Annual Meeting Speakers
Lance Ford is co-founder of the Sentralized Conference in Kansas City and author of Unleader. He blogs at sentralizedgathering.com. With more than two decades of experience as a pastor and church planter, Lance is a writer, coach, and consultant who has designed unique training systems currently being used by networks, seminaries, and leaders throughout the world. His passion is to give himself to resourcing and equipping churches and leaders as they develop missional lifestyles.
Ford holds a master’s degree in global leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary. His book, Right Here Right Now: Everyday Mission for Everyday People, was co-authored with Alan Hirsch. He serves on the national leadership team for Forge America Missional Training Network.
Wesley Hammond is president of the Missouri Baptist Convention. Since 1995, he has served as pastor of First Baptist Church, Paris, Mo. Born and raised in Missouri, he is a product of Missouri Baptist Convention people. While growing up in Hannibal, and before graduating from HLGU, many people and churches in Northeast Missouri taught him to love the Lord. At seminary and while serving with the Home Mission Board (now NAMB) in Nevada, Hammond benefited from the prayers and giving of Southern Baptist people through the Cooperative Program while learning about the power of missions.
Throughout his ministry, Hammond has served in a variety of church, association, state convention, and SBC leadership positions. In these roles he has been able to give back to people who have given him so much: God first, family second, and the people of God third. His greatest joys are teaching people to love the Lord and to walk with Him, spending time with his family, and living life with the people of God.
Hammond and his wife Diana have two sons, Stephen and Michael.
Jeff Iorg is president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in California. Prior to his service at the seminary, He was executive director of the Northwest Baptist Convention, where he served for nearly 10 years. He also was the founding pastor of Greater Gresham Baptist Church in Gresham, Ore., and served on staff at churches in Missouri and Texas.
Iorg teaches leadership, preaching, and church ministry courses at Golden Gate. He speaks frequently on these same subjects in conferences and other venues, including college campuses and leadership seminars. His publications include six books – The Painful Side of Leadership, The Character of Leadership, Is God Calling Me?, The Case for Antioch, Seasons of a Leader’s Life, and his latest, Unscripted – along with dozens of articles and curriculum materials. Iorg maintains a leadership resources website at jeffiorg.com
Iorg is a graduate of Hardin Simmons University (B.A.), Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (D.Min.). He and his wife Ann have three adult children. His hobbies include umpiring baseball, reading, and searching for the world’s best barbeque restaurant. His personal ministry includes outreach to the professional baseball community in the Bay Area of California.
Richie Rhea is lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Troy, Mo. He has spent his life serving the Lord in Missouri. He served as a youth pastor in Springfield and Kansas City, and then as lead pastor in the St. Louis area before coming to Troy 12 years ago. His love of the gospel has led him to pastor churches that reach folks with the message of Christ in a variety of ways. This year the church rallied around the 528 theme from Acts 5:28, in which the disciples were accused of filling Jerusalem with the message of Jesus.
Troy First has played a role in planting a number of churches. Most recently, the church sent 100 members to help plant Northroad in Moscow Mills. Between FBC Troy and Northroad, about 100 have been baptized in the past 12 months.
Rhea graduated from Missouri State University with degrees in communication and psychology. He also earned a Master of Theology degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. For the last 10 years he has served as a trustee of Hannibal LaGrange University. He also has been active on committees and ministries through the Twin Rivers Association.
Rhea has shared the gospel in Belerus, Haiti, Romania, and Senegal, where Troy First is seeking to plant a church in a village they have visited 14 times.
He and his wife – author and humor columnist Rhonda Rhea – have five children, all serving in Christian ministries. Rhea appears regularly on the TV show, “That’s My Mom,” hosted and produced by his wife and two daughters.
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.