Staff

Rev. Dr. Robert Collins

Senior Pastor
E-mail Rev. Dr. Robert Collins

For a young man, Dr. Rob’s bio is lengthy. He most recently served as the Associate Pastor of the Locust Grove Baptist Church in New Market, AL (near Huntsville).

• He received a Doctor of Ministry in Preaching from McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University in Atlanta.

• In 2008 he earned his Master of Divinity in Biblical Studies from Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity in Boiling Springs, NC.

• His Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies with a Minor in Biblical Languages came from Howard Payne University in Brownwood, TX, in 2005.

Dr. Rob’s wife, Casey received a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Samford University in Birmingham, AL. Casey has worked as a special education teacher with kindergarten through eight grade students. The Collinses have two children, three-year-old Reagan and two-month-old Miles.

Mark Grizzard

Music/Young Adult Program Leader
E-mail Mark Grizzard

Mark Grizzard serves as Music Director and Young Adults Leader.  He directs the Chancel Choir and Youth Band, and he coordinates other ensembles including the guitar ensemble Higher Ground, Men’s Choir, and special-event music groups.  He also leads the youth group and organizes small group activities for young adults.  In addition to his work at the church, Mark is an adjunct School of Music faculty member at Illinois State University, and he has years of professional experience as a performer, composer, arranger, educator, and clinician.  He lives in Peoria with his wife Leigh.

Dr. Joshua Russell

Organist
E-mail Dr. Joshua Russell

Dr. Joshua Russell plays the piano and organ for worship services and additional functions at First Baptist Church.  He has performed throughout the world as a concert pianist, organist, and conductor and is recognized as a leading expert on the piano music of Haiti.  He frequently appears as a soloist with orchestras across North America and is a sought-after speaker on topics related to music performance and teaching.

Leigh Grizzard

Handbell Director

Leigh Grizzard is in her fifth year as Handbell Choir Director.  In addition to directing the First Baptist Handbell Choir, Leigh is Director of Choirs at Pekin Community High School, where she conducts three curricular choirs as well as the Pekin Noteables show choir.  A Music Education graduate from Valparaiso University,  Leigh also directs the Youth Choir at Trinity Lutheran Church in Peoria and is active in many area musical opportunities, such as singing in the annual Peoria Bach Festival and performing as a soloist with the Peoria Municipal Band.  She lives in Peoria with her husband Mark.

Sandy Johansen

Church Secretary
E-mail Sandy Johansen

Sandy Johansen joined the staff at First Baptist on April 2009.  She brings 30-plus years of administrative experience to the role of Church Secretary.  Some of her duties include greeting and assisting visitors and callers, producing the weekly church newsletter and worship bulletins, and  preparing the slides for Sunday worship service. She lives in Medina township with her husband of 17 years, Jeff Johansen.