Jon Acuff is the New York Times Bestselling author of five books including his most recent, Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work and Never Get Stuck.
For 18 years he’s helped some of the biggest brands in the world tell their story, including The Home Depot, Bose, Staples, and the Dave Ramsey Team. Most recently he’s spoken to hundreds of thousands of people across the country at events for companies such as Microsoft, Whirlpool, and Comedy Central. Featured regularly on national media, Jon has been seen on CNN, Fox News, Good Day LA and several other key outlets. He’s also written for Time, the Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Reader’s Digest, and MSNBC.
In addition, Jon is also a big proponent of social media with blogs that have been read by 4 million people and more than 265,000 twitter followers. In 2010 he used his influence with his tribe to build two kindergartens in Vietnam. Jon lives with his wife Jenny and two daughters in Franklin, TN.
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 ten grandchildren: Canon, Maggie, Nathaniel, Will (with the Lord), Harper, Bren, Joshua, Collins, Joel, and James.
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 Who Moved My Pulpit? was just released in June 2016 by B&H Publishing Group.
Adam Weber lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He likes typewriters, drives a Rambler, cheers for the Cincinnati Bengals, has 4 chickens, and a dog named Daisy. He’s the Founder and Lead Pastor of Embrace, a 10-year-old church that has grown to 6 campuses in two states. For the past four years, Embrace has been recognized as one of Fastest Growing Churches in America by Outreach Magazine. His book on prayer called Talking With God releases March 21st through Waterbrook Multnomah. He and his beautiful wife, Becky, have four kids: Hudson, Wilson, Grayson and Anderson. Fun fact: He once made worldwide news when a turkey vulture fell out of the sky and onto his back porch during an ice storm. Google it. Find out more at adamweber.com
Affectionately known as “PASTOR T,” Reverend Gadson is a member of numerous church-related, community, academic, and national organizations; including President of the National Black Clergy Women of the United Methodist Church (BCWUMC), the African American Clergywomen’s Caucus, the NAACP, and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. With sensitivity and a warm smile as her hallmarks, Reverend Telley Lynnette Gadson is recognized as a ministry mentor, a church leadership coach, a national leader and some have even said “national evangelist” in the United Methodist Church. She models her life after the African-American spiritual: “If I can help somebody as I travel along the way, then my living shall not be in vain.
Robert Schnase serves as bishop of the South Central Jurisdiction of the
San Antonio Episcopal Area, and is the author of the bestselling books Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, Five Practices of Fruitful Living, Practicing Extravagant Generosity, and Seven Levers: Missional Strategies for Conferences. His latest book, Just Say yes: Unleashing People for Ministry, is written for people whose passion has been simmering for years, who yearn to be told Yes! Schnase examines the systems and attitudes that restrain and control ministry. He demonstrates practical ways church leaders can rethink fundamental assumptions about organizations and leadership.
Before his election as bishop, Schnase served for 15 years as senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in McAllen, Texas, a congregation that became widely known for its extensive mission and outreached, for reaching younger generations, and bicultural ministry. He also served congregations in Harlingen, Texas and in Great Britain. Schnase is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and Perkins School of Theology. He enjoys birding, fishing, canoeing, and traveling in Central America. Schnase‘s wife, Esther, works as a librarian with the University of Missouri, and they have two sons, Karl and Paul.
Rev. Shane Bishop is the Senior Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, IL. Christ Church worship attendance has increased from 200 to over 2,100 since Shane’s appointment in 1997. He was named The Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church in 2010 and Christ Church was recognized as the seventh fastest growing United Methodist congregation in the United States in early 2016. Christ Church has three regional campuses and two Biker churches in addition to the main campus in Fairview Heights, Illinois. Shane holds both graduate and undergraduate degrees from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and graduated cum laude from Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Elected to represent the Illinois Great Rivers Conference at General Conference three times and Jurisdictional Conference four times, Shane served as a member of the North Central Jurisdictional Episcopacy Committee from 2004-2012. He has published two books, has been a featured writer in many publications.
Ashley is the Senior Leader at Swan Bank, the largest Methodist congregation in England. He joined the staff in September 2007. He has a passion for reaching the forgotten people for Jesus in his city’s urban setting. He and his wife, Moira, have two children.
Brad grew up in New Castle, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Asbury College and Asbury Seminary before coming to Michigan in 1981. Brad met his wife, Colleen, in college. After moving to Michigan, they started a family. Brad and Colleen have two children, Kaylee and Ben.
In addition to his role as Lead Pastor at Cornerstone, Brad was also acting Director of New Church for the West Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church from 2007-2009. He has been a workshop/seminar speaker for the Reuben Job Institute of Leadership (the North Central Jurisdiction), and the School of Congregational Development. Brad also coaches new church pastors all across the country.
Melissa Bishop has served full-time positions at Christ Church in both Student Ministries and Worship and currently serves as the Children and Student Staff Coordinator. She is a wonderful speaker known for her honesty about church, family and ministry all served with grace and good humor. Melissa has been a consistent innovator at Christ Church and a catalyst for moving the congregation in uncharted waters. She is the wife of our Senior Pastor Shane Bishop. The Bishops have two grown children and four young grandchildren.