Annual Meeting Speakers
Steve Gaines is the newly elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn. Bellevue is one of the largest congregations in the Southern Baptist Convention.
Previously, he led Gardendale First Baptist Church of Birmingham, Ala., for 14 years. He has served as president of the Southern Baptist Pastor’s Conference and was instrumental in helping revise the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
Gaines has authored four books and has been a keynote preacher in many conventions and conferences across the Southern Baptist Convention.
He is a graduate of Union University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Donna, have 4 children.
Neil Franks is president of the Missouri Baptist Convention and chair of the Executive Board.
He serves as lead pastor of First Baptist Church, Branson. Under his leadership, FBC Branson has almost tripled in size and serves as a mission leader within the state and beyond with 13 percent of general receipts dedicated to reaching people with the gospel through Southern Baptist causes.
He has led mission teams to various places including Central Asia, Central Mexico, San Francisco, New York and Iowa. He also has created church planting partnerships in St. Louis as part of the SEND City initiative, along the I-29 corridor with Missouri Baptists and most recently a new church plant in Denver, Colo. He has led FBC Branson to partner with six different MBC church plants across the state.
Prior to joining the church in 2007, Franks served churches in Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas. He earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (2009) and a Master of Divinity with Biblical Languages from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (1997).
Franks met his wife, Kendra, while they were both students at Henderson State University. They have two boys, Nathan and Travis.
Daniel Im is director of Church Multiplication for New Churches at LifeWay Christian Resources. He also serves as teaching pastor at The Fellowship, a multisite church in Nashville, Tenn., and he is co-author of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply.
Im holds an M.A. in global leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville.
He and his wife, Christina, have three children.
J.D. Payne is pastor for church multiplication with The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala. He is responsible for overseeing the church’s Institute for Disciple Making as well as church planting and pastoral training.
Prior to his call to Brook Hills, Payne pastored churches in Kentucky and Indiana, and he served as a seminary professor.
He and his wife, Sarah, have three children.
Ronnie Ratliff is pastor of Tenth Street Baptist Church in Trenton, Mo. He and his wife, Iva Gail, have been in ministry together for more than 30 years. They live 18 miles west of Trenton and run a cow/calf operation.
Involved in the horse and cow business most of their lives, Ronnie and Iva Gail have a deep love for the land and the people of rural America, as well as the lifestyle. But the ministry is Ronnie’s great love: “There’s only one thing I enjoy more than saddling a good horse and checking the banker’s cows is preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Ronnie preaches revivals and writes and recites cowboy poetry when time and opportunity permit. He has recorded a CD of his original cowboy poetry.
K. Marshall Williams
K. Marshall Williams is senior pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church in Philadelphia, where he has served for more than 30 years. He is universally recognized as a visionary, innovator, and organizer with superior leadership qualities. A “pastor’s pastor,” his unique gifting transcends denominational, cultural, ethnic, and generational boundaries. Williams is a nationally sought-after preacher, lecturer, and advisor.
He holds a BA degree from Augsburg College in Minneapolis and a Master of Divinity degree from the Palmer Theological Seminary of Philadelphia. He was a missionary with Sports Ambassadors and served as an adjunct chaplain and Bible expositor for the Philadelphia Phillies, Eagles, and 76ers.
In 2014-15 he was elected president of The National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention. In 2014 he preached at the SBC in Baltimore, and again in Columbus, Ohio, in 2015.
He and his wife, Constance, have three children and one grandchild.
John Yeats is executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention. He directs the state’s missionary staff; administers Cooperative Program funds given by Missouri Baptist churches; serves as publisher of The Pathway, the official news journal of the MBC; and sets the state’s cooperative strategy for fulfilling the Acts 1:8 mission mandate.
Prior to his leadership in Missouri, he served as director of communications and public policy for the Louisiana Baptist Convention. He also served as editor of the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger and served the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana as director of communications and editor of the Indiana Baptist.
Since 1997, he has been the recording secretary of the Southern Baptist Convention. He also served 20 years as pastor of churches in Texas and Kansas and has led several multi-staff churches through effective interim pastorates.
He received a B.A. degree from Dallas Baptist University, a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife Sharon have three sons and nine grandchildren. They reside in Lohman, Mo.