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 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
Social Media/Communication Strategist

Jennifer’s passion is to help churches and ministries with strategy, implementation, and training of their online presence. She has been able to assist a variety of leaders in creating their voice and brand awareness on some of the largest social media platforms. Jennifer is passionate about helping those in leadership see how their social media presence can truly change and impact the lives of others and how they can #BeWorthFollowing. To learn more about Jen, you can connect with her here: www.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. 

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

Dr. Gary L. McIntosh, has over 27 years of experience in the field of church growth consultation, coaching of church leaders, and workshop presentations. As President of the McIntosh Church Growth Network, Gary has analyzed over 1,000 churches, representing some 87 denominations throughout the United States, Canada and Southeast Asia. His articles have appeared in Global Church Growth, New Results, the Win Arn Growth Report, Leadership, Church Growth America, Growing Churches, and numerous denominational publications.

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

Paul is a leader, visionary, and teacher. He is a sought after conference speaker, Bible Teacher, and motivational presenter. He has traveled all over the Americas, North, South, and Central, teaching, preaching, and strategizing with church planters, ministers, and leaders of denominations.

Main Session Panel


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. 

Steve Smith 

Dr. Steve Smith is founder of ChurchEquippers Ministries, a nonprofit organization training pastors, leaders, and churches in spiritual transformation and increasing church capacity. He has been involved in strategic church planting movements for 30 years. He is a strategic thinker, a relational networker, a mentor and coach to pastors and young leaders. Steve is the author of several books including The Key to Deep Change and The Increasing Capacity Guidebook. Born in Virginia, Steve is has been married for 40 years to his wife, Shirley, they have 4 children and 4 grandchildren. Their home base is in central Florida.

Terry Rials

Dr. Terry Rials has been in Christian Ministry for twenty-nine years, the last twenty-five as the Senior Pastor of the Crestview Baptist Church of Oklahoma City. He is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University (B.A., Applied Ministries), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas (M.Div.BL), and earned his doctorate (D.Min.) from Midwestern Baptist Theological in Church Revitalization. His dissertation project involved training pastors in the principles of revival and revitalization by equipping them to begin a revitalization project in their churches.

Ron Smith
Lead Pastor WaterStone Church, Longwood, Florida

Ron has served as a pastor for over twenty years, revitalizing churches in the Southeast, Midwest, and West Coast. Ron has developed the small church, the stuck church, and the mega church. Ron is known for passionate, biblical preaching and visionary leadership. Ron serves as Co-Leader of the Renovate One Day Training with Tom Cheyney helping churches and leaders in the greater Orlando area. Ron is the author of Churches Gone Wild.