Speakers’ Biographies

Chase AbnerChase Abner serves with the North American Mission Board as lead church planting catalyst in Iowa and as a consultant to The Salt Network. He also serves on the leadership team for Collegiate Collective, a resource focused on elevating and advancing the gospel on college/university campuses.


Arnaldo AchucarroAmaldo Achucarro, a native of Paraguay, has lived in the United States for fifteen years. He currently serves as the hispanic church planter/developer at the Baptist Convention of Iowa. He is also serving as the senior pastor of Christ the Rock Baptist Church (Iglesia Bautista de Cristo la Roca) in Fort Dodge. Achucarro earned his MDiv and is currently working on his doctorate from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

SONY DSCAndy Addis pastors CrossPoint Church. He authored Reading It Right, a systematic strategy for Bible study, and BLOTCH, a children’s book and parent resource from LifeWay/B&H Kids. Andy has a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Communication and an MDivBL from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.


Matt Bartig is the planter and senior pastor of Northroad Community Church. He and his wife, Betsy, have five boys, two of which were adopted through the foster care system. Northroad is a fast-growing church of 600, and is committed to pursuing children in need and women in crisis.

Will BashamWill Basham planted New Heights Church in 2012 after graduating from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. New Heights has grown into a regional multi-site church with three campuses impacting an entire region of the mountain state. Basham also serves with NAMB as a church planting catalyst.


Augie BotoAugie Boto serves as the executive vice president and general counsel for the SBC’s Executive Committee under the leadership of Frank S. Page. He annually orients, trains, and advises Southern Baptist local, state, and national leaders and workers regarding their assignments and work.


Georges Boujakly cropGeorges Boujakly is a native of Lebanon. He has served with the NAMB since 1989 in various capacities: as a church planter, director of missions, church planting catalyst, ethnic church planting director, and state director of missions in both Quebec, Canada and with the Kansas and Nebraska Conventions of Southern Baptists.


Brad BriscoBrad Briscoe is currently the director of bivocational church planting for the North American Mission Board. He also serves on the National Leadership team for Forge America Mission Training Network. Briscoe is the co-author of The Missional Quest: Becoming a Church of the Long Run, among others. He blogs regularly at www.missionalchurchnetwork.com


Felix CabreraFelix Cabrera sirve como el Pastor de la Iglesia Bautista Central y como Director de RED 1:8 Red de Plantación de Iglesias en Oklahoma City, OK. El Pastor Félix nació en San Juan, Puerto Rico y obtuvo su licenciatura en la Universidad de Puerto Rico. Del 2000 al 2005 trabajó como el Gerente General de varios equipos en la Liga Superior de Baloncesto en Puerto Rico y el Equipo Nacional U19 & U21. En el 2005 el Pastor Félix fue llamado al ministerio como pastor de jóvenes en la Iglesia de Cristo Renacer. Recibió una Maestría en Artes en Consejería Pastoral en el Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, y una Maestría en Artes en Plantación de Iglesias en el Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Él y su esposa Denisse tienen dos hijas, Andrea y Adriana.

Tim CotlerTim Cotler
serves as NAMB’s executive director of field operations for Send Relief. He has served in pastoral and denominational work for the Southern Baptist Convention the last 20 years.



Mark CrostonMark Croston served as pastor to an urban congregation in Virginia for 26 years and has traveled, been on mission or preached in over 30 countries. He now serves as national director of Black/Urban Church Partnerships at LifeWay Christian Resources.


Chris EllerChris Eller serves as small group pastor of First Family Church and is responsible for developing group curriculum that closely coordinates with the church’s public teaching. He is the researcher of the teaching team, providing an abundance of commentary, analysis, and illustrations to draw from for sermon development.


Emerson, MarkMark Emerson serves as an associate executive director for the Illinois Baptist State Association where he currently leads the Church Resources Team. He previously served IBSA as the director of missions mobilization. Emerson previously pastored for 18 years in Sherman, IL where he developed an “Acts 1:8 Missions Strategy” which led the church to grow spiritually, numerically and missionally

Lynette Ezell has been married to Kevin 31 years. They have six children and 4 grandchildren, half or whom joined their family through adoption. She is a supporter for adoption and foster care, helping equip families as they answer the call to serve the fatherless. She is a homemaker, speaker and co-host of The Adopting & Fostering Home podcast.

Gordon FortGordon Fort serves as the senior ambassador for the president of the International Mission Board. He earned his MDiv and DMin from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to his years in the continental U.S., Fort lived as an international missionary to Botswana. He resigned from international missionary service in 2004.


David FrancisDavid Francis joined LifeWay in 1997 and has served as director of Sunday School since 2005, promoting small group Bible study nationally and consulting on curriculum development internally. Prior to his current role, David served as associate director of the Church Leadership Division, director of Regional Operations, director of Discipleship, and director of Network Partnerships.


Brian FryeBrian Frye serves as the national collegiate strategist for the North American Mission Board and the collegiate evangelism strategist for the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio. He is also a founding member of Collegiate Collective, a resource focused on elevating and advancing the gospel on college/university campuses.


Darryl GaddyDarryl Gaddy is an urban church planting specialist based in Detroit, MI. He is the former pastor of Victory Fellowship Community Church in Detroit.



GrozaAdam Groza is vice president of enrollment and student services and associate professor of philosophy of religion at Gateway Seminary. He is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a contributing author to books including Idealism and Christian Philosophy, among others. He served most recently as a pastor at Red Hill Church in San Anselmo, CA.


Carmen HalseyCarmen Halsey serves as the director of women’s ministry and missions at IBSA, and the Illinois WMU executive director. She has the privilege of serving alongside Illinois Baptist women to train, equip, and resource multi-generational women by enabling them to engage their worlds and share the gospel.


Daniel ImDaniel Im is the founder of NewChurches.com and the director of church multiplication for LifeWay Christian Resources, and teaching pastor at The Fellowship. He is the author of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (2nd Ed.), among others. Visit Danielim.com to learn more.


Jeff IorgJeff Iorg is the president of Gateway Seminary. He teaches leadership, preaching, and church ministry courses and speaks frequently on these subjects in conferences and other venues. His publications include: The Painful Side of Leadership, The Character of Leadership, and Seasons of a Leader’s Life, among others. He maintains a leadership resources website at JeffIorg.com.

Sam JacksonSam Jackson has planted and pastored churches in 3 cities with his wife. They have also founded an independent mission organization with ministries established in northeast India and the Philippines. Jackson now serves as the lead pastor of Hope Community Church – a church plant with a vision to share Christ as a community of many cultures. He is in the middle of doctoral studies at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Follow his blog at faithincolor.blogspot.com/

Carlos JerezCarlos Jerez serves as the pastor of First Family Church of Bondurant. He planted the Bondurant campus in 2013 and is in the process of transitioning FFC Bondurant to become an autonomous church while maintaining the values that define First Family Church. Carlos brings the strength and knowledge of a trained theologian to the teaching team, keeping the messages rich and deep in biblical truth.

Claudia Johnson is an accomplished and energetic teacher with achievements in establishing and leading a refugee school and leading workshops. She established a one-room schoolhouse for more than 20 refugee middle and high school students who are unable to attend school in the United States, and runs it to this day.

Kelly KingKelly King is the women’s ministry specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources. Previously she served as the women’s missions and ministries specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, taught adjunct courses as Oklahoma Baptist University, and served as the women’s ministry director at Council Road Baptist Church in Bethany, Oklahoma.


Knobloch, SylvanSylvan Knobloch lives based on a deep desire to equip others to know Jesus personally. He will retire from IBSA on December 31 this year and guides the church to ask: “How can we bring God glory in our unique ministry field?”



Jim LightnerJoe Lightner is the lead and founding pastor of Legacy Stone Church within the Indianapolis metro area. He has an expansive ministry background from pastoring growing churches to serving as a Christian organization executive leader. He earned his MDiv from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a DMin from Liberty Theological Seminary.


David MannerDavid Manner is associate executive director for Kansas-Nebraska Convention. David has led worship and leadership conferences for numerous conventions, churches, and educational institutions. He writes for various online and print publications and can be followed on his Worship Evaluation Blog – WorshipEvaluation.org


Angie, Carter and Ryan

Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, has researched the needs and preferences of church leaders, laity, and the unchurched for over 20 years. His in-depth studies and national polls have generated relevant insights on today’s church and culture. Scott authored Multi-Side Churches and co-authored The Parent Adventure. Scott is a co-host of the Keep Asking podcast.


Jeff Medefind serves as president of Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO), equipping God’s people for adoption, foster care and global orphan ministry. He and his wife Rachel reside in California with their five children.

David MelberDavid Melber is VP of Send Relief for NAMB. He earned his MDiv from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Melber served with Crossings Ministries for 16 years, 12 as president and CEO. He and his wife Tera have six children, three of whom were internationally adopted. https://divinenest.com/


Tera Melber has been married to David for 26 years. They have six children, three of whom were adopted. She is an advocate for foster care and adoption and the co-host of The Adopting and Fostering Home podcast.

Melendez, JorgeJorge Melendez is originally from in Honduras, Central America. He has been working for Illinois Baptist State Association as hispanic church planter catalyst for 16 years. Melendez is currently working to obtain his doctorate in ministry on leadership through Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.


Luis MendozaLuis Mendoza is the pastor of Iglesia Bautista Palabra Viva, the director of the Multi-ethnic Church Planting Center, and the Missouri Baptist Convention’s multicultural church planting field assistant – all in Kansas City. A native of Nicaragua, Luis has been involved with church planting since 1992. In 2007, he obtained a Master of Divinity from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is currently enrolled in their Doctoral program.

Jonathon MeyerJonathan Meyers is the founder of Ignite and full-time youth pastor at Grace Church. His passion is disciple-making and sharing the gospel with the lost. He loves equipping parents and students to fulfill the Great Commission.



Dave Miller
David Miller
has been pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Sioux City, Iowa for over 12 years. He is the editor of SBC Voices, a blog that covers issues related to Southern Baptist life. He has served as Second Vice President of the SBC and was the President of the SBC Pastors’ Conference in 2017.


Mark MillmanMark Millman has served as the church planting catalyst with the North American Mission Board and in Wisconsin since 2005, where the Southern Wisconsin Baptist Association has grown from 13 to 30 churches. He earned his MDiv and DMin from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mark is credentialed with the International Coach Federation.


David MitchellDavid Mitchell is the lead pastor at West Ridge Community Church in Wichita, KS. He helped to plant West Ridge in September, 2012. Mitchell earned his MDiv from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and has a deep interest in spiritual transformation through training for Godliness.


Doug MorrowDoug Morrow heads up the Baptist Foundation of Illinois, helping Illinois Baptists respond to God’s call of stewardship upon their lives, and has served in Christian financial management leadership for more than 25 years. He has been a certified fundraising executive since 2001.


Troy Nesbitt cropTroy Nesbitt serves as the director of The Salt Network, a family of next generation churches working together to plant churches in major university cities. In 1986, he became the director of the Baptist Student Union at Iowa State and changed the name to The Salt Company.


Frank PageFrank Page has been president and chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee since 2010. He oversees the convention work of 46,000 plus churches and over 16 million members.



Pajak, PatPat Pajak is the associate executive director of evangelism for the Illinois Baptist State Association. He has pastored two churches in Illinois and has served for ten years on the IBSA staff.



Jim PresnellJim Presnell is pastor of Rock Hill Church in Lawrence, Kansas. Rock Hill was planted to recruit, equip, and deploy ministry laborers in the church. Presnell earned degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Fuller Seminary.


Zach SeanorZachariah Seanor serves on the Children’s Resource Team and the Student Resource Team as the ministry consultant for Royal Ambassadors, Youth on Mission, and Challengers for national WMU. He enjoys seeing people joining together in God’s mission.


Bobby SenaBobby Sena currently serves as the SBC Executive Committee’s hispanic relations consultant. He is also serving as the director of the Hispanic Doctor of Ministry at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He received his MREd from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and DMin from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.


Terry Sharp served as an IMB missionary in Spain and Brazil, then spent 10 years at the Tennessee Baptist Convention as a director—first in the language church planting department, and later in partnership missions. He has also served on the staff of numerous churches. He presently serves the International Mission Board as state, association and diaspora network leader.

Wanda ShellenbargerWanda Shellenbarger has served as the women’s ministry specialist through the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home since 2016 and served in the same position through the Missouri Baptist Convention for 7 years prior to that. Shellenbarger leads sessions for LifeWay’s YOU Lead Conferences when women’s events are brought to the State of Missouri.


Joel SoutherlandJoel Southerland is currently serving as the executive director of evangelism for the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. He is the author of Digital Witness: A Social Media Primer for Outreach and Evangelism.



Mandy Stenberg is the co-founder of the ONE Conference in Iowa and 1229 Ministries – an organization committed to leading women to pursue the One Who alone can satisfy. She also serves as the administrative assistant for the Baptist Convention of Iowa. www.theoneconference.org

Todd StilesTodd Stiles planted and is the lead pastor of First Family Church in Ankeny, IA since 2004. His philosophy of ministry finds its leadership foundation in a plurality of elders who lead the church together under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Stiles is the wordsmith of the teaching team, often crafting easy-to-understand titles and take-home truths to the end product.


Steve TurnerSteve Turner has 30 years of church staff experience with more than 20 working with college students. He currently serves as senior director of next generation mobilization at the North American Mission Board and teaches engaged couples at FBC Woodstock, GA.


Trevin WaxTrevin Wax is the bible and reference publisher at LifeWay Christian Resources and is the author of multiple books, including This Is Our Time: Everyday Myths in Light of the Gospel and Gospel-Centered Teaching: Showing Christ in All the Scripture. His blog, blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/trevinwax/ , is hosted by The Gospel Coalition.


Dave WedekindDavid Wedekind has served in the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention as disaster relief state director for the past twelve years. He earned his D.Min at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and wrote his dissertation on equipping and training Disaster Relief personnel in activities for post-disaster church planting.


Joshua WhetstineJoshua Whetstine serves as the city missionary for the North American Mission Board in Minneapolis and St. Paul. After spending 17 years in the business world, he transitioned into ministry as a church planter in Minneapolis. From there, he transitioned into his current role.


Sandy Wisdom MartinSandy Wisdom-Martin serves as executive director-treasurer for national WMU in Birmingham, Alabama. Prior to this post, she led WMU of Texas as executive director from 2010-2016. She also served as women’s missions and ministries director for the Illinois Baptist State Association from 2001-2010.