The Missouri Baptist Convention missionary staff makes up one team with one vision and one mission. Our vision is: Transforming lives and communities with the gospel. Our mission is: Cooperating with Missouri Baptists to make disciples, multiply churches, and develop leaders.
Six directors, whose biographies are listed below, lead this missionary team.
Dr. 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.
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. John Yeats
Brad Bennett is the Making Disciples Director for the Missouri Baptist Convention. His responsibilities include evangelism; strategies for church leaders and families; and age-graded training events and conferences to equip Missouri Baptists to transform lives and communities with the gospel.
Bennett has been equipping individuals and churches in relational evangelism for more than 20 years. He has served as student pastor at MBC churches in Salem and Neosho, and more recently he served as pastor of evangelism at Second Baptist Church and Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Springfield.
Saved at the age of 19 while racing professional motocross, Bennett soon answered a call from the Lord to full-time ministry. He is the founder of Real Encounter Outreach, which blends action sports with an anointed message of the gospel to introduce people from all walks of life to the person of Jesus Christ.
Bennett and his wife, Janet, have three children and three grandchildren.
Dr. Rick Hedger is the Multiplying Churches Director 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.
Dr. Rick Hedger
Jim Misloski is the Developing Leaders Director for the Missouri Baptist Convention. He 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. He directs the MBC’s pastoral ministry, transitional pastor training, disaster relief training and deployment, church revitalization, and support events.
Prior to coming to the MBC in 2016, Misloski served as state director of missions for the Colorado Baptist General Convention. Before that, he served as church planting missionary for Longs Peak Baptist Association (Colo.), and as a church planter/pastor and discipleship/missions pastor in Colorado. He also has corporate experience, serving as senior brand manager for Group Publishing and, before that, vice president of creative services for Darcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles in St. Louis.
Misloski holds a Master of Divinity degree from Gateway Seminary (formerly Golden Gate Theological Seminary), and a B.A. degree in art/communication from Missouri State University. He and his wife, Paula, have three children.
Jason Yarnell serves as interim director of Collegiate Ministries, following the death of Gene Austin earlier this year. Yarnell also serves as campus missionary at Missouri State University. Learn more about Jason and his ministry here.
In memory of Gene Austin
Gene Austin, long-time director of Collegiate Ministries for the MBC, died May 23, 2023, after a battle with cancer.
Austin served in Missouri Baptist collegiate ministry for 23 years, beginning in 2000 as a campus minister with the Baptist Student Union at Truman State University in Kirksville. Austin oversaw Missouri Baptist ministry efforts on 26 campuses across the state of Missouri.
Of Austin’s passing, MBC Executive Director John Yeats said:
“Gene leaves a legacy of disciple-making across Missouri campuses, where he led an army of collegiate missionaries and epitomized servant leadership. Gene was a trusted colleague, friend, and confidant, a dad who loved his children and his precious wife, Vickie.
“A devoted follower of Jesus, Gene made wise decisions based on a deep love of God, God’s Word, and God’s people. He was faithful, kind, gentle, inquisitive, prudent, long-suffering, and loving.
“His vision of a gospel ministry on every college campus in our state continues in the ongoing labors of the mbCollegiate staff. I am deeply grateful for Gene’s friendship, and richer in so many ways for having served alongside him.”
Read more about Austin’s life and ministry here.
Rob Phillips is the Ministry Support Director 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 10 books including: The Apologist’s Took Kit; What Every Christian Should Know about the Trinity; Jesus Before Bethlehem: What Every Christian Should Know about the Angel of the Lord; and most recently, What Every Christian Should Know about Satan.
Phillips and his wife, Nancy, have two children and reside in Jefferson City, Mo.