Make Jesus Known. Nurture Believers. Reach The Community For Jesus.

The First Church of God, St. James is a part of a group of independent congregations that associate together in a movement known as the Church of God with general offices in Anderson, Indiana. Our congregation has been in existence since 1887. We have worshipped in our present location since 1979.

The Church of God is a group of believers who teach that a “born-again” salvation experience makes each one a member of the Church, therefore nullifying the need for formal membership in the local church. We believe the Holy Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God, and that it is the completed revelation of God to all mankind. We teach that holiness is a realistic and attainable lifestyle, achievable through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, which is commanded by God for all who claim the name of Christ. It is our understanding that God desires that all Christians serve together in unity with the common purpose of building up His Kingdom of earth. 

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Don Carson Jr.
Senior Pastor

Pastor Don Carson and his wife Lynette began their ministry at FCOG St. James in September of 1996. Pastor Don served as the Associate Pastor/Pastor of Student Ministries until December 31, 2008. On January 1, 2009 he transitioned to the Senior Pastor position. Pastor Don, a 1988 graduate of Anderson University, Anderson Indiana, and his wife Lynette are both from Doniphan Mo. He served as Associate Pastor/Pastor of Student Ministries at the First Church of God in Portageville, Mo before moving to St. James.
Pastor Don and Lynette have three children, Emmily Stegall and husband Heath, Dr. Aaron Carson and wife Kristin, and Lyndon Carson. They have one granddaughter, Harlow Stegall. Pastor Don enjoys hunting, fishing, watching baseball and camping with Lynette.
Pastor Don truly loves pastoring in this community and considers himself to be blessed to serve such a great group of people.

Zach Malesker
Associate Pastor/Pastor of Student Ministries

Zachariah (Zach) Malesker graduated from Mid-America Christian University with a degree in Specialized Ministry and an emphasis on Student Ministry. He began ministering at First Church of God, St. James, MO in January 2018. Here, he serves as the Youth/Associate Pastor. Zach and his wife, Christy, have two children, a girl, Paxton and a boy, Waylon. Zach and Christy both grew up in Casper, Wyoming. 

 Zach enjoys hunting, fishing and the outdoors.

Shannon Kleffner
Administrative Assistant

Shannon graduated from John F. Hodge in 2003. Upon graduation, she attended Drury University in Springfield, MO on a golf scholarship. She graduated in 2008 with a BS in Sports Management along with minors in Business Administration, Fine Arts and Global Studies.

She returned to St. James in 2009 as a cosmetologist at All About Hair and Nails Salon.

Shannon and her family first visited First Church of God in St. James during the Easter service in 2016. Pastor Don baptized both Shannon and her husband, Brian, on January 22, 2017. Their two girls, Hallie and Willa, were part of the baby dedication held September 17, 2017.

Today, Shannon owns All About Hair and Nails Salon and serves as the Administrative Assistant at First Church of God in St. James. She enjoys spending time with her family, warm weather and art.

Christy Malesker
Children of God Director

Christy graduated with a bachelors in Specialized Ministry from Mid-America Christian University. She has a passion for working with kids and sharing the gospel with them and their families. Christy has been serving as the Director of Children of God Before and After School Program here at FCOG since it opened 2019. Christy, also, serves as the Children’s Ministry Director. 

She is married, Zach, and has two children, Paxton and Waylon. She loves to run, hike, go camping, and play with the family’s three dogs.