Dr. Keenan Braden

Senior Pastor


Born and raised in Northern Kentucky, I decided to follow Jesus at the age of 8. At the age of 21, God called me into His full-time Gospel ministry. Shortly thereafter, I began attending Clear Creek Baptist Bible College in Pineville, KY, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Ministry. Upon graduation, I began my first full-time student ministry position at Harlan Baptist Church in Harlan, KY. While
in Harlan, I met and married Peggy McNiel and both of our children were born (Rylie Jo and Andrew). Since then I have attended both the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Masters of Arts in Christian Education) and the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (Masters of Theology and PhD in Discipleship and Ministry Leadership).



How long have you been in full time ministry? How long have you been at FBC?

I surrendered to full time ministry in November of 1994. I have been at First Baptist since February 2, 2020.


Favorite Bible Verse?
Colossians 1:9-10
9  And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,  10  so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;


Interesting, not so well known, fact about yourself.

While at Southern Seminary, we attended Valley View Church in Louisville. When we began attending there, Dr. Kevin Hamm was the pastor. He left in short order to serve as pastor at Gardendale First Baptist Church. When Pastor Kevin left, Dr. Joel Carwile came to Valley View as pastor. Two years after Joel came to Valley View, we moved to Gardendale to be on staff and to work with Pastor Kevin. Ten and half years later, we left Gardendale First Baptist to come work with Pastor Joel at FBC Athens. Everything seems connected.


Favorite food or restaurant?

I love steak. So my favorite restaurant in any given city where we’ve lived tends to be a steakhouse. I also consider myself a buffalo wings connoisseur and a lover of Asian cuisine.


Favorite Sports team
I am a Kentucky Wildcats fan. I don’t just jump on the basketball bandwagon. I bleed UK blue (basketball, football, baseball, Ping-Pong…it doesn’t matter). Andrew and I are New York Yankees (American League) and Atlanta Braves (National League) fans.


I enjoy sports in general, but specifically playing softball and golf. My favorite thing to do is travel with Peggy.


Favorite Vacation Spot-been to or want to go to 

Our family loves going to the beach. Here in Alabama we have grown fond of Orange Beach, but our vacation spot of choice is Myrtle Beach, SC. Peg and I honeymooned in Hawaii, and we would love to go back.

Favorite Old Testament story or character
I love the Old Testament, so picking one is difficult. I love the stories of Joseph, Gideon, and Elijah on Mt. Carmel, just to name a few.

Family Life
I really out-kicked my coverage when I married Peg. We have two incredible children: our daughter, Rylie Jo, and our son, Andrew.