Nancy Guthrie teaches the Bible through numerous Bible study books, at her home church, Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Franklin, Tennessee, as well as at conferences around the country and internationally. She offers companionship and biblical insight to the grieving through Respite Retreats that she and her husband, David, host for couples who have faced the death of child, through the GriefShare video series, and through books such as Holding on to Hope and Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow. She is also the host of the “Help Me Teach the Bible” podcast at The Gospel Coalition.
Robert Smith, Jr.
Robert Smith, Jr. holds the Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School where he teaches Christian Preaching. Previously he served as the Carl E. Bates Associate Professor of Christian Preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. A popular teacher and preacher, he received Southern’s 1996 Findley B. Edge Award for Teaching Excellence. An ordained Baptist minister, he served as pastor of the New Mission Missionary Baptist Church in Cincinnati, OH for twenty years. He earned his Ph.D. while serving as pastor. He is a contributing editor for a study of Christian ministry in the African American church, Preparing for Christian Ministry, and co-editor of A Mighty Long Journey. In addition, he has served as an editor of Our Sufficiency Is of God: Essays on Preaching in Honor of Gardner C. Taylor (Mercer University Press, Macon Georgia: 2010). He has also authored two other books: Doctrine That Dances: Bringing Doctrinal Preaching and Teaching to Life and The Oasis of God: From Mourning to Morning—Biblical Insights from Psalms 42 and 43. He and his wife, Dr. Wanda Taylor-Smith, Ph.D., are the parents of four adult children (one in heaven).
Dr. Walt Mueller
Dr. Walt Mueller is the founder and President of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, a non-profit organization serving schools, churches, and community organizations across the U.S, Canada, and worldwide in their efforts to strengthen families by helping those who know and love children and teens to understand today’s rapidly changing youth culture.
Walt has been working with young people and families for over 35 years. He has appeared on numerous media outlets internationally to discuss teenagers and their world. He writes on youth culture and family issues and is the author of nine books, is a regular contributor to a variety of magazines and journals, and is a blogger. Walt’s commentary and analysis on youth culture is heard on 870 radio stations across North America on CPYU’s daily radio program, Youth Culture Today.
Walt’s educational background includes research and studies in the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, theology, and postmodern generations.
Walt and his wife Lisa live in Elizabethtown – the home base of CPYU – and they have four grown children and brand new twin grandchildren.
Walt wants people to know that his greatest joys have come as a dad. He is not an expert on any of these issues, but rather sees himself as a fellow struggler with other parents and grandparents who are endeavoring to understand the world of kids in order to provide solid guidance and direction in the midst of a very confusing world.
Scotty, a native of Graham, N.C., graduated in 1972 from UNC, Chapel Hill, and from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1977. He served as youth pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem from 1977-1979, and from 1979-1980 served as youth pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN. In 1981 Scotty helped Cortez Cooper plant Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville.
In 1986 Scotty was sent out as the planting pastor for Christ Community Church (CCC) in Franklin, Tennessee. Scotty served CCC as Senior Pastor for his first twenty years and has seen its membership grow to over three thousand. During these two decades CCC has also planted four churches. Recently Scotty has assumed the new title of Founding Pastor and invests most of his time as CCC’s Pastor for Preaching, Teaching and Worship. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Covenant Theological Seminary and teaches at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando.
He has written five books: Unveiled Hope, with Michael Card; Speechless, with Steven Curtis Chapman; Objects of His Affection; and his latest two, The Reign of Grace and Restoring Broken Things, with Steven Curtis Chapman.
Scotty and Darlene, his wife of thirty-five years, have two adult married children and one grandson. Scotty enjoys fly-fishing, cross training, classic rock and roll and cooking.
Jason Cook is an editor for The Gospel Coalition, focusing on pastoral ministry and integrating faith and work. He is associate pastor of preaching at Fellowship Memphis. He earned his MDiv from Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama, where he helped to build Iron City Church, a multi-ethnic ministry in one of America’s most segregated cities. He earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Mississippi on a football scholarship. He is married to Courtney, and they have two children, Charlie and Cager.
Dr. Jim Coffield
Dr. Jim Coffield is a Professor of Counseling and the Clinical Director of the M.A. in Counseling degree program at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando (2002). He received his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee in counseling psychology. He is a licensed Psychologist. Dr. Coffield brings a wide variety of teaching and clinical experiences. His clinical experience includes counseling in private practice, college counseling centers, church based counseling centers, and hospital settings. He enjoys the classroom and brings 20+ years of teaching experience including undergraduate and graduate students in public educational settings, small private colleges and seminaries. His research interests include adoption, narrative psychology and counselor training. He has been married to Mona since 1985 and they have three adult children, Skylar, Pearce, & Kim.
Scott Sauls serves as the Senior Pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church. A graduate of Furman University and Covenant Seminary, Scott is married to Patti and is dad to Abby and Ellie. Scott previously served at Redeemer Presbyterian Church. He was also the founding pastor of churches in Kansas City and Saint Louis. While in Saint Louis, Scott also taught homiletics (preaching) to students at Covenant Theological Seminary. Scott’s first book, Jesus Outside the Lines: A Way Forward for Those Who Are Tired of Taking Sides released in March 2015. Scott’s second book, Befriend: Create Belonging in an Age of Judgment, Isolation, and Fear was released in October 2016. His latest book, From Weakness to Strength, released in October 2017.
Bijan is an assistant pastor and Director of Spiritual Formation at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. Prior to taking his current role Bijan worked as a youth minister for eight years, in both urban and suburban contexts. He holds degrees from Westminster Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, and is currently a Doctor of Ministry candidate at Fuller Theological Seminary. Bijan lives with his wife, Michelle, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Lead pastor of Church of the Beloved, Dave has ministered in diverse contexts both here and abroad. He has spoken at top universities including Harvard, Cornell, and Wheaton College. Dave graduated from Wheaton College and Gordon-Conwell Seminary. Planted in 2012, the Church of the Beloved’s vision is to see the gospel transform people into Spirit filled disciples who know they are the beloved of God because of Christ alone. Currently, the church has seven new church plants in Chicago, Seattle, and Washington D.C., with thirty five nations represented. [thebelovedchurch.org]
Cameron has a B.A. in Latin and English and an M.A. in Education, all from Wake Forest; and he is currently pursuing a Masters in Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary. He is the founding chairman of Rooted Ministry and the co-editor of “Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry: A Practice Guide” (Crossway, 2016). He has been the Director of Youth Ministries at the Cathedral Church of the Advent since December of 2005, and in January of 2016 his duties expanded to include Children, Youth, and Families.
Robby Holt is the senior pastor of North Shore Fellowship in Chattanooga, TN. He and his wife, Chrissy, of 27+years have have raised 4 children and one dog. Like his wife, his terrific team at North Shore make him look far more effective than he is, covering lots of his inadequacies. He enjoys helping people grasp and be grasped by connections between faith in Jesus and normal life and how God’s gracious rule over all things is very good news.
Julie Sparkman co-founded Restore Counseling Ministries with Jennifer Ervin in 2012. She is a frequent speaker and author of two video teaching series, “Idol Addiction: Finding Freedom in the Gospel You Thought You Knew” and “Unhitching From the Crazy Train: Finding Rest In a World You Can’t Control”. In 2018 New Hope Publishing released the book version of “Unhitching from the Crazy Train”, co-authored with Jennifer Phillips. Julie received her Bachelor of Science degree from University of Florida and her Masters degree in Counseling and Psychology from Troy University.
Julie has been in private practice as a pastoral counselor since 1999. She works with adult individuals and couples facing a variety of issues such as codependence, infidelity, disillusionment with God, depression, spiritual, emotional, physical and verbal abuse, and parenting through the various seasons of life. It is her desire that the teaching and counseling of Restore Ministries would be used to help men, women and children come to understand the radical and restorative impact of the gospel in their everyday lives and relationships.
Julie and her husband Wes have been married over 30 years and have three children and one grandchild.
David Thomas, LMSW is the Director of Family Counseling at Daystar Counseling in Nashville, TN, the co-author of eight books, including the best-selling Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys, a frequent guest on national television and podcasts, has been featured in publications like USA Today, and speaks across the country. His newest book is Are My Kids on Track? The 12 Emotional, Social & Spiritual Milestones Your Child Needs to Reach. David recently released a podcast with Sissy and Melissa, based on the same book. He and his wife, Connie, have a daughter, twin sons and a feisty yellow lab named Owen. You can follow him on social media at raisingboysandgirls and catch the latest Technology Tuesday’s and parenting resources on his blog at www.raisingboysandgirls.com.
The Rev. Joe Gibbes was born and raised in Columbia, SC. He grew up in the Episcopal Church and gave his life to Christ when he was 15. After graduating from Wake Forest University and a brief stint in Colorado as a ski bum, Joe made one of the best decisions of his life and married Amy. They now have three amazing children that have seen to it that Joe has learned to pray daily. Joe graduated from Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA and served churches in Charleston, SC and Birmingham, AL before becoming Rector of Church of Our Saviour in Jacksonville, FL in December 2015.
Julia Friedman is originally from South Florida where she learned that warm ocean water is about the best thing on earth. She graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University with an undergraduate degree in biochemistry. Coming to a full understanding of Christianity after college, she decided to go to Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS where she received a Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies. She worked in youth ministry for ten years before deciding to return to medicine and getting a doctorate in pharmacy. Currently she is bi-vocational, working on pharmacy staff at a university hospital and teaching at women’s events and Bible studies as she attempts to make Christ known in all corners of her life. She lives with her husband, Kevin, and her son, Bear, in Chattanooga, TN
Daniel Im is the Founder of NewChurches.com and the Director of Church Multiplication for LifeWay Christian Resources. He is a Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship, a multisite church in Nashville. He is the author of No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry, and co-author of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (2nd ed) with Ed Stetzer. He also co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast, and a brand new podcast with his wife on marriage and parenting called the IMbetween Podcast.
Rev. Kevin Twit is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and Covenant Theological Seminary. He served as a Pastor at Christ Community Church for 8 years and has been the RUF Campus Minister at Belmont University in Nashville TN since 1995. In 1999 Kevin began Indelible Grace Music with some of his students. Indelible Grace has been at the heart of the movement to reset old hymn texts to new music and have recorded 9 CDs as well as a documentary film, “Roots And Wings: The Story Of Indelible Grace And The RUF Hymns.” Kevin is married to Wendy (a professional photographer) and they have 3 children, Cooper (17), Isaac (15), and Mei (13) whom they adopted from China in 2005. Kevin is also an adjunct Professor at Covenant Seminary and Belmont University teaching classes in hymnody and has lectured widely on topics of hymns and worship. www.igracemusic.com
Mike McGarry has served as the Pastor of Youth & Families at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Norfolk, MA since 2005. He married his best friend Tracy and they have two crazy kids at home. Mike received his M.Div. and D.Min. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and wrote his doctoral thesis on “Youth Ministry as Bridge Between Church & Home.” He is a lifelong New Englander and loves Patriots football, strong coffee, and good theology. He blogs at www.crosswalking.net.
Kristen Hatton is the author of Face Time: Your Identity in a Selfie World for teen girls and the teen devotional Get Your Story Straight. Her third book, The Gospel-Centered Life in Exodus for Students, will release in July 2018. Kristen lives in Oklahoma with her pastor husband and they have three teenagers. Learn more by visiting her website at www.kristenhatton.com.
Liz Edrington received her Masters in Counseling from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL, and is currently on staff at North Shore Fellowship in Chattanooga, TN, where she works with youth and young adults. She is also a counselor at Summit Counseling Center. She has served on the Rooted Steering Committee since 2010 and authored a chapter in Gospel Centered Youth Ministry: A Practical Guide.
Since 1994 Tony has connected, coached and cared for youth ministry leaders throughout the southeast as the Executive Director of the Chattanooga Youth Network, a ministry dedicated to helping churches flourish in bringing the greatness of God to the next generation. In 2014 he founded the Pray for Me Campaign to help empower churches and ministries create the intergenerational relationships necessary for the next generation to flourish in faith and life beginning with prayer. He is the author of the Pray for Me Prayer Guides, which have been translated into Spanish and Chinese. Tony has been married to his college sweetheart since 1985 making his two favorite titles possible, husband and father.
Clark is a member of the Rooted Ministry steering committee and has been a youth pastor for 9 years in various cultural contexts and currently works in San Francisco, America’s most unchurched city. Clark received his M.Div. from Talbot School of Theology and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Missiology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife just welcomed a new baby girl late last year.
Kevin Yi is one of the youth pastors at Church Everyday in Los Angeles, CA and has been serving the middle school and high school students for over 14 years. He is a bi-vocational pastor and is also a video editor and associate producer with Toonzone Studios in Hollywood. He is also the founder of truthmattersministries.com. Him and his wife Tracy are celebrating 10 years of marriage together and have 3 children: Caden, Isabella, and Ian. He will be starting his Master of Arts in Philosophy at Talbot Theological Seminary in the Fall of 2017.
Rebecca Heck has served for the past 10 years at Intown Community Church in Atlanta, GA as Co-Director of Student Ministries. She also sits on the planning committee for Breakaway Summer Conference, a week long summer conference designed to draw high school students into a deeper relationships with Jesus. When she isn’t meeting with students at Starbucks, Rebecca is currently working on her MDiv at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta, GA.
Chelsea Kingston Erickson
Chelsea serves as youth pastor at First Congregational Church in Hamilton, MA, where she lives with her husband, Steve. She holds an M.Div from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and loves a good party, good conversation, and a good espresso.
Rebecca Hatton is a sophomore at the University of Arkansas studying Spanish and Psychology with a minor in Nutrition. She was raised in Edmond, Oklahoma as a pastor’s kid and big sister to two brothers. Rebecca plans to be a counselor after college, specializing in eating disorders and psychological/mental health. Talents include eating a full watermelon in one sitting and record breaking number of parking tickets.
Mary Beth Johnston
Mary Beth Johnston was born and raised in Monroe, Louisiana and attended college at The University of Alabama where she received a B.A. in Marketing and Management. After graduating college, the Lord began stirring Mary Beth’s heart for ministry, specifically to high school girls. In 2016 she went on staff at the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, AL, where worked as the Senior High Youth Director.
Sarah Seibels was a youth minister in Birmingham, Alabama before she went back to school for her Masters in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Today, she is blessed to teach a both wonderful and lively group of 5th graders. Sarah is passionate about creative and engaging teaching both in and outside the church.