Welcome From

the Pastor

Welcome to Villa Rica First!

The people of Villa Rica First would love to have the opportunity to welcome you into this place we call home. When you come you'll be welcomed and received with open arms. How do I know this? I experienced it first hand recently when I was appointed as Senior Pastor in June 2017. My family and I are thrilled to be in ministry in this place and have been blessed by the hospitality we have received.

If you have questions about the mission and ministry of this congregation of disciples of Christ please let me know. Please feel free to call on me, or set up a time to talk more about how you can become involved in this community of faith. If that's not something you're ready to do, at least let me tell you a few things I've noticed since I've been here:

1. Worship: We offer both traditional (9am) and modern (11am) worship experiences. Both are filled with not only fine moments of worship, but fine people who are seeking to draw closer to our Lord. 

2. Diversity: We are a diverse group of people representing the Kingdom of God. Many ages and spectrums make up the people called Villa Rica First UMC. 

3. Missions: The focus of the people of Villa Rica First is grounded in missions. This includes active involvement in the Backpack Ministry, God's Food Pantry, the Thrift Store, and so much more. Villa Rica First is committed to making a difference in our community and around the world. 

4. Education: The people of Villa Rica First seek to grow closer to God and one another. Small Groups are vital to this congregation and we seek to make sure that there is a place for all. 

5. History and Future: Villa Rica First UMC is grounded in a solid and powerful history. From the days before we were located at 206 North Ave in downtown Villa Rica to today - our history has been built upon the rock of Jesus Christ. But God is not done with us yet. Villa Rica First UMC has a hopeful tomorrow and we invite you to come and join us in that future!

And I close with that invitation - come join us and see for yourself, all that God is up to at The Garden. 

Blessings, Pastor Erik

About Our Pastor

Rev. Mays became Pastor of Villa Rica First UMC at the Garden in June of 2017. Prior to arriving in Villa Rica, he served as Pastor of Senoia UMC from 2013 - 2017, Associate Pastor of Marietta First UMC from 2011-2013, Minister to Youth of Belin Memorial UMC in Murrells Inlet, SC from 2009-2011, and Youth Minister of Covington First UMC from 2006-2009. In June of 2013 Rev. Mays was ordained an elder in full connection in the North Georgia Conference.

Rev. Mays is a lifelong United Methodist having grown up in the Due West UMC in West Cobb. Following high school he received two undergraduate degrees; one from Reinhardt College in Liberal Arts, and a second one from LaGrange College in Religion and Philosophy. In 2009 he earned his Master of Divinity degree from Emory University's Candler School of Theology. Rev. Mays considers his passions in ministry to be helping connect people to their own ministries within the life of the local church/community, and revitalizing the local church for faithful and fruitful transformation through Jesus Christ. Rev. Mays has served on over 20 short term mission trips; some in the U.S. and some in places such as Mexico (when he met his wife), Poland, Venezuela, Peru, and Guatemala.

Rev. Mays has served on the LaGrange District Strategic Growth Team and the LaGrange District Committee on Ordained Ministry (dcom). In addition, he has served as a candidacy mentor for those discerning a call into ministry. In May of 2015 Rev. Mays completed the Royce and Jane Reynolds Program in Church Leadership with the Western North Carolina Conference of the UMC and the Center for Creative Leadership. He is currently the chair of the Rome-Carrollton District Strategic Mission Team. 

Rev. Mays has been married to Lindsey since June of 2007. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia and holds a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from the Medical University of South Carolina. She is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist in Tyrone. Erik and Lindsey have three daughters, Addie Grace, Avery, and Parker, and a dog named Ellie. In their free time they enjoy warm hugs, being outdoors, wearing tutus and disagreeing about college football (Roll Tide!)