Pastor Ray Payne came to know Jesus Christ as Savior in 1978. Within the year that followed he began to serve in the local church. The Word of God came to life as he read it and he began to feel God was calling him to teach the Word. A short time after that, he felt the call to come to Leon County although uncertain what that meant. Shortly thereafter he had the opportunity for a job in the area and moved there. Doors began to open to serve God.
In the meantime, he met and married his wife, Suzanne Payne, and they have been married since 1980. They have four children and fifteen grandchildren. God has truly blessed their marriage. Ray and his wife are partners in life and ministry.
Pastor Ray and his wife have served the Lord together from that time forward. She has served as a Sunday School and Bible teacher since before they were married. She now serves as an Awana teacher on Wednesday nights, VBS teacher, and children’s Sunday School teacher. He served in a local church in Leon County for seven years as a bible teacher and music minister. In 1983 he felt God was calling him to preach and the church licensed him to do so. He began to preach in pulpit supply and at his local church as he had the opportunity. A few years later, in 1986, the church asked him to be their associate pastor and he agreed.
In 1987, God began to speak to Ray and Suzanne about leaving the church they were in because of his call to be a senior pastor. In April of that year, Ephesus Baptist Church called him to be their pastor. He was ordained at the Ephesus Baptist Church on May 22, 1987. He has been serving there from that time to the present. During his time in the pastorate, Brother Ray has bolstered his education for the ministry by the ongoing study of God’s Word and by taking a number of seminary extension courses.
During Brother Ray’s 31 years at Ephesus, the church has seen many blessings. The most important of those is a great number of people have come to know Christ through the church’s ministries. The church has gone through four building programs including a new and enlarged sanctuary and a family life center with a gymnasium and kitchen. Various ministries have grown out of the church since his coming including: a now 27 year old monthly prison ministry at the Walls Unit in Huntsville, Texas; two separate nursing home ministries; a food pantry ministry; Awana program on Wednesday nights; and most recently, two weekly jailhouse ministries at the Centerville jail, one to men and one to women. The church has also sent out several pastors during this time. It has, likewise, helped in the starting of four other churches in the area.
Pastor Ray has also served in the local Leon Baptist Association. He has served two terms each as Moderator and Vice Moderator in the association. He believes very strongly in working with other churches and in the mission work that is accomplished by doing so.
God has truly blessed during this time. The church is looking forward to what God has for the future. He has even greater blessings in mind as He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we think or ask – Eph. 3:20.
Travis Treadway came to know Jesus Christ as Savior at a young age. He came to know Christ as Lord over
his life in 2007 and began serving Him wholeheartedly from that day on. He met his wife Blakely at Ephesus Baptist Church and married her there in 2012.
Soon after they were married there was an opening
for a music leader at the church. They prayed about it for awhile and Blakely decided to pursue it. She became the music leader in 2013 and continued to lead for about 4 years. Also, in 2013 our
youth leaders at the time were called to seminary in North Carolina which left a big void in our church. Travis and Blakely prayed about stepping in to fill the role of youth ministers. They
started in August of 2013 and haven’t looked back since.
He enjoys building relationships with the younger generation and living life with them while pointing them to Christ in all decisions. Travis and Blakely welcomed their first child in 2016 and second in 2018. They look forward to raising their kids in a loving, Christ centered church.