Each year, we are honored to host speakers from around the globe during the annual Jacksonville Pastors’ Conference. Choose a speaker below to access his biography, contact information, and more.
Mac BrunsonSenior Pastor at First Baptist Church Jacksonville
Pastor Mac Brunson has served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, since 2006. He holds degrees from Furman University (B.A.) and Southwestern Seminary (M.Div., D.Min.), and has pastored churches in South Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina, and Texas. A native of Greenwood, SC, Pastor Brunson is married to his childhood sweetheart, Debbie. They are blessed with three children (Courtney, Trey, and Wills) and five grandchildren (Broc, Asa, Audrey, Bear, and Cole).
Pastor Brunson is a gifted and faithful teacher whose messages combine sound, Biblical preaching and practical, candid application. His extensive historical knowledge provides context, insight, and understanding as he encourages his listeners to join him in becoming a student of God's Word.
A well-known speaker and experienced minister, Mac was appointed president of the Southern Baptist Convention Pastor's Conference in 2003. He is heard on numerous radio and television stations around the world weekly. He has authored numerous books including his Guidebook for Pastors.
Committed to missions and ministry, Pastor Brunson has led FBC Jacksonville to continue its support of pastors through the annual Jacksonville Pastors' Conference, increase financial support of missions and missionaries around the world, educate students through the First Baptist Academy of Jacksonville, and serve the community through special projects and a satellite campus in St. John's County.
Beloved for his candor and sincerity, Pastor Brunson claims the truth of Jeremiah 29:11: "'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'"
H.B. Charles, Jr.Pastor of Shiloh Church
H.B. Charles Jr. was born on February 11, 1973 in Los Angeles, California to Dr. H.B. Charles Sr. and Mrs. Ellen L. Charles. He made a personal profession of faith in Christ as Savior and Lord, and was baptized, at the age of six. At the age of eleven, H.B. began his public ministry at the Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church, under the watchful eyes of his father and the other pastoral leaders of the congregation. Many and diverse speaking opportunities, both within and beyond MSMBC, helped H.B. to rapidly and progressively develop in preaching and teaching. Likewise, these years of assisting his father and ministering to his fellow young people trained H.B. in fundamental aspects of spiritual leadership.
In June of 1989, the Lord called Dr. Charles Sr. from labor to refreshment, leaving a personal and ministerial void in H.B.’s life. But the Lord used this dramatic time to further H.B.’s growth in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus. And on November 5, 1990, MSMBC ended a year-long pastoral search by selecting H.B. to succeed his father. At the time, H.B. was a seventeen-year-old senior at Los Angeles High School. After graduating from high school, H.B. studied at a small Bible college in Anaheim, California that provided the opportunity for him to further his education while serving MSMBC. But he was only able to complete a couple of semesters of study before his increasing pastoral responsibilities necessitated his full attention. However, this short time of formal study introduced H.B. to expository preaching. And he has since been a growing and faithful student of Bible exposition.
Over the course of Dr. Charles’ pastorate, his love for God’s Word, the church, and lost people was obvious to both the membership of MSMBC and the larger church community. This resulted in Pastor Charles balancing his pastoral responsibilities with speaking engagements in revivals, conferences, and other church events around the Greater Los Angeles area and across the country. This included denominational service on the local, state, and national levels. On December 12, 1998, H.B. married his best friend, the former Crystal Moreland. They are the proud parents of H.B. Charles III, Natalie Marie, and Hailey Breanne.
In 2002, Dr. Charles was invited to contribute a chapter to the John Knox/Westminster Press publication, Power in the Pulpit, edited by Dr. Cleophus J. LaRue. H.B. continues to seek further education to help fulfill his prayerful desire to write and teach alongside of his calling to pastoral ministry.
On July 30, 2008, Shiloh Church (www.smbcjax.com) of Jacksonville, Florida, ended an eight month search for a pastor when the church unanimously called him as pastor. He prayerfully accepted God’s call to be the next shepherd to lead Shiloh.
Heath LambertSenior Pastor at First Baptist Church Jacksonville, Executive Director at the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors
After two years of faithful service as associate pastor, Dr. Heath Lambert assumed the role of co-pastor at FBC JAX in September of 2017 alongside Dr. Mac Brunson. A faithful teacher of God’s Word, Pastor Lambert is also a leader and advocate of biblical counseling, serving as Executive Director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors.
Prior to joining the FBC JAX staff, Pastor Lambert served as Associate Professor of Biblical Counseling at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and their undergraduate institution, Boyce College where he taught classes on biblical counseling and Christian ministry. He is a founding council board member of The Biblical Counseling Coalition and serves on the editorial boards of The Journal of Family Ministry, and The Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
Pastor Lambert is a frequent conference speaker and has written numerous scholarly articles for various academic journals. He is also the author or editor of several books including The Biblical Counseling Movement After Adams (Crossway, 2011), Counseling the Hard Cases: True Stories Illustrating the Sufficiency of God’s Resources in Scripture (B&H, 2012), and Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace (Zondervan, 2013).
Pastor Lambert earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Biblical and Theological Studies and Political Science from Gordon College in 2002; The Master of Divinity of Degree (M.Div.) in Christian Ministry from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2005; and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in biblical counseling from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2009.
He is married to Lauren and they have three children, Carson, Chloe, and Connor.
Ravi ZachariasFounder & President of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries
Ravi Zacharias is Founder and President of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM). Zacharias has spoken all over the world for 45 years in scores of universities, notably Harvard, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, and Cambridge. He has addressed writers of the peace accord in South Africa and military officers at the Lenin Military Academy and the Center for Geopolitical Strategy in Moscow. At the invitation of the President of Nigeria, he addressed delegates at the First Annual Prayer Breakfast for African Leaders held in Mozambique.
Zacharias has direct contact with key leaders, senators, congressmen, and governors who consult him on an ongoing basis. He has addressed the Florida Legislature and the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast in Texas and Louisiana, and has twice spoken at the Annual Prayer Breakfast at the United Nations in New York, which marks the beginning of the UN General Assembly each year. As the 2008 Honorary Chairman of the National Day of Prayer, he gave addresses at the White House, the Pentagon, and The Cannon House. He has had the privilege of addressing the National Prayer Breakfasts in the seats of government in Ottawa, Canada, and London, England, and speaking at the CIA in Washington, DC.
Born in India in 1946, Zacharias immigrated to Canada with his family twenty years later. While pursuing a career in business management, his interest in theology grew; subsequently, he pursued this study during his undergraduate education. He received his Master of Divinity from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois. Well-versed in the disciplines of comparative religions, cults, and philosophy, he held the chair of Evangelism and Contemporary Thought at Alliance Theological Seminary for three and a half years. Zacharias has been a visiting scholar at Ridley Hall, Cambridge (then affiliated with Cambridge University, now more recently allied with Cambridge and affiliated with Durham University) where he studied moralist philosophers and literature of the Romantic era. He has been conferred ten honorary doctorates, including a Doctor of Laws and a Doctor of Sacred Theology.
Zacharias has authored or edited over 25 books including the Gold Medallion winner Can Man Live Without God (Word, 1994), Walking from East to West (Zondervan, 2006), The Grand Weaver(Zondervan, 2007), Has Christianity Failed You? (Zondervan, 2010), Why Jesus, (FaithWords, 2012), and Beyond Opinion (Thomas Nelson, 2007), which includes contributions from RZIM’s global team. His latest books are Jesus Among Secular Gods (2017) and Why Suffering? (2014), both coauthored with Vince Vitale and released by FaithWords. Several of his books have been translated into Russian, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Spanish, and other languages.
Zacharias has appeared on CNN, Fox, and other international broadcasts. His weekly radio program, “Let My People Think,” airs on 2337 outlets worldwide, his weekday program, “Just Thinking,” on 721, and his one-minute, “Just a Thought,” on 488. Various broadcasts are also translated into Romanian and Turkish, and “Let My People Think” airs as the Spanish-language program “Pensemos” on over 250 outlets in sixteen countries. Additionally, his television program, “Let My People Think,” is broadcast internationally in several countries including Indonesia. RZIM is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with additional offices in Canada, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the Middle East, Hong Kong, Romania, Turkey, Austria, Spain, Latin America, and South Africa. Zacharias and his wife, Margie, have three grown children. They reside in Atlanta.
Junior Hill began his ministry at age nineteen and served as a pastor for eleven years in Alabama and Mississippi before entering vocational evangelism in 1967 as a full- time Southern Baptist evangelist.
A native of Hartselle, Alabama, he received his BS degree from Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama and his Master of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans, Louisiana. He received the Doctor of Divinity degree from Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia. He has also been awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree from Covington Seminary in Ft. Oglethorpe, GA.
He has served as First Vice-President of the Southern Baptist Convention, and in 1995 was recognized as the Distinguished Alumnus Of The Year by New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
He has conducted over 1700 revivals and numerous foreign crusades. In addition he is a frequent speaker at pastors’ meetings, evangelism conferences, seminaries and state conventions across the country.
He and his wife, Carole, are the parents of two children, Mark and Melanie, and the grandparents of five grandchildren.
Al MohlerPresident of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., serves as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary – the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.
Dr. Mohler has been recognized by such influential publications as Time and Christianity Today as a leader among American evangelicals. In fact, Time.com called him the “reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S.”
In addition to his presidential duties, Dr. Mohler hosts two programs: “The Briefing,” a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview; and “Thinking in Public,” a series of conversations with the day’s leading thinkers. He also writes a popular blog and a regular commentary on moral, cultural and theological issues. All of these can be accessed through Dr. Mohler’s website, www.AlbertMohler.com. Called “an articulate voice for conservative Christianity at large” by The Chicago Tribune, Dr. Mohler’s mission is to address contemporary issues from a consistent and explicit Christian worldview.
Widely sought as a columnist and commentator, Dr. Mohler has been quoted in the nation’s leading newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Atlanta Journal/Constitution and The Dallas Morning News. He has also appeared on such national news programs as CNN’s “Larry King Live,” NBC’s “Today Show” and “Dateline NBC,” ABC’s “Good Morning America,” “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” on PBS, MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country” and Fox’s “The O’Reilly Factor.
Dr. Mohler is a theologian and an ordained minister, having served as pastor and staff minister of several Southern Baptist churches. He came to the presidency of Southern Seminary from service as editor of The Christian Index, the oldest of the state papers serving the Southern Baptist Convention.
A native of Lakeland, Fla., Dr. Mohler was a Faculty Scholar at Florida Atlantic University before receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. He holds a master of divinity degree and the doctor of philosophy (in systematic and historical theology) from Southern Seminary. He has pursued additional study at the St. Meinrad School of Theology and has done research at University of Oxford (England).
Dr. Mohler also serves as the Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology at Southern Seminary. His writings have been published throughout the United States and Europe. In addition to contributing to a number of collected volumes, he is the author of several books, including Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth (Multnomah); Desire & Deceit: The Real Cost of the New Sexual Tolerance (Multnomah); Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts the New Atheists (Crossway); He Is Not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World (Moody); The Disappearance of God: Dangerous Beliefs in the New Spiritual Openness (Multnomah); and Words From the Fire: Hearing the Voice of God in the Ten Commandments (Moody). From 1985 to 1993, he served as associate editor of Preaching, a journal for evangelical preachers, and is currently editor-in-chief of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology.
A leader within the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Mohler has served in several offices including a term as Chairman of the SBC Committee on Resolutions, which is responsible for the denomination’s official statements on moral and doctrinal issues. He also served on the seven-person Program and Structure Study Committee, which recommended the 1995 restructuring of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. In 2000, Dr. Mohler served on a blue-ribbon panel that made recommendations to the Southern Baptist Convention for revisions to the Baptist Faith and Message, the statement of faith most widely held among Southern Baptists. Most recently, he served on the Great Commission Task Force, a denominational committee that studied the effectiveness of SBC efforts to fulfill the Great Commission. He currently serves as chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Council of Seminary Presidents.
Dr. Mohler has presented lectures or addresses at institutions including Columbia University, the University of Virginia, Wheaton College, Samford University, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, the University of Richmond, Mercer University, Cedarville University, Beeson Divinity School, Reformed Theological Seminary, The Master’s Seminary, Geneva College, Biola University, Covenant Theological Seminary, The Cumberland School of Law, The Regent University School of Law, Grove City College, Vanderbilt University and the historic Chautauqua Institution, among many others.
Dr. Mohler is listed in Who’s Who in America and other biographical reference works and serves on the boards of several organizations including Focus on the Family. He is a member of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and serves as a council member for The Gospel Coalition.
He is married to Mary, and they have two children, Katie and Christopher.
Eric GeigerVice President at LifeWay Christian Resources
Eric Geiger serves as one of the Vice Presidents at LifeWay Christian Resources, leading the Resources Division. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including Creature of the Word and the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church.
Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.
Cameron TriggsLead Pastor of Grace Alive Church
As lead pastor of Grace Alive Church, Cam has a heart for Jesus and for the city of Orlando. He hopes to see people discover the greatness of Jesus through Grace Alive.
He graduated from the University of Central of Florida as a religious studies major and also received additional training at Reformed Theological Seminary-Orlando. During his time in Orlando, he made great friends and developed a passion for ministry in the Beautiful City.
Cam is married to his best friend Tymara and together they are raising their son affectionately known as Baby Cam. The Triggs family desires to start a multiethnic church in the heart of Orlando. They pray Grace Alive will develop full-time missionaries to reach the city and the nations.
Crawford LorittsSenior Pastor at Fellowship Bible Church
Crawford was ordained to the ministry in March 1972. He attended Cairn University in Philadelphia, PA graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Bible with an emphasis on pastoral studies. He and his wife, Karen, married on May 22, 1971.
Crawford has traveled throughout the US, Caribbean, Asia, Canada, South America, Africa and parts of Europe preaching in churches, evangelistic outreaches, conferences, in colleges and seminaries. He has also been the featured speaker at Super Bowls, NCAA Final Four Chapel, and the Pentagon with senior military officers.
Crawford and his wife Karen are featured speakers at Family Life marriage conferences. They are co-authors of Developing Character in Your Child. They have 4 married children. Bryan, Heather, Bryndan and Holly, and have 10 grandchildren.
James MacDonaldFounding and Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel
James MacDonald (D. Min. Phoenix Seminary) is married to his high school sweetheart, Kathy, and both are from Ontario, Canada. He is the father of three grown children and grandfather to five amazing grandsons and one precious granddaughter. James has committed his life and ministry to the unapologetic proclamation of God’s Word. In 1988, with just eighteen people, James and Kathy planted Harvest Bible Chapel, which now ministers to more than 13,000 on seven campuses in the greater Chicago area each weekend.
In addition to his preaching ministry, James began the Bible-teaching ministry Walk in the Word on one radio station in 1997. Today, the Walk in the Word radio broadcast reaches more than three million people every day, and the television program, which started in 2014, has a daily audience that extends around the world.
In 2002, James founded the church-planting network Harvest Bible Fellowship. Now, more than 160 vertical churches on four continents are impacting their communities through the truth of God’s Word, with the vision of planting 1000 churches.
James’ extensive ministry also includes the worship and songwriting ministry Vertical Church Band, the film-making ministry Vertical Church Films, the Harvest Training Center for pastors, the accredited Harvest Christian Academy (for pre-K through grade 12), a year-round camp, a center for biblical counseling, and a disaster-recovery organization—all to reach more people with the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ.
James has authored several books and Bible studies, including: Act Like Men; Vertical Church; Lord, Change Me; Lord, Change My Attitude; When Life is Hard; Always True; and most recently, The Will of God IS the Word of God. He and his wife Kathy live in the Chicago area near their three adult children who serve alongside them in ministry.
Jason AllenPresident of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary & College
Elected on October 15, 2012, Dr. Jason K. Allen serves as the fifth president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Kansas City, Mo., and is one of the youngest presidents in all of American higher education. Since coming to Midwestern Seminary, he has led the institution to become one of the largest and fastest growing seminaries in North America.
In addition to his role as President, Dr. Allen serves the institution in the classroom, as an associate professor for preaching and pastoral ministry. More broadly, he serves the church through his preaching and writing ministries as well. He is the author of two recently-released books, The SBC & the 21st Century (B&H Publishing) and Discerning Your Call to Ministry (Moody Publishing). Dr. Allen regularly posts essays on his website, jasonkallen.com, and hosts a weekly podcast, “Preaching & Preachers,” which can also be found at jasonkallen.com.
Before coming to Midwestern Seminary, Dr. Allen served as a pastor, and as a senior administrator at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky. He and his wife, Karen, are both from Mobile, Ala., and have five children: Anne-Marie, Caroline, William, Alden, and Elizabeth.
Jeremy TreatPastor at Reality LA, Professor at Biola U., Author of The Crucified King
Jeremy’s childhood was spent in the arctic snows of Alaska, forging a rough-hewn living in the frozen wonderland of the North. By age 12 though, he’d had his quota of “icy wilderness” and so he (and his family) moved to Seattle to experience “rainy suburban sprawl.” He grew up in the church, and as a teen, first grasped that Christianity wasn’t about what he could do for God, but about what God did for him in Christ. That good news transformed him on the spot and ever since, his life has involved a constant process of repenting of self-righteousness and growing to rely instead on the grace of God.
A reading of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity in 12th grade sparked a passion in Jeremy to dive deeper into studying theology. This passion led him into pastoral ministry and through various institutions of higher education as he earned a colorful variety of degrees. During that time, Jeremy got married to Tiffany, the daughter of his one-time basketball coach. After finishing his schooling, Jeremy spent much time in prayer with his wife over where to go next. In 2012, they moved from Illinois to Los Angeles to serve Jesus at Reality LA.
While his PhD in Theology has earned him the title “Dr. J,” perhaps the most compelling reason to refer to him as a doctor is the fact that he once helped his wife deliver their second daughter in the front seat of their Honda Civic when they couldn’t make it to the hospital on time. Woah!
Jeremy currently serves as the Pastor for Preaching & Vision at Reality LA. He, his wife, and their four daughters currently reside in Los Feliz, a neighborhood marked by an abundance of Hollywood history and a scarcity of street parking.
Jerry VinesPreacher & President of Jerry Vines Ministries
Dr. Jerry Vines is a native of Carrollton, Georgia. He was educated at Mercer University (B.A.), New Orleans Theological Seminary (B.D.), and Luther Rice Seminary, (Th.D.).
He was elected President of the Alabama Pastors' Conference in 1976, President of the Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference for 1976 -1977. He also served two terms as President of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1988 - 1989.
Dr. Vines accepted the call to be pastor at First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida, in July 1982 and retired from the pastorate in February of 2006.
Dr. Vines' interests include Alabama football. It's a year-round passion! He also enjoys spending his free time in the Smoky Mountains with his family, especially his grandchildren! While there, it is a tradition for him to frequent The Old Mill restaurant for breakfast in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
He and his wife, Janet, have four children: two daughters, Joy and Jodi, and two sons, Jim and Jon. He and Mrs. Vines also have seven grandchildren: Brittney, Ashlyn, Jay, Caroline, Catherine, Jack and Carson.
Kent HughesProfessor at Westminster Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. R. Kent Hughes (DMin, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is professor of practical theology with more than 40 years experience in pastoral ministry, including youth ministry, church planting, and 27 years as senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL. He has authored over 30 books, including Disciplines of a Godly Man and Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome. He is also senior editor of the acclaimed Preaching the Word commentary series, authoring many of the New Testament volumes himself, including Mark: Jesus, Servant and Savior, which received the ECPA Gold Medallion Book Award for best commentary in 1990.
Dr. Hughes is also a founder of the Charles Simeon Trust, which conducts expository preaching conferences throughout North America and worldwide. A festschrift was published in his honor in 2008. Preach The Word: Essays on Expository Preaching in Honor of R. Kent Hughes includes contributions by D. A. Carson, Wayne Grudem, John F. MacArthur, Bruce Winter, J. I. Packer, Phillip Jensen, Philip Graham Ryken, Peter Jensen, and more.
Dr. Hughes’s primary academic and teaching interest is expository preaching. Particularly, he has spent his career studying and teaching a model of scholarly preaching that biblically integrates careful exegesis, Christ-centered biblical theology, and contemporary application. For those who are new to Dr. Hughes’s work on expositional preaching, he recommends several resources as places to start. He recommends watching two particular lectures from the 2014 Westminster Preaching Conference. Dr. Hughes considers these his prolegomena and rationale for biblical exposition. They are “Essential Bibliology” and “Essential Cardiology.” Also, consider his Preaching the Word commentary series, in particular, his volumes on Genesis, Luke, and 2 Corinthians.
Ken WhittenSenior Pastor, Idlewild Baptist Church
Pastor Whitten has been privileged to serve in various local, state, and national capacities including the SBC International Mission Board, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Florida State Board of Missions, Florida Baptist Witness Board and others. He loves Pastors and has served as President of the Florida Baptist Convention, on the Conservative Resurgence Task Force, as Chairman of the SBC Committee on Order of Business, President of the SBC Pastors’ Conference, and as Moderator of the Tampa Bay Baptist Association.
Pastor Whitten has been privileged to preach many times at SBC Conventions, State Conventions, Pastors’ Conferences, Bible Conferences, Men’s Conferences, and others.
What marks and motivates Pastor Whitten the most is the high honor of being Idlewild’s Senior Pastor these past 25 years and being on mission with God in West Africa, China, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Romania, England, Paraguay, Panama, and Guatemala.
From 1982-1989, Whitten was privileged to serve at Bellevue Baptist Church, Memphis, TN, under the leadership of Dr. Adrian Rogers, whom he considers his spiritual father.
Ken Whitten is married to his bride Ginny. They’ve been blessed with 4 children and 10 grandchildren.
Paige PattersonPresident of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Paige Patterson is president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. With more than 50 years of faithful service and ministry as a pastor, evangelist, professor, college president, seminary president, and denominational leader, Dr. Patterson travels throughout the United States and around the world, preaching in churches and sharing the life-changing message of the Gospel.
As the eighth president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Paige Patterson carries more than four decades of experience in educating pastors and missionaries. After almost 18 years as president of the Criswell College in Dallas, Patterson served for 11 years as president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, before coming to Southwestern. Even as a pastor he offered instruction in biblical studies and languages to his congregants. The focus of Patterson’s leadership is an intense commitment to evangelism and to the task of global missions with a foundational component of demanding research and rigorous academic preparation.
After graduating from Hardin-Simmons University, Patterson completed the Master of Theology (Th.M.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Southern Baptists elected him to serve as president of the Southern Baptist Convention for two terms (1998–2000). During those years, he appointed a committee to revise the Baptist Faith & Message, the confession most widely employed by Southern Baptists; and he presided over the historic session of the Southern Baptist Convention in which this revised confession was adopted.
While studying at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Patterson was pastor of a church and operated, with street evangelist Leo Humphrey, a coffeehouse in the famous French Quarter. There he shared the saving gospel of Christ with biker gangs, underworld figures, homosexuals, prostitutes, and runaway teenagers from across the United States.
The President and Mrs. Patterson have traveled to and ministered in more than 135 countries of the world. He has shared Christ with heads of state in various countries, including Yasser Arafat of the Palestinian Authority and Menachem Begin of Israel. He has led church planting movements in several states and served as pastor of churches in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.
For several decades, Patterson has led an international ministry through Christian sportsman banquets. Using digital presentations about hunting the world’s most dangerous game and emphasizing the critical importance of fathers in the role of building their sons from “the mischievous, raw material of boys” into manhood, he rejoices that more than 5,000 men have come to Christ through these banquets. These sportsman events developed naturally out of Patterson’s love for the outdoors. He is a scuba diver and an avid hunter, having taken three of the African “big five” (lion, leopards, and cape buffalo). Despite his full schedule, the President has found time to pen numerous books and articles. These publications include commentaries on Song of Solomon, 1 Corinthians, Titus, 1 Peter, and most recently on Revelation in The New American Commentary series. Mrs. Patterson has also written extensive commentaries and monographs.
The beginning of his tenure as president of Southwestern in August 2003 marked Patterson’s return to Fort Worth. The President was born in Fort Worth in 1942 while his father, T.A. Patterson, was completing his Th.D. degree under W.T. Conner at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Southwestern’s First Lady, Dorothy Patterson, currently serves as professor of theology in women’s studies at Southwestern, but she sees her most critically important role as that of wife, mother, and grandmother. Their son Armour is a writer and, together with his wife Rachel, lives in Melissa, Texas. Their daughter Carmen is married to Mark Howell, pastor of Hunters Glen Baptist Church, Plano, Texas. The Howells have presented the Pattersons with two granddaughters, Abigail and Rebekah. Chayil, the president’s ever-present black Labrador Retriever, completes the family circle.
Sean McDowellProfessor at Biola University
Dr. Sean McDowell is a gifted communicator with a passion for equipping the church, and in particular young people, to make the case for the Christian faith. He connects with audiences in a tangible way through humor and stories while imparting hard evidence and logical support for viewing all areas of life through a Biblical worldview. Sean is an Associate Professor in the Christian Apologetics program at Biola University. And he is the Resident Scholar for Summit California.
Sean still teaches one high school Bible class, which helps give him exceptional insight into the prevailing culture so he can impart his observations poignantly to fellow educators, pastors, and parents alike. In 2008 he received the Educator of the Year award for San Juan Capistrano, California. The Association of Christian Schools International awarded Exemplary Status to his apologetics training. Sean is listed among the top 100 apologists. He graduated summa cum laude from Talbot Theological Seminary with a double Master’s degree in Theology and Philosophy. He earned a Ph.D. in Apologetics and Worldview Studies from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2014.
Traveling throughout the United States and abroad, Sean speaks at camps, churches, schools, universities, and conferences. He has spoken for organizations including Focus on the Family, the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Backyard Skeptics, Cru, Youth Specialties, Hume Lake Christian Camps, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Association of Christian Schools International. Sean has also appeared as a guest on radio shows such as Family Life Today, Point of View, Stand to Reason, Common Sense Atheism, and the Hugh Hewitt Show. Sean has been quoted in many publications, including the New York Times.
Sean is the author, co-author, or editor of over eighteen books including The Fate of the Apostles (Routledge, 2015), A New Kind of Apologist (Harvest House, 2016), The Beauty of Intolerance (Barbour 2016), Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage, with John Stonestreet (Baker, 2014), Is God Just a Human Invention? with Jonathan Morrow, and Understanding Intelligent Design along with William A. Dembski. Sean has also written multiple books with his father, Josh McDowell, including The Unshakable Truth, More Than A Carpenter, and an update for Evidence that Demands a Verdict (2017). Sean is the General Editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students. He has also written for YouthWorker Journal, Decision Magazine, and the Christian Research Journal. Follow the dialogue with Sean as he blogs regularly at seanmcdowell.org.
In April, 2000, Sean married his high school sweetheart, Stephanie. They have three children and live in San Juan Capistrano, California. Sean played college basketball at Biola University and was the captain his senior year on a team that went 30-7.
Voddie BauchamDean of the Seminary at African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia
Pastor of Preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, TX
Dr. Voddie Baucham, Jr has accepted the position of Dean of the Seminary at African Christian University (ACU) in Lusaka, Zambia. He, his faithful wife, Bridget, and their seven youngest children made the bold move from the heart of Texas to the heart of Africa in August (2015).
Voddie Baucham wears many hats. He is a husband, father, pastor, author, professor, conference speaker and church planter. He currently serves as Pastor of Preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, TX. He has served as an adjunct professor at the Reformed Theological Seminary in Houston, TX. He has also lectured at Southern Seminary.
Voddie makes the Bible clear and demonstrates the relevance of God’s word to everyday life. However, he does so without compromising the centrality of Christ and the gospel. Those who hear him preach find themselves both challenged and encouraged.
Voddie’s area of emphasis is Cultural Apologetics. Whether teaching on classical apologetic issues like the validity and historicity of the Bible, or the resurrection of Christ; or teaching on biblical manhood/womanhood, marriage and family, he helps ordinary people understand the significance of thinking and living biblically in every area of life.
It is impossible to understand Voddie’s approach to the Bible without first understanding the path he has walked. Raised in a non-Christian, single-parent home, Voddie did not hear the gospel until he was in college. His journey to faith was a very unusual and intellectual one. Consequently, he understands what it means to be a skeptic, and knows what it’s like to try to figure out the Christian life without relying on the traditions of men. As a result, he speaks to ‘outsiders’ in ways few Bible teachers can.
Dr. Baucham holds degrees from Houston Baptist University (BA in Christianity/BA in Sociology), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (D.Min.), an honorary degree from Southern California Seminary (D.D.), and additional post-graduate study at the University of Oxford, England (Regent’s Park College).
Voddie and his wife, Bridget have been married since 1989. They have nine children: Jasmine, Trey (Voddie, III), Elijah, Asher, Judah, Micah, Safya, Amos, and Simeon. The Bauchams are committed home educators.
On a personal note, Voddie is also an accomplished Martial Artist. He took up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2012 as an avenue of self-defense training, personal fitness, and outreach. However, he began competing and found both a passion and a talent. He has won numerous tournaments and titles, including winning the 2014 Pan American Championship in his division.