Lead Pastor & Elder
Eric grew up in a Christian home. Being with God’s people and hearing the Word of God was a regular part of his life. As a young child, Eric understood his need for Christ because of the sin in his life. Even today, he understands his constant need for Christ. Without Christ, Eric acknowledges that he is nothing, and his life is God’s to do with as He wills.
Eric was born in Appleton, Wisconsin and has lived in North Carolina, New York, Mississippi, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, and Arkansas. He graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with a master’s degree in Religious Education. He married his wife in October of 1996 in Fort Worth, TX.
After graduating from Seminary, Eric helped found and operate Camp Living Stones, Inc. located in Southeast Tennessee. For 10 years, he served as the camp director. In 2007, his family moved to Mountain Home to serve on staff at First Baptist Church as Recreation Pastor. In 2011, Eric was called to help plant and pastor The River Bible Church.
Family & Youth Pastor
Matthew was raised in a Christian home in east Tennessee with parents who taught him the value of church and Christian hospitality. He came to know the Lord as Savior at 11 years old when it was pointed out that going to church or being a good person cannot save anyone.
After teaching middle school for sixteen years and volunteering in many roles within the church, Matthew was called into full-time ministry as the Youth and Family Pastor at First Baptist Church, Athens, TN. He has served as a youth pastor, associate pastor in Euless, TX, and as a missionary church planter with the North American Mission Board in Canada.
He graduated from Tennessee Wesleyan College with a Bachelor of Arts in history. He has a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from the University of Tennessee and a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX.
Matthew married his best friend Heather in May 1994 and they have two amazing sons Ethan and Joseph. He is excited to be serving alongside the staff, families, and elders at the River Bible Church as the Family Pastor.
Worship Pastor & Elder
It was during Jordan’s junior year of high school that God truly opened Jordan’s eyes to his need of a Savior and to the realization that He WAS that Savior. By God’s mercy and grace He surrounded Jordan with many spiritual “mothers and fathers” to guide and mentor him in the faith.
In July of 2010 he married his beautiful bride, Kelsey, and they now have a daughter and son, Tenley and Chandler. Jordan and Kelsey were born and raised in South Arkansas (where the majority of their family remains) and moving was never an option for them. God, in His sovereignty, had other plans! In September 2011, God called Jordan and Kelsey to Mountain Home, AR where they have been constantly overwhelmed by the love and encouragement of The River Bible Church family.
Heather came to know and understand the love of God at a small Baptist church and chose to accept His gift of salvation and began following Jesus at age 12. She and Matthew married on May 28, 1994. They have two sons, Ethan and Joseph.
The Bond family spent almost 10 years as missionary church planters with the North American Mission Board, serving on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Their time on the mission field strengthened her faith in God and passion for people to hear and know the love of God.
She has a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Business Administration and has worked mostly in hospitality management and event coordination, as well as being full-time mom and pastor’s wife. She is currently working on a Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and desires help women, couples and families find hope in healing in God’s sufficient word. Heather came to The River Bible Church in May 2021 when her husband, Matthew began as the Family Pastor and she began working as the financial secretary July 2021.
Naomi grew up in a Christian home and made a decision to give her life to Christ and was baptized at the age of 12. She was born in the Rio Grande Valley, lived in Dallas for a number of years, and moved to Mountain Home in 2001. She is a proud aunt to one nephew, and three nieces.
At the age of 14, Naomi and her family were in a car accident involving a deer. Naomi suffered a serious spinal cord injury that left her with significant mobility issues and numerous long term other health issues. In the years following her accident, Naomi learned what trusting in God and accepting His will truly meant.
At the age of 25, Naomi was able to complete her GED and start classes at Arkansas State University Mountain Home. In May of 2018 she completed her Associates Degree in Business & Office management. In December of 2018 she became the permanent Administrative Assistant at The River. She loves keeping people and things organized, and feels blessed to be able to work behind the scenes to support the Staff, Elders, and Deacons at The River. She has also served with The River’s college ministry, and currently serves in the children’s ministry, and as The River’s Church Rep for The CALL of Baxter County.
Children's Sunday School Director
Amber is a follower of Christ, born in Spokane, Washington and raised in the Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. At a young age Amber had an understanding of who Jesus was, but the depth of her knowledge was only that Jesus was the Son of God and that he had died on the cross. She was lacking any evidence of Christ in her life, a personal relationship, and an understanding of what grace was. It wasn’t until she was in her early 20’s did she truly realize her need for a Savior and that without Jesus she had no hope. It was then that Amber surrendered her life to Christ and began trusting the Lord with her future.
Amber has a God-given desire to help children know biblical truth and a desire to see biblical principles and knowledge taught to children of all ages.
Amber married her best friend, Adrian, in 2006. They moved from Asheville, NC to Southern Missouri in 2008 and then to Mountain Home, AR in 2015. They have 6 children.
Lonnie Robinson grew up in the small East Arkansas town of DeValls Bluff with a loving family. It wasn’t until his third year of medical school that he came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Realizing that “something was missing” at that point in his outwardly happy and successful life, he decided he just needed to “go to church.” Instead of a short-lived, pacifying comfort for this uneasiness, what he found at church was a boldly-proclaimed message of life and hope that both called for and caused a radical change in every facet of his life. From this point in time, God proved Himself faithful in bringing Lonnie from that place of darkness and despair into the light of true and lasting hope. Nowhere has this been more apparent than in leading him to his wife, Robin, whom he met during his residency in Jonesboro. The couple then moved to Mountain Home on the completion of his residency, where Lonnie joined a local physician group, and they have lived here happily ever since. It was in Mountain Home that they were blessed to become the parents of three wonderful children: Stone, Caroline, Mari Claire, Blair and a nephew, Andrew. The Robinsons are also foster parents to little ones and invest their time supporting the Mountain Home Christian Academy, Pregnancy Resource Center, Gamma House Women's Shelter and Baxter County Jail ministry. Lonnie practices family medicine at Regional Family Medicine and Baxter Regional Medical Center.
Will is a retired electrical engineer with a background in chip design. He came to know the Lord at a young age through the grace of God in a Christian home in West Virginia. His family lived in Puerto Rico and Texas before Will went to college at Texas A&M, but all the while, God was at work. He brought his lovely wife, Michelle into his life in the early 80s, and they moved to Vermont where 3 boys were born: Will and Andrew (twins), and soon after, Danny. Will served in areas of worship ministry and as a young elder, and Michelle in Sunday School there. After 10+ years, they were able to return to Texas in the Austin area.
During this time, God continued to work in both Will and Michelle’s life, while they taught Sunday School, lead worship, and were actively involved in Hill Country Bible Church. They were called to two church plants, one in South Austin, and later, in Dripping Springs where they moved to be a part of those works. While there, the 3 boys were married, and Will completed a Certificate of Biblical Studies from Dallas Seminary. Son Will and Andrea continue to live in the Austin area with their two girls, Halle and Landry. Andrew and Laura live in Midland, TX. Danny and Kelli live in Charlotte, NC.
Will and Michelle moved again in 2013 to Mountain Home to become a part of the River Bible Church. He retired in early 2018, and serves as an Elder, Worship Ministry, and Sunday School. He also enjoys bee keeping, gardening, and joining with others in God’s Word to further His kingdom. Michelle loves gardening, reading, knitting and teaching Children’s Ministry.
Rick was born and grew up in Little Rock, AR. After graduating high school, he attended the University of Arkansas. It was there he met his wife, Kayla. He received a degree in Zoology and moved onto Medical School in Little Rock. Rick and Kayla were married in between Rick’s second and third year of medical school. Upon completion of medical school, they moved to Chapel Hill, NC where Rick would conclude his Internal Medicine residency training at University of North Carolina Medical School. Since that time, Rick and Kayla resided and worked in Bentonville, AR before moving to Mountain Home in 2004. God has blessed them with two sons, Elijah and Samuel. Rick currently works as a Hospitalist Physician at Baxter Regional Hospital and serves as Medical Director of Hospice of the Ozarks. Rick was blessed with God-fearing parents who attended church faithfully. He made a profession of faith in 1978 at the age of 8. During his teenaged years and early adulthood his walk with the Lord was inconsistent. Shallowness led to times of open disobedience. But God in grace and mercy used those circumstances of life and challenges of early adulthood to reveal his desperate need for a constant relationship with his Heavenly Father. Rick has been blessed with a wife who has become committed to following, serving and glorifying God. God continues to reveal His faithful and steadfast nature to them. It is Rick’s desire that God be magnified through making much of Christ and the promise of peace, joy, and contentment in Him.
Mendel grew up in a Christian home where the Bible was taught and involvement in the local church was an integral part of life. At the age of 7 he felt God calling him and realized there was something very important missing from his life – a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Mendel clearly remembers sitting on the edge of his mother’s bed as she led him through scripture to explain the gospel message to him. Since becoming a new creation in Christ, Mendel has experienced the goodness and faithfulness of God throughout the seasons of his life, and today desires to be a witness to others of all that God has done.
Mendel was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where he grew up and met his wife, Stephanie. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Henderson State University, Mendel obtained his license as a CPA and a CMA and then spent several years working in Little Rock, Arkansas. While in Little Rock, Mendel felt God drawing him to service in his local church, and he was ordained as a deacon at Geyer Springs First Baptist Church in 1999. In 2001, Mendel and Stephanie felt God calling them to the Mountain Home area. Currently, Mendel serves as co-owner and Chief Financial Officer of Vexus Boats. Mendel and Stephanie have been married for 27 years and have two grown children, Hunter and Peyton, daughter-in-law, Mckensi, and grandson, Jeremiah, who all live in Mountain Home. In addition to being an elder, Mendel serves in Sunday School and on the Greeter’s Team at The River Bible Church.
Terry was born in Russellville, Arkansas in 1965. Terry attended high school at Fordice High, where he played football. He graduated in 1983, and attended University of Central Arkansas in Conway. In 1990, he went to work for the Arkansas Highway Police. He was stationed in West Memphis and later Mountain Home, where he would meet his wife, Michelle. Terry and Michelle were married on April 21st, 2001. He gave his life to Christ when he was 46 years old, where he and Michelle followed Christ in baptism at Lake Norfork. In 2013, Terry retired from the Arkansas Highway Police. After retirement, Terry became involved in Youth Ministry and other leadership roles at the River Bible Church. Terry continued to seek and to grow in his relationship with Christ. In 2017 he was ordained as a deacon at the River Bible Church, where he and Michelle continue to serve the body. Terry’s enjoys hunting, hiking, kayaking, and enjoying the outdoors.
Jeff was born in San Francisco, CA. He and his wife Donna have four sons between them from previous marriages. They are Nathan (married to Katlynn), Lance (engaged to Megan), Christopher (Mandy) and Jeff's son Mike (single but looking!). They also have a grandson named Devin.
For the first 25 years of his life, Jeff walked without knowing of his need for a Savior. In God's perfect timing he heard the Gospel of Christ and the Spirit moved his heart to confess his own need of a Savior and his new life began. God blessed his home with the birth of his son Mike and he served faithfully for many years at his church as a worship leader, encouraging others to come and worship in Spirit and in truth our living God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He married Donna in 2013 and after years of living in CA, God transplanted him to Mountain Home. Because he and Donna had both been thru the pain of divorce, that knew they needed to find a church where they could seek God's hand of mercy and restoration and to grow together in their pursuit of Christ. After visiting several other churches, God led them to The River where the Spirit confirmed that this was to be their church home.
In addition to serving the church as deacon and wife, Jeff serves in Men's Ministries and Worship Ministries. He also cares for our building and grounds. Donna serves with "Shine", our Women's Ministry.
Darryl was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona where he spent the majority of his life, except two years that he spent in Florence, Oregon with his grandfather, which were some of his all-time favorite.
Darryl was raised in a Christian home and came to know the Lord at a young age. He married relatively young and had three children, Britney (35), Courtney (34), and Dillon (31). Britney and Courtney still live in Phoenix, and Dillon lives in Olympia, Washington.
Darryl worked in the sign making trade until he finally achieved his goal of becoming a Phoenix firefighter. Darryl enjoyed this career for ten years until a tragedy in his life revealed he was not walking with the Lord. Darryl happily recommitted his life to the Lord in 2008.
Shortly thereafter he moved here to Mountain Home to be near his father. He met Amy at church and married her in 2012, gaining another son, Owen Kraft (20).
Darryl enjoys serving in the Greeting and Prayer Ministries at the River and is very grateful to have been called to be a Deacon. He is looking forward to all the ways the Lord will call him to serve his brothers and sisters in Christ.
Matt was born and raised in the Mountain Home area, attending school at Grace Baptist Christian School, and then college at Arkansas State University, Mountain Home. He now works at Burrell Behavioral Health. He has been involved in various churches and ministries through the years, from being a member of the laity, to serving on worship teams, helping lead youth groups, and cooking for retreats and conferences.
While being raised in the church, he was awakened to the Gospel of Christ in his late teens and developed an ever-growing love for Christ and His Church. Not immune to setbacks and seasons of doubt, he has learned more and more to trust God with this life. Matt’s love for Christ and the Church led him to accept the position of deacon at the River Bible Church in 2019.
Joel grew up in northwest Indiana in a loving home with his parents and three brothers. He was raised in a traditional church that they walked to every Sunday. Knowing God existed and a having respect for him, but lacking a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Joel gave his life to Christ in his Chicago apartment in early 2001.
Through lots of prayer, he left his corporate job and moved to Mountain Home in 2008 to be closer to his parents, who retired into this area years earlier. Along his journey in Mountain Home, he married his wife Pamela in 2013, and they have two boys Dyrk & Tate.
Joel is currently employed at SG360 as an area manager. Listening and finding solutions is his passion. He enjoys providing help and support for the leadership and church body in his role as Deacon.