Leadership Council

The ERLC Leadership Council is a collection of SBC pastors and leaders who receive intentional investment from the ERLC and serve as ambassadors for the organization. 

During their annual term, these council members enjoy equipping through conference calls and events while providing insights to the ERLC and occasional content for erlc.com.

From coast to coast, from mega church to country church, from men to women, and from various backgrounds, these leaders represent a cross section of evangelicalism in general and the SBC in particular. Many Leadership Council members currently serve in pastoral ministry. Others serve in various lay or parachurch settings.

 

Jonathan Akin

Jonathan Akin is the pastor of Fairview Church in Lebanon, Tenn. He is a founding member of a young leader movement called Baptist21 and an adjunct professor at a few Bible colleges and seminaries. Jonathan holds a Ph.D in Old Testament from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky and is the author of Preaching Christ from Proverbs and Exalting Jesus in Ecclesiastes. He and his wife Ashley have three children.

Whitney Alexander

Whitney Alexander

Whitney Alexander is a pastor's wife, mom to three children, and an account manager for Venture Marketing Group in Gadsden, Alabama. She is a 2008 graduate of The University of Alabama. Whitney has previously served on several committees for both the Southern Baptist Convention and the Alabama Baptist Convention. Whitney and her husband, Mat, currently serve at First Baptist Church Gadsden, where Mat is the senior pastor, and Whitney leads ladies' Bible studies and a missions group for young moms.

Bart Barber

Bart Barber has served FBC Farmersville since 1999. He is married to Tracy (Brady) Barber. Together they have two children. Bart is a native of Lake City, Ark., where his parents had him in church before he was born. God saved him at the tender age of almost-six, called him to preach when he was eleven, allowed him to preach his first sermon (such as it was) when he was fifteen, and permitted him to serve as a pastor of a church when he was a senior in high school.

Bart has a B.A. from Baylor University in their University Scholars program, an M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and a Ph.D. in Church History also from Southwestern. For his dissertation he wrote about a denominational split among Arkansas Baptists in 1902, suggesting that they all should've gotten along with one another.

Nathaniel Bishop Jr.

Nathaniel Bishop Jr. serves as Lead Pastor of Forest Baptist Church, a historic African-American church in the Newburg/Petersburg area of Louisville, Ky. He is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University (1997), and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (2014) where he also had the privilege of serving as Director of Software Development. Nate has been serving in gospel ministry for the past 19 years and has a passion for seeing the gospel restore broken lives through reconciliation in Christ. He is married to Dar-Isha (“Redd”) Bishop and they are the privileged parents of four.

Josh Branum

Josh Branum is the Family Pastor at Faithbridge Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He has held a passion for the gospel and missions ever since he felt called to ministry while attending the University of West Florida. After college, God led him and his family to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to pursue a Master of Divinity in Christian Apologetics. He recently graduated with his Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Theology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Lacey, have been married since 2005 and have two daughters.

Buster Brown

Buster Brown

Buster Brown is the Senior Pastor of East Cooper Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina and a member of The Gospel Coalition Council. He earned an M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Buster has served as a Journeyman Missionary with the International Mission Board in Singapore, as a Church Planter in Farmington, New Mexico, and was Minister to college students at Grace Temple Baptist Church in Denton, Texas. He and his wife, Sara, live in South Carolina.

Grant Castleberry

Grant Castleberry serves as the Executive Director for CBMW. He is also a Ph.D. student in Church History at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is Marine Corps veteran. He holds a B.S. from Texas A&M and an M.Div from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, GraceAnna, reside in Frankfort, Ky., where Grant also serves as Pastor of Evangelism at Buck Run Baptist Church.

Chad Chambers

Chad Chambers is the Executive Director of C.H.A.R.M. Prison Ministry in Houston, Texas. Chad has previously served as a Youth Pastor, Golf Professional, and regularly teaches as an Adjunct Professor in Bible at Houston Baptist University. He earned a B.S. in Biology from Texas A&M University, M.A. in Theology Studies from Houston Baptist University, and a Master's in Theology Studies from Duke University. Chad is married to Teresa and along with their three sons they attend Houston's First Baptist Church.

Matt Chandler

Matt Chandler serves as Lead Pastor of Teaching at The Village Church in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. He came to The Village in December 2002 and describes his tenure as a replanting effort where he was involved in changing the theological and philosophical culture of the congregation. The church has witnessed a tremendous response growing from 160 people to over 11,000 with campuses in Flower Mound, Dallas, Plano, and Fort Worth. In 1999, he married his wife, Lauren. They have three children.

H.B. Charles

H.B. Charles is the Pastor-Teacher at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Fla.

Prior to joining the Shiloh Church, he led the Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church of Los Angeles for almost 18 years. Succeeding his late father, he began his pastorate at Mt. Sinai at the age of 17.

Outside of his ministry to and with his congregation, he regularly speaks at churches, conferences, and conventions around the country.

Jed Coppenger

Jed Coppenger serves as the lead pastor of Redemption City Church, a church plant in Franklin, Tenn. He has served in a number of pastoral roles in the past, both in the United States and around the world. He earned his B.S. in Business Administration from North Greenville University, his M.Div. from Southern Seminary, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Southeastern Seminary. He’s married to Melanie and they have three children.

Daryl Crouch

After almost 20 years in ministry, Daryl Crouch came to Green Hill Church in April 2012. He has served churches in Texas and East Tennessee. He completed Bachelor of Science in Business Finance from UT Chattanooga, a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. He is married to Deborah and they have three children.

Andy Davis

Andy Davis

Andy serves as senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Durham, N.C., where he has been since October of 1998. Andy was born in Boston, Mass., where he later earned his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in 1984. He then began his career as a Mechanical Engineer with Eaton-Nova Corporation in Beverly, Mass. He and his wife Christi married on May 14, 1988, and they have two sons and three daughters.

Andy started his seminary training while working as an engineer and earned his Masters of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 1990. In 1992, Andy resigned from his engineering position to pastor the New Meadows Baptist Church in Topsfield, Mass. The Davis family followed the call of the Lord to Tokushima, Japan, where they were involved in church planting through the International Mission Board from 1993-1995. Andy graduated from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., with a Ph.D. in Church History in 1998. He has served Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., as Visiting Professor of Historical Theology from 2005 until the present.

Andy is the author of various articles, book chapters, and books, including An Infinite Journey, 2014, Ambassador International.

The passion of Andy’s life is using the perfect Word of God to minister to people and advance the Kingdom of Jesus Christ in Durham and to the ends of the earth.

Byron Day

Byron Day

Byron Day is the Senior Pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Laurel Maryland where he has served for over 25 years. He currently serves as president of the National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention. Rev. Day believes in being on mission with God taking the gospel to the whole world. God has blessed his ministry, providing opportunities to minister nationally and internationally. He has ministered in Mexico, South America, several African nations and various places around the country. He formerly served as President of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware and as President of the African American Advisory Council to the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware. He is graduate of the University of Maryland and Capital Bible Seminary. He has been married to his lovely wife Pamela for over thirty seven years. They have three children and seven grandchildren.

Derek Devine

Derek Devine is the lead pastor of Apostles Church Brooklyn (brooklyn.apostles.nyc). After serving on staff with Apostles Church in Manhattan for five years, Derek and their team planted Apostles Brooklyn in September 2013. Over the last three years, they've seen God do far more than they ever asked or imagined. The gospel's gone out, saved New Yorkers, transformed lives, and reconciled people. Derek, his incredible wife, Megan, and their two beautiful kids call Brooklyn, N.Y., home.

Mario Díaz

Mario Díaz

Mario Díaz, Esq., serves as Concerned Women for America’s (CWA) Legal Counsel and leads CWA’s Legal Studies Department. Mr. Diaz is a Constitutional Law scholar who focuses on cases and legislation dealing with CWA’s core issues: religious liberty, sanctity of human life, defense of the family, sexual exploitation, education, national sovereignty, and support for Israel. He also directs CWA’s amicus briefs and our work on judicial nominations and judicial activism.

Mr. Diaz is a published writer. His columns are regularly featured in several media outlets, including The Washington Times, Human Events, WorldNetDaily and Townhall. He is also a regular guest commentator on numerous radio and television shows, including CNN, FOX, and Voice of America, both in English and Spanish. Mr. Diaz is a public speaker with experience at numerous conferences, including the well-known Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). He speaks regularly in churches and schools about America’s founding principles.

Mr. Diaz obtained his Juris Doctor from Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C. and is an active member of the Maryland Bar. He did his undergraduate work at Middle Tennessee State University. He resides in Maryland with his wife and three children and serves as Music Minister for his church.

Jeff Dodge

Jeff Dodge

Jeff Dodge was privileged to jump into Cornerstone Church (Ames, Iowa) and The Salt Company (Iowa State University) beginning in 1996. Having come to Christ as a university student, Jeff’s passion is to reach next-generation leaders to establish churches in university communities throughout the Midwest.  Jeff received his MDiv from The Master’s Seminary, a DMin from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is in pursuit of a PhD (MBTS). He and his wife, Teresa, have four grown children and are multiplying grandkids. Jeff has a shameless theological crush on Abraham Kuyper.

John Erickson

John Erickson

John Erickson has served as the lead pastor of Jubilee Community Church in Minneapolis, Minn., since planting it in 2010. He is happily married to Leslie and together they are uniquely blessed with seven children. They live in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis, one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the U.S. John is passionate about cross-cultural discipleship, ministry to the fatherless and encouraging church planting in challenging urban communities. He previously had the privilege to be a part of the pastoral team at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis for 10 years.

Micah Fries

Micah Fries is the Senior Pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tenn. Prior to that, he has served as the Vice President of LifeWay Research, a Senior Pastor in Missouri and an international church planter in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Micah and his wife Tracy have been married for 16 years, have two daughters, and are in the process of adopting a son from the Kingdom of Lesotho in Africa.

Drew Griffin

Drew Griffin serves as Pastor at Cross Church in New York City. Drew’s family began its American journey 100 years ago on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.  As with many immigrants they endured poverty, a depression, two world wars, and several transitions in and out of the city.  In 2013 the Griffins moved back to NYC and began to call the city their home.

Drew’s background is rooted in a love for the city and its people, and a desire to see the gospel of Jesus Christ transform the lives of those in need.  Seeing those who are lonely and in need find their purpose and identity in Christ remains the goal of CCNYC and its pastor.

Through a long process of calling and confirmation God placed the Upper East Side neighborhood of Yorkville on the couple’s heart. Drew, Emily and their daughter reside in Yorkville, in Manhattan.

Mike Harder

Mike Harder serves as Lead Pastor at Green Hills Church in Nashville, Tenn. Mike was born and raised as a missionary kid in Bogota, Colombia. After moving to the states, Mike attended Northwestern College, St. Paul, Minn., and graduated with a B.A. in Church Ministry. He then moved to Memphis and earned a Master of Divinity degree from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Mike and his wife, Tabitha, and their two daughters, Abigail and Violet, live in Franklin. He has written two studies for LifeWay: In Transit: What Do You Do with Your Wait? and Jaded. His passions are coffee, friendships and basketball.

Jeff Harris

Jeff Harris

Jeff Harris has been the Senior Pastor at Grace Point since 1994 and has had the privilege of seeing the community grow from the very beginning. His passion is equipping believers to be the church wherever they go, and he thrives on seeing transformed lives on a daily basis.

Jeff is a graduate of Baylor University, Dallas Theological Seminary, and he earned his doctorate from Midwestern University. He is a published author with his book Leadership Forum: Developing Your Own Leadership Compass. Jeff is married to Jody, and they have four children.

Peyton Hill

Peyton Hill is the Lead Pastor at Highland Baptist Church in Grover City, Ohio. He has a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Mississippi State University and an M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Peyton is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Applied Theology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a member of Baptist 21, a group of young pastors and leaders committed to promoting gospel-centrality among Southern Baptists in the 21st century. As of February 2017, Peyton and his wife, Jordan Lee, have three children three years old and under (which means they probably should go to the top of your prayer list).

Alex Himaya

Alex Himaya is the Founding and Senior Pastor at theChurch.at in Tulsa, Okla. He came to Tulsa in 2003 and replanted the church which became thechurch.at in August of that year. The church has witnessed a tremendous response growing from 120 to over 6,000 with campuses at BattleCreek, MidTown, DownTown and also at Dupage (in Chicagoland, Ill.).

Alex is currently involved in church planting efforts both locally and internationally through theChurch.at and various strategic partnerships. He founded an international orphan care ministry called Adopt(ed). Adopt(ed) is helping churches and families find their niche in orphan care around the world.

Beyond speaking at churches and conferences throughout the world, Alex has also written two books, Your Little Red Wagon: A Conversation on Approaching God (2010) and Jesus Hates Religion: Finding Grace in a Works Driven Culture (2014). His married to his best friend Meredith and is dad to four amazing children.

Doug Hixson

Doug Hixson

Doug Hixson is the founding Pastor of Connection Church. He has been married to Dana for 22 years and together they are raising two kids.

Doug moved to Spearfish in 2010 to begin the work of planting the church in Spearfish, S.D., which would become the launching point for three other churches in Belle Fourche, Sioux Falls and Sturgis, S.D. God's favor to see churches launched and become healthy outposts for the Gospel in this underserved area of the nation has been amazing.

Doug is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

Casey Hough

Casey Hough serves as the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Camden, Ark. He holds a B.G.S. in Computer Applications from Louisiana Tech University, a M.Div. in Biblical Languages and a Th.M. in Biblical Interpretation from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS). Presently, he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Biblical Interpretation from NOBTS with minors in theology and in ethics. In addition to his everyday work, Casey is passionate about writing and teaching the church at large. He writes a monthly church history column for a regional newspaper, frequently provides book reviews to various publications, and regularly contributes research essays and articles to several evangelical outlets. Currently, he is writing his first book for Rainer Publishing on Paul’s pastoral priorities from 1 and 2 Timothy. Casey and his wife, Hannah, have three sons and one daughter. They are also currently going through the long process of an international adoption from Ethiopia.

Beau Hughes

Beau Hughes

Beau Hughes is the Lead Pastor of The Village Church in Denton, Texas. He received his bachelor's degree from George Fox University in Newberg, Ore., and his M.A. and D.Ed.Min. degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Beau married Kimberly in 2007. They have four children, two sons and two daughters, and live just a few blocks away from where their church gathers each week. 

John Hume

John Hume

John Hume has served as an Associate Pastor at Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church for over 21 years. John grew up on a farm outside Louisville, Ky., and is a 1991 graduate of the University of Louisville with a degree in Music Education. After college John attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. While in seminary he had the privilege to serve on staff as an intern and associate minister at First Baptist Church, Arlington, Texas. In 1995 John graduated with a Master of Arts in Religious Education degree. The day after graduation he married Paige and 6 weeks later moved to Jacksonville, Ill., where he began ministry at Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church. John has served in this position for over 21 years. John and Paige have 2 boys.

Dean Inserra

Dean Inserra is the founding and senior pastor of City Church in Tallahassee, Fla. Dean has served as a Youth Minister in Tallahassee and regularly speaks at campus organizations at Florida State University. He has a degree in Biblical Studies from Liberty University and also attended the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He married Krissie in December of 2003. They have three children.

Jamie Ivey

Jamie Ivey

Jamie Ivey is a podcaster, writer, and speaker from Austin, Texas. She is the proud mama of four kids and the wife of Aaron, worship pastor of The Austin Stone Community Church. Jamie loves to encourage women to passionately follow Jesus through whatever stage of life they might be in. She does this through writing, speaking, and her weekly podcast, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey.

Paul Jimenez

Paul Jimenez

Paul Jimenez serves as Pastor at Taylor’s First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C. Paul was born in Greenville, S.C., and is married to the former Cheri Bennett, also of Greenville. Paul received his Master of Theology Degree from Duke Divinity School in Durham, N.C., his Master of Divinity with Biblical Languages from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., and is a graduate of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

Mike Keahbone

Mike Keahbone

Mike currently serves as the Lead Pastor at Cherokee Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Okla. Mike grew up in the small town of Elgin, Okla. His father was a full-blood Cherokee and his mother was Comanche and Kiowa. Though he comes from a proud Native heritage, his family was ravaged by alcohol and drug addiction. As a “teenage mom,” Mike’s mother was in and out of his life and would eventually pass away at the age of 40 due to an alcohol related illness. Mike’s father was completely absent from his life.

Through all of the turmoil, pain and abandonment, there was hope. God put people in Mike’s life that would love him unconditionally and model the love of Jesus Christ for him. It was that love and example that would lead him to give his life to the Lord on November 1, 1990. It became clear to Mike that God had been with him through the storms of his life and that each and every circumstance was instrumental in shaping God’s plan for him. Mike has been called to preach the love, hope and comfort that can only come from the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Mike is married to Jennifer and has three wonderful children.

Matt Kendrick

Matt Kendrick

Matt Kendrick is the Next Generation Pastor of Biltmore Church in Asheville, N.C. He and his wife Courtney have two children. Matt received his undergraduate degree at Mississippi State University and his M.Div. and D.Min. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

John Kimbell

John Kimbell

John Kimbell serves as Pastor of Preaching & Discipleship at Clifton Baptist Church, Louisville, Ky. He received his MDiv (2003) and Ph.D. (2008) from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. John has been a pastor for eight years and is the author of The Atonement in Lukan Theology (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014). He has been married to Sarah since 1998, and they have six children.

Steven M. Lee

Steven M. Lee

Steven M. Lee serves as the founding pastor of Redeemer City Church in Washington, D.C. He earned his B.A. in Political Science from University of Maryland at College Park, his ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary. He’s married to Tiffany and they have four children. Steven enjoys watching and playing basketball, fantasy football, watching HGTV with Tiffany and good Texas BBQ.

Nathan Lino

Nathan Lino founded Northeast Houston Baptist Church in 2002 and has served as the Senior Pastor since that time. He earned degrees from Texas A&M University and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., and is currently in the final stages of a doctor of ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He and his wife, Nicole, have one son and three daughters. 

Nicole Lino

Nicole Lino has been married for 18 years and is mother to four children. In 2002, she and her husband, Nathan, planted Northeast Houston Baptist Church where he is still the Senior Pastor. Born and raised in Austin, Texas, she is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a BS in Mathematics. Nicole is passionate about the intersection of the Bible, culture, and politics, and both speaks at large events and disciples women one-on-one in the areas of womanhood, marriage, and parenting.

Ryan Lintelman

Ryan Lintelman

Ryan Lintelman is the pastor of First Baptist Church in West Columbia, Texas. He is a pastor's kid who grew up in the greater Houston Area. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Baylor University and remains a devoted fan of the Baylor Bears. Ryan and his wife Danyel were married while he was attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, where he earned Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees. Ryan has since earned a Doctorate of Ministry from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky and is currently enrolled as a Ph. D. student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. Ryan and Danyel have three children. You can usually find Ryan nose down in a good book, eating snow cones, talking to someone about Baylor sports, or spending time with his beautiful family.

Jeff Long

Jeff Long

Jeff Long currently serves as the Lead Pastor at Parkwood Baptist Church in Gastonia, N.C., where he has served since 1992. Jeff was brought to faith in Christ as a teenger, he then was called to ministry before college, and has served on staff at a local church since 19. Six days after college graduation, Jeff married his wife, Celeste. They are grateful to be parents of four kids. Jeff has led the congregation of Parkwood Baptist to glorify God, grow together, and go with the Gospel to all people(s).

Nathan Lorick

Nathan Lorick

Dr. Nathan Lorick is the Director of Evangelism for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. He works directly with churches across Texas to engage their communities with the gospel. His desire is to glorify God and see the church come alive through intentional evangelism and missions, making a positive difference in this generation. He currently serves as a trustee for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. He is a graduate of East Texas Baptist University and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary where he earned both a Masters of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degree. Nathan is the author of Dying to Grow as well as the initiator of the 1Cross app that shares the gospel in over 60 languages and the “Game Plan” evangelism initiative. He also holds an Honorary Doctor of Divinity from Louisiana Baptist University. He and his wife Jenna live in Texas with their four children. When not traveling, Nathan enjoys spending time with his family, hunting, reading and running.

John Aaron Matthew

John Aaron Matthew

John Aaron Matthew is the Lead Pastor of Clear Lake Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. He has a passion to see churches revitalized in pursuit of the Great Commission. John Aaron has previously served as a Collegiate Ministry Specialist with the Tennessee Baptist Convention as well as in ministry to local churches in Tennessee, Texas, and Louisiana. John Aaron holds a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana Tech University, an M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and is completing a D.Min. in Great Commission Leadership from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is married to Emily and they have two amazing children.

Matt McCullough

Matt McCullough

Matt McCullough is the pastor of Trinity Church in Nashville, Tenn., a church he helped to plant in a city-center neighborhood near Vanderbilt University. He and his wife Lindsey first moved to Nashville for graduate school at Vanderbilt, where he completed a PhD in American religious history. In his former life as an academic, he published The Cross of War: Christian Nationalism and US Expansion in the Spanish-American War (University of Wisconsin Press, 2014). He also writes occasionally for 9Marks and The Gospel Coalition. Matt and Lindsey are the parents of three little boys.

James Merritt

James Merritt

James Merritt is the Lead Pastor of Cross Pointe Church. He was born and raised in Oakwood, Georgia and surrendered his life to Christ as a 9-year-old boy. At age 21, he committed to full-time Christian ministry, and went on to pastor five churches. He has preached around the world to hundreds of thousands of people through television and radio.

As a popular Bible teacher and respected voice of the Christian faith, James has been interviewed by media outlets including 60 Minutes, The New York Times, ABC World News Tonight, Time Magazine, and Hannity and Colmes. Each week, Merritt's messages are broadcast in all 50 states and 122 countries around the world through Touching Lives, a television and media ministry.

Dr. Merritt earned his bachelor degree from Stetson University and his Master of Divinity degree and Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He has published several books including How to Impact and Influence Anybody, God, I've Got a Question, Still Standing, What God Wants Every Dad to Know and 52 Weeks with Jesus with Harvest House publishers. His heart for pastors has also resulted in PastorsEdge.com, a ministry resource, and Impact1 Men's Conferences.

James and his wife, Teresa, have been married for more than 36 years. They have three sons, one grandson and one granddaughter.

Eileen Moore

Eileen Moore

Eileen Moore graduated with honors from Northeastern University with a B.A. in biology and a certification in respiratory therapy. She attended Wake Forest University School of Law and graduated in the top of her class. Following law school, Eileen clerked for the Honorable Eugene H. Phillips on the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Subsequently she has worked primarily for the federal government in the Department of Justice; Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection; and the Federal Judiciary. She also had the privilege of working Of Counsel with the firm of Mauck and Baker while living in the Chicago area. Eileen trained as an Allied Attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, and volunteered in that capacity during the period she was not working for the federal government.

Eileen is married to Charles, who serves as the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Paducah, Ky. Charles also earned a law degree and shares Eileen’s passion for religious liberties. They have one son who is in high school. Together they have served congregations in North Carolina, Kentucky, greater Chicago, and Southern California. Eileen enjoys leading in women’s ministry, mentoring pastors’ wives, and planning special church events.

Noah Oldham

Noah Oldham

Noah Oldham is the lead and planting pastor of August Gate Church, a multi-gathering church-planting church in the city and suburbs of St. Louis, Mo. Noah grew up in southeastern Illinois and shortly after being saved, left home to attend college outside of St. Louis to play football and pursue medicine or law. It was there that God called him instead to give his life to preaching the gospel and making disciples of the most un-churched and de-churched generation in America’s history. In pursuit of this call, he earned a BA from McKendree College and both an MAR and MDiv from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. Noah planted August Gate Church in 2009 and has served as the St. Louis City Missionary for the North American Mission Board since 2011. He is a contributing author for the Church Planting Survival Guide and is a regular contributor to NAMB’s Send Network blog and the For the Church blog through Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Noah has been married to his wife, Heather, since 2005 and together they have four children. One of Noah’s greatest dreams is to be a part of the generation of leaders that sees the abolition of abortion in the United States.

John Onwuchekwa

John Onwuchekwa

John Onwucheckwu serves as the Lead Pastor of Cornerstone Church in Atlanta, Ga. John is a native of Houston, Texas, who was born into a Nigerian home where the gospel was cherished deeply and modeled excellently. After graduating from college, he studied at Dallas Theological Seminary. He’s served at churches in both Texas and Georgia and in 2015 moved into the Historic West End to help plant Cornerstone Church with his best friends. He and his wife, Shawndra, have been married since 2007. They’re eager to see the hope of the gospel restore a sense of family, dignity, and hope to their neighborhood through their local church of ordinary people.

Peggy Osborne

Peggy Osborne

Peggy Osborne has been an Educator for 30+ years serving as a teacher and an administrator in the public school system. She is currently an independent consultant for public schools, Head Start and childcare groups as well as the co- founder of the faith based company, You Are My Treasure, which serves parents, women and Christian educators through workshops, retreats and training conferences. She is the wife of Senior Pastor, Chris Osborne, and is passionate about serving alongside of him in ministry. They have two children and three grandchildren.

Jason Paredes

Jason Paredes

Jason Paredes is the Lead Pastor of Fielder Church in Arlington, Texas, a growing multi-ethnic church in the heart of the DFW area. As a third-generation Latino growing up in small town Texas, he began his ministry primarily in Anglo churches but after a two year missionary venture to Buenos Aires, Argentina and inner-city ministry in Fort Worth, God has called him to bring the cultures of the city together in one church to display the power of the Gospel through the unity it brings. He is married to Virginia and has four beautiful daughters who aren’t allowed to date until they are 42 and a son who brings some much needed balance to the girl power in his house.

Scott Patty

Scott Patty

Scott Patty is the founding pastor of Grace Community Church. Before he began Grace in 1993, he served as a youth pastor for ten years. He was raised in Nashville and came to faith in Christ as a high school student. He graduated from Belmont University in 1985 and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1989. Scott is married to Beth and has two married daughters. Scott’s primary calling in the church is to lead the congregation by casting a biblical vision for all of life through the preaching of God’s word.

Ashlyn Portero

Ashlyn Portero

Ashlyn Portero serves as one of the Executive Directors at City Church in Tallahassee, FL, where she helps oversee the day-to-day operations and strategic initiatives of the church to reach the city of Tallahassee with the Gospel. Originally from Tallahassee, Ashlyn graduated from Florida State University in 2010 with a B.A in English Literature and is pursuing a MTS from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ashlyn enjoys running, reading, and traveling.

John Powell

John Powell

John Powell is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Hamlin, Texas. Previously, he served as director of admissions at Southern Seminary and discipleship pastor at Carlisle Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky. After graduating from Southwest Baptist University, he earned a M.Div from Southern Seminary. John and his wife, Katherine, have four children. 

Clint Pressley

Clint Pressley

Clint Pressley is the pastor at Hickory Grove Baptist Church Charlotte. He and his wife Connie have two sons.

David E. Prince

David E. Prince is pastor of preaching and vision at Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky., and assistant professor of Christian preaching at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of In the Arena and Church with Jesus as the Hero

He received his M.Div from Southwestern Theological Seminary and his Ph.D from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

He is married to Judi and they have eight children (three boys and five girls). He is a baseball aficionado and an avid Atlanta Braves fan, but he also enjoys football (#rolltide) and basketball. When he isn’t spending time with his family, or playing sports with his kids, he can usually be found reading. His list of influential authors include: Edmund Clowney, Andrew Fuller, George Eldon Ladd, Graeme Goldsworthy, Irenaeus, John MacArthur, John Piper, Tom Schreiner, and Russell Moore.

Courtney Reissig

Courtney Reissig

Courtney Reissig is a wife, mom, and writer. She is the author of The Accidental Feminist: Restoring Our Delight in God's Good Design (Crossway, 2015) and Glory in the Ordinary: Why Your Work in the Home Matters to God (Crossway, 2017). After graduating with a bachelor's degree in English from Northwestern College (St. Paul, Minn.), she did some graduate study at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Courtney is married to Daniel, and together the serve at Midtown Baptist Church in Little Rock, Ark. They are the grateful parents of three sons.

Willy Rice

Willy Rice

William (Willy) Rice is the pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater, Fla. In 2004 he returned to the Tampa Bay area where he was born and raised to lead the church he considered his home church. Willy spent his High School years at Calvary, responded to God’s call to ministry there, and met and married his wife Cheryl at Calvary.

Dr. Rice has been active in denominational leadership roles. He served as President of the Florida Baptist Convention from 2006-2008 and he served as the President of the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference in 2015. He has also served as Chairman of the SBC Committee on Committees (2010), Chairman of the SBC Committee on Nominations (2016), President of the Florida Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference (2004) along with other local, state, and national positions.

Before coming to Calvary Dr. Rice pastored the Hillcrest Baptist Church in Pensacola for seven years. During that time the church experienced great growth and more than doubled in size. The church built a new 2000 seat worship center in 2002.

Prior to pastoring Hillcrest Dr. Rice had pastored the Gladeview Baptist Church in Anniston, Alabama (1992-1997), the Cypress Lake Baptist Church in Tampa, Fla., (1987-1992) and the Bethel Baptist Church in Dora, Ala., (1984-1987).

Dr. Rice is a graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. with a B.A. degree (1985) and the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree (1990) and a Doctor of Ministry degree (1996).

Willy is married to Cheryl (Baker). She is a graduate of Samford University and they have three children and three grandchildren.

Larry Riley

Larry Riley

Larry Riley has served as the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Clarksville, Tenn., since October, 2012. Larry brings over 25 years of experience in full-time ministry as well as strong, Biblically-based preaching and visionary leadership. An enthusiastic reader and coffee drinker, Larry enjoys books on leadership and hanging out at Starbucks. Married to Elizabeth since 1977, they have four children and two granddaughters. One of his favorite scriptures is Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Nathan Rose

Nathan Rose is the senior pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Liberty, Missouri. His love for the local church propels all he does, which includes assisting NAMB in church replanting and serving on the Church Vitality team for his local association.

He is also a regular contributor to For the Church, a gospel-centered ministry of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he is also pursuing a Ph.D. in Historical Theology and teaching adjunctively.

He and his wife, Rachel, have three young and very energetic children. 

Raleigh Sadler

Raleigh Sadler

Raleigh Sadler has served in Christian ministry for the last 15 years. He is the founder and executive director of Let My People Go in NYC. His passion is to see the local church fight global injustices, like human trafficking, by loving those most vulnerable. As a speaker, his work has taken him to universities and churches across the country speaking on how the christian faith frees us to explore justice and mercy in our communities. With that said, he believes that the church should be leading the way in the fight against human trafficking. With this message, he has worked with the Price of Life Invitational, New York City Urban Project, the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association, the New York State Anti-trafficking Coalition, City Serve, as well as several other justice and mercy organizations. He believes it is the responsibility of the church to love those who are at risk of exploitation.

Jimmy Scroggins

Jimmy Scroggins

Jimmy Scroggins is the Lead Pastor of Family Church, where he has served since July 2008.  Jimmy is a member of the Board of Trustees at Palm Beach Atlantic University and at LifeWay Christian Resources.  He teaches as a visiting professor at both Southern and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminaries.

Before coming to Family Church, Jimmy served as the Teaching Pastor at Highview Church, and Professor of Youth Ministry and Evangelism at Southern Seminary and Boyce College in Louisville.  He was Dean of Boyce College from 2004-2008.

Jimmy earned both his Master of Divinity Degree and his Doctor of Philosophy from the Southern Seminary.

Jimmy and his wife, Kristin, have eight children.

Twitter: @JimmyScroggins

Ed Seay

Ed Seay

Ed Seay is a native of Houston, Texas. He has served in local church ministry since 1967. He holds degrees from Houston Baptist University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Luther Rice Seminary. Ed has served as the Senior Pastor of Magnolia's First Baptist Church since 1990. He is married to Cindy, who served as the Director of Pregnancy Services for a pro-life ministry until her retirement in 2015. Ed and Cinday have have five children and 20 grandchildren.

Aubrey Sequeira

Aubrey Sequeira

Aubrey Sequeira was born and raised in Chennai, an urban center in Southern India, where he was saved through the faithful witness of a missionary in his city. He was then involved in church planting in India while working in India’s booming IT industry. Aubrey recently completed his Ph.D. with a double major in Biblical Theology and Old Testament at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky,, where he also did his M.Div (2013). While in Louisville, Aubrey also served as an elder at Immanuel Baptist Church.

Aubrey has been married to Nishika since 2008, and they have three daughters, Eliana, Petra, and Karissa. Their family is preparing to move in 2017 to a city in the Middle East, where Aubrey plans to serve in pastoral ministry and training pastors for the 10/40 window. Currently, he is completing a pastoral internship at the NETS Center for Church Planting and Revitalization in Vermont.

Ashley Smith

Ashley Smith

Ashley Smith, a native of Alabama, lives in Kansas City, Mo., where her husband, Charles, serves in leadership at Midwestern Seminary. Ashley is a mother to three daughters, whom she homeschools part-time. She also serves as an instructor in the Midwestern Women's Institute and enjoys reading, writing, and sharing her love for all thing food with others.

Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith

Kevin L. Smith (Ph.D., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Executive Director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware and Assistant Professor of Christian Preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

TC Taylor

TC Taylor

TC Taylor is the the lead pastor of New Breed Church in Louisville, Ky. TC was born and raised in Terre Haute, Ind. After graduating high school, he stayed local and attended Indiana State University. In 2007 he completed his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Criminology from ISU.

In 2005, TC trusted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, that same year he also received his calling to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In 2005 TC was licensed to preach at St. Paul Missionary Baptist in Terre Haute, Ind. TC served as a pastoral assistant at St. Paul from 2005-2009. In June of 2009 TC was ordained at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church. In July of the same year, TC and his wife moved to Louisville, Ky., to continue his theological training at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. While in Louisville, TC felt a call toward urban church planting. 

From August 2012-May 2013 TC completed a 10 month church planting residency with the Rebuild Initiative. T.C. and a core team of believers launch New Breed Church in West Louisville on January 19, 2014.

TC is married to the love of his life and college sweetheart Christel Rebekah Taylor. They have been married since July 2005. T.C. and Christel are the parents of two children.

Muche Ukegbu

Muche Ukegbu

Though born and raised in Houston, Texas, for most of his adult life, Muche Ukegbu called Atlanta home as he served alongside his closest friends to help plant and pastor at Blueprint Church. With a passion for leadership, culture, and people, it brings him great joy to see the gospel come alive in people’s hearts. He cherishes his family consisting of amazing wife of seven years, Diamone and their three children. He currently serves as the Lead Pastor of the Brook where he leads out in preaching, vision, and leadership development, helping mobilize the church to advance the gospel in Miami and beyond.

Jen Wilkin

Jen Wilkin is an author and Bible teacher from Dallas, Texas. She has organized and led studies for women in home, church, and parachurch contexts. She and her family call The Village Church home. Jen currently serves on the team of the Village Church Institute, with direct responsibility for adult classes at all campuses. Jen and her husband Jeff have four children and have been married for 23 years. 

Jen grew up in Texas, and came to saving faith in elementary school. Her childhood was marked by time spent in seven different denominations – a range of experience that left her with the conviction that knowing the Word was the only sure means of discerning truth from error. Jen’s passion is to see others become articulate and committed followers of Christ, with a clear understanding of why they believe what they believe, grounded in the Word of God. She is the author of Women of the Word and None Like Him. You can find her at JenWilkin.net.

Rob Wilton

Rob Wilton

Rob Wilton serves as the lead and founding pastor of Vintage Church in New Orleans, La. He also serves as a chaplain for the New Orleans Saints. Rob earned his B.S. from North Greenville University, his M.Div. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and his D.Min. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Rob is married to Annabeth and they have four children.

Andrew Wood

Andrew Wood

Andrew Wood serves as the Executive Director of Hope Resources Center in Knoxville, Tenn. Andrew received a political science degree from MTSU in 2006. After a brief stint working for two State Representatives at the Tennessee General Assembly, Andrew and his wife Erin moved to Knoxville as their careers took them to the University of Tennessee.

It is here that Andrew felt the call to ministry and began serving as a bi-vocational Kid's Pastor at a local Baptist church. Andrew served in this role for three years before being called to serve as the Executive Director of Hope Resource Center, a non-profit in Knoxville. In this role he leads one of the Southeast's largest pro-life reproductive medical clinics. Andrew leads a staff of 15 as they provide free reproductive healthcare to men and women in the Knoxville area. This role also allows Andrew to connect with churches, pregnancy centers, and pro-life organizations across the country as he helps shape the life narrative.

Andrew is grateful for the gospel foundation that has been laid throughout his life via family, pastors, and mentors that were all equipped and trained through the Southern Baptist Church.

Andrew and Erin are blessed to call Knoxville home with their three children.

George Wright

George Wright

George serves as Senior Pastor at Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia, S.C. George was born a preacher's kid in Houston, Texas, but spent most of his childhood growing up in Marietta, Ga. George attended the University of South Carolina, where he fell in love with his wife, Megan. They were married in 2001 after three years of dating in college. Megan and George have four children.

Jeff Wright

Jeff Wright

Jeff Wright has served as the Pastor of Midway Baptist Church in Cookeville, Tenn., since 2011. He holds an M.A.R. from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. His vocational ministry is aimed at maturing Christians in healthy churches making disciples for the good of their neighbors and the glory of Christ. In addition to church service he has worked in classical Christian education and as an adjunct professor of hermeneutics for Bryan College of Dayton, Tenn. Jeff is married to Christie and they have four children.

Afshin Ziafat

Afshin Ziafat

Afshin Ziafat currently serves as the Lead Pastor of Providence Church in Frisco, TX. For twelve years, Afshin served as an evangelist and itinerant speaker based out of Dallas. He serves on the Board of Directors for Vertical Ministries at Baylor University in Waco, TX. Afshin graduated from The University of Texas with a Bachelors of Arts in History and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with a M.Div. He has written many articles and is a contributor for The Gospel Project. He also travels into the Middle East regularly to train Iranian pastors. He is married to Meredith.