President-CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources | Author
Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Prior to LifeWay, he served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism. He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
In addition to speaking in hundreds of venues over the past 20 years, Rainer led Rainer Group, a church and denominational consulting firm, from 1990 to 2005. The firm provided church health insights to over 500 churches and other organizations over that period.
Rainer and his wife, Nellie Jo, have three grown sons: Sam, Art and Jess, who are married to Erin, Sarah and Rachel respectively. The Rainers have nine grandchildren: Canon, Maggie, Nathaniel, Will (with the Lord), Harper, Bren, Joshua, Collins, and Joel.
He is the author of more than two dozen books, including Breakout Churches, Autopsy of a Deceased Church, Simple Life, Simple Church, Raising Dad, The Millennials, and Essential Church. His recent book, I Am a Church Member, was #1 on the CBA best-seller list for several months and I Will was just released in June 2015 by B&H Publishing Group.
President of CrossExamined | Author
Dr. Frank Turek is a dynamic speaker and award-winning author or coauthor of four books: Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to make their Case, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, Correct, Not Politically Correct and Legislating Morality. As the President of CrossExamined.org, Frank presents powerful and entertaining evidence for Christianity at churches, high schools and at secular college campuses that often begin hostile to his message. He has also debated several prominent atheists including Christopher Hitchens and David Silverman, president of American Atheists.
Frank hosts an hour-long TV program each week called I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist that is broadcast Wednesday nights on DirecTV Channel 378 (the NRB Network). His radio program called CrossExamined with Frank Turek airs on 186 stations every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. eastern and is available continuously on the free CrossExamined App.
Frank is widely featured guest in the media as a leading apologetics expert and cultural commentator. He has appeared on hundreds of radio programs and many top TV programs including: The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity and Colmes, Faith Under Fire, and Politically Incorrect. He also writes a column for Townhall.com and several other sites.
A former aviator in the US Navy, Frank has a master’s degree from the George Washington University and a doctorate from Southern Evangelical Seminary. He and his wife, Stephanie, are blessed with three grown sons.
President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
Dr. Chuck Kelley is a follower of Jesus, husband to Rhonda, and president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Born in Beaumont, Texas, in 1952, Kelley grew up in First Baptist Church of Beaumont and was ordained as a minister in February 1972 at the age of 19. Kelley earned a bachelor of arts in philosophy from Baylor University in 1974. While there, he met Rhonda Harrington, whom he married in June 1974. Kelley holds two degrees from NOBTS: a master of divinity (1978) and a doctor of theology (1983).
Kelley began teaching evangelism at NOBTS in 1983. From 1989 to 1996, he was the Roland Q. Leavell Professor of Evangelism at the seminary, and from 1993 to 1996, he directed the Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Health. In addition, he was chair of the Pastoral Ministries Division at NOBTS from 1993 to 1995.
In 1996, Kelley became the 8th president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Under his leadership, New Orleans Seminary has become a leader in distance learning sites and now offers a growing number of fully-online degrees. NOBTS also maintains educational programs in prisons in both Louisiana and Mississippi, where inmates earn up to a bachelor of arts degree. The school’s goal is to make theological education accessible to anyone called by God, regardless of location.
Most notably, Kelley guided the seminary through its darkest days following Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. NOBTS was the only school in New Orleans that continued all its programs and all its classes that fall despite having no access to the campus. December 2005 graduation was celebrated in Birmingham. Through the aid of Southern Baptists, the campus was rebuilt and re-opened for students, staff and faculty in August of the next year.
Evangelism. Churches. New Orleans. The Southern Baptist Convention. Ministry training. The next generation of Christian leaders. These are all topics Dr. Kelley is passionate about
International Mission Board President Emeritus
After pastoring for forty-two years, Tom Elliff served the International Mission Board, first as Senior Vice President for Spiritual Nurture and Church Relations from 2005-2009, then as President from 2011-2014. Tom served pastorates in Arkansas, Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma, and as an IMB missionary in Zimbabwe. Tom also served as president of the SBC Pastors Conference and two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Tom is the founder of Living in the Word Publications, named after a radio broadcast he hosted for twenty-five years. Living in the Word is a writing, publishing and speaking ministry focused on the urgency of taking the gospel to the ends of the earth and the ongoing necessity of prayer and spiritual awakening. Tom has spoken in numerous conferences and crusades across the USA and in many countries around the world.
Tom and his wife, Jeannie (now deceased) are blessed with four children, twenty-five grand children and two great-grandchildren. Tom is also a frequent speaker at conferences and on programs addressing issues related to marriage and family. Tom is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University (BA), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (D.Min.).
Pastor of Grove Avenue Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia
Mark Becton has served over 30 years as senior pastor in Texas, Oklahoma, and Virginia where he has witnessed and been humbled by surprising moments of God’s favor among God’s people. He presently serves as Senior Pastor of Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia where his messages are live on NBC affiliates throughout central Virginia and have aired on FamilyNet and the NRB Channel. A published author with Publisher Solution, Ambassador International, and Thomas Nelson, Becton’s persistent prayer is for a revival among the saved, an awakening among the lost, and a reformation in the land…not for our benefit but for God’s glory.
President of Watchman Fellowship
James Walker, the president of Watchman Fellowship, is a former fourth generation Mormon with over twenty years of ministry experience in the field of Christian counter-cult evangelism, apologetics, and discernment. He has been interviewed as an expert on new religious movements and cults on a variety of network television programs including Nightline, ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, and The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. He has spoken at hundreds of churches, colleges, universities, and seminaries throughout the United States and internationally.
Rev. Walker holds a BA in Biblical Studies and an MA in Theology (Summa cum Laude) from The Criswell College in Dallas. He serves on the faculties of Arlington Baptist College and The Criswell College as adjunct professor and co-teaches an annual workshop on alternative religions at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He is an ordained Baptist minister and a member of the Society for the Study of Alternative Religions, the Evangelical Press Association, and serves on the Board of Directors of Evangelical Ministries to New Religions.
In addition to network television, Rev. Walker has been interviewed as an authority on alternative religions and cults on numerous nationwide Christian radio programs. These include Truths that Transform with Dr. D. James Kennedy’s, Hope for the Heart, with June Hunt, Open Line with Kirby Anderson on the Moody Broadcasting Network, and Marlin Maddoux’s Point of View. He also hosted a video training program on witnessing to Mormons for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Because of his background and love for those lost in the cults and alternative religions, James Walker has invested his life into reaching them with the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. His desire is to work together with local churches to evangelize those in the cults and to bring them into healthy, Bible-centered churches.
Pastor of First Euless, Texas
John Meador has served as senior pastor of First Baptist Church Euless since 2006. He is passionate about the Word of God and committed to teaching it creatively because he loves to watch it transform lives. Under his leadership, First Euless has become an intergenerational, multi-ethnic and mission-focused church. His compassionate heart and vision have shaped a church that reaches into the community through ministries like 6Stones Mission Network and all over the world, impacting nations such as Cuba, Columbia, Tanzania and India. He believes those armed with the Gospel leave a lasting mark, and challenges everyone he leads to be a world changer by that standard. The “Can We Talk?” evangelism training format he began in 2014 is now finding favor in numerous churches over a eight-state area.
Part of John’s story is born out of adversity. As a small child, a severe illness resulted in an irreversible hearing loss that left him profoundly deaf. This has given him the opportunity to experience God’s grace in multiple ways. He has watched God turn his disappointments into hope and purpose and believes “[You] can do all things through Christ who gives [you] strength.” He was raised in Purcell, Oklahoma and graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University.
Through the years, John has pastored in Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. He and His wife Kim have been married for over 38 years and are parents of 6 grown children. John loves guns, “real” sports – and loves driving around in an old Ford F-150 – as well as shooting and building stuff.
President and CEO of Lowery Institute for Excellence, Inc
Charles S. Lowery, Ph.D. is President and CEO of Lowery Institute for Excellence, Inc., a non-profit training and consulting organization. Dr. Lowery’s diverse background includes leading a psychological private practice, serving as a college professor, working as a management consultant and speaking as a corporate motivator. For ten years he was pastor of Hoffmantown Church, which was one of the fastest growing churches in America. Hoffmantown baptized over 3000 people during his years there and planted Sagemont Church that now runs over 12,000. Charles’ unique style of humor, encouragement, and motivation has made him one of the most sought after speakers in the country.
Dr. Lowery has helped to train and motivate sales forces, management teams, and employees in companies as well as staffs and congregations across America. Dr. Lowery holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology from the University of South Carolina.
LIFE, Inc. is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to encourage, inspire and motivate men and women through teaching the essential principles of success in the workplace, relationships, and in all areas of life. LIFE, Inc. offers practical and helpful seminars that assist each person in achieving his or her full potential. LIFE, Inc. also provides resources addressing a wide variety of subjects and relational topics.
Dr. Lowery resides in Texas with his wife Penny. They are the parents of three daughters and are grandparents.
Pastor of New Seasons Church, San Diego, California
Dr. A.B. Vines, Sr. serves as Senior Pastor of New Seasons Church, located in Spring Valley & El Cajon, CA. Under Dr. Vines’ visionary leadership, this church has become one of the most unique congregations in the San Diego area, developing from a small African American church of 67 members into a thriving multi-racial-multi-ethnic, multi generational fellowship of more than 700 followers of Christ …and still growing!
Dr. Vines is an effective communicator of God’s Word. He is a certified church consultant and has traveled nationally, teaching on church growth, church health, and leadership through his Impact Church Conference seminars. He has led several client churches to exponential growth through his dynamic teaching on church growth and leadership. NSC partner churches have been inspired by a God-given leader who believes in Kingdom building and, as they follow his counsel, are seeing transformed lives.
Since Dr. Vines, has been Senior Pastor of New Seasons Church, he has planted many other churches with four of them being Hispanic. We have New Seasons Churches in Crest, West Sacramento and Indio California; missions and orphanages in Tecate, Juarez, and Tijuana Mexico and most recently a church plant in Atlanta GA. Our partner, sister, and network churches around the country have embraced Dr. Vines’ teaching on transformed lives and community impact, so as a result are saving souls and Kingdom building.
Dr. Vines is committed to the local church meeting practical needs in the community, to reach it’s neighbors where they are, and to share the love of Christ. He has established a series of ministries as a non profit arm under AB Vines Ministries. The first ministry he established focused on community outreach called Heaven’s Windows, it began as a simple food closet and has grown to affect lives across East County. Heaven’s Windows is now open five days a week providing the only facility in the community with a food pantry, free clothes, housing resource information and more through partnerships with non profit, religious, commercial and government charitable organizations. We have found that as we make ourselves available to serve, God opens the windows of heaven and provides opportunities we could never imagine including the Seasons of Love Block Party that feeds over 5,000 people every year.
AB Vines Ministries also includes AB Vines Consulting, a kingdom minded ministry to assist other churches in improving their impact on their communities. Predestined Ministries is the latest addition, which focuses on transforming lives of recent parolees, with a holistic and systematic approach that seeks to significantly reduce recidivism. The success of this program is based on a clear biblical vision and partnerships with likeminded programs & resources, including managing our own sober living residences.
Pastor of Gardenview Baptist Church, Jacksonville, FL
Dr. Keith was ordained into the ministry at the age of 21, at the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida. He has been in full-time ministry for over 25 years, serving in the pastorate and in evangelism. For 14 years, he and his family answered the call to full-time, faith-based evangelism, where they traveled 50 weeks of the year. Through personal soul winning and sharing how simple it is to witness for Christ, Dr. Keith has taught thousands how to share their faith without fear, and has seen thousands saved.
Dr. Keith now serves as the Senior Pastor of Gardenview Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Dr. Keith and his wife, Mandy, have three sons, Benjamin (Leah), Spencer, Campbell, and two grandchildren, Sadie & Sawyer.