Missio Alliance is guided by the partnered effort of a Board of Trustees, Advisory Council, and a Staff Team. Combined, these groups represent involvement from across the Wesleyan, Baptist, Reformed, Holiness, Anglican, Charismatic, Anabaptist, and other traditions.
The Staff Team is responsible for catalyzing the initiative, providing overall vision and direction, and cultivating partnerships with like-minded groups on national and regional levels.
After years of hearing from leaders the necessity of a “space” to discern the issues related to mission in a post-Christianizing culture, Chris began pulling together the pieces for what would become Missio Alliance in 2010. Now, he happily serves as Co-Director and is excited to see a church being re-imagined across tribes and traditions for the sake of the restorative mission of Jesus Christ.
In addition to his role with Missio, Chris serves as the National Director of Fresh Expressions US and Ecclesia Network. Both are centered on his passion of working with church leaders to develop new expressions of Christian community and networking those efforts together. He also continues to serve with the Baptist General Association of Virginia in a variety of capacities. Before delving into trans-local work, Chris served as a pastor/church planter for 13 years in Maryland and Virginia. His doctoral work at Fuller Seminary focused on the future of denominations.
Chris lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with his wife Rachel and two children, Elliana and Jase.
JR has spent most of his working life serving simultaneously in local churches as a pastor and in theological education as a program developer and instructor. His main interests and passions revolve around helping the Western Church develop missional perspectives and instincts, especially through a greater awareness and engagement with Church leaders in the Majority World. Helping to create new networks, partnerships, conversations, and resources that embody and advance the good news of God’s mission of reconciliation is at the center of JR’s personal sense of call.
JR has a Doctorate in Missiology from Fuller Theological Seminary. He, his wife Amy, and their two daughters, Aubrey and Junia, live in Canton, OH and are part of LoveCanton, a congregation of RiverTree Christian Church.
Wendy has worked in public and higher education as a public relations specialist, crisis counselor, academic advisor and instructor. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Virginia. Wendy periodically teaches on Sundays, in addition to serving with her husband David on the community congregation equipping team at New Life Christian Fellowship in Blacksburg, Virginia. Together, they have been volunteer staff members since 2002.
Wendy holds bachelor degrees in Communications and Psychology from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in Counseling and Human Development from Radford University. She is currently taking seminary classes through the John C. Leland Center for Theological Studies. In between playing dress-up and hosting tea parties with their daughters, Daisy and Rose, they enjoy cheering on the Hokies and all things Chicago.
Besides serving Missio Alliance, Jane Linton is the Administrator for The Ecclesia Network, and also for Fresh Expressions US and Kairos Partnerships. She was an active part of a Richmond church plant called ‘Imago Dei’ for five years, and loves sharing her love of planning and organization to help churches and their staff fulfill their callings. Jane graduated from Virginia Tech with majors in History and Political Science. Before working with churches she taught school groups with the Valentine Richmond History Center. When Jane is not meticulously and joyfully color-coding tabbed binders and formatting trip itineraries, she can be found chasing her two small boys Alex and Luke around Richmond or working with her husband Brandon on a new Pinterest-inspired home project.
Juliet Liu is a co-pastor at Life on the Vine, a missional church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. She is married to Sheldon Waite and they have two children, Isaiah and Ezra. Juliet is a graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Prior to coming to Life on the Vine in 2010, she ministered in Asian-American local church settings and on diverse university campuses. Between her time pastoring disciples on mission, parenting two young boys, and adjunct teaching at Trinity International University, she enjoys having friends over to try her latest cooking experiments, including childhood favorite foods from her Vietnamese and Chinese upbringing.
The Board of Trustees is comprised of individuals who represent varying perspectives and interests from across a range of theological traditions, ministry contexts, and backgrounds.
In our early stages of development, these leaders are serving Missio Alliance as both consultants and advocates. As an initiative seeking to foster connection and collaboration amongst diverse groups within the broad spectrum of the evangelical tradition, these leaders, along with the communities and constituencies they represent, are helping us to develop an ever-deepening awareness and sensitivity to God’s work in and among the Body of Christ as we engage in mission together.
David M. Bailey is a speaker, music director, and producer that has spent the past decade using music as a tool in the reconciliation process. He is an active worship leader and presenter at national and international conferences. His specialty is in leading multi-cultural worship, equipping Christian communities with the tools needed to connect diverse people and cultures. He is on the core leadership team for the National Multicultural Worship Leaders Network. David is the author of Arrabon: Learning Reconciliation through Community and Worship Music and a contributing author for Worship and Mission for the Global Church: An Ethnodoxology Handbook.
David and his wife Joy live in Richmond, Virginia and enjoy exploring new cities and entertaining friends (old and new) in their home.
Leroy Barber (Board Chair)
Leroy Barber has dedicated more than twenty-five years to eradicating poverty, confronting homelessness, restoring local neighborhoods, healing racism and living what Dr. King called “the beloved community.” He is the author of New Neighbor and Everyday Missions, and the coauthor of Red, Brown, Yellow, Black and White with Velma Maia Thomas. He was also a contributing author to Tending to Eden by Scott Sabin and the groundbreaking book UnChristian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons.
The co-founder and director of the Voices Project and college pastor at Kilns College, Barber starts projects that shape society. In 1989, burdened by the plight of Philadelphia’s homeless, he and his wife Donna founded Restoration Ministries to serve homeless families and children living on the streets, and in 1994 he became the director of internship programs at Cornerstone Christian Academy. He was licensed and ordained at Mt Zion Baptist Church where he served as youth director with Donna, and also served as associate minister of evangelism. In 1997, he joined FCS Urban Ministries, working with Atlanta Youth Project to serve as the founding executive director of Atlanta Youth Academies, a private elementary school providing quality Christian education for low-income families in the inner city. He also helped found DOOR Atlanta, Community Life Church, South Atlanta Marketplace and Community Grounds Coffee shop in Atlanta, as well as Green My Hood and the Voices Project.
Barber and his wife Donna have been married thirty years and together they have five children.
Dr. Jim Baucom
Dr. Jim Baucom has been Senior Pastor of Columbia Church, Falls Church, Virginia, in the inner suburbs of Washington, DC, for ten years. As a consultant, Christian leader, speaker, and writer, Dr. Baucom has worked with businesses, churches, and non-profits around the world. He has served in many leadership capacities nationally and is presently Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the John Leland Seminary, Chairman of the Board for the Spence Leadership Network, a Trustee of Averett University, a member of the General Council of the Baptist World Alliance, and serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Evangelicals.
Of particular importance to him is his work in the slums of Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Richmond, a Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary. Dr. Baucom lives in McLean, Virginia with his wife Debbie and daughters, Marlee and Kelly.
Lesa Engelthaler is a Senior Associate for Victory Search Group, assisting nonprofits to recruit executive leaders. Lesa is also a writer for such publications as The Dallas Morning News, Christianity Today, Gifted for Leadership, Relevant, Today’s Christian Woman and Prism. Lesa is a founding member of Ink and proud to be a part of the Redbud Writers Guild. Recently she started blogging at Conversations Journal and Faith Village. Her friends would say that Lesa is passionate about empowering women. For the past several years, she has served on the Circle of Friends board of New Friends New Life and leads an annual trip to partner with the House of Hope a nonprofit in Nicaragua helping women escape prostitution. Today, Lesa finds herself completely taken by one small girl – her first grandchild Lucy. A native Texan and current resident of Dallas, Lesa earned a Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies from Columbia International University where she met and married Mark, Executive Pastor at Woodcreek Church. Lesa is wild about reading (favorite book, Jane Eyre), live music and anything from the seventies hippie era.
Dr. David Fitch
David Fitch is B. R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary Chicago, IL. He is also the founding pastor of Life on the Vine Christian Community – a missional church in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago. He coaches a network of church plants in the Christian and Missionary Alliance linked to Life on the Vine. He writes on the issues the local church must face in mission including cultural engagement, leadership and theology and has lectured and presented on these topics at many seminaries, graduate schools, denominational gatherings and conferences.
Deb Hirsch is a speaker, church leader, and writer. She has led churches in both Australia and Los Angeles. She is one of the founders of Forge Mission Training Network and a current member of the Forge America national team. She was part of the leadership team of Christian Associates (a church planting movement in Europe, North & South America). She co-authored (with Alan Hirsch) Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship. Her new book Redeeming Sex reflects something of her own journey and attempts to bring new conversations around sexuality into the context of the church. Deb has been involved in social work, community development and as a trained counselor has worked in the field of sexuality for over twenty five years. She and her husband live in community with others in Los Angeles.
Dr. Frank A. James, III
Along with his teaching responsibilities at Biblical, Dr. James currently serves the seminary as president. He has two doctorates, a D.Phil. in History from Oxford University and a Ph.D. in Theology from Westminster Theological Seminary. Dr. James has taught at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Villanova University, Westmont College and was Visiting Professor at the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Oxford University. Dr. James has two academic specialties, the Reformation and Contemporary American Evangelicalism. He has written or edited 9 books and published over 60 articles in popular and academic journals. His latest book is Church History: Reformation to the Present, (Zondervan, 2013). He has given lectures at distinguished universities and research institutes around the globe including: Oxford University, University of Zurich, and the University of Padua, Italy. Frank is married to the noted author Carolyn Custis James and they have one daughter, Allison.
Dr. Jo Anne Lyon
Besides serving as the General Superintendent of The Wesleyan Church, Dr. Lyon serves on the board of directors at many organizations, including the NAE Executive Committee, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, the Christian Community Development Association and the Association for Biblical Higher Education. She also serves as an Ex – Officio board member for all Wesleyan institutions of higher education.
Dr. Lyon holds a Masters Degree in Counseling, further graduate studies in Historical Theology and has been granted five honorary doctorates. She has written several articles and publications, including the book Ultimate Blessing: Experiencing God to the Fullest and has served over 30 years in pastoral ministry. She has been Adjunct Professor of Church and Society at both Indiana Wesleyan University and Asbury Theological Seminary. Known by many as the founder and CEO of World Hope International, Alexandria, VA, she led the organization to great influence as a faith-based relief and development organization; alleviating suffering and injustice in over 30 countries.
Dr. Lyon and her husband Wayne, the pastor of United Family Wesleyan Church, live in the Indianapolis area. They have four children and eight grandchildren.
Lisa Rodriguez-Watson (Board Vice-Chair)
For over a decade Lisa has served as an urban church planter, collegiate minister, seminary professor and international missionary. Her heart to see people reconciled to God and to one another has led her to invest her life, family and ministry in places and people that have often been looked over by the world.
Lisa served as co-founder of a grassroots organization in Memphis, TN that was committed to mobilizing Christians to love their undocumented neighbors, and consider an appropriate Christian response to our nation’s immigration crisis. She works as Assistant to the CEO of the Christian Community Development Association.
Educated at Florida International University and Golden Gate Seminary, she lives in Washington, DC where she is a mom to 3 fantastic children, Nathan (8), Elias (5) and Annelies (2), and a wife to Matthew, a Church Planting Pastor at The District Church, who is the best man she’s ever known.
Dr. Charlie Self
Charlie is an ordained Assemblies of God minister, credentialed since 1980. He has been active in pastoral ministry for over 30 years across the USA. He has been an associate pastor, interim pastor (serving six communities) and lead pastor in California, Oregon, Washington, D.C. and the Midwest. He is presently Professor of Church History at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri and a Senior Advisor for the Acton Institute.
Charlie has been involved in professional post-secondary education since 1981. He has been a professor of Religion, History and Philosophy at Bethany University, Continental Theological Seminary (Brussels, Belgium), George Fox University, Western Seminary, and The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. He has also served as a Student Life Director, Associate Dean and on multiple strategic teams.
JR Woodward (M.A., Global Leadership, Fuller Theological Seminary) desires to awaken people to join God in the renewal of all things. He is a church planter, activist, missiologist and author of Creating a Missional Culture. He founded [nlcf] and cofounded Kairos LA , The Solis Foundation, the Ecclesia Network, and Missio Alliance. He is currently serving as the National Director for Church Planting with V3, a missional church planting movement in the United States. He serves locally with the District Church in Washington D.C, and is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Manchester (UK). He enjoys blogging and you can find him tweeting here. He loves to surf, travel, read, skateboard, and meet new people. He enjoys photography and film and tries to attend the Sundance Film Festival whenever he can.
Most recently, Nikki Toyama-Szeto directed the International Justice Mission’s Institute for Biblical Justice and oversees Global Prayer. She also writes, speaks, and teaches on the intersection of faith and justice, and is the co-author of IJM’s God of Justice, a curriculum for churches. Prior to joining IJM, Nikki worked with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for thirteen years. Most recently, she served as the program director of Urbana, InterVarsity’s international conference of 18,000 young adults from 120 countries. She has served on the board of Mission Year, an urban immersion program for young adults, and helped develop the program for 2010 Lausanne Global Congress.
Dr. Wayne Faison
Dr. Faison was called as the 12th Pastor of The East End Baptist Church in November 2014. He has 22 years of ministerial experience including 6 years in the pastoral ministry and 14 years in the denominational vocation with the Baptist General Association of Virginia. He also spent 15 years in the banking profession.
Dr. Faison was Called to the Ministry in 1992; Licensed in 1993; and Ordained in 1997 at New St. John Baptist Church in Ocala, Florida. Previously, he served as Senior Pastor of Canaan Missionary Baptist Church in Flemington, Florida from 1997 – 2001.
Dr. Faison received a Doctor of Ministry degree in Black Church Leadership from the School of Theology in 2001 and a Master of Divinity degree in Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth from the Billy Graham School in 1996 at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics in 1984 from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.
Dr. Faison’s secular experience includes serving as Vice President of Commercial Banker at Am South Bank of Florida from 1996-2001 and as Assistant Vice- President and Investment Officer, as well as in other capacities, at Mid- State Federal Savings Bank from 1984-1993 in Ocala, Florida.
Dr. Faison is married to Carmen Clark Faison and has two adult children Andrea and Chasity. He loves spending time with his family, playing golf, running marathons, reading and writing.
The Board of Advisors consists of those who have provided strategic input, feedback, and wisdom to help guide and shape the Missio Alliance in its initial stages.
Cherith Fee Nordling
James Bryan Smith
Sara Jane Roxburgh Walker
Sara Jane holds a MCS in Theology from Regent College, Vancouver, BC and an undergraduate degree in English Literature. Her background includes leadership development with inner-city youth, contributing to the worshipping life of her local church and building the ministry and business of TMN with a team of colleagues.
Sara Jane serves as the President of The Missional Network providing leadership as the organization resources and partners with church systems and local congregations joining with God in their neighborhoods. Sara Jane is passionate about how we creatively and faithfully embrace this journey and the ways in which new modes of social connectivity are transforming how we relate with one another and participate with God in our local communities.
Sara Jane has three school-aged children and lives with her husband, Matthew, in North Vancouver, BC. She enjoys connecting in her local community through both her children’s activities and her own interests and hobbies including paddling, running and singing.