Our Staff

  • Lead Pastor

    Derek Porter

    Derek was appointed to VRFUMC at The Garden in June of 2010. He received a Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology, Emory University. His primary responsibilities include preaching, visioning, pastoral care, and leadership of the staff and congregation. "We have enjoyed an exciting ministry in our short history, marked by rapid growth and a new building at The Garden. The core characteristics of a congregation however, should never be its buildings or growth. Rather, the core characterestics of a congregation is always expressed in the beliefs and actions of its members. I am grateful to express my faith as pastor of Villa Rica First United Methodist Church at The Garden. derek.porter@ngumc.net


    Laurie Klingenberg

    Laurie is in her second year of seminary at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and will graduate in 2017. She has been married to Michael Klingenberg for nineteen years. Laurie has two children, Alan Copenhaver and Sam Klingenberg. She has been a member of Villa Rica First United Methodist Church for twelve years.


    Erin Backus

    Erin came onto our staff in August of 2014. As an educator, she came well prepared to work and love on our students. She has a degree in early childhood education from the University of West Georgia. She has been teaching for 10 years, 8 in a second grade classroom and 2 in our VRFUMC CMO/Preschool. She is the mother of 3 beautiful children and has the pleasure of serving in ministry with her husband, Jason. She looks forward to growing our student ministries here at VRFUMC while spreading the love of Jesus to your children. students.villarica@gmail.com


    Jason Backus

    I am servant of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am currently a Finacial Advisor with Norton Financial located in downtown Villa Rica. I received a Masters in Math Education and a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics from the University of West Georgia. I am a middle child of three sons and a father of two young boys name Joshua and Jacob and one beautiful girl named Ellisyn. I am also a husband to my wonderful wife Erin Backus (who is practically perfect in every way). I am excited about the future of the Youth Ministry here at Villa Rica First United Methodist Church as I serve as the Youth Minister. 



    Amanda Miller

    I am the Children's Ministry Director at VRFUMC. My greatest passion is to teach, teaching God's word is just an incredible bonus I get to do on a daily basis. I begin working for our Children's Morning Out program in 2011. I became our Children's Ministry Director in 2014. I have my associates degree in early childhood education with a specilization in children with exceptionalities. I am abundantly blessed with two beautiful children Kaytlynn, 8 and Wyatt, 5. I take great pride in teaching children to know God's love and showing them how to be God's hands and feet. I lead everyday with, "Children will not remember you for the material things you provide, but for the feeling that you cherished them."

  • Worship leaders

    We are so excited to lead worship at VRFUMC!  We both have a passion for serving God and good music, so this has been such a huge blessing to us. We have been playing music together with various groups for almost 14 years, and we couldn't be happier to finally have a church to call our home.  Matt graduated from Point University in 2006 with a B. A. in Biblical Studies. In 2013, he graduated from UWG with a M. Ed. in Special Education. He has been teaching in Haralson County for almost 10 years.  Alison graduated from UWG in 2005 with a B. S. in Early Childhood Education. She received her M. Ed. in Early Childhood Education in 2016. She has been teaching for 13 years.  We have been married for 8 years. We have two daughters: Elise and Cate. 

  • CMO Director

    I am excited to join the VRFUMC CMO/Preschool as Director. I have 20-years of teaching experience, in which 10 years are in Pre-K and Kindergarten. The other 10 years I taught First, Second, and Fourth grades. Both my Bachelor's and Master's degrees were earned at the University of West Georgia. Along with my husband Phil, our family stays busy with three teenage boys who each wrestle for their schools here in Villa Rica.  I look forward to working with the staff, students, and families in the CMO/Preschool program.

  • ADMINISTRATIVE Coordinator

    Stephanie Tullis

    Stephanie earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Law and Legal Assistance from Morris Brown College. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Cultivating You, Inc., a youth literacy nonprofit organization. An avid reader, Stephanie can be found blogging about books, education, and more on her blog Say Whaaat.   

  • financial secretary

    Jane Massey

    Hello, it is an honor and my great pleasure to serve the Lord and this church as the financial secretary. I met my husband, Ken, when I moved to Georgia from Michigan 20+ years ago. We are blessed with 5 children who have doubly blessed us with 9 grandsons and 3 granddaughters. Ken & I moved to the “retirement” home of our future in 1998 when we bought the 63 acre cattle and hay farm in Bowdon, GA. I haven’t “retired” yet – instead of retirement, I enjoy my service to this church, driving the tractor during hay season on the farm and visiting with the family whenever possible. 


    Rick Quinton

    My name is Donell Ricardo Quinton – “Rick”. Besides my musical activities, I enjoy a good story. Whether it is in a book, a movie, or a video game, I enjoy well-told stories. I especially enjoy learning the obscure stories in the Bible as they make for good aces-in-the-hole for Bible Trivia. The extended english vocabulary interests me as well, not just because it's a giant mixing pot of different languages, but also because the best written stories are often the ones that use words in unique or unheard-of ways. Soccer, Basketball, Tennis, and Biking are all things that I profess to enjoy, but probably should do more often. I'm a tech junkie, I like building PCs, as they remind me of my LEGO building days, and researching and being able to utilize the various gadgets that have become commonplace in today's society. Biotechnology, the way the technology interacts and intersects with nature intrigues me and in general, I just like to know things.