Pastors & Staff

Van Nelson

Senior Pastor

Rev. Van Nelson serves First Baptist Welcome as the Senior Pastor. His passion is knowing Jesus and making Him known. He has many years of training and service leading churches through times between permanent Pastors. The focus of his ministry is to refocus the church from what appears to be difficult waters, to reminding them of the One who spoke, “Peace, be still”, and the storm was calmed. Then, the direction becomes turning our eyes to Jesus and seeing the ministry and the world through His eyes.

Van and his wife, Ressie, live in Winston-Salem, NC. They have four children.

Karen Coney

Director of Preschool and Children’s Ministries

Karen Coney serves First Baptist Welcome as the Director of Preschool and Children’s Ministries. She is particularly passionate about helping even the youngest of children to know that there is a God who loves them beyond measure, who created them with a specific purpose and who wants nothing more than to have a personal relationship with them. She and her husband, Danny, can be found in the nursery or classrooms teaching children each Sunday morning and Wednesday night, or at sporting events cheering on the kids who attend FBC. Karen wants to make sure that every child knows they matter to her more than just on Sunday mornings.  When she isn’t serving, Karen loves to spend time with her family, read, and try her best to replicate the dishes she sees on baking shows.
Native Town: Welcome, NC
Year Service Began: 2022
College: Davidson County Community College (A.A.S. Early Childhood Education and Certificate in Early Childhood Administration)
Spouse: Danny Coney
Children: Anabel (14), Lorelei (6), Rosalie (5), and Madeline (3)



Linda enjoys reading, flower arranging, and photography – making pictures of nature scenes and her family – just ask any of the family who see Linda with her camera! She considers it a privilege to serve the Lord through the ministry of First Baptist.
Native Town: Welcome, NC
Year Service Began: 1982
College: Winston-Salem Business
Spouse: Charlie Nifong
Children: Jana Eanes

Lee Christensen


Lee has been bookkeeping for churches for over 20 years.  Her heart is happiest when she's serving the Lord, especially with her church, Two Cities. She is passionate about inner city ministry, helping organize community events for special needs adults, and is a supporter of families involved in foster care & adoption.

Lee and her husband, Rod, live in Clemmons, NC. They have two children, Ben and Chloe, and a sweet labradoodle, Buster.



Carolyn has been in church preschool ministry for over 35 years and still loves what she does! She is mom to twin sons who are grown and long moved out- replaced by a dog named Macie! A community Bible Study "Faithful Friends" meets at her home on Thursdays and this group has been meeting together for nearly 20 years. Carolyn enjoys walking with friends, baking and spending time with her boys.
Experience: 33 years of Experience Directing Programs
Native Town: Abington, VA
Year Service Began: 2007
College: Forsyth Tech (degree) Salem College, WSSU, and DCCC (additional training and licensing)
Children: Richard - Teacher: Clemmons Middle and Michael - Editor: Winston Salem Monthly, both are accomplished musicians.
Grandson: Luke & Nora, Lucy & Adam