Leadership Team

  • Lead pastor

    dr. walter black

    Dr. Walter Black has served as our Lead Pastor at Abundant Hope since November 2018. Abundant Hope has a vision to reach the nations with a bold commitment to the Great Commission.

    Previously, Walter served on church staffs in Virginia, and North Carolina.

    He also serves as an ambassador for the SBC of Virginia.

    Walter received his bachelor’s degree from University of North Carolina at Charlotte, his Master of Divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (1997), and his Doctor of Ministry (2003) degree also from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. 

    Walter lives with his wife, Joyce, on their farm in Eure, North Carolina. They have three adult children, Charis, Rachel and Joseph. During his spare time Walter enjoys hunting, fishing and working on his farm.

    Life Verse: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

  • youth pastor

    john wartian

    God has burdened my heart with the youth of His church. This group, is the near future leaders of new families, but more importantly Christ’s church. My 1st goal, is to teach them how to have intentional fellowship with the Holy Spirit daily (Phil 2:1-2). 2nd, we are leading separating our faith from their parents (if saved), making this faith, their own, and building their foundation on Christ the corner stone (1 Peter 2:1-6). They are discovering who the God of Scripture is, in whom we are to worship and how the Gospel plays out in our daily lives.

    Life verse: Gal 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, But Christ who lives in me; and the life which now I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. “

  • Worship leaderdeacon

    brian saunders

    Brian was raised in Edenton Baptist Church and decided to make Abundant Hope Baptist Church his home when he and his young family moved to Gates County in 2012. It didn’t take long for the Saunders family to quickly become a part of the AHBC family. After serving in several capacities, becoming a musician with the worship team, and taking over as the men’s ministry leader, he was asked to serve as a deacon in February of 2015. 

    He has been serving the church family in this position ever since and took on the roll of Worship Team Leader in 2016.

  • elder

    mike wise

    Mike and his wife Diane have attended Abundant Hope Baptist Church since 2004. He has served as a Deacon, an Elder, and a drummer on the worship team. 

    Mike is a career Firefighter and his favorite scripture verse is Isaiah 43:2

    When you pass through the waters I will be with you. And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you pass through the fire you will not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. Isaiah 43:2

  • elder

    Don wisler

    Don grew up in a church of Brethren in Pennsylvania (PA) and accepted Christ as his Savior as a teenager. 

    After meeting his future wife, Colleen, they were married and began attending a Bible Fellowship Church. The youth pastor took Don under his wing and provided discipleship and mentorship. 

    His impact through discipleship was big and with the help of the Lord, Don matured in his relationship with God, growing up in Him, serving Him in various teaching capacities. Ten years later, Don and Colleen were blessed with an opportunity to serve together at Heritage Bible Church for 25 years. 

    God continued to provide him multiple opportunities to grow in his faith and maturity in his knowledge and understanding of who God is through various leadership positions within this Church. In 2013, Don and Colleen moved to North Carolina (NC) to be closer to their family and joined Abundant Hope Baptist Church in 2014. 

    It is Don's prayer that Jesus will continue to help him be a servant for our Lord and a shepherd of His flock. "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others." 2 Timothy 2:2

  • elder

    justin taylor

    Justin Taylor is a man who seeks to glorify Christ in his life, church and home. Justin came to know the Lord in 2004 on a Youth Conference that began his journey in growing in Christ. Married in 2014 to his wife Sarah, Justin came to join Sarah in her home church and had been deemed fit to be an elder in 2020. 

    As an elder he focuses on the Young Adult Ministry of Abundant Hope Baptist Church.

  • Deacon

    Cory stowe

    Cory is a career Sailor in the United States Navy. He has traveled and worshiped with believers all over the globe.  His passion is to show the love of Christ to others and his mission statement is "Start the conversation; continue the conversation."  Nicknamed the Ship's Pastor, he has been blessed to be able to serve as worship and ministry leader to small groups of Sailors when deployed far from home.  

    He has been a member of Abundant Hope since 2015 and serves as facilities and maintenance manager.  His wife, Niki, serves as Hospitality ministry leader since July of 2018.  Cory has been serving as Deacon since October of 2019.  

    The Stowe family currently resides in the Lake Prince area of Suffolk.  During Cory's spare time, he enjoys camping and playing guitar.

    Live verse: "For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved." Rom 10:10

  • Deacon

    Keith Hayden

    Keith accepted Jesus as his Savior when he was eight-years-old while attending a United Methodist Church. When he was 17 years old, he switched to a Southern Baptist Church and was baptized, reaffirming his commitment to the Lord. He married his high-school sweetheart (Cynthia Hayden), joined the Navy and became the Protestant Lay Leader onboard every ship he served on over the next twenty years. From 2004 until present he has served as a Sunday School Teacher. In 2006 he was ordained as a Deacon. Most recently, he and his wife, Cindy, joined Abundant Hope Baptist Church in 2018 and he currently serves as a Sunday School Teacher and Deacon. Teaching people about God and serving others have always been a passion in his life. Ensuring the next generation knows about Jesus is very important to him. His favorite scripture comes from Matthew 6:25-34 which reminds him not to worry and to trust God for all his needs!