About First Baptist Church of Shelby

“Come to me all you who are weak and burdened, struggling with life’s demands, and I will give you rest.” Jesus transforms us from ‘strugglers’ on life’s journey to ‘difference makers’ for God’s glory as we follow Him into Community, Compassion, and Service!
church members at event


Jesus calls us to live life together – that’s what community means, ‘with unity.’ Sunday School Classes connect us so that we are not trying to live life on our own! Worship is our signature way of uniting our hearts and lives in obedience to God as we commit ourselves to his Kingdom work.

blessing box at First Baptist Church Shelby


Jesus calls us to love our neighbors. Paul underlined this teaching for the early church saying, ‘The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.’ Our hearts break when our neighbors hurt, and grieve or struggle with sin. We look to share God’s love with them by missional living ‘here’ and ‘there.’

man working on house


Even as Jesus came not to be served but to serve, so each First Baptist Church member finds a place to give themselves in service to the Lord and our neighbors. Visit our Ministries page to learn more.


potato project, adults working in field

Local Missions

Local Missions include cooperation with the Greater Cleveland County Baptist Association (GCCBA) in the Feed the Hungry Body and Soul Soup Kitchen Fridays, Baptist Counseling Center Tuesdays/Thursdays, etc.  

We also partner with the Men’s and Women’s shelters of the Cleveland County Rescue Mission and the Abuse Prevention Council among others!


woman doing ministry work, carrying large bag

International Missions

International and North American Missions include cooperative giving with the North Carolina State Baptist Convention, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina, and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

International mission trips since 2001 include Mexico, Germany, Trinidad, Canada, Nicaragua, Cuba, Belize, Malawi, Macedonia, and Brazil.

FBC Staff

Rev. Asher Panton is married to Raychel Panton and they have a 5-year-old son named Jack. Raychel is currently studying to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. With over 17 years of pastoral experience, Asher has worked with youth, children, college and senior adult ministries around the country. He is passionate about helping churches love God, one another, and their surrounding communities well.
His favorite verse is: Isaiah 40:29-31
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Master of Divinity (M.Div.) – Fuller Theological Seminary
B.S. Pastoral Ministry – Southeastern University
Carolina Panthers football,
Atlanta Braves baseball,
& Coffee

man headshot

Joel Mikell 

Supply Worship Arts Director

Joel Mikell serves as an Executive Vice President and Partner with Horizons Stewardship helping churches
“connect resources to vision.” Joel received a bachelor’s degree in music from Troy University in Troy, AL and a master’s degree in church music from Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth, TX and served for 25 years as a Minister of Worship and Music. Joel is a trained Strat Ops Facilitator and a Certified Christian Financial Counselor. He is also an ICF (International Coaching Federation) trained coach.

Joel has authored one book and has co-authored two other books on stewardship and generosity.

A resident of Shelby, NC, Joel is the husband of Donna and father to Cindi, Jeremy, and Jenni. In his spare time, he enjoys writing music, running, hunting, bass and fly-fishing. He especially enjoys spending time with six grandchildren:

Alexis, Addison, Carter, Savannah, Colton, and Lilli.


Staff Contacts


Freida Wiggins – Office Assistant

Donna Dryden – Financial Coordinator

Penny Corn – Weekday Ministries Director

Clara Spangler – Mother’s Morning Out Coordinator