2017 Main Session Speakers

Micah Fries

Micah Fries is the Senior Pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. Prior to that, he has served as the Vice President of LifeWay Research, a Senior Pastor in Missouri and an international church planter in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Micah and his wife Tracy have been married for 17 years, have two daughters, and recently adopted a son from the Kingdom of Lesotho in Africa.

karl vatersKarl Vaters

Karl Vaters is the author of the book, The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches and the Small Thinking That Divides Us. On his blog Pivot, he writes about Innovative Leadership from a Small Church Perspective for ChristianityToday.com several times a week. He’s also the founder of NewSmallChurch.com, a ministry that encourages, connects and equips innovative Small Church pastors.

Karl’s passion is neither to help pastors grow churches bigger or to settle for less. He believes Small Churches are not a problem, a virtue or an excuse. They just are. And they can be pastored well.

His heart is to help pastors of Small Churches (about 90% of churches) find the resources to pastor their current church well, and to capitalize on the unique advantages that come with pastoring a Small Church – something virtually every pastor will spend at least some of their ministry years doing. He also believes that big and small churches can and should work together more often – to the benefit of each.

Karl has been in pastoral ministry for over 30 years and has been the lead pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Fountain Valley, California for over 23 years.

Dr. Jennifer BennettJennifer Bennett

Inspirational Communication Specialist and Project Manager at iBloom

Jen’s passion is helping businesses, ministries and individuals, #BeWorthFollowing. Jen enjoys speaking, training, and writing on all things that inspire and help leaders build a digital footprint and personal brand that is different and that helps them stand out and influence people in a crowded and noisy social media world. To learn more about Jen, go to: drjenbennett.com

Tom CheyneyTom Cheyney

Founder and Directional Leader of RENOVATE National Church Revitalization Conference & Executive Director of Missions, Greater Orlando Baptist Association

Tom is a nationally recognized conference leader in church revitalization, church planting and church health. Tom has taught all over the world and is an Oxford University Distinguished Scholars Student from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Tom is the author of Thirty-Eight Church Revitalization Models For The Twenty First Century The Nuts and Bolts of Church Revitalization, Preaching Towards Church Revitralization, The Church Revitalizer as Change Agent and Spin-Off Churches. 

Jason CooperJason Cooper

Lead Pastor, The Church at Oak Level, Ocoee, FL

Jason embraced God's call to begin a revitalization effort at Oak Level in order to restore Jesus' mission to the church. The church began to take steps to refocus on the community surrounding the Ocoee campus. In th first 3 years of Jason's tenure at Oak Level Baptist Church, more people, who had placed their faith in Jesus were baptized than had been baptized in the previous 10 years put together. It has been a remarkable turnaround. 

dr. gary mcIntoshGary McIntosh


President of the Church Growth Network and Professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University.


david murrowDavid Murrow

David Murrow founded Church for Men in 2005. Murrow is not a pastor, professor or theologian. He’s just a guy in the pews who noticed a disturbing trend: churches are losing their men and boys. So he wrote a book titled Why Men Hate Going to Church, which became an instant Christian bestseller, with more than 100,000 copies in print. His efforts have spawned articles in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. You may have seen him on PBS, the NBC Nightly News, or the Fox News Channel talking about the gender gap.

paul smtihPaul Smith

Lead Pastor, Life Church - Mandeville, LA