James Oney

Senior Pastor

Pastor James is a Panama City, Fl. native who has developed a heart for discipleship and connecting the community to the local church. His personal mission is to intentionally impact people’s lives with the Gospel and leading them to become passionate, fully engaged, transformational followers of Jesus. James is married to his gorgeous wife, Chantel. Together, they are stewarding four sons: Caleb, Israel, Joel, and Timothy. In recognizing God’s sovereign will, they also have one child, Jamie, that is in the presence of the risen King.


Prior to Liberty, James served six years as the Education and Discipleship Pastor at Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Dothan, AL., and served as an Adjunct Instructor at Kingdom College in Headland, AL. He also served as a Youth Pastor for seven years at Family of God Baptist Church in Panama City, FL. James received both his Bachelor and Masters’ degrees from The Baptist College of Florida. He is currently pursuing a second masters, a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Biblical Languages from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. 


James loves his family and seeks to honor God while leading them.”

Max Mathis

Minister of Students
Max has a tremendous love for students and a deep desire to see them grow in the Lord. He has been on staff at Liberty since 2015 and is very engaged with the students at Liberty. Max graduated from Luther Rice Seminary in 2016 with a Masters in Christian Studies. He and his wife Sarah have five children and four grandchildren.

Steve Cox

Minister of Connections Technology
 Steve and his wife, Celia, have been in ministry all of their adult lives, serving primarily as worship leaders and in pastoral positions.  Throughout the years Steve also developed a passion for all things media, working in radio, developing skills in sound and audio production, graphics, photography and video.  With three adult children, four grandchildren and a couple of great grandkids Steve’s life is all about ministry and family!

Naomi Jacob

Director of Children's Ministry

Naomi has been involved in Children’s ministry since coming to Liberty in 2018. She is married to Tyler Jacob, whom she met at Liberty soon after first attending. He is a great support and help to her and the Children’s ministry.  Naomi is also a career nanny and Postpartum Doula (postpartum mother/family support).  Naomi’s goal is to be a tool for expanding the Kingdom. She feels lead to do this by creating an environment where children can get to know God intimately, have fun, and kindle life-long friendships.

Sandra Smith

Director of Small Groups Ministries
Sandra has committed her adult life to serving God by studying and meditating on His Word as well as teaching and leading in various Sunday School ministries.   Joining Liberty in 2017 she has sought her place in ministry and service and is humbled to join the members currently teaching/serving at Liberty to follow Christ as we take the Small Groups Ministries to the next level.

Jackie Merkison

Business Manager

Jackie and her family have been members of the Liberty family since 1973. She joined the staff as Financial Assistant in 1977 after voluntarily serving in that position for two years.  Jackie also teaches a Ladies small group bible study class where her love for God’s Word is evident.  She received her certification in business administration from Brunswick Junior College. Jackie and her husband, Donald, have two sons, Devin and Landry,  and two grandsons.

Celia Cox

Administrative Assistant and

Celia was blessed to become part of the Liberty staff in 2014 as pianist, then in February 2021 she began as part-time administrative assistant.  She and her husband, Steve, have been in ministry all of their adult lives serving in various roles.  It is a joy for them to be able to serve in ministry together at Liberty.    

Drica Roberts-Denmark

Drica joined the Liberty Worship Ministry staff in 2007 as a keyboardist. She is a graduate of Clayton State and Georgia State Universities. She loves to read, sing and spend time with her husband Wally.

Tammy Shannon

Tammy joined Liberty in 2007 and has a great love for people - especially children. Her servant’s heart leads her to help the homeless, elderly, and less fortunate. People love her witty sense of humor. She humbly desires to be a life servant and disciple for Christ. Tammy has one son, Casey, and he is her very best friend.