Pastors & Staff


Dr. Rit Varriale

Head Pastor

Rit has served EBC since February 2005.  He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from The Citadel, a Master of Divinity degree from Campbell University, a Master of Theology degree from Duke University, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Princeton Theological Seminary.   Prior to entering the ministry, Rit served as an officer in the 82nd Airborne Division from 1992-1996.  He is married to Shannon Varriale, who teaches at Crest Middle School.  Rit's passion is communicating God's Word.
  • Favorite Bible Verse - Psalm 121
  • Favorite Hobbies - Motorcycling (viva Ducati), walking in the woods, hunting

Eddie Clay

Discipleship and Church Administration Pastor

Eddie started with EBC on May 1, 2018.  Prior to coming to Shelby, he served churches in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky.  He also served 8 years with LifeWay Christian Resources.  Eddie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Belmont University and a Masters of Religious Education from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.    Eddie is married to Anita Clay and they have two children and two grandchildren.  Eddie is passionate about seeing others grow in their relationship to God through discipleship.
  • Favorite Bible Verse - Isaiah 7:9  "If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all."
  • Favorite Hobbies - Pickleball, golf, antique shopping and traveling with Anita. 

Jim Brackett

Assistant Pastor of Senior Adults & Pastoral Care

Reverend Jim started serving at EBC in March of 2020.  He has pastored churches in Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina.  He served 13 years as Chaplain with the Cleveland County Sheriff's office.  He has been pastoring churches in Cleveland County, North Carolina since 1988.    Jim is a graduate of Carson Newman and the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.   Jim served 3 years in the military as a US Army Personnel Specialist.  He is married to Annie Ruth McSwain Brackett.  Together they have four children, six grandchildren and one great grandson.  Reverend Jim is passionate about encouraging and recognizing the work of EBS's staff.  He is passionate about caring for EBC's seniors.  He always has a smile and something encouraging to say.
  • Favorite Bible Verse - Isaiah 41:10  "Don't be afraid, for I am with you.  Don't be discouraged, for I am your God."
  • Favorite Hobbies - Studying the Bible.

Derek Kiser

Student Pastor

Derek has been at EBC since July 2022.   He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Appalachian State University in Finance, and a Master of Divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.   Derek has been in student ministry since 2005 and served as an Army Reserve Chaplain for 8 years.  He is married to Kelly Allen Kiser, who teaches at Fallston Elementary School and has two boys Jackson and Eli.  Kelly grew up at EBC and is a Shelby native. Derek is passionate about students owning their faith and helping them become the leaders God wants them to be.   Students are not the future church they are the church now, and need to serve now.
  • Favorite Bible Verse  -  2 Corinthians 5:21  "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God."
  • Favorite Hobbies  -  Anything with a view.  I love the lake and big wide-open views of farmland.  Kelly and I enjoy eating outside with a water view when on vacation.

Lori Hastings

Children's Minister

Lori taught for 31 years with the Cleveland County Schools before retiring in 2014.  She is a graduate of Gardner-Webb University and earned her Masters of Education degree from Western Carolina University.  Lori is married to Gary Hastings and they have two children and three grandchildren. Lori has been here for over twenty years and served in this position for nine years. 
  • Favorite Food - Mexican
  • Favorite Bible Verse - Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding."
  • Favorite Hobbies - Walking, hiking and spending time with my family

Stephanie Gulledge

Children's Ministry Assistant

Stephanie began serving as EBC’s Assistant Children’s Director in December 2023. From a young age she developed a passion for serving Christ’s church and His body of believers. Over the years, she has ministered to and taught children in various church groups, homeschool co-ops, and Community Bible Study. She has a passion for teaching children the hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ. She is married to Toby Gulledge, and they have two daughters.

  • Favorite Bible Verse: And David said: “Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand, it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.” 1 Chronicles 29:10-13
  • Hobbies: Classic Cinema, Cooking, and spending time with her family.

Kim McEntyre

Accounting Manager / Office Manager

Kim has served EBC since July 2011.  She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Liberty University.  She is married to Jeff McEntyre and they have one son, Justin.
  • Favorite Bible Verse - Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
  • Favorite Hobbies - Reading, long walks, great movies.


Angel Carroll

Administrative Ministry Assistant

Angel has served EBC since June 2019.  She is married to Lee Carroll and has 4 children and 3 grandchildren.
  • Favorite Bible Verse - Psalm 100:2 "Serve the Lord with gladness;   Come before His presence with singing."
  • Favorite Hobbies - Baking, cooking, traveling.


Dawn D'Angelo

Receptionist & Accounting Assistant

Dawn has been at EBC since November of 2022.  She is married to Philip and they have a combined family of seven children and six grandchildren.
  • Favorite Bible Verse - Isaiah 41:10 "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
  • Favorite Hobbies - Baking, spending time with family.

Aaron Meier

Tech Team Leader

Aaron has served EBC since March 2021.  Outside of his work at the church, he is a musician, recording engineer, music producer, and teacher.  He is married to Michelle, a nurse, and they live in Lattimore with their three dogs.
  • Favorite Bible Verse - Psalm 143:10-11 "Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good.  Lead me in the land of uprightness.  Revive me, O Lord, for Your name's sake! For Your righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble."
  • Favorite Hobbies - Grilling, watching the Atlanta Braves, playing guitar, movies.

Christopher Lynch

Interim Worship Leader

Chris started with EBC in September of 2023.He studied Music Performance at Francis Marion University and Worship and Music at East Coast Bible College. Chris has lead worship music for the last thirty years for churches in Gaston County. He is the Vice President of Operations for Good Will Publishers and is married to Crystal Childers Lynch, who works for Caromont Women’s Health. They have been married for thirty three years and have one daughter and son in law, Tyler and Madison Stevens. Chris has a passion for modern worship music as well as the traditional hymns.
  • Favorite Bible Verse – David also commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their brothers as the singers who should play loudly on the musical instruments, on harps and lyres and cymbals, to raise the sounds of joy. 1 Chronicles 15:16
  • Favorite Hobbies – Antiquing with Crystal, Hunting/Fishing and cruising on the motorcycle.


Associate Minister of K-9 Therapy
  • Certified AKC Therapy Dog  -  Husky\White Shepherd Mix that regularly works with kids in the school system and visits with adults in hospitals, nursing homes, and Hospice
  • Favorite Food - Chick-Fil-A Grilled Nuggets
  • Favorite Bible Verse - Ecclesiastes 9:4 "But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion."
  • Favorite Activities - Walking\Running through the woods, chasing chickens, rabbits and squirrels