Pastors • Staff • deacons

mEET OUR Pastors

Dr. thomas e. cabaniss

Senior Pastor

Tom’s dream job would be to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers or coach the men’s basketball team at his beloved alma mater, Duke University. But for now, he serves as our pastor. He is a native of Valdese, North Carolina, the husband of Lara, and the proud father of twins, Christian and Kaitlyn, who are now in college.

Tom earned his Master of Divinity degree from Duke and his Doctor of Ministry degree from Reformed Theological Seminary. He enjoys reading, running, writing, the world of stock and mutual fund investing and following the Dallas Cowboys, the Dodgers and Duke. His heroes are Martin Luther, Dietrick Bonhoeffer, Jack Bogle, Tom Lasorda and Mike Krzyzewski. His favorite TV shows are Survivor and reruns of LA Law, Gilligan’s Island, and The Andy Griffith Show.

Rev. mark a. hill

Minister of Music & Senior Adults

Mark grew up in Kannapolis. Piano and voice lessons, church and community choirs, and band were all part of Mark’s growing up years. Music has always been a huge part of his life and much of that was centered in church. It was at the NC Baptist Assembly at Caswell that Mark answered God’s call to full time Christian service while still in high school, and he has joyfully been serving the Lord in churches since college days.

A graduate of UNC-Charlotte in music, Mark received his theological education at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, graduating in 1983.  It was there that he met the “cutest little girl” he had ever seen (she’s only 5 feet tall) and they married in October of 1982. Mark and Janet have three wonderful boys and a lovely daughter-in-law, Jonathan (and wife Trisha), Benjamin and Isaac.  They're also proud grandparents of Reid!  As a family, the Hills enjoy traveling to the beach and the mountains, and spending time with people. Mark has served churches all over the state since 1976.  It was in March of 2001 that he answered God’s call to First Baptist, Kannapolis. The smile on his face is reflective of the love in Mark’s heart that comes from knowing and serving the Lord.  “The Lord’s mercies never fail, they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”  ~Lamentations 3:22-23


Minister of Students & Discipleship

Jonathan grew up in Eden, NC. He is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Social Work. He is a huge ASU football fan, which becomes evident within seconds upon entering his office. Jonathan also earned a Master of Divinity in Christian Education from Gardner-Webb University.

Jonathan has served from the mountains to the coast, but is happy to have been called to serve in the piedmont at First Baptist of Kannapolis in December of 2013. He enjoys classical music, old nostalgic TV shows, and is a coffee addict. He is married to his lovely wife, Ashley, and they have two beautiful daughters, Mollie and Melody, and six small dogs. His passion is to lead others in knowing Christ and making Him known!


Minister of Preschoolers, Children, & Outreach

Candice grew up in Landis, NC and currently lives in Rockwell with her family. She has served in full-time ministry for 20 years. Candice earned her Master of Theology degree in Christian Education from North Carolina College of Theology.

Candice joined the First Baptist staff in May of 2020.  She enjoys traveling, DJ'ing, listening to music, playing guitar, singing, drama ministry, mission work, and spending time with family and friends. Candice and her husband Bobby have two wonderful sons, Brayden and Grayson. Candice has a strong passion for sharing Christ with young people and guiding them to discover their spiritual gifts.


Krista Simmons

Church Secretary
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Krista began serving FBC-K in 2014. Krista is a native of China Grove and loves spending her free time with her 3 boys, still at home. She also has a daughter and son-in-law in Wilmington. Krista enjoys trips to Gatlinburg and Wilmington, racing of any kind (as long as it's fast!), Gary's BBQ, pizza, and good home cooking.  Krista enjoys being the go-to person at the church and is always willing to help our members out.

Kay Hayworth

Financial Secretary
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Kay moved to Concord in 1987 from the High Point area. Employed for 10 years with Cabarrus County Schools, Kay joined the First Baptist staff in May 2015 from a CPA office after 14 years. She enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with her grandchildren, Jack, and twins Kate and Janie.  She also loves "planting seeds" with children, instilling the love of Christ as she volunteers at Parkwood Baptist where she makes her church home.

Carol Cone

Carol is a Kannapolis native and has served in music ministry for decades in churches all over NC. She has been at First Baptist Kannapolis for over 30 years, though, and has served in multiple roles.

Carol is a lover of dogs and everything Disney.  She is mother to two adult children and has four grandchildren. We're blessed to have Carol share her talent with us by playing the organ so beautifully each week.

Carol Soles

Carol is a woman of many talents, not the least of which is being an accomplished pianist.  We're blessed to have her as part of our music ministry at First Baptist.

When she's not playing here, she stays busy as a highly-sought-after accompanist. She is also an attorney and the head of the Cabarrus County Board of Elections.

Kara Drye

Many years ago, when First Baptist had a preschool, Kara came as an assistant teacher.  In 2010, Kara changed roles to began serving as our church custodian, and has been faithfully serving ever since.

Kara enjoys spending time on her farm out in the country with her family and multitude of animals. She also enjoys camping, hiking, and anything outdoors.

Steve Sembroski

Steve joined the First Baptist staff in May of 2018.  Steve was called to serve on our custodial/maintenance team; however, there is much more to Steve! He also is quite musical, having a degree in music and playing multiple instruments in addition to singing. He has experience in catering and, of course, in electrical and mechanical work.

Most recently, Steve enjoyed watching his son fly into outer space (literally) as his son was part of a 4-person civilian crew to visit space in September of 2021, making the cover of TIME Magazine, twice!  Steve and his wife reside in Kannapolis.

Caleb Smith

Live Stream Ministry Coordinator
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Our church began a livestream ministry in 2020 and as the livestream ministry grew, so did the need for a dedicated staff person to manage it.  We were blessed to find Caleb to fill this role! Caleb is a graduate of UNC-Charlotte, with a Bachelors of Computer Science, and is currently enrolled in their Master of Computer Science program.  Caleb has been a member of First Baptist Kannapolis since 2014, but recently joined the staff as of August 2021. He enjoys building computers, coding projects, and going to all-you-can-eat restaurants with family and friends. Caleb plans to combine his passion for computers and love of Christ to help bring FBC-K into its next technological step. 

"Jesus called them together and said, 'You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant...'"  ~Matthew 20:25-26


The word "Deacon" comes from the Greek word diakonos, meaning "servant" or "helper" and that is exactly what a deacon is for the families of First Baptist that he or she serves.  The First Baptist Kannapolis Deacon Ministry’s purpose is to nurture and strengthen families in the Lord. The work of our deacons is an extension of the Pastor’s ministry to love and care for families in our congregation.  Deacons are called to be dedicated servants who use their spiritual gifts in a shared ministry of concern for the total well-being of God’s people. Deacons are to be supportive in times of need as well as rejoiceful in times of celebration.

Allen Martin

Deacon Council Chairman

Keith Daniel

Bill Lutrick

Frank Plummer

Tim Templeton

Frank Hyatt

Deacon Council Vice-Chairman

Sue Dodd

Aliceson Miller

Danita Rickard

Daniel Wallace

Karen Aiton

Deacon Council Recording Secretary

Daniel Helms

Patti Miller

Daniel Stafford

Mark Whitley

Richard Chaney

Julie Henderson

Brad Pack

Leah Sweatt

Jimmy Wyatt