The ERLC Leadership Network Council is a collection of SBC pastors and leaders who serve as an advisory council for the Network and receive intentional investment from the ERLC team. During their annual term, these council members enjoy equipping through conference calls and events while providing direction for the Network and occasional content for erlc.com.
From coast to coast, from mega church to country church, and from a variety of backgrounds, these pastors and leaders represent a cross section of evangelicalism in general and the SBC in particular. All Leadership Council members either currently are or have previously served in pastoral ministry.
Jon Akin serves as Senior Pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Lebanon, Tenn., and as adjunct professor for Southern Seminary. Previously, he served as a campus pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky. He completed three degrees at Southern Seminary, including the Ph.D. in Old Testament. He is married to Ashley, and they have three children.
“In the midst of thorny ethical problems that are facing the church, I am grateful for the gospel-centered voice of the ERLC. I'm excited to be a part of the Leadership Network and be further equipped by these great leaders to engage these issues with convictional kindness.”
Bart Barber has served as the Pastor at First Baptist Church Farmersville since 1999. He 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. He is married to Tracy. They have two children, Jim and Sarah.
Greg Belser is the pastor of Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton, Miss. Belser has been pastoring since 1978 in Texas, Alabama and Mississippi. He is husband to Susan and father to Lindsay, Ashley and Bethany. Belser is a graduate of Corpus Christi State University and received his M.Div. and D.Min. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“I am grateful for the work and leadership of the ERLC. As a pastor, they help me stay current with breaking ethical and religious liberty news while resourcing our church for speaking courageously in the culture. The ERLC helps me keep all my bases covered.”
J. Kie Bowman has served as Senior Pastor at Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, since 1997. He holds a D. Min. degree in New Testament Interpretation from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, where he also received the M.Div. degree. He received the B.A. in Religion from the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Ky. In 1981, he and his wife, Tina, married. They have three children: Amanda, Laura and Joseph.
“I'm extremely excited about the ERLC because I have tremendous respect for Dr. Moore and his insight into the issues that affect us all. Those issues, which are the prime focus of the ERLC that interact with our culture, have moved front and center in the ministry of the local church. As a result, in the days ahead, Pastors and congregations will turn more than ever to the resources provided by the team at the ERLC.”
Matt Carter serves as the lead pastor of The Austin Stone Community Church. In addition to pastoring at The Austin Stone, Matt is a cancer survivor, co-author of For the City, Creation Unraveled: The Gospel According to Genesis and speaker for camps and conferences nationwide. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University and holds an M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Matt is married to Jennifer, and they have three children: John Daniel, Annie and Samuel.
“I thank God for the work the ERLC is doing to serve the body of Christ. Their willingness to delve into all the pressing issues facing Christians today has given me as a pastor confidence and clarity as I step into the pulpit to handle and apply God's word to my people.”
Matt Chandler has served as the lead pastor of teaching at The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, since 2002. He received a bachelor's degree in Bible from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. He previously served on staff at Beltway Park Church in Abilene. In 1999, he married his wife, Lauren. They have three children.
“It is a blessing to be a part of the ERLC Leadership Network Council. When I need help navigating the challenging ethical issues that exist in today's culture, the ERLC is a great resource for me.”
Lenny Cheng is a lay pastor for the English congregation of Harvest Church of New York in Bayside, N.Y. In 2001, he was involved in the establishment of Harvest Church of New York. He is a Graduate of the Department of Industrial Engineering at Tunghai University in Taiwan. Cheng came to the United States for a master's degree in computer science at CUNY Queens College. In 2007 he received his M.Div from Southern Seminary. He and his wife have four daughters.
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: Josiah, Susannah, and Judah.
“The complexity of the challenges facing the church in the 21st century often require more from church leaders than they have to give. That's why I am so grateful for the way the ERLC has become a resource for church on these critical issues. The church is stronger because of the world-class team at the ERLC.”
Jason Dees serves as the Senior Pastor at Valleydale Church in Birmingham, Ala. Prior to joining Valleydale he served as the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Covington, Ga. for five years. He received a B.A. in Communication with a Minor in History from Auburn University. He received his M. Div from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he is a Ph.D. student in biblical spirituality. Jason is married to Paige Raynor Dees. They have a daughter, Emery Anna.
“The Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention is one of the most important and underestimated entities in our denomination. President Russell Moore is gifted with the perfect combination of a robust knowledge of Biblical theology and a refined understanding of the culture. His leadership at the ERLC has Southern Baptists all over the country engaged and eager to lead in Kingdom restoration. ”
Benjamin Dockery serves as the pastor of Vine Street Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky. He also serves as the Director of Admissions at Southern Seminary. He is a graduate of Union University, and received his M.Div from Southern Seminary. Ben is currently doing doctoral work at Southern Seminary in the field of Leadership and Higher Education. He and his wife, Julie, have three girls.
“Ask anyone and they'll tell you that the ethical issues in the church and the academy are getting more complex, not less. Christian leaders are searching for both clarity and nuance without falling into abuses of liberty or legalism. The ERLC Leadership Network, under the leadership of Russell D. Moore, takes such considerations head on and has already provided spot-on ethical analysis saturated by Jesus and his gospel. The Network is a gift to me, and a gift to the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention.”
Robby Gallaty is senior pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tenn. Previously, he pastored Immanuel Baptist Church in Morgan City, La. He earned the M.Div., Th.M., and Ph.D. in preaching at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Gallaty is the author of Unashamed: Taking a Radical Stand for Christ. He is married to Kandi and they have two sons.
Buddy Gray serves as the senior pastor at Hunter Street Baptist Church in Hoover, Ala. Prior to coming to the church as senior pastor in 1986, Gray served as its youth minister from 1978-1980 while he went to Samford University. He earned a M.Div from Southwestern Seminary and a D.Min from Southern Seminary.
J.D. Greear is the lead pastor of The Summit Church, in Raleigh-Durham, N.C. Greear completed his Ph.D. in Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary where he is also a faculty member, writing on the correlations between early church presentations of the gospel and Islamic theology. He and his wife Veronica live in Raleigh, N.C, and are raising four kids: Kharis, Alethia, Ryah and Adon. He is the author of Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary (2011) and Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved (2013).
“The ERLC helps me think Biblically and in gospel-responsible ways about the issues confronting our people every single day. To not speak and think about these issues would be doing our people a great disservice. Russell Moore has assembled an excellent team to both represent us well, and help us lead our people well. The ERLC is a gift to our church and to the larger body of Christ.”
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 two sons, Tommy and Ty.
“The ERLC Leadership Network Council is equipping me to lead with convictional kindness in a college and state government town where I am Pastoring a local Church. I am grateful for the resources and mentoring that allows me to better lead my city away from the idols of this world and to Christ, by articulating a Gospel-centered worldview amidst the cultural chaos. This is a crucial time for Southern Baptists, and I'm grateful to be resourced and encouraged.”
Paul Jimenez is the senior pastor at Taylors First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C. He received his Th.M. from Duke Divinity School in Durham, N.C, his M.Div. in Biblical Languages from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C, and is a graduate of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. He is married to Cheri and they have two children.
“The ERLC Leadership Network Council is a helpful guide in understanding the political and moral issues of the day. But it’s more. Through Dr. Moore’s leadership, the work of the ERLC, and the discussion of pastors and leaders, the Council has become a needed and practical tool for preaching, counseling, and serving churches biblically and thoughtfully in regard to the current cultural issues we face.”
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, NC 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, Colton, and three daughters, Campbell, Cassidy and Chloe.
“I am so pleased at how noticeably the ERLC has not just dramatically risen in relevance to my local church, but has become a sought after source for us regarding biblical and timely guidance on frontline issues. We more and more find ourselves distributing ERLC resources like articles and podcasts, among our leaders and members as we recognize the value of the new ERLC in the intentional discipleship of our people.”
Tony Merida is the founding pastor of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, N.C. He also serves as the Associate Professor of Preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Merida has a Ph.D. in Preaching and a Th.M. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a bachelors degree in education from the University of the Cumberlands. He is the author of Faithful Preaching and Proclaiming Jesus. He is also the co-author of Orphanology. Along with David Platt and Danny Akin, Merida serves as a general editor and as contributor for the commentary series with B&H entitled Christ-Centered Exposition. He is married to Kimberly, with whom he has five adopted children.
Ramon Osorio serves as Hispanic National Church Mobilizer at the North American Mission Board (NAMB). Previously, he was the lead hispanic pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky. After doing undergraduate study at Wartburg College, he completed several theological degrees including a D.Min. from El Seminario Internacional de Miami. A native of Honduras, Osorio and his wife Rosana have two daughters.
Dr. Richard Piles has served as pastor of First Baptist Church in Camden, Ark., since 2005. Piles also serves as chairman of the ERLC’s board of trustees. He is a native Texan and went to Texas A&M University. He earned a M.Div from Southwestern Seminary and a D.Min from Southern Seminary. He is married to Christy, and their three daughters are Caleigh, Sarah Cate and Caroline.
Dr. David Platt is the president of the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board. He went to the University of Georgia, and then earned a M.Div, Th.M, and Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He has previously served at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary as Dean of Chapel and Assistant Professor of Expository Preaching and Apologetics, and as Staff Evangelist at Edgewater Baptist Church in New Orleans. He has authored several books, Radical, Radical Together, and Follow Me. David and his wife, Heather, live in Birmingham with their four children.
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 three children: Gunner, Bennett, and Ada Kate.
“The ERLC is representing a new generation of denominational leadership and evangelical engagement in culture. As a young SBC pastor, I am proud to be a Southern Baptist as Dr. Moore and his courageous team represent us to the culture at large, and pour the Gospel into our churches.”
Clint Pressley is the senior pastor at Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C. He graduated from Wofford College and received a graduate degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He is now working on his final project toward a Doctor of Ministry from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is married to Connie LaBelle Smith Pressley, and they have two teenage boys, Mack and Nate.
David Prince has been the Pastor of Preaching and Vision at Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, KY, since November 2003. In addition to his role at Ashland, he is also an Associate Professor for Christian Preaching and Pastoral Ministry at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. 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.
George Ross is the North American Mission Board’s Send North America city coordinator for New Orleans. Previously, he served as lead pastor at Lifepoint Church in Senatobia, MS. Ross is a graduate of Crichton College and received his M.Div in Evangelism and Church Planting from Liberty Theological Seminary. Ross and his wife, Joy, have four children: Isaac, Hannah Ruth, Abigail and Jeremiah.
“I am so grateful for the ERLC and the leadership of Dr. Moore. In a day when we face so many cultural challenges, I am encouraged by the convictional kindness and forward engagement Dr. Moore models for Southern Baptists. The ERLC is a tremendous resource for churches as they engage culture, manifest the Kingdom, and carry out the Great Commission.”
Justin Sampler is pastor of First Baptist Church in Inola, Okla. He also currently serves as a chaplain in the Oklahoma Army National Guard. Previously, he served as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Hollis, Okla. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Cameron University and his M.Div from Southern Seminary, where he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Christian Preaching. Sampler is married to Jessica and they have four children.
“As a pastor, I have found the ERLC to be a tremendous resource, helping churches engage the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ. With the unique ethical issues congregations face today, the ERLC’s content is always timely, relevant, and beneficial.”
Jimmy Scroggins is the senior pastor at First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach in West Palm Beach, Fla. He previously served as dean of Boyce College and as Teaching Pastor at Highview Baptist Church. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Jacksonville University as well as an M.Div. and a Ph.D. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. He is married to Kristin and they have eight children.
Kevin Smith serves as assistant professor of preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and as Teaching Pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky. Before moving to Highview, Kevin served as pastor for Watson Memorial Baptist Church for eight years. He is currently a Ph. D. candidate. In 2006, he became the first African-American ever elected Vice President of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Kevin and his wife Patricia have been married for 21 years and have five children.
Josh Smith has served as the lead pastor of MacArthur Boulevard Baptist Church in Irving, Texas, since 2006. He is a graduate of both Liberty University and Southeastern Seminary. He is currently pursuing a D.Min. in expository preaching at Southwestern Seminary. He and his wife Andrea have four girls: Lily, Gracie, Josie and Annalee.
A.B. Vines serves as Senior Pastor of New Seasons Church in Spring Valley, Calif. Dr. Vines has studied at Point Loma University, Andersonville Theological Seminary and the Southern California School of Ministry. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Master’s degree in Pastoral Counseling and a D.Min degree. Dr. Vines and his wife Karen have four children.
Justin Wainscott serves as the pastor at First Baptist Church in Jackson, TN. Prior to serving at FBC Jackson, Wainscott served as the teaching pastor at First Baptist Church in Paducah, Ky. He received his bachelor’s degree from Union University and went on to receive a M.Div from Beeson Divinity school. Justin is married to Anna and they have two girls.
“Not only am I extremely encouraged by the leadership of the ERLC, I am also deeply grateful for the multitude of resources they provide to help us think through the significant moral issues of our day. Thanks to the work of the ERLC, churches are being well equipped to serve as salt and light in our world.”
Jamaal Williams serves as the lead pastor at Forest Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky. He first started attending Forest in 2006 after being brought on as the Young Adult and Youth minister. Originally a native of Chicago, Williams graduated from Michigan State University and is pursuing a M.Div. from Southern Seminary. Williams is married to Amber, and they have three children.
“Every pastor and SBC member has an important and incredible resource in the ERLC. If you are serious about keeping a hand on the pulse of culture and finding biblical solutions to ethical issues get and stay connected to this movement.”