Pastoral Staff

RFBC Pastoral Staff


Senior Pastor - Michael L. Grooms

Mike Grooms has been the senior pastor of Rainbow Forest Baptist Church since June 1996. Pastor Mike graduated from Liberty University in 1975 with a bachelor's degree in theology. He pastored Shenandoah Baptist Church in Winchester, Virginia, from 1975 to 1988. He then pastored in Holland, Michigan, at Calvary Baptist Church from 1988 until 1996, when he was called to be  the senior pastor at Rainbow Forest.

Over the past 24 years, Pastor Mike has traveled extensively on overseas mission trips sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with a lost world. As a pastor, Mike’s heart is in shepherding people and teaching them the Word of God. His favorite verse is Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Pastor Mike and his wife, Edith, have been married since 1972. They have five children and a growing number of grandchildren. You can email Pastor Mike at:

Senior Associate Pastor - Mark Ellis

Our senior associate pastor, Mark Ellis, accepted Christ in May 1979. Just a few years later, he felt called into the ministry. Mark received a bachelor's degree in religion from Liberty University.

Mark and his wife, Deidra, joined Rainbow Forest Baptist Church in August 1986. He served as a deacon and Sunday School teacher for several years. Mark came on staff in November 1992 as the inreach pastor. Since then he has served as the discipleship pastor and the singles pastor. In October 1997 he became the senior associate pastor.

Mark and Deidra have been married since 1985. They have four children and a growing number of grandchildren. You can email Pastor Mark at:

Family Ministries Pastor - Jim Kistner

Jim was born and raised in Chicago, graduating from DePauw University and Loyola Medical School. In 1973 he and his wife, Carson, moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, where they spent the next 12 years. Jim joined the University of Virginia hospital faculty after completing an anesthesiology residency and fellowship.

Although both he and Carson were from churched homes, neither had a personal relationship with Jesus. Circumstances in Jim’s life caused him to look for answers to life’s big questions and seek the truth. Jim received Jesus as Savior and Lord in the spring of 1980, about one year after Carson was born again.

Jim and Carson moved to Roanoke in 1985 and joined Rainbow Forest Baptist Church in 1987, serving in various areas of ministry. Over the past 20 years, Jim began to realize that, although a traditional medical career provided ministry opportunities and financial stability, medicine would not be his lifelong occupation. He is enthusiastic about the new ministry opportunities God has provided for him on staff at RFBC.

Jim has been on medical missions trips ranging from two weeks to six months in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Ivory Coast, Honduras,  Pakistan, Kenya, and India. Jim and Carson’s long-standing ministry passion has been to see God’s Word applied within marriages and families. They have four children and a growing number of grandchildren. You can email Pastor Jim at:

Mission Ministries Pastor  - Lane Hasson

Lane came to the Roanoke area in 1983 after graduating high school in West Virginia. He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Cheryl, since May of 1985. His relationship with Christ started at the age of 16 shortly after he and Cheryl first began dating.  They have three adult children and two grandchildren: Chad and his wife Allison, and grandsons Chandler and Cameron; Amber, who is currently serving in full time missions in Haiti, overseeing a children’s home that has 30+ children; and Allison and granddaughter Saige.

Lane and his wife Cheryl have been members of Rainbow Forest since 1988 and he has served on the pastoral staff since October 2002.  He served as the children's pastor of Rainbow Forest from October 2002 until August 2017 and now serves as the Missions Pastor of Rainbow Forest as well as the Administrator for Global Partners in Peace and Development (GPPD).  Before coming on staff, he had been employed with two local electronics manufacturers as materials manager and had served at Rainbow Forest as an Awana commander, deacon, leader of an adult Sunday School class along with various other ministry positions. After coming on staff he earned a Graduate of Theology in Biblical Studies diploma from Liberty University.

Lane thoroughly enjoys serving the Lord at Rainbow Forest and being a part of the awesome work that God is doing around the world to: Connect the Disconnected to Christ, Community and the Call. 

You can email Pastor Lane at:

Music Ministries Pastor Jonathan Freed

Jonathan was born in Harrisonburg VA and is the youngest of his family.  He gave his life to Christ at the age of 12 at a Franklin Graham Revival and felt the call of the Lord into ministry after he graduated from high school. 

Before being called into the worship ministry, Jonathan spent 2010-2011 with YWAM (Youth With A Mission).  Here he graduated from a Discipleship Training School in Ozark AK and spent 10 months on outreach in the city of London England.

After returning to the states Jonathan began leading worship in his hometown church, Cornerstone Church of Broadway in Broadway VA.  Here he served on the worship team for two years and started his college career at Liberty University where he served as a music intern for three months at RFBC. He continued to serve on the worship team at RFBC whenever needed.  Jonathan graduated from Liberty with a Bachelors of Music in Worship December 2016. 

Jonathan started dating his wife Pilar when he moved to Lynchburg to attend Liberty in 2013. Pilar now teaches at Stanton River High School and they have been married since 2015.

You can contact Pastor Jonathan at

NextGen Pastor -  Jeff  Kammerer

Jeff Kammerer joined the Rainbow Forest staff in July 2015. Jeff grew up in a Christian home and received Christ as a child and was called to ministry as a teen. After high school he pursued his call to ministry at Liberty University where he received his Bachelors of Science degree in Religion with a Youth Ministry Specialization.


After graduating Liberty Jeff had the opportunity to pastor the youth in his hometown church, Second Cape May Baptist Church in Marmora, NJ. He was the youth pastor there for 8 years prior to joining the Rainbow Forest Staff. Jeff is currently pursuing a Master’s of Divinity degree from Baptist Bible Seminary.


Jeff has been married to his wife Kendra since 2010 and they have two daughters, Kaylee and Brielle. You can email Pastor Jeff at

NextGen Children's Pastor - John Baker

Pastor John is a lifelong resident of Roanoke, VA. He was raised in a Christian home and made the decision to accept Christ and follow Him in 1998. John has had a passion for souls since that point and is certified in EE (Evangelism Explosion). In 2008, John married his wife, Angela, and they have enjoyed membership at Rainbow Forest since 2011 and serving together in children’s ministry since 2013. They have one son, Joshua, who also loves participating in the children’s ministry at RFBC.

John graduated from Northside High School and earned a B.S. in Health and Human Performance from Roanoke College in 2002. John started teaching Health/Physical Education in Roanoke City Public Schools in the fall of 2002. He later earned his M.Ed. from the University of Virginia in 2006 in Administration. In 2006, John joined the Botetourt County Public Schools system as a teacher and coach. He enjoyed working with our local public school students and serving the community in this way for over 10 years, but felt the Lord calling him into full-time Christian ministry. In the spring of 2018, he answered the call to become the Children’s Pastor at RFBC. Pastor John and Angela are thrilled to be serving the Lord in this capacity and anticipate God doing great things in the future. They are very excited to see “the generation to come…set their hope in God” (Psalm 78:6-7).

You can e-mail Pastor John at