Steeple to Street: Leadership in a New Mission Era features a cross-section of leaders, thinkers and practitioners who consider the Holy Spirit to be the driving force that empowers the Church to participate in the Mission of God. Presenters are listed in alphabetical order by category.
Iosmar Alvarez is originally from Cuba and has been in the US since 2001. God began to work in his life as Local Pastor in United Methodist Church Kentucky Conference in 2002. He has planted 3 Hispanic Churches in Kentucky in the past 10 years. He has his Masters in Divinity from United Theological Seminary (Dayton, Ohio) and another Masters degree in Christian Leadership from Lindsey Wilson College. Dr. Alvarez is a prolific author on leadership development and church growth, having 4 books written in those subjects. Additionally, Dr. Alvarez is a certified coach for SLI & Path1, the national UMC recognized agencies for church planting, development and transformation. At the same time, pastor Alvarez graduated with his Doctorate of Ministry degree from Asbury Theological Seminary on May 20, 2017. Currently Dr. Alvarez serves as Senior Pastor for Fuente De Avivamiento/Spring of Revival with 400+ members and 100 home churches. Dr. Alvarez has the honor to train leaders nationwide on how to plant churches and develop church culture and processes to make disciples. Dr. Alvarez pastors along with his wife Zulayne Alvarez, who supports and helps him in carrying the vision to the future generations.
Tod Bolsinger joined Fuller Seminary in March 2014 as vice president for vocation and formation and an assistant professor of practical theology. He transitioned to Vice President and Chief of the Leadership Formation in 2017. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1993, Dr. Bolsinger served as senior pastor of San Clemente Presbyterian Church from 1997-2014. Prior to that, he served as associate pastor of discipleship and spiritual formation at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. With a Master of Divinity and a PhD in theology from Fuller Seminary, Tod has taught Master’s and Doctor of Ministry classes since 2001. Tod has extensive experience in executive coaching, marketplace, church, and nonprofit consulting, blogs on leadership formation (bolsinger.blogs.com), and is the author of three books: It Takes a Church to Raise a Christian: How the Community of God Transforms Lives, Show Time: Living Down Hypocrisy by Living Out the Faith, and Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory. Click HERE for more info on Tod.
Alan Hirsch is widely considered to be a global thought-leader on missional movements and leadership. He has worked with churches and organizations across the world, but mainly in North America, Europe, and Australia. Alan is the founder of 100 Movements, Forge Mission Training Network, Future Travelers, and now 5Q Collective. All these organizations focus on pioneering leadership development and training and consulting in on the church as missional movement. Hirsch is the author of numerous award winning books including The Forgotten Ways, 5Q, The Shaping of Things to Come, ReJesus, The Faith of Leap, Untamed, Right Here, Right Now, On the Verge, and The Permanent Revolution. His experience includes leading a local church movement among the marginalized, developing training systems for innovative missional leadership, and heading up the mission and revitalization work of his denomination. Alan is co-founder of the M.A. in Missional Church Movements at Wheaton College (Illinois). He is also adjunct professor at Fuller Seminary, George Fox Seminary, Asbury Seminary, among others, and he lectures frequently throughout Australia, Europe, and the United States. He is series editor for IVP’s Forge line, Baker Books’ Shapevine series.
Deb Hirsch is a speaker, church leader and writer who has led churches in both Australia and Los Angeles. She is one of the founders of Forge Mission Training Network and is a member of the Forge America national team. She also serves as a board member for Missio Alliance and was part of the leadership team of Christian Associates, a church planting movement in Europe, North & South America. She is the co-author of Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship, and her new book Redeeming Sex reflects her own journey and attempts to bring new conversations about sexuality into the context of the church. She and her husband live in community with others in Los Angeles. Click HERE for more info on Deb.
Canon Phil Potter is the Archbishops’ Missioner and national Team Leader of Fresh Expressions. Before this, he was Director of Pioneer Ministry in the Diocese of Liverpool where 1 in 3 parishes has now planted at least one fresh expression of church. He has also been involved for the past few years in national and international strategies for promoting new ways of doing church, and in the recent past has worked as a consultant and speaker in Australia, New Zealand, North America, S. Africa, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Germany. For 20 years, he was vicar of St Marks Haydock, leading and pastoring the church through many transitions, from being a traditional urban congregation to a large and vibrant mixed economy Cell Church, able to resource and encourage others with it's story of renewal, reordering, restructuring and reinventing. He has written two books: Pioneering a New Future (formerly published as The Challenge of Change) and The Challenge of Cell Church. He is married to Joy and has two children and small grandchildren.
Evelyn Sekajipo is the founder and executive director of a Christian mentoring program in Tampa, FL called Mama Africana. Established in 2005, Mama Africana’s mission is to empower black girls in their ethnic identity and in their relationship with Jesus. The mission is accomplished through one on one and group mentoring, bible study, academic advocacy, leadership development, and entrepreneurial opportunities. Evelyn received a Bachelor's in Social Work from the University of South Florida in 2009 and is currently a Masters in Intercultural Studies candidate at Asbury Theological Seminary. Evelyn is a Governing Elder with Underground Network in Tampa Bay and has been a core leader since its inception in 2002. Evelyn’s husband of 13 years, Wil, is a high school math teacher and director of a boys mentoring program called Mshauri. They reside in Tampa, FL with their 10 year old handsome, intelligent, athletic and Jesus loving son named, Amarius. Click HERE for more info on Evelyn.
WORKSHOP & FORUM LEADERS:
Edwin Andrade is Co-Pastor of Riverside Presbyterian Church in Sterling, VA, one church that worships in 2 languages. He also co-leads a ministry with day laborers in Herndon, VA, known as Lunch for the Soul and spear heads Riverside’s missional outreach to a specific part of our community known as Sugarland Run. Edwin is a New Worshiping Communities coach, has led workshops on starting new worshiping communities, has led church planter assessments, and is a key voice in different committees and presbyteries of the PCUSA that facilitate existing congregations and new immigrant ministries to connect with the second generation.
Chris Backert serves as the National Director of Fresh Expressions US. His passion is working with church leaders to develop new expressions of Christian community. In addition to his role with Fresh Expressions, he serves as the Director & Organizational Architect for Ecclesia, a national network of missional churches, and acting Executive Director of the Missio Alliance. In the past, Chris pastored New Life Christian Fellowship in Blacksburg, VA, one of the largest university congregations in the U.S. and helped plant Imago Dei Community in Richmond, VA and Crossroads Church in Odenton, MD. Chris completed his doctoral work on the future of denominations at Fuller Theological Seminary. He lives in Harrisburg, PA with his wife Rachel, their daughter Elliana and son Jase.
Michael Beck is the North Central District Cultivator of Fresh Expressions for the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. He is also Senior Pastor of Wildwood and Oxford United Methodist Churches, where he directs addiction recovery programs, a jail ministry, a food pantry, and a network of fresh expressions that meet in places like tattoo parlors and burrito joints. He currently lives in Wildwood with his wife, Jill, and their blended family of 8 children.
Kris Beckert serves as a Trainer for Fresh Expressions US. She also is a Church Planter of the Graham Road campus of Vine Church, a United Methodist church plant of the Virginia Annual Conference. She completed an M.Div. at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC, an M.S. from The University of Maryland, and a B.S. in Environmental Science at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she ran cross country. Kris has served at churches in the American Baptist, United Methodist, and Nazarene traditions and is an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene. Part of her ministry has been starting fresh expressions of church for young adults, equipping lay leadership for ministry, and launching new creative forms of small groups in Northern Virginia.
Brad Bloom is the publisher of Faith & Fitness Magazine and Shout! Outdoor Lifestyle Magazine. He is president of Lifestyle Media Group, a ministry that develops content to help you connect your daily lifestyle with the Christian faith. Faith & Fitness Magazine's national Redefined Conference, co-located annually at the Athletic Business Show, brings church leaders and fitness professionals together for dynamic networking and an immersive examination of how to lead in redefining the fitness culture. Through ChurchFitness.com, Brad delivers direct ongoing support to organizations, businesses and entrepreneurs who are poised to impact their communities with innovation and passion through lifestyle ministry.
J.R. Briggs is the Founder of Kairos Partnerships, a ministry that seeks to love the Church by caring for Her leaders. His role with Kairos Partnerships is expressed through coaching, consulting, speaking, equipping and writing serving a wide variety of leaders, pastors, churches, non-profits, ministries, companies and denominations. He is also an adjunct professor at Biblical Theological Seminary, and guest instructor at Friends University, specifically with the Apprentice Institute. He also serves as the Director of Leadership & Congregational Formation for The Ecclesia Network and National Trainer & Equipper for Fresh Expressions U.S. He is an author, co-author and contributor of nine books that seek to equip and care for kingdom leaders. J.R. and his wife Megan have been married for over 15 years and have two sons, Carter and Bennett. They live in the heart of Lansdale, PA.
Mia Chang is Lead Pastor of NextGen Church, which she planted in 2008. Mia was ordained as a pastor by the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey upon completing her studies at the Alliance Theological Seminary in New York. She obtained her doctorate in ministry studies at Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University in Pennsylvania.
Travis Collins is Director Mission Advancement and Southeast Regional Coordinator for Fresh Expressions US. From 2002 until March 2014 he served as Senior Pastor of Bon Air Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia and has recently become Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church of Huntsville, Alabama. He is a graduate of Samford University and earned the Master of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Travis’ twenty-five plus years of ministry have included missionary service in Venezuela and Nigeria. He is the author of Fresh Expressions of Church and From the Steeple to the Street: Innovating Mission and Ministry Through Fresh Expressions of the Church. Travis and his wife Keri have three adult children.
Graham Cray is an Honorary Assistant Bishop in the Church of England and the Advocate for Fresh Expressions and Pioneer Ministry in the Diocese of York. He is the former team leader of the UK Fresh Expressions Team. In 2004, Graham chaired the working group that authored the report that launched the Fresh Expressions initiative. He serves as the UK liaison to the Fresh Expressions Teams in the US and South Africa. Previous roles include Vicar of St. Michael le Belfrey in York, Principal of Ridley Hall Theological College in Cambridge and Bishop of Maidstone.
Luke Edwards is a Mission Strategist and Trainer for Fresh Expressions US. He is also the Pastor of King Street Church, and Coordinator of Fresh Expressions for the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. King Street Church is a network of fresh expressions and the newest campus of Boone United Methodist Church in Boone, NC. King Street Church currently has fresh expressions meeting in bars, coffee shops, the local homeless shelter, and the county jail. Luke is also a licensed local pastor in the United Methodist Church and recently graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary. His life and ministry are dedicated to folks on the margins who have been excluded from the church. He enjoys speaking and writing about his wild little church, fresh expressions, and the future of the American Church.
Heather Evans currently serves on the Pastoral staff of Grace Church in Cape Coral, Florida where she lives with her husband and three children. In addition to leading local reach ministries for Grace like Adopt-a-School, Shoes of Hope, and a food pantry, Heather oversees several Fresh Expressions of church. One of these, Eat, Pray, Love is a dinner church located in the second largest trailer park in America. Heather is passionate about bringing church to people from all walks of life who are far from God.
David Fitch is B. R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary Chicago, IL. He pastors Peace of Christ Church (C&MA) Westmont, IL along with three other pastors. He has participated in 7 church plants in his life and coaches church planters all over US and Canada. He writes on the issues the local church must face in Mission including cultural engagement, leadership, and theology. His theology combines Neo-Anabaptist streams of thought, his commitments to evangelicalism and his love for political theory. His latest book is entitled Faithful Presence: How God Shapes the Church for the Sake of the World. He's married to Rae Ann and they have one child, a son Max.
Verlon Fosner has led an innovative congregation in Seattle Washington since 1999. In 2008 the congregation transitioned from a traditional proclamation church into a multi-site Dinner Church called Community Dinners. In 2016, Verlon joined the Fresh Expression US leadership team and began coaching declining churches, leading “Dinner Church Encounters” across the country, and hosting “Seattle Immersions” at their home, which enables a few leaders at a time to observe Dinner Churches in action followed by training conversations around a fireplace. Verlon holds a Doctorate of Ministry from Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, and has written several books. He and his wife Melodee have three adult children, five grandchildren, a collection of grand-foster-kids, and two grand-dogs.
Patty Groot has been the Director of Outreach at Christ Church United Methodist since 2006. At the largest United Methodist Church in Kentucky, she is responsible for equipping, training and deploying her congregation for service in the community and in the world, and, to help them live out the church mission of 'Becoming living proof of God’s love, one person at a time'. She is an alumna of Indiana University Southeast and is certified in Project Management, Six Sigma Lean Black Belt Professional, Change Management and is a United Methodist Volunteers in Mission Team Leader Trainer. Most recently, Patty has lead the formation of three Fresh Expressions in Louisville which currently have an attendance of over 160 each week. Patty is a regular contributor to Reflections Magazine and enjoys writing for her blog entitled Bridging the Gap. Patty is the mother of four grown children and the grandmother of three.
Shannon Kiser serves as Director of Training for Fresh Expressions US. She also is the director of the coaching network for the New Worshiping Community movement in the Presbyterian Church USA, and one of the pastors of Riverside Presbyterian Church, a northern Virginia church with multiple Fresh Expressions. She is a graduate of Texas Christian University and holds a Masters of Divinity from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Shannon has served churches in Texas and Virginia, as well as the Church Growth Office of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Shannon and her husband Patrick live in Springfield, VA and have two high school daughters.
Edwin Lacy was born and raised in the mountains of southwestern Virginia. He grew up in the Wytheville Presbyterian Church. After graduating from Virginia Tech, he played folk and bluegrass music professionally and semi-professionally until entering seminary in 1997. He received his Masters of Divinity from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Iowa where he focused on small town and rural church ministry. After seminary Edwin served small congregations in Iowa, Indiana and Virginia. Most recently he founded and lead the Wild Goose Christian Community, a 1001 New Worshiping Community sponsored by Abingdon Presbytery that presents the Good News of Jesus Christ in a context celebrating Appalachian heritage and culture.
Matt Lake serves as the Lead Pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Williamsport, PA—an urban congregation that consists of a mix of traditional and contemporary worship experiences. First Church also currently hosts a network of fresh expressions of ministry called the Acts Network in which people meet in places such as homes, gyms, and coffee shops. Matt is a graduate of Messiah College has an Master in Divinity from Duke Divinity School. Matt is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Ministry focusing on Semiotics and Future Studies through Portland Seminary. Matt has worked with a variety of churches in a consultant role and has a passion to see God’s Kingdom impacted through lives transformed in the love of Jesus Christ. Matt is deeply in love with his beautiful wife Jennifer and is doing his best to keep up with his three amazing teenagers—Alexandra, Joshua, and Zach.
Mitch Marcello is the Director of the Acts Network, a collection of fresh expressions of faith connected with the local church. He works with leaders to explore faith expressions, create meaningful communities and grow personal understanding about what it means to be a disciple in a rapidly changing culture. After spending five years working with the CCO (Coalition for Christian Outreach) doing college ministry and community outreach, Mitchell sees the importance of contextualizing ministry, and knows connecting pioneering ministries with the traditional church is vital to the Gospel being spread. It is not about being the newest form of ministry, but about doing what is needed to make the Gospel “news” again. Mitchell works at First United Methodist Church in Williamsport, PA, has helped start eleven faith communities and is in the process of launching fresh expressions of worship throughout Williamsport. Mitchell holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts and an Artist Diploma from Carnegie Mellon University.
Eliseo A. Mejia is an ordained elder in the Kentucky Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church where he serves now as the lead pastor of Paris First UMC. As a fully bilingual pastor, he has served for 8 years at Mosaic UMC - a multicultural and multiethnic merged congregation in Louisville, KY. Furthermore, he serves as the Associate Director of Hispanic, multi-ethnic, and international ministries with the New Church Development office of the Kentucky Annual Conference. He has helped plant 12 churches in Kentucky and has coached 400+ new and seasoned leaders within the past 18 years in the USA and abroad. He has been able to implement new church planting models in Texas, where he planted three congregations. He has also used the Incubator model during the last 14 years to train and launch new church planters. He was the founder and director of H.I.L.T. (Hispanic International Leadership Training) in Dallas, TX. In Guatemala, under his guidance, Jeriel Evangelical Church became the first transcultural missionary-sending church. He holds two master’s degrees, one from Central American Theological Seminary in Guatemala (1992), and from Dallas Theological Seminary (1986). He graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary with a Doctor of ministry degree with its focus on Leadership Multiplication and Communications May 19, 2017.
Isaac Olivarez and his wife, Jaime, founded Urban Outreach Denver in 2012 and planted a Thursday night dinner church called Community Dinners, a church for Denver’s homeless and marginalized in 2013. UO Denver is located in Five Points, an inner city Denver neighborhood historically known for crime, drugs and poverty, but that is currently experiencing a resurgence of economic growth. Isaac and Jaime also launched a Monday night “Community Dinner” for kids called Little Rascals, and host a summer kids camp, short-term missions teams, back-to-school outreaches, as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas outreaches. Isaac and Jaime have been married 15 years and have three kids: Isabella (11), Abraham (7) and Nasya (4). They also have a Goldendoodle named Rocky.
Carey Sims serves as co-director of The Center for Faith and Leadership at The University of Mary Washington, where she and her husband are training the next generation of leaders through spiritual formation and leadership development rooted in prayer and action. Carey is passionate about pioneering fresh expressions of church in the local community and developing new economic models that lead to ministry sustainability. As an entrepreneur, she is particularly interested in the intersection between theology and economics and how the church can make local impact, proclaiming the gospel through innovation and enterprise. As a married couple they work to bring fresh expressions of church to the collegiate community at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Gannon Sims serves as co-director of The Center for Faith and Leadership at The University of Mary Washington, where he and his wife are training the next generation of leaders through spiritual formation and leadership development rooted in prayer and action. Gannon serves as Director of Ministry Formation, developing our cross denominational networks, The Amore Project and the Ananias Project. He also coordinates the Fresh Expressions efforts of the Baptist General Association of Virginia. As a married couple they work to bring fresh expressions of church to the collegiate community at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Mike Snedeker is the Lead Pastor of Community Evangelical Church in Sinking Spring, PA – a congregation that averages about 400 in attendance on Sunday mornings. He began working with Community in September of 1993 as the youth pastor and has served in many different roles until becoming the Lead Pastor in April of 2012. Mike has a passion for church multiplication and fell in love with the FX model about 3 years ago. Over the past year, Community has passionately pursued making disciples in and out of the church and has partnered with Fresh Expressions to help establish new ministry models in and around Berks County, PA. Mike Snedeker is married to his wife Beth for 23 years and is the proud father of two girls Allysa and Cassidy.
Craig Williams serves as Western Regional Coordinator and Mission Strategist for Fresh Expressions US. Craig was the organizing pastor of Trabuco Presbyterian Church of the PCUSA and pastored that congregation in Southern California for 19 years. Since, Craig has served the PCUSA both regionally (in the Pacific Northwest) and nationally (as Catalyst for 1001 New Worshiping Communities in the Western States). Craig developed a process for assessing potential church planting leadership, Discerning Missional Leadership and has assessed hundreds of individuals who have expressed interest in new expressions of church. He also helped develop the PCUSA’s national coaches network and was one of the authors of “Starting New Worshiping Communities: A Discernment Process”. As Pastor of Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, he thinks it’s time to assist an inherited congregation with embracing a mixed economy of Church for a changing context.
Dèxios, ("the right hand of God" in Greek) is an innovative musical duo formed by the siblings Gabriel and Vanesa Dávila-Luciano. The duo is originally from Ponce, Puerto Rico, bringing a fresh sound to Christian and independent music by combining the sounds of acoustic guitars and drums with Latin music. Dèxios’ lyrics focus on the positive themes of social relevance, communion, devotion, hope and adoration, based on Scripture. In 2012 Dèxios released their debut album, entitled "Uno En Ti (We Are One)". The album speaks of God as a transforming spirit, referring to what God has done and continues to do in their lives. In 2015 they released another album “Un Nuevo Día (A New Day)”, which reminds listeners that they are new creatures with new beginnings in Christ.
Gabriel and Vanesa have a passion for music, but they also love equipping other musicians and ministries. That is why in addition to being musicians, they are entrepreneurs with a design company - Dèxios Design. They provide design services for various creative ministries, helping these ministries reach more people.
Jesse Colon is the Worship Coordinator for Riverside Presbyterian Church in Sterling, Virginia.
Cheryl McCarthy serves as the Coordinator of Prayer Mobilization desiring to under gird the foundation of this national missional movement in prayer. She brings over 20 years of Intercessory Prayer experience as she and her husband, Bill, have served in Anglican church plants. They began in Virginia at Truro Church in Fairfax and Christ the Redeemer in Centreville then serving in the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) for 7 years. Cheryl is the Head Intercessor for the Titus Institute for Church Planting and is the Executive Director of The SEEDS Ministry in New Bern, North Carolina that began out of her service to a local golf club. Cheryl and Bill have five awesome children; Caela, Isabella, Daniel, Gracie, and Liliana who are each thriving in their mission life together.