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A Conference for BRN Church Leaders & Members

There has never been a better time to be bold.

Set aside a day to be inspired and equipped in the face of a challenging culture, incredible opportunity, and a faithful God.

Baptist Resource Network Annual Business Session and Gathering

Tuesday, October 8 2024, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

at Holiday Inn Harrisburg‑Hershey, 604 Station Rd., Grantville, PA, 17028

Prefer another hotel? Here is a list.

To reserve your room, go to Select your check in and check out date, and then click on the rate preference box. In the section that says Group Code, enter the code BR8. The cut off date for the group rate is September 7,  2024, at midnight.

This year’s conference will feature:

  • Keynote addresses by Dr. Barry Whitworth & Dr. Larry Anderson and other guests/testimonies
  • Worship by Fellowship CrossPoint Church’s worship team
  • 12 breakout session options that will challenge BRN churches and pastors to be bold in every aspect of ministry
  • Unveiling of a Next Level Blueprint, designed to encourage and assist churches to move to their next level
  • Networking, vendors, and more!
Bold (16x9, blue)

Keynote Speakers

Barry Whitworth


Baptist Resource Network Executive Director

DR. BARRY WHITWORTH has been in ministry for over 30 years, serving as a mission pastor, associate pastor, church planter, pastor, interim pastor, transitional pastor and planter, church planting strategist, lead church planting catalyst, church planting director, and now executive director. Before his calling as Executive Director of the Baptist Resource Network in February 2017, he was a church planting missionary and served the Multiplying Churches Team Leader for the BRN.

Dr. Larry Anderson


Baptist Resource Network Director of Church Health and Evangelism

DR. LARRY ANDERSON is Director of Church Health and Evangelism, BRN; Former President, State Directors of Evangelism, PA/SJ State Director of Evangelism, Nationally; Pastor, Great Commission Church, West Oak Lane area of Philadelphia; Co-Author of “Ask Me Why I’m Not In Church,” “The Pastors’ Diaries: An Intimate Look Behind the Pulpit,” and the recently released “The Pastors’ Wives’ Diaries: A Visible Journal of The Invisible Journey.”


Baptist Resource Network Executive Director

DR. BARRY WHITWORTH has been in ministry for over 30 years, serving as a mission pastor, associate pastor, church planter, pastor, interim pastor, transitional pastor and planter, church planting strategist, lead church planting catalyst, church planting director, and now executive director. Before his calling as Executive Director of the Baptist Resource Network in February 2017, he was a church planting missionary and served the Multiplying Churches Team Leader for the BRN.


Baptist Resource Network Director of Church Health and Evangelism

DR. LARRY ANDERSON is Director of Church Health and Evangelism, BRN; Former President, State Directors of Evangelism, PA/SJ State Director of Evangelism, Nationally; Pastor, Great Commission Church, West Oak Lane area of Philadelphia; Co-Author of “Ask Me Why I’m Not In Church,” “The Pastors’ Diaries: An Intimate Look Behind the Pulpit,” and the recently released “The Pastors’ Wives’ Diaries: A Visible Journal of The Invisible Journey.”

Dr. Ryan Day


Dr. Ryan Day, Pastor, Wrightsdale Baptist Church, Peach Bottom, Pa.

Fellowship CrossPoint worship team


Worship Team, Fellowship CrossPoint Church, Chesterfield, N.J.


Dr. Ryan Day, Pastor, Wrightsdale Baptist Church, Peach Bottom, Pa.


Worship Team, Fellowship CrossPoint Church, Chesterfield, N.J.

Fellowship CrossPoint worship team

Breakout Sessions

We are excited to announce 12 breakout session options, offered in two time slots, that will challenge BRN pastors and church members to be bold in every aspect of ministry!



Johnathan Gray
Dr. Johnathan Gray President of the Georgia Baptist Foundation/Ministry Trust
Dr. Ryan Day
Dr. Ryan day Pastor, Wrightsdale Baptist Church, Peach Bottom, Pa.

Bold Generosity: From Sacrificial Giving to Sacrificial Living

Embrace bold stewardship in all aspects of life! Explore what it means to steward God’s resources, gifts, and opportunities with courage, faithfulness, and sacrifice. Examine how biblical stewardship encompasses not only financial resources but also time, talents, and relationships. Learn strategies for aligning choices with God’s purposes and reflecting on personal and corporate stewardship practices. Leave with renewed vision and practical tools to steward resources faithfully, enabling lasting impact and transformation.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

DR. JOHNATHAN GRAY began serving as the president of the Georgia Baptist Foundation in April of 2014, after serving at the Southern Baptists of Texas Foundation for over five years as its founding executive director. While serving as president/CEO in Georgia, he has led the Foundation to create two subsidiary organizations in addition to implementing several strategic ministry initiatives. Christian Timber Reserve, LLC was created to encourage, facilitate, and manage gifts of timber. Ministry Trust, LLC was created to provide institutional quality biblically screened investment management solutions to other Baptist and non-Baptist evangelical ministries. By the end 2021, the Foundation’s assets under management had increased over $185 million dollars since Dr. Gray began his service with the Foundation. In addition to his role at the Foundation, Dr. Gray has enjoyed the privilege of serving as the national stewardship catalyst for the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee and the president of the Stewardship Development Association. Dr. Gray has a passion to help Baptists make an eternal impact for God’s kingdom through the life, influence, and blessings given by God to each believer. He often shares his passion for stewardship and generosity through preaching and teaching. He has earned business administration degrees from Truett McConnell College and Samford University, and a master of divinity degree in biblical languages  from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. In 2007, he earned a doctor of ministry degree from the Billy Graham School of Missions, Church Growth and Evangelism at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Prior to serving the Lord in foundation ministry, he served as a pastor in Georgia and Texas. He is married to Andrea Folsom Gray, and they have four children, Myra Ashley Woodard, Emilyn, Ellie, and Landon.

PASTOR RYAN DAY, a native of Westminster, Maryland, came to Wrightsdale Baptist Church as lead pastor in 2020. Prior to Wrightsdale, he served at Grace Baptist Church in Hazleton, Pennysylvania, for twenty years. Ryan, who currently serves on the Baptist Resource Network’s Executive Board, is a 1998 graduate of Baptist Bible College (now Clarks Summit University) and 2005 graduate of Baptist Bible Seminary. In 2024, he earned a doctor of ministry degree from Baptist Bible Seminary. When he’s not ministering at the church, enjoying time with his family, or making plans for the next trip to Ocean City, Maryland, Ryan enjoys presidential biographies, the Baltimore Ravens, and playing guitar in praise and worship settings. He loves Lancaster County and is excited about “Accelerati ng Kingdom Movement” within the BRN. Ryan is married to Heather, and they have five sons and one daughter.


Tom Dawson
Rev. Dr. Thomas Dawson Senior Pastor, SOAR Church, Woodbine, N.J.

Bold Legacy: Ensuring Success through Succession

Navigate the crucial but often challenging process of succession planning and leadership development in churches. Succession planning is not merely about transition; it’s about ensuring continuity, preserving vision, and empowering the next generation of leaders to carry the mantle forward with boldness and clarity. Explore the critical role of vision alignment, identifying, nurturing, and empowering emerging leaders within your church, and assessing readiness. Leave knowing how to honor the contributions of past leaders while empowering the next generation to lead with boldness and creativity.

2 Timothy 1:3-5, “I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4 As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.”

2 Timothy 2:2, “… and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”

REVEREND DR. THOMAS DAWSON JR. has served as the senior pastor of the SOAR Church since 1998. For the prior 13 years, Dr. Dawson held a data control analyst title at the Philadelphia Stock Market and various management titles in the Automatic Data Processing Brokerage Division, providing client support to major brokerage firms such as Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney, and Prudential. He successfully managed an entire department with a $1.5 million budget. Under the leadership of Dr. Dawson, the SOAR Church has become multicultural and has grown from a membership of 50 to over 500 and serves residents in three counties. His vision has enabled the SOAR Church to impact its community, assisting in Autism Awareness, providing coats, school supplies and food, sponsored school trips for local schools and provided financial support to families in need. Dr. Dawson is a current member of the FBI Citizens Organization, Coalition for a Safe Community, Cape May Regional Health Alliance, Cape May County Mental Health Alcohol & Drug Abuse Board, Cape May County Healthy Community Coalition, and Atlantic/Cape May Vicinage Diversity Inclusion, and Community Engagement Committee. Dr. Dawson has received numerous awards and honors for his industry, leadership, support of philanthropic activities, and community service. His greatest value is spending time strengthening his bond with the Lord, his family, and his community.


Pastor Ricky Wilson
Pastor Ricky Wilson Senior Pastor, Christian Faith Fellowship, Downingtown, Pa.
Pastor Dan Nold
Pastor Dan Nold Senior Pastor, Calvary Church, Harvest Fields, State College, Pa.

Bold Missions: Fearlessly and Faithfully Willing to Go

Respond courageously to God’s call on your life to be on mission for Him! Explore the concept of courage in the context of answering God’s call, whether across the world or right here in your own backyard. Explore biblical narratives and contemporary examples of individuals who displayed bravery in the face of adversity and discovered the transformative power of courage in fulfilling God’s purposes. Reflect on past hesitations and discover practical steps to overcome fear and uncertainty. Leave inspired to step out of your comfort zone and embrace new challenges with confidence and determination.

John 20:21, “Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’”

Luke 10:3, “Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.”

PASTOR RICKY WILSON, a native of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, holds a master of theology degree in pastoral leadership from Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas, and a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Cheyney State University. His ministry experiences includes being Christian Education Director and Director of Follow-up and Discipleship for new converts (New Life in Christ Fellowship Coatesville, Pa.) and executive pastor of business and finance, church elder and instructor at Institute on Church Growth, and Concord Center of Biblical Studies (Concord Missionary Baptist Church Dallas, Texas under the leadership of the late Dr. E.K. Bailey). Ricky Wilson has also served as a guest instructor at various churches, workshops and conferences on the subjects of church planting, biblical leadership and discipleship. In 1995, Pastor Wilson, along with his wife and children and a small group of committed believers, planted a church, Christian Faith Fellowship. God continues to add to the church. In July of 2004, Pastor Wilson was privileged to travel to Zambia, Africa, to participate in the Zambian Pastors Conference, teaching on the subject of small group ministry. He has returned to Zambia yearly since then. He has established a partnership with three churches in Zambia with three churches in USA in order to impact three communities, (Ndola, Lusaka, Livingstone) with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. On January 6, 2013, Pastor Wilson began broadcasting “Progressing Faith” over WFIL 560 AM and WYYC 1250 AM.

PASTOR DAN NOLD has been married to Lynn for over 30 years. As much as he loves the church, his most significant and enjoyable achievement has been partnering with Lynn to love and develop their four kids and now one kid-in-law: Sarah, Katy (and her husband, Josiah), Jake and Josh. Dan and Lynn came to State College, Pennsylvania, and Calvary in 1994. He earned a bachelor of science in speech communication from Bethel University and a master of divinity from Bethel Seminary. Currently, Dan is working on his doctor of ministry in organic leadership development. Dan loves to preach, develop leaders and strategize about the future of the church in the Centre region. Years ago, Dan read a prayer by A.W. Tozer that he still prays consistently, “Lord make me a man to whom you can entrust Your glory.” That’s Dan’s greatest purpose. “I long to become a man to whom God can entrust His glory—a living display of the gospel of grace—to inflame a passion for Christ in others.”


Rev. Paul James
Rev. Paul James Lead Pastor, CareView Community Church, Lansdowne, Pa.
Deb Knowles
Debbie Knowles Pastor's Wife, Christian House Baptist Chapel; BRN Woven Women Assistant

Bold Prayer: From Words to Conversation

Pray with boldness and confidence! Explore the biblical foundations of prayer and the transformative power of bold, fearless prayer. Discover how prayer is not only a means of communication with God but also a catalyst for spiritual breakthrough and Kingdom advancement. Learn practical strategies for overcoming obstacles and engaging in different forms of prayer. Leave with renewed passion and practical tools for cultivating a bold and fearless prayer life, confident in God’s ability to answer according to His will.

Hebrews 4:16, “Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.”

Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

REV. PAUL J. JAMES is a native and lifelong resident of the Greater Philadelphia area. He graduated from Overbrook High School’s Music Magnet Program and The Settlement Music School, which led to an Opera Theater Scholarship to Temple University. While studying Vocal Performance at Temple, Rev. James obtained several scholarships and awards for musical excellence. After receiving his call to the ministry, Rev. James continued his education under scholarship at Cairn University where he received dual degrees in Bible and Music. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from Cabrini College. Rev. James enjoys a very diverse and broad-based ministry to God’s people. He is a dynamic pastor-teacher, songwriter, seminar and workshop speaker and budding author. Rev. James’ goal in ministry is to inspire God’s people to reach their full potential in Christ. Rev. James serves as a missional leader on the global stage. He is an active ministry consultant deeply committed to empowering and mobilizing pastors and spiritual leaders around the world through prayer, counseling, fathering, and mentoring. He also serves as guest chaplain for several NFL teams. Rev. James is the Board Chairman of CareView International (CVI) and Lead Pastor of CareView Community Church in Lansdowne, Pa. He is the loving husband of Christine and the devoted father of their three adult children – Jason, Joshua, and Janine.

DEBBIE KNOWLES, BRN Woven Women assistant, is passionate about the Lord, and is blessed to be a pastor’s wife, mom and “Mimi.” She and her husband, Tom, have served at Christian House Baptist Chapel since 2008. They’ve been engaged in Kingdom work for nearly three decades, including a beloved eight years of youth and drama ministry. Debbie has a heart for broken women who struggle with low self-esteem and the destructive choices born of it, which is a large part of her personal testimony. She loves to see the Lord’s transformational work as women receive Christ and recognize themselves as His beautiful masterpieces. Debbie focuses her free time on personal Bible study, family, home, painting/sketching and perennial gardening.


David Ludwig
David Ludwig Associate Director of Church Health and Discipleship, Baptist Resource Network
Dr. Larry Anderson
Dr. Larry Anderson Director of Church Health and Evangelism, Baptist Resource Network
Barry Whitworth-1x1
Dr. Barry Whitworth Executive Director, Baptist Resource Network

Bold Vision: Unleashing the Power of Bold Goals through the Next Level Blueprint

Unlock the full potential of your ministry and lead your congregation to new heights of spiritual growth and impact by clarifying your vision, overcoming obstacles, and charting a course toward greater success and fulfillment in ministry. The BRN seeks to help churches accelerate Kingdom movement. To do that, we are committed to helping you take your next step in ministry, whatever that step may be, and to ultimately, help you achieve your Next Level in ministry. Leave ready to be stretched beyond your comfort zones and daring to dream big toward new heights of faith, service, and personal fulfillment.

Habakkuk 2:2-3, “And the Lord answered me: ‘Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. 3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.'”

Proverbs 16:3, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”

Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.”

DAVID LUDWIG is the associate director of church health and discipleship. He has served on the staff of small, medium, and large churches in Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania, and has served as an intentional interim pastor (transitional pastor) and now trains other men to serve in this role. He holds a master of arts degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and a bachelor of science degree in religion from Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia. David has been providing training and has been consulting churches for nearly twenty years. He is also a coach and has received coach training from the North American Mission Board, certified as a Leadership Development Coach by Leader Breakthru, and certified as a Spiritual Leadership Coach by Blackaby Ministries International. He is recognized and credentialed as a Certified Professional Christian Life Coach by the International Christian Coaching Institute (ICCI). David is a member of the leadership team for the SBC National Revitalization Network and locally assists pastors and churches in taking their next steps toward revitalization by walking them through the steps of BRN’s Transformation Pathway. David is passionate about disciple-making and leadership development and intentionally seeks opportunities to equip pastors and leaders to develop healthy, disciple-making churches.

DR. LARRY ANDERSON, BRN director of church health and evangelism, graduated from Philadelphia Biblical University (Cairn Univ.) with a bachelor of science degree in Bible with an emphasis in Christian leadership. He has received his master of divinity and his doctor in ministry degrees from Biblical Theological Seminary (Missio Seminary). Dr. Anderson became the senior pastor of Great Commission Church in September 2004. In his time as pastor, he has been blessed to see the congregation grow spiritually and numerically. One of his noted achievements, to date, has been his ability to follow the voice of God in 2008 by leading GCC from the suburbs of Montgomery County into the city of Philadelphia to impact their new community with a holistic gospel. Dr. Anderson joined the staff of the Baptist Resource Network in April 2013. He is director of church health and evangelism, overseeing 350 churches throughout Pennsylvania and South Jersey. Dr. Anderson is the co-author of the book, “Ask Me Why I’m Not In Church,” released in June 2019 on Westbow Press, “The Pastors’ Diaries,” released in July 2022, and the recently released, ““The Pastors’ Wives’ Diaries: A Visible Journal of The Invisible Journey.” Dr. L.A. is the founder and host of “Athens Avenue the Podcast” birthed in spring 2023.

DR. BARRY WHITWORTH has been in ministry for over 30 years, serving as a mission pastor, associate pastor, church planter, pastor, interim pastor, transitional pastor and planter, church planting strategist, lead church planting catalyst, church planting director, and now executive director. Before his calling as Executive Director of the Baptist Resource Network in February 2017, he was a church planting missionary and served the Multiplying Churches Team Leader for the BRN.


Ron Larson
Ron Larson Pastor, First Baptist Church of Delaware

Bold Witness: Risk-Taking Faith

Discover practical strategies and inspiring stories to embolden your evangelism efforts. Whether you’re a seasoned evangelist or new to sharing your faith, this session will equip you to boldly proclaim the Good News with confidence and conviction. Leave with a renewed passion for evangelism and making an eternal impact in your community!

Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

RON LARSON, who has a career in planting and growing new congregations in the mid-Atlantic, stepped back into a lead pastor role helping First Baptist Church, Delaware, once the largest Baptist church in the state, revitalize, after many years of severe decline. This revitalization started just before Covid struck but the church is experiencing renewed growth and unity post-Covid.

Ron’s first plant located in a small-town of 1,200 residents grew to nearly 1,300 attendees while helping to plant seven churches during that season of his ministry. He has served as president of the West Virginia State Convention and served as a member of the SBC Executive Committee as well as many other SBC organizations. Ron has also worked with the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware developing a Parent Church Network across those two states. Ron served as executive director of One Hope Ministries International, a weekend feeding ministry for school-age children. He has written for several publications and is a speaker on Kingdom expansion, church growth, personal renewal, and disciple-making reproduction across the U.S. His morning spiritual devotional called “Daily Jolt” is read by several thousand people daily. Ron also leads “Raw Reality,” a leadership development and deployment think tank.



John Cope
John Cope Send Network Director, PA/SJ / Senior Pastor, Keystone Fellowship

Bold Acceleration: From Moments to Movement

Accelerating kingdom movement embodies the dynamic process of submitting to the transformative power of the Holy Spirit to propel God’s kingdom forward. This journey involves recognizing and seizing the divine moments of opportunity, whether in personal encounters, congregational gatherings, or global events, and catalyzing them into sweeping movements of spiritual revival, social justice, and discipleship. From past revivals to modern-day missions and church planting endeavors, we witness the Holy Spirit igniting hearts, empowering believers, and orchestrating divine interventions that transcend geographical and cultural boundaries.

Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, …”

Acts 17:6, “… These men who have turned the world upside down…”

JOHN COPE is founder and senior pastor of Keystone Fellowship and Send Network Director of Pennsylvania & South Jersey for the North American Mission Board. Having grown up in Arkansas, John served as a student pastor there for 16 years before taking on an executive pastor role in Lakeland, Florida. A few years later God began drawing him toward church planting, then one phone call from a connection in Pennsylvania opened the door for ministry in the Northeast. As John puts it, “I almost said no, but God said yes.” He and his family moved to Pennsylvania in 2001 and began meeting in a home for Bible study. Since then Keystone Fellowship has continually grown and are currently in the process of planting their eighth church.

John has a bachelor of arts degree in education from Ouachita Baptist University and a masters in religious education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. John has written and developed a highly effective church-growth, small group development tool titled, “Nothing But Net.” Based on Jesus’ outreach and ministry examples laid out in the book of Acts, this strategy has been used very successfully in every ministry that John has been involved in. He has taught and trained thousands of ministers and lay people in this biblical approach to ministry through empowerment of lay leadership in fruitful small groups. John is married to his wife, Teresa, and they have three adult sons — two of whom are church planters and a third who serves as an international missionary in the Middle East.


Daniel Arter
Pastor Daniel Arter Grace Reformed Baptist Church, Philipsburg, Pa.
Rev. Brian Musser Collegiate Minister, Drexel University, Philadelphia

Bold Apologetics: Defending Your Faith in a Skeptical World

Defend your faith confidently! Learn how to effectively defend and articulate your faith in the face of challenging questions and objections. Explore the importance of apologetics and biblical foundations while gaining strategies for addressing common objections to the Christian faith and engaging skeptics with empathy, clarity, and respect. Learn to navigate difficult conversations and present a compelling case for Christianity in a winsome and persuasive manner. Leave empowered to be courageous witnesses, effectively sharing the Gospel’s truth in a skeptical world.

1 Peter 3:15-16, “… but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”

2 Corinthians 10:1-6, “I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!— 2 I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”

DANIEL L. ARTER serves as a teaching pastor at Grace Reformed Baptist Church (Philipsburg, Pa.) and as a chaplain in the Central Pennsylvania region where he lives with his wife, Natalie. His heart in ministry is intentional discipleship with an apologetics focus for the purpose of building up the local church and breaking down the barriers that prevent unbelievers from considering Jesus Christ. Find more information about him and his ministry at

REV. BRIAN MUSSER is the Baptist Campus Minister at Drexel University. He has served in this role since 2005. He is a commissioned self-funded (support-raising) missionary through the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in partnership with the Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey and is appointed to Drexel University through the former Greater Philadelphia Baptist Association. Brian was ordained to the Gospel ministry though the First Baptist Church of North East, Maryland on June 6, 2010. Campus Ministry is a unique ministry and Brian engages his University in a unique way. The Church is consistently asking, “How do we pass on the Christian faith to the next generation?” The university searches for how to invite spirituality and religion to be part of the academic process. Students wonder how to connect what they believe with what they do and who they are. On Drexel’s campus, Brian stands at the crossroads of all these questions; encouraging churches to understand and intelligently engage future generations with the truth of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, helping the university to see the spiritual questions that are implicit in the knowledge industry and challenging students to think deeply about their hopes and dreams in light of their beliefs. At Drexel, Brian serves as a University-recognized campus chaplain in the office of Spiritual and Religious Life, a part of Student Life. Although not an employee of Drexel, he has earned the respect of the University administration. In the larger Christian community, Brian speaks often on topics that connect churches, young adults, missional engagement, academic institutions. Brian and his wife, Jennifer, are the parents of daughter, Julianna, who is a college student at Temple University. They enjoy anything related to amusement parks and roller coasters. Actually, Jennifer is more of a feet on the ground, hold the bags kind of person. But they truly love the family time together. Jennifer is actively involved in community and church engagement and administrative support to help raise awareness about Brian’s ministry on campus at Drexel.


Buff McNickle
Buff McNickle Director of Compassion Ministries and Network Development
Gerald Waters
Pastor Gerald Waters Pastor, Proclamation Community Church, Philadelphia
Michele Pilla
Michele Pilla Founder/Executive Director, Wholesome Riches, Camden, N.J.

Bold Compassion: Serving Others with Courageous Love

Serve boldly and compassionately. Explore the transformative power of love in action and learn practical strategies to help your church be known for expressing empathy and kindness, overcoming barriers to compassion, and being agents of change. Explore biblical teachings and stories that illustrate the importance of loving others sacrificially and selflessly, following the example of Jesus Christ. Leave with renewed passion and practical tools to make a meaningful difference in the world through acts of love and service.

John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

BUFF MCNICKLE, who planted Grace Falls Church in the Atlantic County region of southern New Jersey, is BRN’s director of network development and compassion ministries. During the infancy of his new church plant, he and his core team interacted with those who suffer from substance abuse and homelessness, began a ministry of care and compassion to dancers in the local adult entertainment industry, provided afterschool homework help to school children at a local community center for low-income families, built relationships with the workers at a local soup kitchen, and for a small group of believers, encouraged them to break out of their traditions of being mere pew-fillers to be inspired and prepared to carry the gospel into their circle of influence. Pastor Buff was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama. Since 1992, he has served in full-time ministry as a student pastor, family pastor, and minister to singles and young adults. He also served at the University of Mobile as director of student leadership and Involvement where he helped build and develop leadership among the students throughout various organizations on campus. Buff and his wife Cissy are blessed to be the parents of three beautiful adopted children, twin boys, Jedidiah and Judah, and Arabella. They live in Absecon, New Jersey.

REV. GERALD A WATERS SR.  is the church planter and first installed pastor of the Proclamation Community Church. He has local roots in Philadelphia where he was born and raised. His educational journey has included Overbrook High School in West Philadelphia, Lincoln University in Chester County Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia Biblical University (currently Cairn University) in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. He has a bachelor of science degree in Bible and a masters of arts degree in religion from Cairn University. Pastor Waters was also elected to the Who’s Who of Colleges and Universities while enrolled at Cairn University. Prior to being called to plant Proclamation Community Church, Pastor Waters served as and associate minister at Proclamation’s sending church, Ezekiel Baptist Church under the leadership and mentorship of Pastor Brian D. King Sr. Pastor Waters still serves Ezekiel as a member of the church Elder Board. Rev. Waters was joined in holy matrimony to the beautiful Symara Waters (formerly Murdock) at Ezekiel Baptist Church on May 7, 2005. They have three children; two wonderful sons Gerald, Jr., Jordan and the princess of the family Symone. God has truly blessed him with a remarkable family that gives him immense support in all of his ministerial and life endeavors.

MICHELE PILLA is founder and executive director of Wholesome Riches, a Christian non-profit organization in Camden, N.J., that exists to support students’ physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being in schools. Wholesome Riches works with students, families, school partners, and community leaders to identify needs in the community and build a system of support to meet those needs. Wholesome Riches then develops local strategic partnerships to address these needs with a special emphasis on emotional and spiritual support. Michele, a former health and physical education high school teacher, is also a pastor’s wife, married to Matt Pilla, pastor of Keystone Fellowship, South Jersey. Together, they have five children.


Tim Walker
Tim Walker Pastor, Restored Church, Wilkes Barre, Pa.

Bold Obedience: The Cost of Following Christ

Examine the call of every day common people to rise up to bold disciple making as both a personal journey and a church endeavor. Discover the characteristics of bold discipleship, including radical obedience, sacrificial love, and unwavering faith, and draw inspiration from biblical examples of bold disciples who courageously followed Jesus, even in the face of opposition or persecution. Leave with practical strategies for cultivating a lifestyle of courageous disciple making in everyday life, including practices of prayer, worship, evangelism, Bible study, service, and more.

John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

John 14:21, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

2 Corinthians 3:12, “Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, …”

Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

TIM WALKER is the lead pastor of Restored Church in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, an urban church that he planted with a team of friends in 2012. Tim has led Restored to be actively involved and known as a church “In the City, For the City.” Since launching, Restored has never had a Sunday without new people, they have now celebrated 175 baptisms, and they are pursuing a disciple-making movement that saturates their city and region with the gospel. Tim also serves on the USA National Leadership Team for The Timothy Initiative, a global disciple-making, church-planting movement focused on multiplying disciple makers, leaders, and churches to the 4th generation. Tim met and married his wife Heather at Restored. They’ve been married for nine years, have two girls, Lucy and Emily, and they love living on mission together as a family in Wilkes-Barre.


Brennan Coughlin
Rev. Brennan Coughlin Pastor, Fellowship CrossPoint Church, Chesterfield, New Jersey
Greg Drayer
Rev. Greg Drayer Pastor, Rolling Hills Baptist Church, Verona, Pa.

Bold Proclamation: Addressing Tough Issues through Preaching

Explore the transformational impact of bold preaching on both the preacher and the congregation when addressing contemporary issues and societal challenges with the truth of the gospel. Topics could include Christians and mental health, denominations, end times, God’s view of marriage, heaven and hell, life and death, politics and idols, racism, suffering, gender issues, God and sexuality, homosexuality, money, social media, war, why suffering, gifts of the Holy Spirit, and generational issues. Hear testimonies of how addressing difficult issues straight on led to several poignant, transformative moments. Considering the spiritual and psychological dynamics of bold preaching, you will examine how authenticity, passion, and courage contribute to effective communication of God’s Word. Leave knowing how to overcome common barriers to boldness, such as fear of rejection or criticism, and cultivate confidence in your preaching ministry.

2 Timothy 4:2, “… preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”

Ephesians 6:19, “… and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, …”

BRENNAN COUGHLIN is a church planter and preaching pastor at Fellowship CrossPoint Church in Chesterfield, New Jersey. After eleven years teaching history in New Jersey public schools, Brennan felt called to full-time ministry. He earned a master of divinity degree from Biblical Seminary in 2011, and in 2014, he and his wife, Kathleen, moved with their four children to Trenton to start a church in the capital city. The church began with a team of twenty sent out from Fellowship Community Church in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, and they met weekly in the Coughlins’ home for Bible study. In the spring of 2015, worship services began in a living room, and eight months later, the church outgrew the space to worship at the Trenton War Memorial. Brennan longs to honor the Lord with his life by bringing glory to God through the proclamation of the gospel in his home, in Chesterfield, and in the surrounding communities. He recently received his doctor of ministry degree in expository preaching from The Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Brennan deeply loves his family. Brennan and Kathleen met while supervising seventh period study hall and have been married 12 joyful years. They are blessed with six beautiful children.

GREG DRAYER’s passion is taking the Word of God and finding its intersection with meaning, context, and application. Growing up in inner-city Erie, Pennsylvania, he has many experiences that led him into a life of ministry and serving his community. His desire for learning brought him to seminary where he earned a master of divinity degree and in the next few years, he will begin working towards his doctor of ministry degree. Greg has served as a volunteer in para-church youth organizations, as a youth director and pastor, and now pastors at Rolling Hills Church where for the past nine years he has had the pleasure of leading the congregation through multiple changes to its governance, through a capital campaign, and developed many new ministries and opportunities for reaching out to their community. In addition to serving in the local church, Greg has also had a hand in training new church planters in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and also serves with the Baptist Resource Network, where he is a church health consultant.


Pastor Wes Winebarger
Wes Winebarger Pastor, Travelers Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Bold Worship: From Lyrics to Lifestyle

There is a transforming power that comes from worship that extends beyond mere lyrics to permeate every aspect of our lives. Explore how authentic worship isn’t confined to Sunday services but is a vibrant lifestyle of reverence, surrender, and adoration throughout the week. Discover practical ways to cultivate a deeper connection with God and integrate worship into your daily routines, relationships, and decision-making. Whether you’re a worship leader, a seasoned believer, or someone exploring the depths of worship for the first time, this session will ignite your passion for God and equip you to live a life of bold worship that glorifies Him in all things.

Romans 12:1-2, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

John 4:24, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

PASTOR WES WINEBARGER grew up in North Carolina and at a young age received a call to live out Romans 15:20-21 by devoting his family to sowing Jesus into communities worldwide that have never seen the gospel dwelling among them.

He has been married to Lexi for over 10 years, and they have been blessed with three children, Silas, Ella, and Eden. After working as a worship arts pastor for over a decade, God called the Winebarger family to Pittsburgh to plant Travelers Church.

Wes holds a bachelor of science degree in worship and music studies with a concentration in leadership, a master of arts in religion degree  in biblical studies, and a master of arts degree in ethnomusicology. He completed his thesis on how to share the gospel through the arts in Pakistan under a pseudonym. He enjoys fire pits, woodworking, fly fishing, hiking, soccer, and cooking.

Special Events

Whiteboard Session
BOLD Whiteboard Session Featuring Joe Velarde

Join Joe Velarde, pastor of Riverbend Community Church, Allentown, in a dessert fellowship and a hearty discussion about bold dreams for the future of the churches in the Baptist Resource Network. Let’s strategize how to accelerate Kingdom movement! What does that mean, you ask? Kingdom movement is a network of churches cooperating in a sustained effort of making disciples and establishing churches at an exponential rate to disrupt the kingdom of darkness in Pennsylvania/South Jersey. Join us!

ACC24 Legacy Workshop
Legacy Planning Workshop Featuring Chuck Knox

The Legacy Planning Workshop for pastors and their church members will help you understand the importance of preparing for the future. You will be able to take a closer look at your estate and the options available to you. The step-by-step workbook will help you itemize your assets and identify any estate areas you need to address. You will also receive additional information and resources that will help you make informed decisions about how you want to leave a lasting legacy. We are all stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us. Being able to make wise decisions through our estates is vital to being good godly managers. This workshop also allows the attender to create a free Will.

Since it is so likely that (children) will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.

― C.S. Lewis

BOLD square-white-English

Conference Schedule

9:00 a.m. Business Session
10:00 Break/Prayer
10:15 Worship Session 1
10:30 Welcome
10:35 Main Session 1: Keynote: Dr. Barry Whitworth
11:05 Worship Session 2
11:10 Main Session 2: Keynote: Dr. Larry Anderson
11:55  Explanation of Network, Expo Lunch
12:00 p.m. Networking, Expo, Lunch
1:00 Breakout Sessions 1
2:00 Break
2:15 Breakout Sessions 2
3:15 Break
3:30 Worship Session 3
3:45 Main Session 3: Keynote: Special Guests/Testimonies
4:30 Giveaways
4:40 Closing Words – Dr. Barry Whitworth
4:45 Worship Session 4
5:00 Close

You may pre-register through Wednesday, October 2. After that, you may register at the door starting at 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning.


Each church is granted a number of messengers, predetermined by Cooperative Program giving, Annual Church Profile completion, and church size. Messengers will receive ballots and will vote during the business sessions. Learn more.


Visitors are welcome to attend all sessions but cannot vote during the business session.

Preregistration Link:

Accelerate Conference Sponsor/Vendor Opportunities

The BRN is pleased to provide high quality sponsor and vendor packages for our annual gathering of churches. Do you or someone you know want to sponsor or be an exhibitor for the conference? If so, check out our Sponsor/Vendor Package, which details all the many ways we can acknowledge you before our many churches. (Please note: Approved SBC vendors receive a discount.)

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