ABSC staff welcomes new additions

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas Baptist State Convention is welcoming several new hires.  

Communications Team  

Alex Blankenship, who has worked part-time with the Communications Team since 2019 after graduating from Ouachita Baptist University, is moving to full-time, taking on the position of creative video content producer.  

“I am excited to even more so devote my time and energy to sharing stories of what the Lord is doing in our state and around the world,” Blankenship said.  

Blankenship is a photographer, videographer and storyteller, using his skills to share the works of God.  

“Alex has been a major asset in aiding to communicate God’s work in and through Arkansas Baptists through video in a part-time role,” Director of Convention Advancement and News Craig Jenkins said. “The opportunity to transition Alex to full-time will enable us to better serve and share with churches across the state.”  

Evangelism + Church Health (ECH) Team 

Bill Newton

Taking on the role of next gen and discipleship strategist with the Evangelism + Church Health Team is Bill Newton.  

“I am excited to work with youth pastors and Super Summer. I love to do discipleship and help people put together plans and strategies for their ministries. I love to preach and teach. That is probably my strongest gifting, so I am excited about being able to use that, not just at youth events, but in doing interims throughout the state both for youth ministry and for churches who need an interim pastor,” he said. “I am excited about all those things.”   

Newton has spent the last 14 years on staff at First Baptist Church in Hot Springs, most recently serving as generations/youth pastor. He is a graduate of the College of the Ozarks – Hollister (Branson), Missouri, Ouachita Baptist University and B.H. Carroll Theological Institute. He is currently completing his doctorate through Baylor/Truett Seminary in Waco, Texas.  

“Bill is a fantastic minister. He served First Hot Springs in growing capacities across almost 15 years. Our church is better because Bill served on the staff. Arkansas Baptists are blessed to have him as a resource for next gen and discipleship ministries. Bill gets it. He practices it. And God has gifted him for it. We are very sad to see him leave First Hot Springs, but we’re thankful for the way God is enlarging his ministry to bless so many more,” said John McCallum, who recently retired as pastor of First Baptist Church in Hot Springs.  

ECH Team Leader Warren Gasaway said Newton “brings a strategic mind, a heart for discipleship, and vast ministry experience to our team.”  

“Bill will be a tremendous asset to churches who develop leaders and go after the next generation. I’m grateful God sent him our way,” Gasaway said.  

Newton begins his new role in March.  


Matthew Stubbs is the new campus minister at Little Rock Metro Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) and ECH communication strategist. He comes from Woodland Heights Baptist Church in Conway where he served as worship intern since August 2021. Additionally, he has experience serving at Cold Springs Retreat and Camp Siloam. He is a graduate of Central Baptist College.  

“I’m really looking forward to seeing college students grow in their relationship with Jesus as well as seeing all the different ways they’re going to get involved with their local church and just getting to see a culture of people who really love Jesus and want to tell everyone else about it,” Stubbs said.  

Stubbs said it has been a dream job of his to be a campus minister for BCM, and he is very thankful for the opportunity.  

“I am pretty young, only 23. To see the state convention was able to trust me in this helps affirm my call a little bit more. … It’s very affirming and encouraging to know there is a group of very wise and encouraging pastors that see the potential in me,” Stubbs said. 

Gasaway said Stubbs “loves college ministry, reaching the mission field of the college campus, and connecting collegians to the local church.”  

“I fully believe that the Metro BCM will grow under his leadership and that students will be mobilized to do ministry,” he said.  


Mark Tolbert has joined the team part-time as the evangelism and revitalization strategist.  

“Mark Tolbert brings a wealth of experience in serving smaller membership churches, encouraging church revitalization, and equipping for evangelism. His heart for these areas will be a great help to Arkansas Baptists,” Gasaway said.  

Tolbert has spent the last 15 years on faculty as a professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. For seven years he directed the Doctor of Ministry program and the last eight years he directed the Caskey Center for Church Excellence. He continues to teach for the seminary in retirement. He and his wife, Joy, returned to Arkansas in August of last year. He also does interim pastorates. Currently, he is serving as interim at First Baptist Church in Crossett.  

“My passion throughout my ministry has been evangelism. Even though I am retired, I still have a desire and heart to encourage churches in the area of evangelism. … I teach in the area of evangelism and church revitalization. I teach those courses at the seminary. That’s what I am going to be here to do,” Tolbert said. “That’s my heart. That’s my passion.”  

Missions Team 

Steve Lasiter is joining the Missions Team as the national/international partnership and cross-cultural missions strategist. He will start his new role in March. 


Lasiter, who is currently completing his degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, comes from Woodland Heights Baptist Church in Conway after serving 12 years as children’s and outreach pastor. Prior to that, he and his wife, Joanna, served with the International Mission Board (IMB) from 2009 to 2011 in India and Thailand.  

Lasiter said mobilization has always been a passion of his. This new position will give him the opportunity to take that passion to a broader level. He said one of the first things he will get to do in his new role is lead a group of pastors on a vision tour in the Dominican Republic.  

“Steve is one of the hardest working staff members I have ever worked with. His heart is always ‘on mission.’ We will miss him dearly at Woodland Heights, but he was made for this assignment,” Woodland Heights Pastor Larry White said.  

He looks forward to mobilizing, getting people excited to go on missions and connecting Arkansas Baptists with opportunities to go on missions. 

“Steve’s passion for Jesus fuels his desire to assist the local church in missions mobilization. His ministry and missions leadership at Woodland Heights, coupled with his previous experience with the IMB, makes him uniquely qualified to serve ABSC churches in developing national and international partnerships,” ABSC Missions Team Leader Dr. Sam Roberts said. “Steve will be an incredible addition to the Missions Team and a valuable asset to ABSC churches. We are excited to welcome him to our team and look forward to introducing him to our state.” 

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