Bill’s passion is to help the church return to its disciple making roots and he considers himself a discipleship evangelist. This God-given desire has manifested itself in 20 of pastoring and the authorship of many books. Two of his more important books, Jesus Christ Disciple Maker, and The Disciple Making Pastor, have both celebrated 20 years in print. Add his third in the popular trilogy, The Disciple Making Church , and you have a new paradigm for disciple making.
Denny Heiberg is an elder in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church where he pastored Grace at Fort Clarke UMC in Gainesville, FL from 1994-2012. He currently serves with TMS Global as a member of their Ministry Resource Group focusing upon Discipleship Training and Member Care. Denny graduated from Columbia International University with a BA in Biblical Studies and Christian Education. He also earned an MA in Biblical Studies, an M. Div., and a D.Min. in Biblical Preaching and Leadership from Asbury Seminary. Denny lives with his wife, Cindy, in Hendersonville, TN. His passion is investing globally in the next generations of leaders who will develop disciple making cultures in their context of ministry.
Brandon Bathauer lives in Costa Mesa, California with his wife Bethany, and has a baby son on the way. He is currently serving as Pastor of Community and Discipleship at Saddleback Church Irvine South Campus. Brandon earned a BA in History and Theology from Azusa Pacific University, and a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. His life objective is to proclaim and live out God’s kingdom in such a way that curiosity is cultivated, hearts and lives are genuinely transformed, and communities come to life in the light of Jesus’ radical love.
Page has a passion to see people grow in Christ and see them impact their neighborhoods and the city. Originally from Alabama, Page moved to New Orleans to attend seminary and fell in love with the city. While falling in love with the city, he also fell in love with his wife, Ashley, who was also attending seminary. Page has served as a church planter and pastor, as well as assistant professor of theology and culture at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (where he still serves as a ministry-based faculty member). Page is a brigade chaplain in the army reserves and previously deployed to Iraq in 2010.
With a degree in Chemical Engineering, experience in Global business development, and expertise in Sales Consulting, Mark Ludwig has spent nearly two decades working in a variety of sales, marketing, and business roles at a Fortune 100 company. Additionally, Mark has served as an elder of his church’s board of directors and more recently as the Chairman of the Board. He has been a participant of a Bonhoeffer Cohort currently implementing Discipleship strategies in his local 1,000+ congregation. He plans to continue to partner with his Senior Pastor to lead a Cohort in the Phoenix area shortly.
Chris Shirley serves as Program Director and Associate Professor of Discipleship with the Graduate School of Ministry at Dallas Baptist University. Prior to his call to DBU, Dr. Shirley served on faculty at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he taught discipleship and family ministry courses. In addition, Dr. Shirley has coordinated discipleship and family ministry degree programs on the master’s and doctoral level. Dr. Shirley has also served for over 20 years in Christian camping and local churches in North Carolina and Texas. He has served the local church as a Youth Minister, Minister of Education, Minister of Family Life, Single Adult Minister, and Associate Pastor. He and his wife, Isabel, live in Fort Worth, Texas, and have a growing family with two married children, two beautiful grandchildren, and one large dog who hogs the bed!
Dr. Matt Kearns is the Making Disciples Catalyst for the Missouri Baptist Convention. He is responsible for developing and implementing strategies that lead Missouri Baptists to make followers of Jesus, model their lives after Him, and obey His command to help others become disciples of Christ. He oversees the group providing strategic leadership, training, and resources to assist present and future MBC churches in making disciples. A native of Festus, Mo., Kearns received a B.S. degree in mass communications / public relations from Southeast Missouri State University, a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He served in local church youth ministry for 14 years and also worked at the North American Mission Board on the Student Evangelism team. He has served on the MBC missionary staff since 2005. Besides his passion for making disciples, Kearns is an avid sports enthusiast, loves to read, and is a huge Cardinals fan! He and his wife, Julie, reside in Jefferson City, Mo.
Ben Sobels is the senior pastor of Cypress Community Church in Salinas, CA (cypresschurch.org). Ben is married to Joni. They have five children. He graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary with a Master of Theology degree. Cypress is committed to being a discipleship community who worships Jesus, loves one another, and serves the world.
Pastor Sam serves as the Lead Pastor at Central Church of the Nazarene after being called in July of 2014. Originally from Columbiana, OH, Sam earned a BA in Psychology at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, an MA Christian Ministry at Malone University, and a Master of Theological Studies at Duke University. Prior to serving at Central Church, he has served in Youth/Associate Pastorates in Ohio and North Carolina and Sr. Pastorates in Troy Ohio, Columbus Ohio, and now Lenexa, Kansas.
Geron Bryan has been the lead Pastor of the Long Beach Church of Christ since 2007. He has been married to his best friend, Kenrie since 1991. Geron and Kenrie are blessed with four awesome daughters, Kayly, Abbie, Emma, and Bet. He has studied Bible, ministry and theology at Oklahoma Christian University, Austin Graduate School of Theology, and Talbot School of Theology. Geron has a passion for the Glory of God to be exhibited in the people of God. He believes that our primary mission field is our neighborhoods.
Dieter is a graduate of Canadian Theological Seminary and has been serving as a pastor with the Christian & Missionary Alliance since the fall of 1983. He and his wife Deborah recently celebrated their 41st anniversary and are enjoying the blessing of having their youngest son Matthew serving as a pastor in the same District with them. Since 2013 he has been serving as a Transitional Pastor with the Alliance in Alberta. Being involved in the Bonhoeffer Project has helped him to plant the beginnings of a discipleship culture in the churches where he serves.
Paul is Senior Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Dothan, AL, where he has served since 2012. Prior to coming to Calvary, Paul served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Jensen Beach, FL, for 15 years. Paul holds an M.Div from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a D.Min from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is married to Cecilia and is father to Daniel (24), Alex (22), Mark (19), and Sarah (18). Paul is most passionate about developing a disciple-making culture in the local church that affects every ministry and missionary effort.
Sandy Mason is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he met his wife Margie and where Jesus found them both. He has a Master in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He is ``dad`` to two sons and two daughters, all grown, and ``Papa`` to four grandchildren. He loves his life with Margie, opening their home to friends and family, watching football, horse-back riding and a form of golf. You can learn more about his philosophy of ministry in his book, Smarter than Jesus?
Jim Thomas is the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Georgia. Jim earned a Bachelors of Arts in Religion from Baylor University, a Masters of Arts in Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from Dallas Baptist University. Prior to serving at Fayetteville First Baptist, Jim served 15 years as a Student Pastor in Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi and 8 years as an Executive Pastor in Texas. He is married to Laura and they have two teenage daughters. His passion is to help every believer take personal responsibility for the Great Commission and lead others toward a Christ-centered life.
John along with Chris Lagerlof, founded Mission O.C. where he serves as the Visionary Catalyst. Mission O.C. exists to mobilize Churches to multiply and collaborate to reach every, man, woman, and child with the Gospel in all of the 34 cities in Orange County. He is an experienced church planter who has planted throughout the United States. He is passionate about Church planting, leadership development, and city transformation! In his former life he represented the U.S. in the 1988 Olympics, and then pursued a 10-year professional hockey career. John and his wife, Chris, have five children and currently live in Costa Mesa CA.
Travis Cardwell was born in a small town outside of Houston called Liberty, TX in 1979. He did not respond to the gospel until his freshmen year in college. It was through the preaching of the gospel, at First Baptist Church in Bryan, TX, and through relationships with other Christians that he turned from his sins to trust in Christ. Soon after Travis became a Christian, he became involved in evangelism and college ministry at his church in Bryan. After several years, he began to sense a call into ministry, and by his junior year in college he knew he would attend seminary after graduation. God was faithful at every step along to way to guide Travis and Alicia through seminary and eventually to Baptist Church of the Redeemer in 2006, upon graduation. Travis holds a B.S. from Texas A&M University in Industrial Distribution, and a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Travis is married to his lovely wife Alicia and has four children–Caraline, Brayton, Caleb and Adelyn. Travis enjoys spending time with his family, reading, all sorts of outdoor sports, and following Texas Aggie Football.
Rich Rakay has been in full-time pastoral ministry for over 16 years. He is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and currently serves Trinity UMC in Delphos, OH. He also brings experience as an enlisted Marine helicopter crew chief, manager of a commercial and industrial insulation contracting company, hospital chaplain, and military chaplain. He is no stranger to hard work, striving to achieve, teamwork, or leading people. But, after a season "in the pit of despair", he realized it was all for not. This included most of what he had done under the umbrella of ministry. He concluded with the Preacher ..."the end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is whole duty of everyone."(Ecc. 12:13) Rich would discover that the chief commandments of Loving God and Loving Others as Jesus outlines in Matthew 22 are brought together in the Great Commission. Only when he is intentionally engaged in investing in the lives of others from the riches of God's glorious blessings to make disciples who make disciples, does he feel he is genuinely living into the call on his life. He strives to make this a more regular practice through serving his lovely wife Mallory, his two teenage daughters, the Delphos Ohio community, the soldiers of the Ohio Army National Guard, and fellow pastors through the Bonhoeffer Project network. He is currently leading the Northwest Ohio Cohort.
Raised in Harriman, TN, Darrell moved to Knoxville in 1981 to complete his BS in Business Administration, Accounting at the University of Tennessee. He married his wife Robin in 1985 and worked as Business Administrator of a Research Division at ORNL from 1986-1997. In 1996, he and Robin surrendered to the ministry and from 1997-2014 he was on the Senior Ministerial Staff at Grace Baptist, Knoxville, serving in positions including Business Administrator, Executive Administrator, IT Director, Local Ministries and Discipleship. He has experience in personnel management, team building and leadership development. Darrell completed his Master of Arts in Christian Leadership from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in 2011. Darrell and Robin have 3 adult children and one granddaughter. Darrell & Robin want to use their gifting and experience to lead the local church to grow through a commitment to God’s Word and the process of discipleship.
Cindy serves as Spiritual Journey Pastor at Bay Life Church in Brandon, FL. She holds a B. S. in Christian Ministries, and a Master’s in Organizational Leadership. Cindy directs the discipleship program and writes curriculum for her church. Additionally, she is an adjunct professor at Trinity College of Florida. Cindy is married to her high school sweetheart, has two kids, and loves helping others grow closer to Christ through discipleship. Cindy leads Women’s Cohorts for The Bonhoeffer Project.
West was born and raised in Houston and attended college at the University of Texas at Austin. Almost immediately after becoming a Christian his freshman year, West started volunteering in youth ministry and worked with youth for the remainder of his time in Austin. During his senior year, he met Mary Lowry and they married a year after graduation. West and Mary moved to Colorado shortly thereafter to attend Denver Theological Seminary. They made the move back to Texas after West received a call to be the Youth Pastor at First Evangelical Free Church in Austin. He worked for 4 ½ years at First Evangelical Free as the Youth Pastor and then moved to Mammoth Lakes, CA to be the Senior Pastor of Grace Community Church. West and Mary have three precious children: Will, Rebekah, and Annie Kate.
Stephen is the Lead Pastor of Grace City Church in Irvine, California. He made the cross-country move in 2015 from North Carolina to California to plant Grace City. Currently, Grace City is a multi-ethnic church focused on making disciples that make disciples. Stephen is married to his best friend, Lauren. They have three beautiful and hilarious children; Lily Kate, Ainsley, and Carter.
Brian Schulz is Rector and Lead Pastor of Christ's Church in Yucaipa, CA. He also serves as Canon for Church Planting for the Diocese of Western Anglicans where he is responsible for strategy development and resourcing for church planting in four geographic areas: Los Angeles, San Diego, Arizona, the Rocky Mountains. Brian planted Christ's Church directly out of seminary when a small group of Anglicans decided they wanted to plant a church in the San Bernardo area and has been the Lead Pastor ever since. He is married to the wonderful woman Julie and the two have an eleven year old son, Simeon.