Meet Our Elders

It is with great pleasure that we announce that,
on March 4th, 2018 Venture Church will be ordaining our first Elders!
This is a major step for our church family! 

As a church modeled after the New Testament Church, it has been our goal to establish a local leadership of Elders to serve as spiritual leaders to our church family. Elders are like shepherds to a flock; loving, caring for, and guiding the people of our church family to safety, nourishment, and peace in Jesus. It is both a high and humble calling. 

Since BEFORE the launch of Venture Church we have been praying that God would raise up a group of men to serve as Elders to our young church family.

In 2016, A group of 4 men was carefully chosen based on:

  • their character (especially based on 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9)
  • involvement in our church family
  • and the display of leadership ability
After being invited to consider the role, these men spent the following 14 months prayerfully considering the role. They meet together monthly, studied and discussed what a Biblical Elder is, and got to know one another through prayer and accountability. In January of 2018, all four men humbly agreed to move forward in the role.
Below are the names of the men being ordained (listed alphabetically) as well as a short bio on who they are.

George Baier

George and his wife Kathleen moved from their longtime home, in upstate NY, to Wilmington to retire. They have grown children. One of their first priorities, even before their move was complete, was to find a church home to serve in. They attended Venture Church on weekends when they came to prepare for the move and have been core members ever since!

George’s background includes decades of volunteer work with habitat for humanity, serving in various leadership roles in churches they’ve served with, and as a youth and adult mentor. In his “retirement” he may be as busy as ever as he seeks ways to lead more and more people to Jesus. George has served as a small group leader, part of our production team and Hosts team, youth summer camp volunteer, and is a mentor to many at Venture Church.

 William Sanders

William and his wife Jill live in Burgaw and were some of the very first people to make Venture Church their home. After having been involved with the launch of a Church in New Bern NC, they were excited to hear about a new church a little closer to home. They have been part of the heartbeat and DNA of Venture since our very first meetings in living rooms and restaurants.

William has grown children as well as younger children at home. His experiences in the US Marine Corps, as a business owner, and as a father have all shaped the leader he has become. William has served as a small group leader, in a variety of roles on our Sunday morning teams and as mentor to many at Venture Church.

Brandon Smallwood

Brandon, his wife Melanie, and their two sons moved to Wilmington from their home in Kentucky in just as Venture Church was getting started.

Brandon quickly showed a willingness to serve and a wisdom to lead.  His daytime job as an E.R. Doctor puts him in daily contact with people in need; teaching him compassion, action, and patience. 

Brandon has served at Venture Church as a small group leader and Host, a member of the finance team, and in various roles on our Sunday morning teams.


James Smith

James and his wife Dixie have raised their two daughters to adulthood in Wilmington. They have deep roots in the city through her role as a public school teacher and his role working at New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

They began attending Venture during some of our earliest months and quickly became vital leaders and volunteers with our City Team, and Sunday morning teams.

James has served as a small group leader, in various ways on our Sunday morning teams and as a mentor to many at Venture Church.