Speaker Bios

Tim Keller

Founding Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church

Timothy Keller is the co-founder and Chairman of Redeemer City to City (CTC), which prayerfully recruits, trains, coaches and resources leaders to cultivate gospel movements in global cities. CTC also publishes books and resources for faith in an urban culture. In the past fifteen years they have helped to launch close to 500 churches in 70  global cities.

He is also the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, which he started in 1989 with his wife, Kathy, and three young sons. For over twenty years he led a diverse congregation of young professionals that grew to a weekly attendance of over 5,000.

Dr. Keller’s books, including the New York Times bestselling The Reason for God and The Prodigal God, have sold over one million copies and been translated into fifteen languages.

Christianity Today has said, “Fifty years from now, if evangelical Christians are widely known for their love of cities, their commitment to mercy and justice, and their love of their neighbors, Tim Keller will be remembered as a pioneer of the new urban Christians.”

Dr. Keller grew up in Pennsylvania and was educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Westminster Theological Seminary. He previously has served as the pastor of West Hopewell Presbyterian Church in Hopewell, Virginia, Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary and Director of Mercy Ministries for the Presbyterian Church in America. Dr. Keller is now full time with CTC where he is passionate to pass along what he has learned to a new generation of ministry leaders.

Mark Dever

Senior Pastor, President
Capital Hill Baptist Church, 9Marks

Mark has served as the senior pastor of CHBC since 1994 and as president of 9Marks (a ministry to churches and church leaders) since its founding in 1998. He’s married to Connie and they have two adult children, both married, and one grandchild. Mark has authored a number of books, including 9 Marks of a Healthy Church.


Jared Wilson

Director of Content Strategy for Midwestern Seminary

Jared Wilson is the Director of Content Strategy for Midwestern Seminary, Managing Editor of For The Church (ftc.co), and Director of the Pastoral Training Center at Liberty Baptist Church in Kansas City, Missouri. He is the author of numerous books, including Gospel Wakefulness, The Prodigal Church, and The Imperfect Disciple, as well as a frequent speaker at churches and conferences around the world. Jared blogs regularly at The Gospel-Driven Church hosted by The Gospel Coalition and is a regular contributor to publications from LifeWay, Ligonier, and more. He is married to Becky, and they have two daughters: Macy and Grace.


Jeff Schulte

Founder, Executive Director Tin Man Ministries

Jeff Schulte gives direction and oversight to the global mission of Tin Man Ministries, ministry he founded out of his passion to invest deeply and personally in the lives of leaders and the organizations they lead.  Tin Man Ministries offers organizational consulting and group process for building healthy/functional teams as well as one-on- one counseling, mentoring, and coaching for men and women desiring to live and lead with whole hearted passion and integrity. Prior to this, Jeff was the Executive Director of the Sage Hill Institute, and the directional leader, teaching pastor, and founder of a church with international reach that grew from four people to more than 4,000 in eight years.  Jeff has served in leadership roles with FamilyLife, Athletes in Action, and on several ministry boards including Amazima, The Compassionate Hope Foundation, Hawaiian Island Ministries, and Porters Call.

Jeff counsels, speaks, and consults nationally and internationally on a variety of issues including the Voice of the Heart, relational and spiritual authenticity, the emotional life of a leader, spiritual formation, leadership, addiction, biblical masculinity, adoption, and fatherhood.  Through strategic partnerships with ministries such as Compassionate Hope, Jeff is also a passionate voice for the persecuted church, rescuing the enslaved, and providing for widows, orphans, and the poor.  

In addition to The Voice of the Heart Bible Study, Jeff is the best-selling author of two Gold Medallion award-winning resources, including Preparing for Marriage with over 1 million copies in print.  He received his Th.M. and M.Div. with highest honors from Western Seminary, an MA in counseling from Liberty University, and is a graduate of Yale University where he majored in organizational behavior, sociology, and religious studies. Jeff and his wife Brenda have been married for 30 years.  They are the parents of six children, grandparents of two, and reside near Nashville, TN. 



Trillia Newbell

Author & Director of Community Outreach
Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention

Trillia Newbell is the author of Enjoy: Finding the Freedom to Delight Daily in God's Good Gifts (2016), Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves (2015), United: Captured by God's Vision for Diversity (2014) and a children’s book, God’s Very Good Idea: A True Story of God’s Delightfully Different Family (September, 2017). Her writings on issues of faith, family, and diversity have been published in the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Desiring God, Christianity Today, Relevant Magazine, The Gospel Coalition, and more. She is currently Director of Community Outreach for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention. Trillia is married to her best friend, Thern, they reside with their two children near Nashville, TN. 

Soup Campbell

Executive Director, Eikon Ministries

While attending the University of Memphis on an athletic scholarship, Soup was invited to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) event, and December 5, 1981, he surrendered his heart and life to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. That day, his life was radically changed. Upon completing his eligibility at the college formerly known as “Memphis State,” Soup began to work with FCA in the inner city schools of Memphis, TN. After working for several years with different ministries, including FCA, Youth for Christ, Neighborhood Housing Opportunity, as well as pastoring a church for 7 years, Soup felt the need to start a leadership and discipling ministry for kids in the inner city. In 1997, he established Eikon Ministries. Soup currently serves as Executive Director. Soup met the beautiful Linda in 1982 at Memphis State, and 2 years later they were married. Presently they reside in the Binghampton community, in the inner city of Memphis. Soup and Linda have four children: Antonio, LaSaundra, Jonathan, and Tabitha,  as well as 7 grandchildren.

Ariyana Rimson

Speaker and Counselor, Moriah House

Ariyana is constantly recognizing God’s grace as she teaches the bible and makes disciples in her everyday life. Ariyana first recognized God’s grace in her life when she heard the gospel and responded in faith while in college at theUniversity of Illinois at Chicago. A few years later, she moved to Memphis to join the staff of Downline Ministries. While at Downline, she served as the Women's Director for the Emerging Leaders program for 6 years. Those years shaped her heart for discipleship as she poured into women from all different backgrounds. After several years of volunteering with Moriah House, a long-term recovery program for women and their children, she joined its staff in 2014 as a counselor who walks with women through their recovery. Ariyana also teaches at the Downline Institute in Memphis and Little Rock. She has spoken at the past five Downline Summits, international discipleship conferences, youth conferences, and women's retreats. Her passion for discipleship and the Word of God is contagious. She desires to help people recognize their thirst for the Lord through the study of His Word. She is amazed every day that God chooses her to teach His Word. She enjoys building friendships that cross cultural and geographical lines. In her free time, she loves traveling, Netflix and trying new Memphis restaurants.

Kennon Vaughan

President, Downline Ministries
Lead Pastor, Harvest Church

Dr. Kennon Vaughan serves as the Lead Pastor of Harvest Church in Memphis,TN, and President and Founder of Downline Ministries. A Memphis native and graduate of Auburn University (BA), Dallas Theological Seminary (MBS), and Gordon Conwell Theological (DMin), Kennon founded Downline in 2006 to encourage a restoration of biblical discipleship in and through the local church. Downline has exploded into a 50+ church network in Memphis with over 1700 lay leaders trained through the local Institute, 3 other cities hosting LIVE Institutes, and an online Institute training students all over the world.  

In October 2013, Kennon planted Harvest Church with the hope of establishing a faithful Gospel-driven, disciple-making church that will plant other churches of the same kind. By God's grace, in just over 3 years, Harvest has become a fast growing multi-cultural, multi-generational beacon of the Gospel in the Memphis community and beyond.  He is married to Kathryn and dad to four amazing boys: Caleb, Luke, Jonathan and David.

Bobby Harrington

Director and Co-founder, Discipleship.org
Pastor of Harpeth Christian Church

Bobby Harrington is the director and co-founder of discipleship.org (along with Todd Wilson, director of the Exponential Conference). He is the founding and lead pastor of Harpeth Christian Church (near the Harpeth River just outside Nashville). He collaborates with national discipleship leaders to fan the flames of a national discipleship movement through discipleship.org.

He collaborated with Robert Coleman to write Revisiting the Master Plan of Evangelism (Exponential), Jim Putman to write Discipleshift: Five Shifts That Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples (Zondervan), Jason Houser and Bobby's son Chad to write Dedicated: Training Your Children to Trust and Follow Jesus (Zondervan), Alex Absolom to write Discipleship that Fits: The Five Kinds of Relationships that God Uses to Help Us Grow (Zondervan), and Josh Patrick to write The Disciple Maker’s Handbook: The Seven Elements of a Discipleship Lifestyle(Zondervan). He has a Doctorate of Ministry from the Southern Baptist Seminary. He has been married to Cindy since 1979 and he has two adult children who trust and follow Jesus.


Rev. Rufus Smith, IV

Senior Pastor, Hope Presbyterian Church

Rev. Rufus Smith, IV is the Senior Pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Memphis, Tennessee. Hope is one of the 100 largest congregations in America. He joined Hope in September 2010 as Associate Pastor of Discipleship and, in November of 2013, was elected as Senior Pastor to succeed the Founding Pastor of 25 years, Dr. Richard Craig Strickland. In 2016, he helped found the Memphis Christian Pastor’s Network that is a clergy-only network that brings thought and action to reconciliation in our city. Rufus is currently serving as the Chair of the Executive Committee for the MCPN. 

Rev. Smith originates from Houston, TX, where, for nearly 12 years he was the Senior Pastor of The City of Refuge (COR) Church, an interracial, inter-generational, biblically centered and socially active fellowship. He believes that the authentic and attractive gospel of Jesus Christ consists of three things equally necessary: preaching (the proclamation of a person); teaching (the explanation of principles); and healing (the mitigation of human pain). 

Prior to being “called” to Memphis, he was the Founder and CEO of the Forge for Families (FFF), a community development center in the greater 3rd Ward community of Houston. The FORGE used athletics, after-school enrichment, adult life skills, and entrepreneurial programs and indigenous leadership development, as a means to empower “at risk” single parent and struggling intact families. Under his leadership, the FORGE successfully completed a $6,000,000 capital campaign and built a 40,000 square foot campus, debt free! 

In addition, for three years he was the Lead Chaplain for the NBA Houston Rockets and he continues to advise other local/national boards. Rev. Smith studied at Houston Baptist University majoring in Theology and Psychology and maintains an active traveling and speaking schedule. He loves baseball, reading and walking, but his claim to fame is his wife Jacqueline of 32 years and their three children: Ruth Abigail, 30 (Furman U. in SC; BA); Rufus V, 28 (Howard University in DC); and Rhoda Anna, 26 (Agnes Scott College, Decatur GA; BA). 

Brian Davis

Pastor, Risen Christ Fellowship

A Detroit native, Brian moved to Philadelphia in 2006 and has since considered it home.  Since conversion, he has desired to help establish a healthy church in an inner-city context which eventually led to his being a part of Risen Christ Fellowship. He has completed a church planting internship at Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, NC which he began at the conclusion of completing the pastoral internship at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in 2013.

Brian is joyfully married to Sonia, and the Lord has given them two delightful sons; Spurgeon & Sibbes, and a lovely girl, Noelle.


Ali Velasquez

Site Facilitator, Español

Ali is originally from Central America. He was born in a christian family, his father was a pastor. He moved to Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua, for his high school and then college.  He graduated from the Central America University and then obtained his Master Degree in Business, at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain.  The Lord called him to ministry in his church as a  lay leader in a dificult time. In 1979 Ali moved to the United States in order to attend the Baptist University of the Americas. In 1996 he served as a hispanic leader in South Carolina, planting churches under the SBC.   His passion is for discipleship, church planting, and missions around the world. Ali has seven kids. He and his wife Dana have lived in Arkansas since 2007.  He is an alumni from the Downline Institute, and is the facilitator for Downline Español  where he serves the Spanish people in Arkansas and all of Latin American.


Danny Hinton

Executive Director, Downline in Central Arkansas

Danny has been following Jesus since 2000.  He is husband to Rachel and dad to four girls.  He is Executive Director for Downline in Central Arkansas (serving Little Rock, Conway, and Español) and an adjunct professor at John Brown University.  He is a graduate of the University of Missouri (BA), Dallas Theological Seminary (MA), and Southern Seminary (ThM, PhD). 

His recent dissertation analyzed the way in which church involvement and parental practices relate to a child’s development as a disciple and disciple-maker.  Danny and the Downline team in Central Arkansas also provide direction, resourcing and equipping for active discipleship training movements in Poland, Spain, and Pakistan.  In his free time he enjoys making memories with his girls and traveling to Mizzou, Chiefs, and Royals games.