Grand Canyon University and is seeking licensure. Kevin has been serving as a deacon since 2019.

Monty Payne

Monty was born in Sierra Vista, AZ but raised in Hastings, NE. He is married to Tammy and has 3 children: Bailey, Annie, and Ethan. Monty was raised in a Christian home, being the son of a pastor, attending the Nazarene Church in Hastings, began his Christian walk in his teen years, being baptized, and sharing his faith boldly with his peers and those who would listen to him. Monty and Tammy served the church faithfully for over 20 years before relocating to Avondale, AZ from Omaha, NE. They came to First Baptist Church Garden Lakes in 2021 and have continued to serve the Lord’s church ever since. Having come out of erroneous doctrine, Monty is concerned for the life and health of the church and continually seeks to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Mike Moreno

Mike was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. He is married to his “better half” Trini and together they have 6 amazing children and 11 equally amazing grandchildren. The Lord opened Mike’s eyes to His gracious salvation in 2003, as well as Trini’s around the same time. Together they faithfully served Calvary Community Church for the next 17 years primarily in children’s ministry, a maintenance ministry called “clean team,” and their Spanish translation ministry. Mike and Trini came to First Baptist Church Garden Lakes in 2020 and became members in 2021. Mike desires to serve the body of Christ by caring for their needs and by allowing the elders to focus on teaching, praying, and discipling the flock.