The Mission

We exist to serve the churches of the Missouri Baptist Convention by focusing on the next generation. Our desire is to see the next generation of disciple-making leaders shaped and trained to serve through local church ministry, local and international missions opportunities, church planting/missional communities, and focused training opportunities like our next generation leadership initiative. We also serve alongside youth, collegiate, and pastoral leadership to provide resources, training, communication, and support for existing and developing church ministry. We desire to make disciples and live like missionaries in every context of life.

The Team

Matt Kearns
Team Leader
I’m the Leadership Development Team Leader for the Missouri Baptist Convention. I’m responsible for the Next Generation Leaders Network, student ministries, leadership forums, and next-decade leadership strategies.

A native of Festus, Mo., I received a B.S. degree in mass communications / public relations from Southeast Missouri State University, a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
I’ve served in local church youth ministry for 14 years and also worked at the North American Mission Board on the Student Evangelism team.

Besides my passion to see students come to Christ and my love for serving, training, and encouraging leadership, I’m also an avid sports enthusiast and huge Cardinals fan! My wife Julie and I reside in Jefferson City.

Gene Austin
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I work with our campus missionaries, specifically in their ability to lead the missional movements we want to see on college campuses around the state. I also give thought and continue to develop a presence on the top 50 campuses in Missouri where there is currently no MBC work. I also work with churches and associations giving them tools to be more effective leaders of their respective ministries.

My wife and I have been married 35 years. We, along with our adult children and 15 year old grandson, live in Columbia. Over the years God has led us to be foster parents and since then have adopted twin boys who are five years old and are currently fostering three young siblings. This new phase in life has managed to keep us young–or old–depending on the day.

Eric Barb
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I am blessed to serve as the ministry assistant for the Leadership Development Team and work with such an incredible group of people. It is my privilege to serve in a role that helps to facilitate ministries where we see individuals come to know Jesus, see them grow in their relationship with the Lord and also see them developed into leaders for the Kingdom.

I love traveling with my family, finding fun local restaurants, reading a good book, and I enjoy all things creative. Whether it is playing guitar and singing, cooking/baking, refurbishing furniture for our home or trying to be artistic and crafty, I enjoy the process of creating. I am married to Kelly, our firstborn is Cooper, and we are expecting our second son in June of 2014.

Kelly Barb
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I serve in an administrative role and help plan and organize events for the team. I am married to Eric and we have one son, Cooper. I enjoy traveling, crafting, baking, and a good hot chocolate with a lot of marshmallows.

Jeff Carson
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I serve as the point of contact for various ministries of the LDT and I’m the point person for the Next Generation Leader Initiative. My real passion is to help students follow Jesus well through their school years and become young men and women who make disciples regardless of their vocation in life. My greatest partner in life and ministry is my wife, Angela. We have three children who always keep us on our toes. I’m also an avid dessert eater.

David Hendrick
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My focus is to mobilize the next generation for missions in Missouri, North America and around the world. My passion for missions was developed in long term overseas experiences with the IMB in Russia and the Middle East. I reside in the St. Louis area with my wife and five children.

Ed Moncada
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I am the International Student Ministry Strategist for the team, originally from the Philippines. My life was radically transformed as a freshman in College after encountering Christians. I love to hang out with internationals and get to know their culture and try out their foods. I call myself “the brown brother in the middle” and want to help spark a Heartland Awakening. I’m a prayer warrior and would love to share with you the supernatural “wow moments” I have experienced.

Bri Suitt
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I, alongside David Hendrick, spearhead the Summer Missions program and I oversee communications for our team. I experience God most through the arts; I’m an avid DSLR/iPhone photographer, novice filmmaker/writer, and story enthusiast. I also love live music and sitting, which can be difficult things to love simultaneously. I’m grateful to serve with such a fantastic team and am happy to answer your questions and connect you with the right people.

Bill Victor
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I provide the biblical framework for the strategies of the LDT. I am also the pastor of Missio Dei Church, a campus church at the University of Missouri. I am a native of St. Louis and I’ve been married for almost 20 years to Chris and I am the father of a teenage daughter, Maggie (God help me). I’ve been a youth minister, associate pastor, denominational worker, college professor and pastor.