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Thomas leaving First Baptist of Springfield to join Billy Graham
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Darren and Mikki Thomas - photo by Photo provided

Dr. Darren W. Thomas, minister of education at the First Baptist Church of Springfield, will be leaving Springfield to begin a new ministry position with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Asheville, N.C.

In his new place of ministry, Thomas will manage The Cove, the Billy Graham Training Center located in the Smoky Mountains east of Asheville. The Cove is a Christian conference center designed to encourage, refresh and empower believers who want to grow and deepen their faith.

Thomas, who was born and raised in Springfield, is the son of Wiley and Rosalynn Thomas. After graduating from Effingham County High School in 1988, Thomas graduated from Georgia Southern University with a bachelor of arts degree in business administration in 1993. To prepare himself for the ministry, Thomas earned a master of education degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1995.

Thomas earned his doctor of education degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., in 2005.

Thomas has served on staff at First Baptist Springfield for the last 17½ years. He began in December 1995 as the church’s minister of education and youth, and became the church’s first full-time minister of education in 1998. Under Thomas’ leadership, the First Baptist Church has excelled in its educational ministries and has begun several new ministries for people throughout Effingham.

Along with his administrative skills and his ability to teach and preach, Thomas is noted for his compassion, high energy level, creativity and his overall pursuit of excellence.

Thomas is married to the former Mikki Purcell, daughter of Dent and Ann Purcell of Rincon. The Thomases have three children — Chase, age 13, Caden, 12, and Claire, 8.

Thomas’ last day at the First Baptist Church of Springfield will be June 2. The church will have a breakfast at 9:15 a.m. that day to honor the Thomas family. Following the breakfast, Thomas will preach in the 10:45 a.m. worship service. The community is invited to attend both events.