Rev. Ryan Bennett
We are pleased to announce our new Senior Pastor, Ryan Bennett. Ryan, Heather and Tyler come to Lebanon First UMC from Bethlehem UMC in Franklin, TN where he was in his ninth year. He has also served at Pleasant View UMC and Crossville First UMC in his twenty years in ministry. Ryan is originally from Cookeville, TN. He has a BS in Education from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. Ryan’s wife, Heather, is originally from Crossville, TN. She attended and played golf for Cumberland University for one year before transferring to Tennessee Tech. She also has a Master in Sustainability from Lipscomb University. Heather is the founder and Director of Blessed Earth Tennessee, a non-profit whose mission is to inspire and equip people of faith to be better stewards of the earth. Their son, Tyler, is an active and energetic second grader. If you hear Tyler talk about his brother, he is referring to his dog Commodore.
Rev. David Hesson
Minister of Discipleship
I grew up in Lebanon FUMC and have spent my entire life here. In 1998, when I decided to close my shoe business, I felt God was calling me to more active ministry and was offered a part-time staff position. Since that time my role in ministry has grown and evolved and now I serve as an ordained deacon and as Minister of Discipleship. Saying “yes” to Jesus is the beginning of a life-long, life-giving journey of becoming faithful disciples; of growing in love of God and of others. It is a joy and a privilege to help lead our congregation on this journey, both individually and collectively. I have also experienced the love, hospitality, and faith of these wonderful people throughout my own journey as they have ministered with and to me. I invite you to come and journey with us.
Director of Music and Worship
Director of Children’s Ministry
Rebecca loves children and is passionate about cultivating a love of Jesus, church and community with the children of First United Methodist Church. Rebecca lives in her childhood home with her husband, Dave, and their children, Hugh and Nola. Rebecca has a degree in Elementary Education and taught 15 years in the Lebanon Special School District prior to coming to FUMC.
Director of Youth Ministries
Micah, his wife Jill, and their daughter Amelia are anticipating the wonderful opportunity to join together and share in life and ministry through this community of Lebanon FUMC, and in the larger community of Lebanon, and Wilson County.
Micah’s call to ministry has played out in a unique and dynamic way. His diverse experiences through education, career, and vocation, have shaped and prepared him to now serve as the Director of Youth Ministries. Micah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Tennessee Technological University and will be completing his Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in July of 2016. Micah’s journey in life and ministry have included serving youth in a small congregation in rural Middle Tennessee, counseling and social work with a multi-state non-profit organization working with children, youth, families, and young adults, serving in youth ministry with his wife for two and a half years, and most recently serving as a licensed local pastor in two small membership United Methodist Churches. Micah’s view on ministry seeks to begin in the context of forming and developing lasting and trusting relationships, fostering opportunities for sharing in meaningful conversation, leading to discipleship through new ways of encountering Jesus with others.
I’m not sure anyone ever “plans” to work in a church unless they are called to ministry. After Chris and I were married, we settled here in Lebanon and began visiting area churches. It wasn’t long before we decided Lebanon First was the church for us. When our children were old enough for the pre-school here, I began working in the office one day a week. One became two, then three, and part-time turned to full-time.
How fortunate am I to daily be a part of this community; where we are all accepted, due to the welcoming nature of this congregation, as beloved children of God. As a result, we get to show the face of God to others because our relationship with Him is nurtured here in so many ways: worship, music, fellowship, small group studies, inward and outward ministries for all ages. Chris and I used to think we found this church. Rather, this church found us.
Communications Administrator, Membership Secretary
I have worked at FUMC since August 2011. The “work” here is so much more than typing bulletins, newsletters, etc. It is a job that gives me the opportunity to love and care for the most wonderful church staff and church family. I am blessed to have the opportunity to serve this church. I have been married to Gary for over 40 years. We have one son, Taylor, a beautiful daughter-in-law, a beautiful granddaughter, Mary Hyatt, and one sister, Kathi. In my downtime, I love to make jewelry, crochet, knit, make cards, read and watch TV.
Congregational Care Administrator
I began my job in Congregational Care, at LFUMC, in November of 2013. I am both honored and blessed to have a job that I love, that allows me to care and share in the lives of other people. I have lived in Lebanon for 12 years, with my husband Chris and our family. We have four children, three boys and one girl, ages 20, 15, 13 and 9. I enjoy spending time with my family, going to the movies, and traveling whenever I get the chance!
Preschool Director and Teacher, PreK-4
Originally from Ohio, I moved to Nashville following graduation from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. I moved to this wonderful town of Lebanon almost 17 years ago after marrying my terrific husband, Jason. Jason was born and raised in Lebanon and most of his family still resides here. We have been blessed with an amazing daughter, Emma, who attends Winfree Bryant Middle School. We are often quite busy with Emma’s competitive gymnastic schedule, but in our down time we enjoy doing things with our family and friends. In the summer, we try to get in lots of pool time! Jason, Emma and I have been attending FUMC for over 10 years.
The preschool program has always held a special place in my heart. My mother-in-law taught here, our daughter, Emma, attended the program, I became the Pre-K 4 teacher five years ago, and now I am the director as well. I believe teaching our children is one of the most important jobs God has given us. I enjoy every day with the Preschool students. It is a blessing to see their shining faces each morning and I love to watch them learn throughout the year! Their abilities to learn and the questions they ask, especially during our bible lessons, are an incredible exemplification of God and His presence in our hearts and minds! “…for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:13
Pre-K 3 Teacher
An Army brat, I grew up in many different states and countries. My father retired to Lebanon when I was fifteen, and I’ve stayed firmly planted ever since! A graduate of Lebanon High and Cumberland University, I went on to teach middle school for nearly seven years before starting a family. My husband Chris and I have two daughters, Jenna and Julia, who are both involved in sports and keep us in a gym or at a ball park quite often.
I’m excited to begin my first year teaching preschool here at FUMC. In some capacity or another, I’ve been a teacher my entire adult life, and I’m not sure there’s any better feeling in the world than watching the faces of students and the spark in their eyes as they experience that “lightbulb” moment.
Larry Talley Facilities Manager
In January 2013 I joined the staff of Lebanon FUMC. As Facilities Manager, it is my responsibility to supervise the maintenance of out church buildings and grounds-roofs, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, as well as landscaping.
I have a degree in Industrial technology and my experience includes architecture and construction. My hobbies are woodworking, landscaping, gardening and biking. I’ve been a member here for 20 years and my wife, Kay has been a member since childhood.
See Church Lay Leaders here.