Who's behind BuildingChurchLeaders.com?
Laura Leonard is assistant editor for BuildingChurchLeaders.com. In her role, Laura coordinates and edits many of the articles and training downloads that reach Building Church Leaders customers.
Laura attends Life Church in Wheaton, Illinois, where she serves as a youth group leader and leads a small group of junior high girls. She earned a bachelor's degree from Wheaton College in English with an emphasis in writing.
Laura stays connected to her Philadelphia roots by cheering on her beloved Philly sports teams, especially the Phillies and Eagles. She also loves reading, writing, journaling, running, watching (good) TV and movies, and seeking out new music.
Sloan Skinner serves as the marketing coordinator for Christianity Today's Leadership Training Team. She develops, implements, and analyzes marketing efforts for SmallGroups.com and BuildingChurchLeaders.com. Sloan attended Wheaton College, where she graduated with honors in Communication and Spanish. She was also on the varsity swim team and was a team captain.
Sloan loves the outdoors, running, and swimming. She is currently an assistant swim coach at Wheaton, and is also a leader with the high school youth group at Glen Ellyn Covenant Church.
"Drew Dyck is a contributing editor to BuildingChurchLeaders.com and the managing editor of Leadership Journal. Drew is the author of Generation Ex-Christian (Moody) and holds an M.A. in theology from Fuller Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, live in Carol Stream, Illinois, attend Jericho Road church, and are expecting their first child in November."
Christopher Lutes oversees the Leader Training Team at Christianity Today International. He holds a bachelor's in education from Indiana University and a master's in journalism from Wheaton College Graduate School. With nearly 30 years of volunteer youth work, Chris oversaw the ministry of Campus Life/Ignite Your Faith magazine for 24 years until its closure in 2009.
Along with a love for devotional classics from the likes of Oswald Chambers, Francois Fénelon, and Thomas à Kempis, Chris also enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy. He and his wife, Jan, have two adult sons and a lovable Labrador named Basil.
Amy Simpson is passionate about serving the church and its people through leadership, communication, and resources. She currently serves as Vice President, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of the Church Ministry Media Group at Christianity Today International. Her background includes a 17-year career in Christian Publishing and a lifetime of church ministry. She is the author of numerous resources for Christian ministry, including Diving Deep: Experiencing Jesus Through Spiritual Disciplines and Into the Word. Amy holds an English degree from Trinity International University and a master's in business administration from the University of Colorado. She is married to Trevor and is mom to two fantastic kids.
To engage, encourage, and equip the church worldwide, sharing the depth and transforming power of the Gospel as it permeates all spheres of life.
BuildingChurchLeaders.com is dedicated to equipping Christians, especially church leaders, by creating and marketing resources that are biblical, innovative, and self-sustaining.
Our Editorial Advisory Panel:
Dr. Alvin Sanders and his wife, Caroline, founded River of Life Church in downtown Cincinnati in the midst of civil unrest over the shooting death of an African American teenager by a white police officer. River of Life is a mostly biracial (white and African American) church with a heart for reconciliation.
Alvin served seven years as founding pastor of River of Life. Concurrently, he served three years as Director of Ethnic Ministries for Cincinnati Christian University. He presently serves as Director of Reconciliation for the Evangelical Free Church of America (www.efca.org/samaritanway), where his passion is to infuse the vision of reconciliation as being the mission of God in a fallen world. This position is one of the first of its kind among evangelical denominations.
Alvin has been named an adjunct professor at institutions such as Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, and Asbury Theological Seminary. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of African American Christian Thought.
A graduate of Cincinnati Christian University in Cincinnati, Ohio (B.S., Biblical Studies), and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois (M.A., Religion/Urban Ministry), Alvin received his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. A portion of his dissertation was published in The Language of Diversity: Restoration Toward Peace and Unity (Cambridge Scholars Press). Married since 1994, Alvin and Caroline live in Cincinnati with their two children, Hannah and Gabrielle.
Angie Ward is a "leader of leaders" with more than 15 years of leadership development experience in a variety of ministry settings. She is the founder of Forward Leadership and is a contributing editor for Leadership journal.
Angie is passionate about helping leaders and organizations realize their full potential. She has a unique ability to see how little details fit into the big picture, and the steps needed to move toward greater effectiveness.
Angie's ministry experience includes church, camp, college, and parachurch leadership roles. Her educational background includes a bachelor's degree in youth ministry from Trinity International University, a master's degree in educational ministries and administration from Denver Seminary, and advanced coursework at the University of Minnesota and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Leadership from Southern Seminary.
Her interests include organizational culture, change, and practical leadership skills.
Angie and her husband, Dave, a pastor, are rabid college basketball fans and live in North Carolina with their two sons, Taylor and Jamison, and their "firstborn," a beagle named Jackson.
Charles Arn completed his master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Southern California, majoring in Instructional Design and Technology. He became actively involved in the church growth movement as his father, Dr. Win Arn, began to pioneer the study and application of church growth principles to North America in the early 1970s.
Charles began working full-time with his father at Church Growth Inc., specializing in research and new product development. In 1989, he assumed the presidency of CGI upon his father's retirement. Charles has written numerous articles in the field of church growth; he is author or co-author of eight books; and he has developed 14 different lay/clergy training seminars and produced 10 "special topic" mediated study kits. He currently serves as president of the American Society of Church Growth.
Charles and his wife, Ann, live in Glendora, California, and attend Glenkirk Church.
Dave Ferguson is the lead pastor of Community Christian Church, a multi-site, missional community in Chicagoland that draws more than 5,000 people every weekend at eight locations. The church recently was recognized as one of the most influential churches in America.
Dave provides visionary leadership for the NewThing Network and also is a co-founder and board member for the Institute for Community. Dave is the author of The Big Idea—Focus the Message, Maximize the Impact with Jon Ferguson and Eric Bramlett.
He and his wife, Sue, have three children: Amy, Joshua, and Caleb.
David Staal, senior editor of the children's ministry area for BuildingChurchLeaders.com, serves as the president of Kids Hope USA, a national non-profit organization that partners local churches with elementary schools to provide mentors for at-risk students. Prior to this assignment, David led Promiseland, the children's ministry at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois. David is the author of Words Kids Need to Hear (2008) and lives in Grand Haven, Michigan, with his wife Becky, son Scott, and daughter Erin.
Ed Stetzer has planted churches in New York, Pennsylvania, and Georgia and transitioned declining churches in Indiana and Georgia. 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 served for three years as a seminary professor at the Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky and has taught at 15 other seminaries.
He is currently the Director of LifeWay Research and LifeWay's Missiologist in Residence.
Gary R. Collins is a licensed clinical psychologist with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Purdue University. He is the author of about 200 articles and more than 50 books, including The Biblical Basis of Christian Counseling and Christian Coaching: Helping Others Turn Potential into Reality. His classic textbook, Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide, appears in several languages and has been revised in an updated and expanded third edition published in 2007. An accompanying Christian Counseling Casebook will appear later in the year.
Gary grew up in Canada, served for 20 years as professor of psychology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and for eight years headed the 15,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors, which he co-founded. He also founded, and for eight years edited, Christian Counseling Today magazine and was general editor of all 42 professional books published in the "Christian Counseling Resources," and "Contemporary Christian Counseling" series.
He is a graduate of the Institute for Life Coach Training, maintains a small coaching practice, and frequently travels overseas and within North America to speak on coaching, leadership, trends in Christian counseling, and related issues.
Gordon MacDonald is an author, speaker, and teacher. He was a pastor for more than 40 years, most recently the senior minister at Grace Chapel, Lexington, Massachusetts. When he stepped down from that position, the Grace Chapel congregation honored him with the title, Pastor Emeritus. Other pastorates were in New York City, Southern Illinois and Kansas. For three years MacDonald was president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.
MacDonald has written more than a dozen books and co-authored others with his wife, Gail. Perhaps his best-known book has been Ordering Your Private World, which won the Gold Medallion and the Platinum Awards from the Evangelical Christian Publishing Association. There are nearly 1.5 million copies of this book in print, and it has been translated into a dozen or more languages.
Among his other books: Secrets of a Generous Life (Published by Tyndale, Fall 2002); The Life God Blesses; Renewing Your Spiritual Passion; When Men Think Private Thoughts; and Mid-Course Correction (a book on "deep life-change). A revision of Ordering Your Private World was released in January 2003. A Resilient Life, (now also in German, Korean, and Dutch) was released in early 2005, and a new book, Who Stole My Church, will appear in January 2008.
MacDonald serves as an editor-at-large with Leadership journal, a publication of Christianity Today International. He writes regularly for each addition of Leadership and also writes a column ("Out of my Files") which appears on Leadership's website, LeadershipJournal.net.
As a speaker, Gordon addresses conferences of leaders both in the world of the church and business. These have included the American Standard Co., ServiceMaster, the Greater Orlando Leadership Foundation, and the DeVos Family Foundation leadership conferences.
His academic background includes a prep school graduation from the Stony Brook School, a bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado ('62), and a M. Div from Denver Seminary ('66). Barrington College (later merged with Gordon College) awarded MacDonald an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree in 1979.
Gordon and Gail MacDonald, married 46 years, live on an old farm (called Peace Ledge) in Canterbury, N.H. Their great satisfaction is in their two married children and five grandchildren. Beyond that, the MacDonalds are hikers, bikers, kayakers, and voracious readers.
Heather Dunn has more than 30 years of experience in children's ministry as well as 15 years of experience in curriculum writing in both secular and Christian worlds. She has degrees in education and school administration and has considerable background in special needs children. She is a student of scripture, leadership, and current trends in ministry. Heather has been married to the same husband for 34 years. Together they've raised two great children whom they dearly love.
John Sommerville is the pastor of City Church in Minneapolis, Minn. Prior to leading the founding of City Church in 2005, he was executive director of Wooddale Center, a ministry to churches and church leaders at Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minn. Previously, John was a marketing executive at General Mills. While there, he held a number of marketing positions, including marketing manager for Cheerios and the European head of new product development for Cereal Partners Worldwide, a joint venture between General Mills and Nestlé.
John is a graduate of the University of Kansas. He has a master's degree in business administration from Indiana University, and a master's degree in Philosophy of Religion at Bethel Theological Seminary. He currently serves on the board of Christianity Today. He is also the past Chair of the Board of Trustees of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.
John and his wife Kathy have two daughters and make their home in Edina, Minnesota.
Keri Wyatt Kent is the author of nine books and a co-author or contributor to several others. When she's not busy traveling around the country to speak and lead retreats, she's writing. She's a regular contributor to several online magazines, blogs, and sites, including BuildingChurchLeaders.com, where she writes a monthly spiritual formation column. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild.
Keri is a member of Willow Creek Community Church, where she has taught, led groups, and volunteered in a variety of ministries over the last 25 years. She and her husband, Scot, live with their teenage son and daughter in the Chicago area. Learn more at KeriWyattKent.com.
Leith Anderson's many interests involve him in pastoring, teaching, writing, speaking, and leadership. Leith earned a master of divinity from Denver Seminary in Denver, Colorado, a doctor of ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and a doctor of divinity from Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has been senior pastor of Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, since 1977.
He currently is president of the National Association of Evangelicals.
Leith hosts FAITH MATTERS, a daily radio program heard in cities across America and overseas. He has written numerous articles and 10 books, including Dying For Change, A Church For The Twenty-First Century, and Leadership That Works.
Leith and his wife, Charleen, have four children and make their home in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
Rev. Lynne M. Baab served in pastoral roles in two Presbyterian congregations in Seattle and is currently lecturer in pastoral theology at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. She is the author of several books, including Fasting: Spiritual Freedom Beyond Our Appetites (InterVarsity Press, 2006), Sabbath Keeping (InterVarsity Press, 2005), and Beating Burnout in Congregations (The Alban Institute, 2003).
She recently completed a doctorate in communication at the University of Washington, with a dissertation focused on congregational websites. Her dissertation and information about her books are posted on her website: http://www.lynnebaab.com/.
Margaret Feinberg A popular speaker at churches and leading conferences such as Fusion, Catalyst, and LeadNow, Margaret Feinberg (www.margaretfeinberg.com) invites people to discover the relevance of God and His Word in a modern world. Recently named by Charisma magazine one of the "30 Emerging Voices" who will help lead the church in the next decade, she has written more than a dozen books including The Organic God, The Sacred Echo, and Scouting the Divine. Margaret currently lives in Morrison, Colorado, with her 6'8? husband, Leif. When she's not writing or traveling, she enjoys anything outdoors, lots of laughter, and their superpup, Hershey. But she says some of her best moments are spent communicating with her readers. So go ahead, become her friend on Facebook or tag her on Twitter as @mafeinberg.
Mark Buchanan is an author and pastor living on Vancouver Island with his wife, Cheryl, and their three children, Adam, Sarah, and Nicola.
Mark graduated from the University of British Columbia's Creative Writing Department, and he holds a master's degree from Regent College in interdisciplinary studies.
He is the author of Your God Is Too Safe, Things Unseen, The Holy Wild, The Rest of God, and Hidden in Plain Sight, and has published numerous articles in magazines and periodicals, including Books and Culture, Christianity Today, The Christian Century, Leadership journal, Discipleship Journal, and Christian Week.
Matt Branaugh is director of editorial for Christianity Today International's Church Management Team. Prior to this role, he oversaw BuildingChurchLeaders.com, SmallGroups.com, and ChristianBibleStudies.com. He is passionate about equipping and energizing church leaders with the principles and tools that help them more effectively serve.
Before joining Christianity Today, Matt spent eight years at the Daily Camera in Boulder, Colorado, where he covered business as a reporter and editor and captured six awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Colorado Press Association.
He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Denver in journalism and public policy, with a minor in leadership studies.
He attends the Applewood Community Church in Golden, Colo., and has attended Covenant churches most of his life. Through his experiences serving in small-group ministries, drama and worship teams, Vacation Bible School programs, and youth-pastor search committees, he has come to learn the many joys - and challenges - of church leadership. His passion is to help church leaders experience more joys and fewer challenges.
Matt lives in Colorado with his wife and three children.
Paul Borthwick is the Editor of Round Trip Missions newsletter. He and his wife, Christie, serve on the staff of Development Associates International (daintl.org) focusing on leadership development in the Majority World. He also teaches the Global Christianity courses at Gordon College (Wenham, Massachusetts), serves as an Urbana/Missions Associate with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and mobilizes others for cross-cultural missions. Paul is the author of A Mind for Missions and How to be a World-Class Christian.
Reggie McNeal enjoys helping people, leaders, and Christian organizations pursue more intentional lives. He currently serves as the Missional Leadership Specialist for Leadership Network of Dallas, Texas.
Reggie's past experience involves more than a decade as a denominational executive and leadership development coach. He also served in local congregational leadership for more than 20 years, including being the founding pastor of a new church. Reggie has lectured or taught as adjunct faculty for multiple seminaries, including Fuller Theological (Pasadena, California), Southwestern Baptist (Fort Worth, Texas), Golden Gate Baptist (San Francisco), Trinity Divinity School (Deerfield, Illinois), and Columbia International (Columbia, South Carolina). In addition, he has served as a consultant to local church, denomination, and para-church leadership teams, as well as a seminar developer and presenter for thousands of church leaders across North America. He has also resourced the United States Army Chief of Chaplains Office, Air Force chaplains, and the Air Force Education and Training Command. Reggie's work also extends to the business sector, including The Gallup Organization.
Reggie has contributed to numerous denominational publications and church leadership journals, including Leadership journal and Net Results. His books include Revolution in Leadership (Abingdon Press, 1998), A Work of Heart: Understanding How God Shapes Spiritual Leaders (Jossey-Bass, 2000), The Present Future (Jossey-Bass, 2003), Practicing Greatness (Jossey-Bass, 2006), and Get A Life! (Broadman & Holman, 2007).
Reggie also contributes several podcasts monthly at www.wiredparish.com, a Christian podcasting network that offers original, exclusive, and provocative content from the unconventional edge of the Christian faith.
Reggie's education includes a bachelor's degree from the University of South Carolina and M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees, both from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Reggie and his wife, Cathy, have two daughters, Jessica and Susanna, and they make their home in Columbia, South Carolina.
Ruth Haley Barton is co-founder and president of The Transforming Center (www.thetransformingcenter.org), a ministry dedicated to caring for the souls of pastors and the congregations they serve. She is a teacher, spiritual director, and retreat leader trained through the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation (Washington, D.C.) and The Pathways Center for Spiritual Leadership (Nashville, Tennessee).
Educated at Wheaton College and Northern Seminary (Lombard, Illinois), Ruth has served on the pastoral staff of several churches, including Willow Creek Community Church. She has the authored numerous articles and books including: Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership (InterVarsity Press, 2008); Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation (InterVarsity Press); Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God's Transforming Presence (InterVarsity Press); Longing for More (InterVarsity Press); and Equal to the Task: Men and Women in Partnership (InterVarsity Press).
Ruth and her husband, Chris, have three daughters. She and her family live in the Chicago area, where she spends much of her time teaching, guiding, and consulting with leadership groups in the areas of spiritual formation, community building, and discernment.
She can be reached at here.
Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia became the founding president of Leadership Transformations Inc. (LTi) on July 1, 2003. LTi is a ministry focused on the spiritual formation needs of leaders and the spiritual discernment processes of leadership teams in local church and parachurch ministry settings nationwide.
He is the author of Becoming a Healthy Church (Baker Books, 1999), Becoming A Healthy Church Workbook (Baker, 2001), Becoming A Healthy Disciple (Baker Books, 2004), the Becoming A Healthy Disciple Small Group Study and Worship Guide (LTi Resources, July 2004), and most recently, Becoming A Healthy Team (Baker Books, 2005).
From March 1989 until June 2003, Steve served as president of Vision New England (formerly known as The Evangelistic Association of New England). He started the Interdependent Church Network, and developed the nationally recognized Healthy Church Initiative, with its "10 Characteristics of a Healthy Church." His emphasis on servant leadership, spiritual formation, team building, and networking have resulted in a growing prayer movement and healthy interchurch cooperation in the region.
From 1978 to 1989, Steve served in a variety of roles at Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts, including director of junior high ministries, minister to children, minister of Christian education, and associate minister.
Steve was born in Stoneham, Massachusetts. He earned a bachelor's degree in Christian education and elementary education in 1978 from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. He earned a M.Div. in 1983 from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. He completed his Doctor of Ministry degree in January 2001 at Gordon-Conwell, where he now serves as a member of the D.Min. teaching team. As a part of his new LTi portfolio, he also serves at Gordon-Conwell as the director of the Pierce Center for Disciple Building.
Steve has served on a number of regional and national ministry boards and is currently a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Evangelicals. He is on the Mission America Honorary Advisory Committee, serves on the advisory board of the Center for Urban Ministerial Education of Gordon-Conwell (Boston), and is a member of the Christian Management Association. Steve has previously served as a National Senior Advisor for the National Prayer Committee and as a member of the National Board of Advocates for Concerts of Prayer International.
Steve and his wife, Ruth, have two children, Nathan and Rebekah, and make their home in Lexington, Massachusetts.
Sue Mallory, the author of The Equipping Church and co-author of The Equipping Church Guidebook, has spent more than 20 years in full-time ministry.
Sue served as the founding executive director of Leadership Training Network (LTN) for eight years and more recently as the directional leader and executive director for Leadership Connection. Sue served as executive consultant for Church Volunteer Central, a division of Group Publishing.
Sue continues to consult and train nationally on the vision and mission of an equipping church. Additionally, she has served as adjunct faculty at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and Fuller Theological Seminary and as a guest lecturer at Princeton Theological Seminary.
In 1985, Sue developed the office of Lay Ministry at her local church, Brentwood Presbyterian Church, where she served in a volunteer capacity as its full-time director for eight years, part-time director of Leadership Development for two years, and currently serves her congregation as a lay leader and consultant in the area of leadership development. In 1992, she founded&mdashand was the first president of&mdashthe Southern California Association for Lay Empowerment and Development (LEAD).
She has three grown children and is the grandmother of three: an eight-year-old granddaughter and twin grandsons who are seven. She also has been blessed to share in the life of a foster daughter. Sue resides with her husband in Southern California.
More FAQs | Back to Help & Info
Join the BuildingChurchLeaders.com Facebook groupFollow us on TwitterSubscribe to the Building Church Leaders RSS feed
Meet Our Editorial Advisors
More from Christianity Today