Alathea Baptist Church

We seek to be a family of families, and we're led by a team that permeates this philosophy and our focus on Christ. We invite you to learn more about the team that leads our church.

Church Elders

Doug DeFord, Senior Pastor

Doug DeFord has been the senior pastor of Alathea Baptist Church since 2004 and has 20 years of pastoral experience. He grew up in a pastor’s home in northeast Nebraska. There he developed a passion for ministry, a love for people, and an insatiable desire to impact them for Christ. Doug attended Northland Baptist Bible College and graduated from Faith Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to Coral since 1987. They have eight children and eleven (and counting!) grandchildren. Pastor Doug is the primary preacher at Alathea and his heartfelt expository sermons are sure to both challenge and encourage you in your walk with God. He is also the “lead disciple maker,” as he and his family actively work to reach their friends and neighbors for Christ. He has a passion for equipping saints to fulfill the Great Commission. Doug’s hobbies include spending time with his family, being involved in the community, running, and cheering for his Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Josh Stilwell, Associate Pastor

Josh Stilwell grew up in a Christian home and first attended Alathea as a teenager. One of the first participants in Alathea’s leadership development initiative, he received a church-based theological education that included a degree program from the Antioch School of Church Planting and Leadership Development. In 2017, the church appointed Josh as an associate pastor. He serves in teaching and discipleship. Josh married Alissa in 2013. After struggling with infertility for several years, God blessed them with a daughter in 2018 and a son in 2022. Josh enjoys coffee, Hawkeye football, and reading.

Nate Snead, Lay Pastor

Even though Nate Snead grew up in a Christian home, it wasn’t until around the time that he began attending Alathea Baptist Church that he first personalized his need to trust in Christ’s substitutionary work to save him from his sins. As an elder, Nate serves in leadership and disciple making. He’s been married to Kelsey since 2010. They’ve been blessed with four children. Their third child, Jackson, was born with a rare birth defect that led to multiple surgeries and his being in the NICU for three months. It was a very difficult time for the Snead family and the Alathea church family. But God’s grace was very evident in the life of Nate and his family. Nate enjoys spending time with his family, hunting, and farming.

Deacons at Alathea Baptist

Les Secor, Senior Deacon

Les Secor first made a decision for Christ while attending a vacation Bible school as a child. However, he spent several years afterward living for the world. God used a trial with cancer and the ministry of Alathea Baptist Church to lead Les to a point of full commitment to Christ. His wife Sherry was saved after responding to a call for salvation given at this church. Les and Sherry have been faithful members since 1995. Les is known for his love of old Chevy trucks and is often seen driving to church in his latest project.

Jeff Stilwell, Deacon

Jeff Stilwell grew up in Peru, South America, as a missionary’s kid. Despite growing up in a ministering home, he didn’t make a personal decision to trust Christ as Savior until he was fourteen. In 1987, he married Kim, his highschool sweetheart who he’d met in a school for missionaries' kids in Lima. He has been a member of Alathea since 2009. In 2021, Kim went to be with the Lord. Jeff used his wife’s death as a platform to share the gospel. He married Ruth in 2023. Jeff loves the outdoors and studying the Bible.

Ryan Benn, Deacon

Ryan Benn accepted Jesus Christ as Savior when he was eight years old and attended Alathea for the first time with his family when he was fourteen years old. He remained in the church until his family moved to Arizona. When he came back to Des Moines for school, Ryan became a part of the Alathea family again. The church appointed him as a deacon in 2016. He married Abby in 2015 and they have been blessed with four children. Ryan is currently an attorney living in Indianola. He enjoys sports and is a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Austin DeFord, Deacon Chairman

Austin DeFord grew up in a pastor’s home and accepted Christ at an early age. An entrepreneur, he manages the small business he started when he was fifteen. Austin married Karen in 2016 and God has blessed them with two children. Alathea Baptist Church appointed Austin as a deacon in 2022 and he was elected chairman by his fellow deacons. In addition to serving as a deacon, he leads corporate worship on Sunday morning. Austin enjoys working on his property and following Nebraska Cornhusker football.

Meet the Team

at Alathea Baptist

View Our Location and Service Times