David Kinnaman, President, Barna GrouP
David Kinnaman is the author of the bestselling books Good Faith, You Lost Me and unChristian. He is president of Barna Group, a leading research and communications company that works with churches, nonprofits, and businesses ranging from film studios to financial services. Since 1995, David has directed interviews with nearly one million individuals and overseen hundreds of U.S. and global research studies. He and his wife live in California with their three children.
Dr. Tony Merida, Pastor, Imago Dei Church
Tony Merida is the founding pastor of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, N.C. He also serves as Associate Professor of Preaching at Southeastern Baptist Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. His books include:
Dr. Tim Lane, President, Institute for Pastoral Care
Dr. Timothy S. Lane is the President of the Institute for Pastoral Care and has a counseling practice in Fayetteville, GA. He is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and a member of Metro-Atlanta Presbytery. Tim has authored Living Without Worry: How to Replace Anxiety with Peace, and co-authored How People Change and Relationships: A Mess Worth Making. He has written several mini-books including PTSD, Forgiving Others, Sex Before Marriage, Family Feuds, Conflict, and Freedom From Guilt.
After serving as the Executive Director of the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF), Tim and his family re-located to his home state, Georgia, where he formed the non profit ministry the Institute for Pastoral Care. His primary desire and commitment is to help pastors and leaders create or improve their ability to care for the people who attend their churches. He continues to write, speak and travel both nationally and internationally. Tim is adjunct professor of practical theology at several seminaries where he teaches about pastoral care in the local church.
Dr. Charles Ware, President, Crossroads Bible College
Dr. Charles Ware is president of Crossroads Bible College, a biblically conservative evangelical institution dedicated to training Christian leaders to reach a multiethnic urban world for Christ. Dr. Ware speaks in many venues and serves as a consultant on racial reconciliation and leadership. His ministry is well received by audiences of all ethnic groups.
Dr. Ware has authored, co-authored, and edited several books. Among these is One Race One Blood. Dr. Ware co-authored this book with Answers in Genesis founder and President Ken Ham,
Dr. Ware serves on several boards including; The Association of Baptist for World Evangelism (ABWE), The Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE), AnchorsAway and the board of counsel for The Biblical Counseling Coalition.
Dr. Venessa Ellen, Professor, College of Biblical Studies
A native of Beaumont, Texas, Venessa surrendered her life to Christ and to His call to serve His Kingdom in the 90’s. For more than 18 years, Venessa has communicated her burden for the women of God in conferences, seminars, Bible studies and retreats. Because of this burden she has founded a non-profit ministry called The Second Chance Center. The mission of The Second Chance Center is to meet the fundamental needs of young women who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy and have nowhere to live.
She has utilized her gifts and talents in the areas of teaching, counseling, training and mentoring women. More specifically, Venessa has taught, counseled and trained women in the areas of praying, worshiping, fasting, confessing and repenting of sin, renewing the mind, studying the Bible, applying the Bible to their personal lives, managing their time, resolving conflict biblically, relating to one another as God has designed, and honoring, respecting and submitting to God-given authorities.
Mike Griffin, Public Affairs Representative, Georgia Baptist Mission Board
Since January 2014, Mike Griffin has served as the Public Affairs Representative for the Georgia Baptist Convention. His duties include lobbying at the state Capitol and speaking on moral and religious liberty issues around the state.
Mike is a native of Georgia and has been a Southern Baptist pastor for 30 years. His background includes:
Dr. Mike Blackaby, Minister to college and young adults
Mike is the Minister of College and Young Adults at First Baptist Church, Jonesboro, Georgia. He is the oldest grandson of Henry and Marilynn Blackaby. Mike graduated from Ambrose University, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and as of December 2016, with a PhD in Apologetics from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his brother Daniel have written, When Worlds Collide: Stepping up and Standing Out in an anti God Culture out of a concern for the Christian youth who are giving up their faith after they leave high school.
Tim Brown, Founder, His Steps Ministries
Tim Brown is the Director & Counselor of His Steps Ministries in Woodstock, GA. He and his wife are certified by the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).
Substance abusers are seeking help from the church. There is an undeniable sense that God wants to offer hope to those caught in this sinful lifestyle. However, many in the church are unsure of how to counsel those in need. His Steps Ministries believes God wants to bring true and permanent change to the lives of substance abusers through the gospel of Jesus Christ, the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the sufficient resources of God’s Word.
Nate Akin, Pastor for Disciple-Making, Imago Dei Church
Nathan Akin is one of the planting pastors of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh and serves there as the pastor for Disciple-Making. In addition, Nathan serves at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in establishing church partnerships with the Seminary. Nathan has a masters of divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a bachelors degree in political science from Murray State University.