Gary Southard
Gary is a native East Texan. He has been married for 43 years to his wife Rhonda. They have two grown married sons Jeremy and Matthew. Rhonda recently retired from her position as a master teacher for White Oak Middle School in New Caney ISD after teaching for 20 years.

Gary has been a Pastor since 1988 having served five churches in Texas and Oklahoma. Gary is a graduate of Palestine High School, Palestine, Texas, and the Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary, Jacksonville, Texas where he graduated with honors in 1995. 
He is also a certified Facilitator for DISC with PRISM Perspectives dealing with leadership skills development, and a Level 2 Leadership Training and Senior Member leadership Training in the Civil Air Patrol with the rank of major.
Currently, Gary is pastor of First Baptist Church of Palmer, Texas. He has been a church planter for the Baptist Missionary Association of Texas from 2008 until 2017. In February 2008, Gary and his wife assisted with the mission: LIFEQuest Community Church in Porter, Texas. It organized into a church on October 29, 2012. Gary started another church plant in November 2012 called: The Church at Valley Ranch. The Church at Valley Ranch organized in October 2017. Gary was called to be the pastor of the Church at Valley Ranch where he ministered until March of 2022.

Gary is the Owner/Facilitator of a small business called RISING STAR P.E.O.P.L.E. Concepts which is a human resources company that he started in 2009 designed especially for churches and small businesses. He has over 40 years of experience in building teams/staffs in various venues. RISING STAR services clients coast to coast, assisting with development in sales/service, leadership training, staff development, team building and hiring tools with individual companies, various Chambers of Commerce, Fire Departments, Independent
School Districts, BMA of Texas Missions Department and local churches. Gary also coaches individuals and church planters for the BMA of Texas Missions.

Gary is an active member of the local community serving in several capacities. He has been a member of the Rotary Club of East Montgomery County where he served as Club President 2012-2013 & 2013-2014 and Sergeant at Arms for three years.

He also has served as Chaplain of the Porter Fire Department; Chaplain for the Montgomery County Constable Pct. 4 office; Chaplain of the Civil Air Patrol for Houston Metropolis and Chaplain of Memorial Hermman Northeast Hospital. He has previously served on the Boards of the Department of State Missions, Department of Church Ministries for the Baptist Missionary Association of Texas, New Horizons Inc., and Executive Board of Directors of the Community Chamber of Commerce of East Montgomery County and the board of The Rotary Club of East Montgomery County.

He is the recipient of several awards. Most recently, Volunteer of the Year in 2010 for the Chamber, Volunteer of the Year 2012/2013 for New Caney ISD, Certificate of Proficiency, “Grover Loening” Award with the Civil Air Patrol, 2010 – 2012 Support Awards for Porter Fire Department and holds three Paul Harris Fellows for Rotary Club of EMC.