Dr. Timothy W. Smith

Senior Pastor
Dr. Tim Smith joined the EMBC family in November of 2012. He is a Texas native, born & raised in Mesquite. He accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior as a high school senior.
Pastor Tim graduated from Blue Mountain College in Mississippi with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology & Bible. He completed a Master’s of Divinity degree at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri & earned a Doctor of Ministry in Evangelism & Church Growth from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
Pastor Tim has served churches in Tennessee, Missouri, Iowa, & Texas as well as Italy. Over the years he has participated in the local community through coaching baseball, organizing fund-raisers for charitable organizations, serving as Hospice chaplain, Cub Scout leadership, membership & presidency of various community boards as well as local Ministerial Associations.
Pastor Tim has published several articles in SBC related journals. He served in various roles in the European Baptist Convention: Vice President, Long Range Planning Committee, as well as Baptist World Alliance work groups. He has also served on the MBTS Planning Task Force & as a Seminary Extension Instructor, & many other service roles at both state and associational levels.
He has also been active in the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention at the state level & presently serves as the Moderator/St. Rep for the Greater East Texas Baptist Association. 
He is married to Tennessee native, Christee Sheree’ Smith. They have two adult sons, Kody & Kameron. Kameron is married to Lauren & they have one daughter, Diana, & another daughter on the way in October/November of this year. Kody is married to Aimee & they have one daughter, Reagan, who was born in March of this year.
At heart, Tim & Sheree’ are just a cowboy & cowgirl, enjoying whenever possible riding their horses, Shadow & Ginger. 
Facebook: Tim Smith

Tim Coop

Associate Pastor of Education
Melinda and I were so excited when East Mountain Baptist Church extended God’s call to us and we joined the staff as Associate Pastor of Education in September, 2017. We married June 12, 1993, and since that time, have served together in ministry in a variety of settings and capacities. I really can’t imagine doing ministry without Melinda. She has been an incredible partner, encourager, confidant, and has helped to hold me accountable to Christ and the church. Though we initially did not really want to attend seminary and enter full time vocational ministry together, when God’s call became inescapable, Melinda was all in. We both entered Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, but when Andrew came along, Melinda knew she would be unable to be the mother, wife, employee and student she wanted to be.
Something had to give, so she stopped attending school after completing thirty hours toward her Master’s degrees in Christian Education and Marriage and Family Counseling. I stayed on as a student and completed the Master’s degree of Christian Education. Along with this training, serving in a variety of situations and roles has shaped me into the minister I am, according to God’s call. I have enjoyed serving churches in Arkansas and Texas as well as ministering to people in social settings such as a group home for boys, a halfway house for those discharged from the state hospital, and a juvenile detention center. We have shared many fears, struggles, joys and victories together with God’s people, serving alongside and ministering to many wonderful men and women of God and their families. God shared Andrew with us in 1998 and Emily in 2002, and together we continue to serve Christ through His church.
We serve as a family, because truthfully, we believe that is how God has called us to serve. The locally gathered Body of Christ is fascinating to me. I love that a people called by God’s name can be so diversely gifted and then called out to use those gifts for His glory and the building up of His Body. There is nothing more satisfying than locking arms with brothers and sisters in ministry as we put those gifts to work together. It is a beautiful picture of Christ’s Body when the church is equipping His saints for the work of ministry. I think that’s why I care so much for the educational ministry of the church.
As Christians come to know God by His Word, we are challenged and empowered to do His work, the works He created us to do. I am excited about the passion this group of disciples at EMBC has for the Lord Jesus and the way that passion clearly drives them to love one another and the world. We are asking God for and eagerly anticipating years of fruitful ministry with this vibrant Body of believers at East Mountain, to the glory of God alone and the good of the people of east Texas and the world.

Gara Handorf

Youth Pastor
Gara joined our staff as Youth Pastor in December 2010. He & his wife Amie have three sons, Caden, McClane, & Jack. Gara taught a junior high boys’ Sunday School class at age 19 & soon realized God was calling him to student ministry. His goal is to reach an ever-changing world with the never-changing gospel of Christ. Some of Gara’s favorite verses are Romans 5:8, “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” and Acts 4:19-20, ‘”But Peter and John answered them,”Whether it is right in the sight of God [for us] to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Rob Bowen

Children’s Pastor
Rob has served as Children’s Pastor since 2004. He & his wife Kristy have two children, Hailey and Chandler. Rob began teaching & subbing in Sunday School in 1990. He also worked bus routes for 15 years, has led children’s church at East Mountain since 2004, & has worked in the AWANA program for five years. Rob graduated from LeTourneau in 2003. He enjoys playing golf. His favorite verses are Romans 8:37-38, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Sam Wheat

Interim Minister of Music

Sam joined the East Mountain family again in August 2019.  After 40 years in full-time church ministry, he retired and moved to the East Mountain community with his wife, Patti, an East Mountain native.  Sam’s hometown is Anniston, Alabama.  He is a graduate of Jacksonville State University in Alabama where he received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Math Education.  After teaching high school math for 5 years, he surrendered to full-time ministry in 1979 and attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  After receiving his M.R.E. degree from Southwestern, he was called to East Mountain Baptist Church to serve as Minister of Music, Youth, and Education in 1982.  It was there he met and married his wife, Patti Ford, daughter of Royce and Louise Ford. 

He served the last 13 years as Minister of Education at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Ruston, Louisiana.  Prior to that he served as Minister of Music and Education at Calvary Baptist Church in Monroe, Louisiana, Woolmarket Baptist Church, Biloxi, MS, and First Baptist Church of Hughes Springs, TX.

His wife, Patti, is a physical therapist and currently works with Christus Home Care in Tyler.  Sam and Patti have one son, Adam, who works in admissions at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

Coming back to East Mountain, he is bringing his wife, Patti, home, as they have built on Patti’s family homeplace in East Mountain.


Jodi Darden

Ministerial Assistant
Jodi became the Ministerial Assistant in June 2011. She says she “grew up” at East Mountain Baptist, joining as an eighteen-year-old newlywed. Jodi is blessed to be the mother of one daughter, Katy, & the grandmother of three beautiful girls, Madeline, Alexis, & Lindy. She was also recently married to Danny Darden. Jodi has always had a love for planning, organizing, & learning new things & believes that her life events have uniquely prepared her to serve the church she loves, in this position. Her favorite verse is Romans 8:29, 31a, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son… What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?”