Pastors & Staff

Charlie Lanier – Pastor 

Charlie joined the GCBC staff in May of 2017. He holds a B.A. in History and Education from Campbell University (2000) and a Master of Divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (2003). Charlie and his wife Ashley have been married since April of 2005 and have three daughters: Alayna, Julianna, and Josie. Since his time in seminary, Charlie has served as a minister of youth and children, a high school social studies teacher, and senior pastor. Charlie enjoys spending any spare time he has with his family. He also enjoys sharing the unshakable hope found in Jesus Christ with others.

Jake Whittaker – Youth and family ministry Pastor 

Jake joined the GCBC staff in December 2020.  He holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from Southern Evangelical Seminary (2018) and a Master of Divinity with a focus in Apologetics from Southern Evangelical Seminary (2020).  Jake married his love, Hope, on September 24, 2020.  He loves the outdoors and sportsman activities where he can enjoy God’s creation in all its glory!  Jake loves using the Bible’s wisdom in helping students navigate an exciting yet challenging stage in their lives.  Further, he puts a high priority on seeing students accept Christ as their Savior, love Him more deeply, and work towards Christlikeness in their everyday lives.

Varina Alexander  – Music Director 

Varina joined the GCBC staff in April of 1995 as the Music Director, responsible for leading and directing Joyful Praise Kids, Joyful Sounds (homebound member ministry), Adult Praise/Worship teams, and Chancel Choir. Varina has enjoyed serving the Lord through music ministry since her early teens and has served churches across the country as organist, pianist, and choir director. Varina holds a B.A. in Music Education from Virginia Intermont College (1978) and enjoys sharing her love of music through teaching, leading, and equipping others to praise, glorify, and honor the Lord. Varina has been married to her husband, Tim, for 38 wonderful years and they have one daughter, Sara. In her spare time, Varina enjoys being with her family and friends, teaching piano, traveling, gardening, and cooking with her husband.

Jo Anne Lee – Administrative Ministry Assistant 

Jo Anne joined Garden City Baptist Church in 1978. After retiring from the United States Air Force Nurse Corp she became more involved in church activities. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Jo Anne ran the Media Library at GCBC for several years. Then, in 2004, she joined the staff to manage the office and support the ministerial staff. She enjoys her job and through her position is able to assist many different areas of the church in all types of ministry endeavors. Jo Anne has enjoyed all types of needlework over the years, and is now the proud caretaker of three indoor felines! Jo Anne spends most of her spare time taking care of her yard.


Ashley was called to ministry as a teenager and has served in various ways ever since. After graduating from seminary, she has been in roles that include pastor’s wife, writing for a parachurch organization, and teaching in children’s and women’s ministry. Her heart these days is focused on cultivating a kids ministry where younger generations know without a doubt that Jesus loves them. Ashley especially has a soft spot for children with special needs, as her youngest daughter is navigating a rare genetic disorder.