Speakers and Workshop Leaders

Each of these men and women are prepared and equipped to give you tools to take back to your church and put to use. No matter your area of ministry or your personal passion, you will find a workshop that speaks to your needs.


Dr. Chuck Lawless, Plenary Speaker

Dr. Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions, Dean of Doctoral Studies, and Vice-President for Spiritual Formation and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Seminary, in addition to serving as Team Leader for Theological Education Strategists for the International Mission Board. He previously served as a Vice-President for Global Theological Advance for the IMB. Prior to that, he was dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY, where he also served as Vice President for Academic Programming and the Director of Professional Doctoral Studies.

Dr. Lawless served as pastor of two Ohio churches prior to joining the Southern Seminary faculty in 1996.  He received a B.S. degree from Cumberland College (now the University of the Cumberlands) and M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from Southern Seminary. He and his wife Pam reside in Wake Forest, NC.

He is the author of eight works, including Membership MattersSpiritual WarfareDiscipled WarriorsPutting on the Armor, Serving in Your Church Prayer Ministry, and Mentor.  He has contributed articles to denominational periodicals, written Sunday School curriculum for LifeWay, and led conferences on spiritual warfare, healthy church growth, leadership, evangelism and discipleship, and prayer.

Dr. Tim Smith, Proven Steps to Revitalizing your Sunday School/Small Groups Ministry

Dr. Tim S. Smith is a State Missionary with the Georgia Baptist Mission Board (GBMB).  He is the Groups and Faith Development specialist.  He is the administrative leader and coordinator for the ministry teams in Kid’s Groups and Faith Development, Students Groups and Faith Development and Adult Groups and Faith Development.  The focus of his work is in assisting pastors and other leaders in growing a healthy church by making disciples through groups.  Each year he works with hundreds of churches, associations and other state conventions.  Dr. Smith has been with the GBMB since 1999.

Dr. Smith earned his Doctorate of Ministry degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.  He received the degree of Master of Divinity with Christian Education from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina.  He earned a degree of Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia and from Truett-McConnell University in Cleveland, Georgia he received an Associate in Arts degree in Religious Studies.

He has authored, co-authored or contributed to several resources including; Lead Your Group, Bringing LIFE to Adult Sunday School, Basics of Preschool/Children/Youth and Adult Sunday School series, Sunday School that Really Excels: Real Life Examples of Churches with Healthy Sunday Schools, Be a Catalyst: Start New Groups, The Sunday School Leadership Course, Training Your Sunday School Leaders, The Power of 10, Key Strategies of a Healthy Sunday School, Coaching a Winning Team, Evangelism through the Sunday School, and Training the Adult Sunday School Class Leadership Team.

He is a native of Georgia.  Tim and his wife Cathy live in White, Georgia.  They have adult two children and one grandchild.

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Dr. Ken Ellis, Becoming Relevant to your Community

Dr. Ken L. Ellis is the Pastor of Northeast Community Church of Norcross, Georgia. He is a preacher and a teacher who takes seriously the mandate from Jesus Christ “to go and make disciples” in the whole world. He serves also as the Clinical Chaplain at Phillips State Prison of the Georgia Department of Corrections and as an Associate Professor of Christian Ministry for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Born in Eustis, Florida, he grew up in Winter Haven, Florida and was an outstanding high school basketball player.  Through this end, he received a four year basketball scholarship to Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky where he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Religious Studies with a minor in Business Administration. In 1986, Dr. Ellis earned his Master of Divinity Degree and in 2005 his Doctorate of Ministry Degree; both from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.   His travels have taken him to Africa, England, Switzerland, Germany, Hawaii, Canada and many cities throughout the United States. 

Dr. Ellis  has served  in many different capacities: (1) Team Leader, People Group Evangelism, North American Mission Board; (2) Regional Chaplaincy Administrator, Southwest Region, Federal Bureau of Prisons; (3)Senior Chaplain, Federal Bureau of Prisons;(4) Pastor, First Baptist Church, Burham, IL; (5) and Associate Pastor/Minister of Education, Faith Tabernacle Baptist Church, Chicago, IL.  He has served on various committees and study groups dealing with cultural diversity issues, criminal justice and men’s ministries relevant to the church. Presently, Dr. Ellis is a committee member of the Georgia Governor’s Office of Transition and Reentry. Also, he partners with several community organizations in the Norcross, GA area. His interests include sports, computers, and reading.

Dr. Ellis is married to the former Ms. Penny Hildreth, and they have three lovely daughters, Imani, Nailah, and Aisha and one handsome son; Emmanuel.

Mrs. Maria Brannen, Connecting Children to the Bible

Maria is a State Missionary with the Georgia Baptist Mission Board in the area of Kids Groups and Faith Development.  She has been serving as a State Missionary since 1998. Maria assists Churches in the area of Kids Ministry in our state.  Some of her primary areas of responsibility are: Preschool and Children’s Ministry Networking, Preschool/Children’s Discipleship, Children and Salvation, TeamKID, Kids in the Word, Bible Drill (Children’s, Youth, and High School) and Student Speakers Competition.  Before coming to the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, Maria served on Church staffs in Georgia and Texas for 11 years as Children’s Minister, Youth/Children/Preschool, and Youth/Education Minister.

On a National Level, Maria has served as a conference leader for LifeWay and the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions in the area of Children’s Discipleship. She serves on the National Youth Bible Drill/Speakers Tournament team and has hosted the National Tournament 7 times.  She has helped compile and produce multiple resources related to Bible Drill, including a Bible Drill app available in the iTunes store. Previous resources include 3 Youth Bible Drill Leaders Guides and 3 devotional books related to Bible Drill.

Maria has served as interim Children’s Minister twice for her home church – FBC Monroe while also serving as a State Missionary.  Currently, Maria is involved in several areas of ministry at FBC Monroe including: Children’s Bible Drill, Women’s ministry, and extended session. In addition to teaching in VBS as her schedule allows, Maria has served as VBS/Backyard Bible Club coordinator on multiple Family Mission Trips.

Maria earned her Masters in Religious Education from Southwestern Seminary, Fort Worth (1993) and her BS from Georgia College in Milledgeville (1990) She has been married to her husband, Roger for 27 years and they have 2 sons: Tyler (22) and Kyle (17).  Roger works from home and has homeschooled their boys. They live in Monroe, Georgia. Her hobbies include photography, scrapbooking, and card making.

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Dr. Jason Loudermilk, Seeking God's Purpose for your Church

Dr. Jason Loudermilk has served as the Mission Strategist for the West Metro Baptist Association just outside of Atlanta since February 2017. He previously pastored New Canaaen Baptist Church in Dallas, Georgia for six years. He has also served churches in Cedartown, GA and Hanover, IN. He earned his Bachelor's degree from Georgia Tech, a Master of Divinity from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from Southern Seminary. Jason is married to Courtney, and they have four children, Emma, Grant, Norah, and Sallie.

Dr. Steve Parr, Reaching and Keeping the Next Generation

In thirty-five plus years of ministry Dr. Steve Parr has assisted thousands of churches in strengthening their ministries by motivating and training leaders through seminars, conferences, preaching, and personal consultations. The Georgia Baptist Mission Board utilizes his skills not only in assisting local churches but in leading the missionary staff as the Vice-President of Staff Coordination and Development.

Parr holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Church Growth and Evangelism from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  His influence has been multiplied as author of several best-selling books on small group leadership, evangelism, and his novel; The Coffee Shop That Changed a Church. Parr has also written a powerful book based on national research that quantifies what keeps kids who grow up in church faithful into their adult lives. Visit www.steveparr.net to learn more about his efforts to Maximize Leadership.

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Rev. Trent DeLoach, Stepping Toward the Foreigner: Practical Ways to Serve Refugees

Trent DeLoach is the lead pastor at Clarkston International Bible Church.  He also serves as a Send Relief Missionary with the North American Mission Board and directs the Send Relief Ministry Center in Clarkston.  Trent and his wife Elizabeth invest their lives in people from around the world in Clarkston, Georgia, a city sometimes called the most diverse square mile in the United States.  

Mrs. Mary Laughman, Women's Ministry Roundtable

Mary Laughman’s participation in mission organizations since childhood has given her a passion to help equip church and associational missions/ministry leaders so they can disciple children and adults to be involved in missions/ministry both locally and globally. Mary served as President of Georgia Womans Missionary Union (WMU) from 2009-2013 and is currently serving as Georgia WMU State Prayer Coordinator encouraging others to develop the spiritual disciplines of prayer and Bible study as they grow in their relationship with Christ and the support of missions work through focused prayer.  As State Prayer Coordinator, Mary has had opportunity to travel to several countries where Georgia WMU has participated in prayer partnerships through our Hearts Called to Pray prayer initiative.  Mary loves sharing her experiences of prayerwalking and visiting with our missionaries in Morocco, Malaysia, Moldova, and Israel as she encourages our Georgia churches to actively support our missionaries through praying, giving and going.  She is an active member of Sunset Hills Baptist Church in Douglasville and loves to spend time with her 2 sons and their families which include 5 grandchildren.

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Rev. Keith Johnson, Music Ministry Roundtable and Worship Leader

Keith has served the congregation faithfully at Mountain View Baptist Church in Thomaston, Georgia, for nearly 30 years. At Mountain View people of all ages worship together as various musical styles are seamlessly woven together. Keith currently serves as the Music Ministry Director for the Centennial Baptist Association, as well. His understanding of worship is matched only by his tremendous vocal talent. No matter your age or musical preferences, you will enjoy worshipping along with Keith and the musicians today.