The Missouri Baptist Convention missionary staff makes up one team with one vision and one mission. Our mission is: Transforming lives and communities with the gospel. Our mission is: Cooperating with Missouri Baptists to make disciples, multiply churches, and develop leaders.
Five strategists called “catalysts,” whose biographies are listed below, lead this missionary team.
For more information about the MBC’s vision and mission may be found here.
Dr. John Yeats
Dr. John Yeats is Executive Director of the Missouri Baptist Convention and serves as Executive Office Catalyst. 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.
While he has written for several periodicals published by LifeWay Christian Resources and Christianity Today, Yeats is the author of two books – Revive Us, O Lord! and Worth Its Weight in Gold. He is a contributing author of the Nelson’s Annual Preachers Sourcebook 2016. He also is co-author of a 21-day spiritual awakening guidebook, Desperate for Jesus.
Yeats 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.
Dr. Matt Kearns
Dr. Matt Kearns is the Making Disciples Catalyst for the Missouri Baptist Convention. He is responsible for developing and implementing strategies that lead Missouri Baptists to make followers of Jesus, model their lives after Him, and obey His command to help others become disciples of Christ. He oversees the group providing strategic leadership, training, and resources to assist present and future MBC churches in making disciples.
A native of Festus, Mo., Kearns 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.
He served in local church youth ministry for 14 years and also worked at the North American Mission Board on the Student Evangelism team. He has served on the MBC missionary staff since 2005.
Besides his passion for making disciples, Kearns is an avid sports enthusiast, loves to read, and is a huge Cardinals fan! He and his wife, Julie, reside in Jefferson City, Mo.
Dr. Rich Hedger
Dr. Rick Hedger is the Multiplying Churches Catalyst for the Missouri Baptist Convention. He is responsible for church multiplication strategies and Great Commission partnerships here, there, and everywhere. He works to support healthy churches that plant other healthy church-planting churches.
Hedger 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, Arkansas, and Missouri.
As pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Neosho, Mo., he developed partnerships with International Mission Board missionaries to engage the people of West Africa. God soon turned the call on his 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.
He 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.
The Developing Leaders Catalyst (who has yet to be named) is responsible for equipping and strengthening today’s churches and church leaders; discovering the next generation of leaders and preparing them to serve; and mobilizing leaders for Kingdom service in every sphere of influence.
Rob Phillips is the Ministry Support Catalyst for the Missouri Baptist Convention. He is responsible for MBC messaging, web, video and graphic services, live event support, technology, and promotion of the Cooperative Program and Missouri Missions Offering.
He also speaks in churches and leads conferences on Christian apologetics, and provides free downloadable resources for pastors and teachers at oncedelivered.net.
Phillips has extensive communications experience in business and Christian ministry and has served as a bi-vocational pastor. He holds a B.A. degree in journalism from Oklahoma Baptist University and is certified in Christian apologetics from the North American Mission Board.
He is the author of four books: The Kingdom According to Jesus; The Apologist’s Tool Kit; What Every Christian Should Know about Islam; and What Every Christian Should Know about Same-sex Attraction.
Phillips and his wife, Nancy, have two children and reside in Jefferson City, Mo.