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.
Prior to co-founding Missio Alliance in 2012, JR spent most of his working life serving simultaneously in local churches as a pastor and in theological education as a program innovator and teacher. His main interests and passions revolve around helping the Western Church develop missional perspectives and instincts, especially through greater awareness of and engagement with Church leaders outside the dominant culture. Helping to create new networks, partnerships, conversations, and resources that embody and advance the good news of God’s mission of reconciling all things in Christ 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 three kiddos, Aubrey, Junia, and Aidan live in Canton, OH. JR is an ordained deacon in C4SO, a diocese of the Anglican Church in North America.
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.
Dr. Jim Baucom (Board Co-Chair)
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.
Lisa Rodriguez-Watson (Board Co-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.
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.
Tara Beth Leach
Tara Beth Leach is senior pastor of First Church of the Nazarene of Pasadena (“PazNaz”) in Southern California. She is a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University (BA, youth ministry) and Northern Theological Seminary (MDiv). She is a regular writer for Missio Alliance and has contributed to other publications such as Christianity Today, Christian Week, and Jesus Creed. She is the author of Kingdom Culture and a contributor to The Apostle Paul and the Christian Life. She has two beautiful and rambunctious sons, and has been married to the love of her life, Jeff, since 2006.
Sean Palmer is the Teaching Pastor at Ecclesia Houston, one of America’s most innovative and vibrant multi-site churches, serving a predominance of Millennials and young adults. Previously profiled in Christian Standard Magazine as one of “40 Leaders Under 40,” and with 21-years of ministry experience, Sean is a sought-after national keynote speaker, teacher, writer, and workshop facilitator. His writing has been featured on Scot McKnight’s Jesus Creed, Sojourners, FOXNews.com, The Lookout Magazine and Christian Standard Magazine.
Sean is also a featured writer for Missio Alliance, co-host of Not So Black and White with Sean Palmer and John Alan Turner podcast, a contributing writer to The Voice Bible, and author of Unarmed Empire: In Search of Beloved Community, which has been called “the best book about the church.” Sean is also a frequent guest on a range of podcasts and has been featured on National Public Radio.
Sean studied Youth and Family Ministry at Abilene Christian University and Homiletics at the Austin Presbyterian Seminary, The Graduate School of Theology at Abilene Christian University, and Fuller Seminary.
Sean and his wife, Rochelle, have been married for over 20-years and live near downtown Houston with their teenaged and pre-teen daughters. In his free time, Sean enjoys sports, fitness training, reading, playing board games and sharing life with his family, and cheering on the San Antonio Spurs and Manchester United Football Club.
Rich Villodas is the Lead Pastor at New Life Fellowship Church, a church comprised of over 70 nationalities and located in one of the most diverse zip codes in the world. On October 6th, 2013, Rich succeeded Pete Scazzero as Lead Pastor. Rich was born and raised in the East New York section of Brooklyn, just 20 minutes from New Life. He graduated from Nyack College and then went on to complete a Masters of Divinity degree at Alliance Theological Seminary. When Rich is not reading, he is cheering on his beloved Mets, Knicks and Jets teams. Rich is married to Rosie and they have a little girl and boy, named Karis and Nathan.
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.