MBC Teams and Leaders
The Executive Board of the Missouri Baptist Convention is responsible for the missionary, educational and benevolent work of the Convention. It also elects and determines the compensation of an executive director, who supervises the work of the board, and employs and determines the compensation of other persons necessary for directing the board’s work. You can find more information about the Executive Board on this page.
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, John 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, Missouri.
Rob Phillips is communications team leader for the Missouri Baptist Convention. In this role he is responsible for MBC messaging, project management, web and graphic services, audio / visual and live event support, and promotion of the Cooperative Program and the Missouri Missions Offering. He also speaks in churches and conducts workshops on Christian apologetics.Rob has extensive communications experience in corporate business and Christian ministry and has ministered as a bi-vocational pastor. He worked more than 20 years in public and media relations for Phillips Petroleum Company and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., while at the same time serving as an associate pastor in northeastern Oklahoma and providing extensive pulpit supply across the state. From 2002-2010 he served as director of communications for LifeWay Christian Resources.
In 2009, CrossBooks Publishing released a new book by Phillips, The Kingdom According to Jesus: A Study of Jesus’ Parables on the Kingdom of Heaven. The book won a national award from the Baptist Communicators Association.
Rob is a certified apologetics instructor who speaks at churches, conferences, training events and other venues. He provides free downloadable resources for pastors and teachers at www.oncedelivered.net.
Don Hinkle is The Pathway / Public Policy Team Leader for the Missouri Baptist Convention. He serves as editor of The Pathway, the official news journal of the MBC, and directs the MBC’s public policy activities. He also serves as liaison with the Christian Life Commission.
A 10-year Air Force veteran, Don has more than 30 years of experience in journalism. He has been a reporter and copy editor for The (Nashville) Tennessean; The (Louisville, Kentucky) Courier-Journal; and The (Newport News, Va.) Daily Press. He was editor of The Columbia (Tennessee) Daily Herald when called into full-time ministry in 1997. Saved when he was 10 years old, he was ordained at First Baptist Church, Columbia, Tenn., in 1998.
Don is the author of one book and has had more than 100 articles published by Baptist Press and LifeWay Christian Resources.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va., and both a master’s degree in theology and a master’s degree in Christian education from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. He has completed further study at The Acton Institute for Religious Liberty in Grand Rapids, Mich.; The World (magazine) Journalism Institute in Charlotte, N.C.; and most recently was commissioned a Centurion by the late Chuck Colson after completing a 12-month Christian Worldview program at BreakPoint Ministries in Landsdowne, Va.
He is on the board of directors of The Missouri Roundtable for Life, one of the state’s leading pro-life organizations. He and his wife, Bernadette, reside in Jefferson City where they are members of Concord Baptist Church.
Rick Hedger is Missional Evangelism / Discipleship Team Leader for the Missouri Baptist Convention. He is responsible for partnership mission strategies / partnerships, church evangelism, Great Commission discipleship, disaster relief, and WMU.
Rick was born into the family of God and called into Christian service in 1978. Since then, he has served as senior pastor of churches in Missouri and Arkansas and in a church-planting role in Tennessee.
As pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Neosho, Mo. He developed partnerships with our International Mission Board missionaries to engage the people of West Africa. God soon turned the call on Rick’s life to “Call-Out the Called” through local churches, serving as mission awareness director for the Illinois Baptist State Association and now at the MBC.
Rick holds a B.A. degree in Bible from Missouri Baptist University, and both a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary.
He and his wife, Sandra, have two children. They reside in Jefferson City.
Jim Wells is Strategic Partners team leader for the Missouri Baptist Convention. He serves as the MBC’s liaison with directors of missions (DOMs); oversees On Mission celebrations; works with DOMs in partnership conventions; leads Prayer and Spiritual Awakening; and coordinates activities with MBC entities. He also serves as liaison with the Missouri National Guard’s Partners in Care; works with chaplains serving in Missouri; is responsible for event planning; and helps coordinate activities of the Baptist Secretaries Association of Missouri (BSAM) and Ministry Wives.
A native of Chillicothe, Mo., Jim was saved at age 9 and called to preach at age 16. He served as pastor of churches in Missouri for 34 years and counts as his greatest joy preaching God’s Word and seeing people come to know Christ.
His ministry with Southern Baptists has extended nationally. Currently, he serves as registration secretary of the Southern Baptist Convention, and he has served as a member of the SBC Committee on Committees, the SBC Executive Committee, and the SBC Resolution Committee.
Jim holds an undergraduate degree in Bible and Greek from Hannibal-LaGrange University; a B.A. in social science from Central Missouri State University; a Master of Divinity from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; and an Honorary Doctor of Sacred Theology from Hannibal-LaGrange University.
Jim and his wife, Judy, have one daughter. They reside in Ozark, Mo.
Ben Hess is the church planting team leader for the Missouri Baptist Convention and a church-planting missionary with the North American Mission Board. He and his team assess potential church-planting candidates; provide basic training of Cooperative Program church planters; equip sponsoring churches; deploy church-planting strategies; and plant churches.
Hess has a bachelor’s degree from Central Missouri State University, and a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City.
He worked as a Teamsters warehouseman and farmer before serving several years as a church developer/planter in Kenya with the International Mission Board. He also served as a pastor of Union Baptist Church in Stet, Mo., before his mission experience in Kenya. Ben served as pastor of First Baptist Church of Herculaneum-Pevely, Mo., after returning from Kenya.
Ben and his wife Linda have four grown children. They live in Crystal City, Mo.
Matt Kearns is Leadership Development Team Leader for the Missouri Baptist Convention. He is responsible for the Next Generation Leaders Network, student ministries, leadership forums, and next-decade leadership strategies.
A native of Festus, Mo., Matt 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.
Matt served in local church youth ministry for 14 years and also worked at the North American Mission Board on the Student Evangelism team.
Besides his passion to see students come to Christ and his love for serving, training, and encouraging leadership, Matt is an avid sports enthusiast and huge Cardinals fan! He and his wife, Julie, reside in Jefferson City.
Spencer Hutson is the Church Strengthening Team Leader for the Missouri Baptist Convention. He directs children’s ministries, Sunday school / discipleship / small group studies, pastoral ministries, the Transitional Pastor Network, church and personal stewardship strategies, men’s ministries, women’s ministries, and worship.
Spencer has served MBC since 1983. He has held positions as associate in church training, director of church administration, church facilities consultant, and stewardship and cooperative program director. Prior to joining the MBC, he was minister of education / youth at First Baptist Church, Poplar Bluff, Mo.
Spencer holds a B.S. degree in psychology from Southwest Baptist University, and a Master of Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He and his wife, Valerie, have two children and five grandchildren. They reside in Cuba, Mo., and are members of a new church plant, Deer Creek Church, Cuba.
Joe Ulveling serves as the Support Services Teamleader and Family Ministries Specialist for the Missouri Baptist Convention. He oversees the MBC’s buildings and properties, human resources, technology, event planning including the Annual Meeting, business services, calendaring, processes and procedures, and the mailroom. His responsibilities for Family Ministries include assisting churches with resources or speaking at events for marriage enrichment, parenting, family issues, and minister’s and wives events.
Prior to coming to Missouri, Joe served as a corporate manager in the commercial finance field for two different Fortune 500 companies. He was most recently the Area Manager for Conseco Finance for the Specialty Products Finance Group for 19 states in the Eastern U.S. He was responsible for the overall operational management for a portfolio ranging between $170-$180 million dollars.
He attended Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, TN and graduated with a degree in Secondary Education/Business. He was ordained in May 2004 by First Baptist Church Woodstock, GA
Joe is happily married to Debbie and they have two sons. Trenton is a senior at College of the Ozarks in Branson, MO, and Tucker is a senior at Jefferson City High School.