Our 2020 Annual Meeting will be Sunday, February 9, after second service (12:15 pm) in the Activity Center.
 
During the Annual Meeting, we will introduce new church members, elect new leaders (see the candidates below), and vote on the 2020 budget. Anyone may attend the meeting, but only members may vote. Lunch will be available for $2/person or $10/family. Childcare will be available with reservation; please click below to register.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ELDER CANDIDATES
 
What is an elder?
In Acts 14:23 the Apostle Paul commanded the church to appoint elders as the spiritual leaders of the church. At First Free, the elders are the elected representatives of the congregation under the Lordship of Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit and they ensure that the people who attend First Free have ample opportunity to be spiritually rescued, fed, led, protected, comforted, and encouraged.
 
An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. – Titus 1:6-9
 
Wil Glidewell (2nd term)
 
Wil has been married to Teri for over twenty-five years and has attended First Free for the past twelve plus years. He has one daughter, Abby, who is married and living in St. Louis. Wil has been actively involved in several small groups, Heritage Builders, he led Wednesday night Men’s Fraternity, he was active in Men’s Community Bible Study and as a leader in Teen Community Bible Study.

Testimony
I was not raised in a Christian home, but came to know Christ around the age of fourteen. I remained
strong in my faith throughout high school, however, I completely walked away after starting college.
Once Teri and I were married, we started attending church out of obligation and chose a church out of
convenience. Unfortunately, it was not a bible based church and we were not hearing God’s true word.
Several years after moving to the county, a neighbor, who was a Christian and near our age, suddenly died. Because of her death and her witness, Teri and I started attending Community Bible Study. Upon hearing the true word of God, we realized our lives needed a new direction and this led us to First Free and more importantly, down the right path and a true relationship with Jesus Christ. My desire is to fulfill God’s will for my life. Romans 12:1-2. Two areas that I feel called would be men’s ministry and preparing Seniors in high school for the spiritual battles that occur after leaving home for the first time.
 
 
Greg Snapp (2nd Term)
 
I grew up in a family that attended church. The problem was that our church did not believe nor
follows God’s Word. I received Christ at a youth camp when I was presented the gospel. I
received no follow-up or discipleship and was challenged by the church I had grown up in.
When I was in high school, I was invited to an FCA meeting and that’s when things started to
click as I was discipled. By the grace of our Lord, my life began to align with the Scripture.
The experience of my upbringing and conversion have impacted my convictions around biblical
accuracy as well as the value of youth ministry. My wife, Marian, and I have had the opportunity to serve in ministry and church leadership.
I am thankful that God has allowed me to serve in children’s ministry and youth ministry at this church and several others. We were originally attracted to First Free in 2000 due to the teaching and the children’s ministry. When our children were young, we served in Kids’
Connection. We later taught in the junior high ministry. I have also served on various committees at First Free.
 
 
DEACON CANDIDATES
 
What is a deacon?
The biblical precedent for deacons comes from Acts 6, where the disciples sought godly men to assist in the daily operation of ministry. At First Free, deacons are men and women who serve and provide oversight in various ministries as directed by the Elder Board and Senior Pastor. Some of their duties include administrative oversight over the church finances, benevolence, the volunteer ministry, and other congregational and community ministries.
 
 
Alan Heisel
Alan and Leighanne were married in 2000 and will celebrate their 20th anniversary this year. They
officially became members of the church in 2018 and have two children, Joshua and Alysia. Alan is
currently an usher and has volunteered and supported a variety of church-sponsored events. He is a
regular member of the Men’s Bible Study group and his spiritual gifts include mercy, shepherding, and
administration.
 
Testimony
I was Christened as an infant and attended a Methodist church as a youth and as an adolescent. My
experiences there remain the foundation of my relationship with Christ. The rituals of that church
brought me closer to God and helped to ensure that I reflected and prayed deeply before I consciously
and fully submitted to Christ. Sometimes ceremony can overshadow the posture and intent of one’s
heart but, in my case, it only reinforced an already deep and established conviction. It was the public expression of a private commitment.
 
Growing into my later teens and early twenties, the lure of humanism and the pursuit of knowledge led me away from the truth of God’s word. Although I rebelled, scrutinized, and questioned everything, God stayed with me though it all. In my mid-twenties, my relationship with Christ was reignited. In a profound and life-altering ceremony, I underwent a believer’s baptism one summer day in the waters of Lake Erie. I was immersed in water and when I emerged to see the yellow sun and a cloudless blue sky, I knew with certainty that the Holy Spirit had touched me. I had been reborn. For the first time in many years, the accuser in my mind was silenced. While submission to Christ as an adolescent is the keystone of my faith, my baptism as a young adult is undoubtedly the mortar.
 
The ebb and flow of life allowed the accuser to eventually return, but in that baptism ceremony, God had given me new strength.  Therefore, put on the whole armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground and, after you have done everything, stand” (Ephesians 6:13). The seemingly endless cycles of rebellion and repentance in life make the promise of salvation
seem elusive but as Jesus said, “with man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
 
I knew there was something special about First Free from our initial experiences as visitors. We were warmly greeted and welcomed as members of the church family. My daughter went on a retreat a few months later and knew we had found our home. My family and I made it a priority to not only attend services regularly but to become formal members of the church and to be actively involved in its
missions and groups. I have attended services at numerous churches of various denominations throughout my life but I have only been a member of two: First Free, and the Methodist Church of my youth. I like to think I was just waiting for the right one but truly, God is always directing our steps. By faith I know that doors are opened and closed for a reason. I trust God because His timing is always impeccable.
 
 
JD Long
 
JD and Julie Long have been married over 28 years, and have two children. They began attending First Free in 2013. JD & Julie are active in their small group. JD currently serves as an usher, and Julie is involved in women’s bible studies and serves with senior high ministry on Sunday nights. JD’s gifts are leadership with a strong desire to serve others. JD committed his life to Christ when he was 10 years old and was baptized before he was 11 years old.
 

Testimony

I cannot remember a time in my life where God has not been present and a part of my life. I have not experienced that one moment in life where everything became clear and suddenly I knew God loved me. I have literally known that God has loved me from the first moments in my life that I can remember. This is not to say that things have always been easy or that I have always been a good son as that is certainly not the case! I find an overwhelming peace in understanding that God’s love, grace, and provision will be enough to sustain us in all we do. I also take comfort in knowing that God will never place a burden or hardship on us that is too great to bear. Although I have to admit that sometimes in life God has had more confidence in me to endure things than I have had in myself!
 
I grew up on a farm in rural Kentucky. My parents divorced when I was very young, and the divorce was filled with conflict, primarily about custody. My dad won every court battle and when I was 11.5 years old the judge ruled that my dad would be granted six months custody and at the age of twelve I could determine to live with either parent or my grandparent(s). 
 
This family dynamic obviously does not present a picturesque setting. You could even draw the conclusion that the first two paragraphs are in conflict! One might even wonder why a judge would grant such authority to someone so young and therefore draw an incomplete picture of me. What is stated is certainly factual but it fails to tell the complete story. The truth is God provides. He provided me with a loving mother and father and I knew they loved me even when they were doing destructive things to themselves, each other, and therefore sometimes me. How did I grow to understand this? God provided me with God-fearing and loving grandparents. At a very early age I was aware that I was not responsible for or at fault for my parents’ divorce, but I was also not allowed to be a victim. When I acted out in the wrong way those opportunities were teaching moments. I learned the value of hard work and discipline, how to laugh at yourself, how to think of others needs/perspectives, and how to love even in very difficult settings and times. God provided me ways to learn valuable lessons that have helped shape me into the husband, father, brother, and friend that I am today. 
 
God continues to place amazing people in my life to help me figure things out. It saddens me to say that through life I have ebbed and flowed in my daily walk with Christ. I know his importance in my life and the good he wants for me but sometimes I am guilty of placing God on hold while I tried to do “some really important things”. Other times I have asked God to help me endure things that I was not sure we could survive!! As I reflected back he is consistent and I am still that child learning and I suspect this to some degree will always be. I am grateful for his love, patience, and provision!
 
I know that God still has plans for me. I am thankful that God is in control, that he has blessed me with my wife Julie (the greatest blessing of all and that is saying a lot as I have been blessed abundantly), and that First Free is our church home. I am sure there will be many challenges and struggles as we continue to live life together just like I am sure there will be moments of overwhelming joy and happiness. God will see us effectively through them all until he is done with me and oh what a day that will be!!
 
 
NOMINATING COMMITTEE CANDIDATES
 
Robert Stark
Robert Stark has been attending First Free since 2001. Over the years he has volunteered in Kid Connection, the nursery, ELL (English Language Learners), and spent the last 6 years as a small group leader in junior and senior high. Robert and his family have also participated in the Ironton Family Mission Trip the last 10 years ministering to kids in that region of Missouri. Robert sees the opportunity to serve on the Nominating Committee as another opportunity to serve at First Free.
 
Elizabeth Truong
Elizabeth is married to Martin and they have four young children. She has attended First Free since 2010. Elizabeth is very thankful for the community of First Free, which has deeply encouraged her and challenged her to grow in her walk with Jesus Christ. In the past, she has served in Kid Connection and the ELL ministry. She and Martin currently serve as co-leaders in the TLC Adult Connection Class on Sunday mornings and are members of a small group. Elizabeth considers it an honor to serve Christ’s body, the Church, and rejoices in seeing His people’s distinct gifts, talents, and interests work together for His glory.
 
Roger Maddox
Roger has been attending First Free for nearly 25 years. Over those years he has been involved with planning, organizing, and implementing Serve St. Louis for the church. He has also been involved with teaching in Kid Connection for multiple years, helping at church events, and is currently serving as an usher. He is committed to growing the church along with growing his relationship with Jesus.