Imago Dei Church is an elder led church. We view the role of elder and the role of pastor as one and the same. Therefore, those noted as a “Pastors” are “Elders.” In the future, we will be adding more elders/pastors, as potential elders work through the elder training program. Our elders work together to steward the church body in all areas. However, there is also a need to have other members employed at the church. Our administrative support help manage the day to day operations of the church freeing up our elders for the teaching of the word and prayer. For the qualifications of elders see: 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9, 1 Pet. 5:1-4; Acts 14:19-23; 20:17-35; Phil. 1:1, I Tim. 5:17.
Pastor for Preaching and Vision
Pastor, professor, and author, Tony Merida is the founding pastor of Imago Dei Church. He has written two books — Orphanology and Faithful Preaching, as well as numerous articles. Tony has a Ph.D. in Preaching and a masters of theology from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a bachelors degree in education from the University of the Cumberlands, where he played baseball. Tony and his wife, Kimberly, have five children.
Pastor for Disciple-Making
Nathan Akin is the Church Partnership Liaison at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Director of Baptist21. He previously served as the College Director at Open Door Baptist Church. Nathan has a masters of divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a bachelors degree in political science from Murray State University, where he played basketball.
Pastor for Corporate Worship
Donnie Hollis has served as a musician in many capacities, both in secular and Christian settings. Donnie has a bachelors degree in religious studies from William Carey University, where he played no sports and set the record for years it took to graduate. He is married to Meghan, and they have two children named Judah and Evelyn.
Pastor for Administration and Member Care
A Carolina native, Matt graduated from Clemson University with a bachelors degree in chemical engineering. Matt and his wife Shauna were married in 1995; since then God has blessed them with five children: Gabrielle, Grace, Caleb, Abraham, and Mabry. Matt holds a masters of divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and continues to work as a manager for an engineering company. He also served as a pastoral intern at Open Door Baptist Church.
Our Administrative Support
Taylor Raynor graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Early Education & Special Education. She and her husband Drew moved to Raleigh in 2011. Taylor has a passion for young children and is thankful for the ability to serve the Imago Dei body in this way. Taylor and Drew have a son named Landon.
Jessica Stroup is a recent graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Arts in Christian Studies. She studied at Cedarville University for her undergraduate degree. Abundantly thankful that God has blessed her to be a covenant member at Imago Dei Church, Jessica is humbled and excited to serve the Body as an administrative assistant.