John Croyle was a former University of Alabama National Championship defensive end for the legendary Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. At 19 John felt he had been given a gift to work with young people. His dream was to have the best children’s home in America. On the advice of Coach Bryant, John pursued that dream instead of a pro-football career. Over 1,800 children have called Big Oak Ranch their home since 1974. John’s philosophy is: “A hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of house we lived in, the kind of car we drove or how much money we had in the bank, but the world may be different because you and I were important in the life of a child.”
Jen Hatmaker has partnered with her husband Brandon in full-time ministry for fourteen years, and they recently planted Austin New Church in Texas where she has lived for ten years. Jen is a popular speaker at retreats, conferences, and seminars for women from all denominations and backgrounds. She is the author of eight books and Bible studies, including Interrupted and A Modern Girl’s Guide to Bible Study Series. Jen and Brandon have three children: Gavin – 12, Sydney – 10, and Caleb – 8. Drop her a line or check out her ministry at www.jenhatmaker.com.
Aaron Keyes serves as the worship pastor at Grace Fellowship Church (outside Atlanta, GA) where he has been for the past seven years. For several months out of the year, Aaron has younger worship pastors living in his home as part of an intensive worship discipleship course, involving daily teaching, mentoring, coaching, and community. Aaron's band travels the US and the globe, leading worship and coaching worship leaders as the Lord gives opportunity. Aaron has been married to, Megan, his wife of 10 years. Together, they have four sons.
Ben Arment is the founder of STORY in Chicago, the Whiteboard Sessions, and Dream Year, a 12 month process to help people achieve their God-given dreams. He is the former innovation director for Catalyst and author of the book Church in the Making: What Makes or Breaks a New Church Before it Starts. He and his wife Ainsley live in Virginia Beach, VA with their three boys Wyatt (6), Dylan (4) and Cody (1). He blogs daily at BenArment.com.
The Global Orphan Project transforms lives through orphan care. Joe's is one such life. A lawyer by training, Joe Knittig left a large law firm in 2003 to start Seyferth Knittig LLC (now Seyferth Blumenthal & Harris), a national employment law boutique. In 2005, Joe found himself in the bowels of the global orphan pandemic in Port au Prince, Haiti. With a God breathed pportunity to apply business and advocacy to a new kind of client, Joe left the law practiced he loved in 2008 to make an all-in go of an orphan care revolution. Today, The Global Orphan Project has 45 Gospel-centered children's villages in 14 countries, with more in the pipeline.
Pete Wilson is the founding pastor of Cross Point Community Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Cross Point is an 8-year-old church that reaches over 4,000 each weekend through its 4 campuses located around the metro Nashville area. Pete is a pastor, speaker, and author who resides in Nashville with his wife Brandi and their 3 boys, Jett, Gage, and Brewer. Plan B was released in the Spring of 2010 and his next book The Space Between is set to be released September of 2011.
Robby Gallaty is the pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. Eight years ago, the Lord radically saved him from a drug and alcohol addiction. Robby is currently finishing a PhD in Expository Preaching at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He has authored two books, Creating an Atmosphere to Hear God Speak and Unashamed: Taking a Radical Stand for Christ. Robby and his wife Kandi have two sons named Rig and Ryder. You can learn more about his passion for discipleship and missions at brainerdbaptist.org.
Scott McDaniel currently serves as Vice President, Creative Services, for Sony Music Nashville. In his post, McDaniel heads the Sony Music Nashville creative team, overseeing artist imaging and all operations related to print and video creation: including album packaging, photography, design and music video production for the label group and its four recording imprints: Arista Nashville, BNA Records, Columbia Nashville, and RCA Nashville. Current label rosters include such artists as Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, and Miranda Lambert to name a few. McDaniel’s prior tenure in the music industry included working in artist development at EMI Christian Music Label, as well as heading the creative department for ForeFront Records, where he worked with Grammy winning dc Talk, Stacie Orrico, and Toby Mac.
Tami Heim is a brand development partner in The A Group, a tech, marketing, media, and consulting firm in Brentwood, TN. She previously served as the executive vice president and chief publishing officer at Thomas Nelson Publishers and president of Borders, Inc. She is coauthor of the new book @stickyJesus how to live out your faith online. Tami lives in Gallatin with her husband, Dale, and puppy Kali. They Skype often with their daughter, Zoë, and son-in-law, Matt, serving as missionaries in South Korea. Tami and Dale are members of Long Hollow Baptist Church, Hendersonville, Tennessee.
What if? This is the question Jon Acuff is asking, and the answer is surprising. With a blog that is read in over 97% of the countries in the world, Jon Acuff has spent the last three years exploring what it means to take ideas to unexpected places. Touring the country as a sought-after speaker, he’s worked with everyone from dairy farmers to CEOs of billion-dollar companies to turn ideas into action. And it all started with two words: What if?
Two small words, one great start to a new career. Called “hilarious and insightful” by Group Magazine and featured as a regular contributor on CNN.com, Jon Acuff has a wealth of ideas to share with individuals and companies of all sizes.
Jeremy Cowart is a professional photographer from Nashville, Tennessee. Beginning his photography career in 2005, Jeremy quickly became a respected artistic voice in the industry. Jeremy has shot many people in the music and entertainment fields, such as Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Sting, Clive Owen, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Imogen Heap, Courtney Cox, and Ryan Seacrest, just to name a few. He also traveled with Britney Spears in 2009 as her photographer and photographed seventeen countries with the Passion World Tour in 2008. Jeremy also spends his time on social art, developing and working on projects that have community impact. Jeremy has worked with multiple non-profit organizations and traveled throughout Africa to photograph and bring awareness to the needs of those people. He is also the founder of Help-Portrait, a worldwide movement of photographers using their time, equipment, and expertise to give back to those less fortunate. On December 12, 2009 Help-Portrait provided free portraits for over 40,000 people in 42 Countries.
Matt Mooney and his wife Ginny founded 99 Balloons, a non-profit organization that works with special needs children, families and orphans on a local and international scale. Many know him through the story of his son, Eliot. He lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where he busies himself with executive director, attorney, consultant, and writer when he is not busy raising Eliot’s siblings- Hazel and Anders. You can find his blog at theatypicallife.com.
Ed Stetzer has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches. He has trained pastors and church planters on five continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Ed is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine and Catalyst Monthly, serves on the advisory council of Sermon Central and Christianity Today's Building Church Leaders, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. Ed’s primary role is President of LifeWay Research and LifeWay’s Missiologist in Residence.
Jason Hayes is a speaker, author, strategist, and ministry specialist for Threads, LifeWay’s young adult initiative. (www.threadsmedia.com)
His work has been featured in numerous websites, articles, and magazines across the US and internationally. Having served on staff at churches and with para-church organizations, Jason is committed to equipping leaders across the globe. Jason also speaks directly into the lives of this generation at churches, conferences, camps, retreats, university chapels, and various other venues. He is the author of Blemished: How The Message of Malachi Confronts Empty Religion and Follow Me: Learning About Faith, Obedience, and Being Made Holy. He is also the co-author of Lost and Found: The Younger Unchurched and The Churches That Reach Them, featuring research cited in news outlets such as USA Today and CNN.
Jason is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Carrie, live in Nashville and have two sons, Hayden and Henley. www.jasonhayesonline.com
Michael Kelleyis a Christ-follower, husband, dad, author and speaker. He currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife Jana and their three kids, Joshua, Andi, and Christian. He works full time for Lifeway Christian Resources, as a Bible study editor.
As a Threads author Michael has written “The Tough Sayings of Jesus,” “The Tough Sayings of Jesus II,” and “Holy Vocabulary.” Connect with him at michaelkelleyministries.com where he is a daily blogger.