Speaker Bios

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Ligon Duncan

Chancellor, Reformed Theological Seminary

Ligon Duncan is the Chancellor/CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary and the John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology. Ligon was born in Greenville, SC, and reared in the home of an eighth generation Presbyterian ruling elder. A 1983 graduate of Furman University (B.A. History), he received the M.Div. and M.A. (Historical Theology) from Covenant Theological Seminary. He earned the Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh, New College, Scotland, in 1995 (under the supervision of renowned Reformation and Patristics scholar, David F. Wright). While in Scotland he also studied Systematic Theology at the Free Church of Scotland College (now Edinburgh Theological Seminary) with Professor Donald Macleod.

HB Charles Jr

Senior Pastor, Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church

Rev. H.B. Charles, Jr. is the pastor-teacher of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. H.B. has served in this role since 2008. At the June 2017 Southern Baptist Convention, H.B. was historically and unanimously elected as the SBC Pastors’ Conference’s first African-American president. Prior to joining his present church, H.B. led the Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church of Los Angeles for almost 18 years. Succeeding his late father, he began his pastorate at Mt. Sinai at the age of 17 – a senior in high school. Outside of his ministry to and with his congregation, H.B. regularly speaks at churches, conferences, and conventions around the country, and he is also the author of several books. H.B. is married to Crystal, and they have three children: H.B. III, Natalie, and Hailey.

Trip Lee

Rapper, Author, Pastor

Trip Lee is a rapper, author, pastor, speaker, and thought leader. As a critically acclaimed hip-hop artist, Trip Lee's music has topped Billboard charts, the iTunes chart, and he has received Dove nominations and a Stellar Award. Since his first album release, Trip has traveled the world performing for thousands of listeners. His Christ-centered hip-hop message has also built a platform among churches and other Christian organizations, which has led to numerous opportunities to preach and teach at conferences and other events. Be sure to check out Trip's recent book, Rise: Get Up and Live in God's Great Story.

Ray Ortlund

Lead Pastor, Immanuel Nashville

Pastor Ray Ortlund received a B.A. from Wheaton College, Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, M.A. from The University of California, Berkeley, and Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Pastor Ortlund served as Associate Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois, from 1989-1998.

He was ordained by Lake Avenue Congregational Church, Pasadena, California, in 1975. He serves as pastor of Immanuel Church, Nashville, Tennessee (an Acts 29 church), as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition, and as the President of Renewal Ministries. Ray has been married to Jani Giles Ortlund for forty happy years, and they have thirteen delightful grandchildren.

Jani Ortlund

As an author and a speaker, one of Jani Ortlund’s chief goals in life is to connect women with the Word of God. As Executive Vice President of Renewal Ministries, God is using her in women’s conferences both in the United States and abroad.

Jani’s first book, Fearlessly Feminine (Multnomah, 2000), encourages women to boldly embrace God’s unique design for them as women. Her second book, His Loving Law, Our Lasting Legacy: Living the Ten Commandments and Giving Them to Our Children (Crossway, 2007) demonstrates the relevance of the Ten Commandments for today and offers practical ways to live them out and teach them to the children in your life.

Besides conference speaking and writing, Jani is a pastor’s wife, mother, grandmother, and former elementary school teacher. She holds a master’s degree in education. Jani is married to Rev. Dr. Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr., author, former seminary professor, and pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Ortlunds have four married children and thirteen grandchildren, serving Christ throughout the United States and Great Britain. When Jani is not speaking, writing, or visiting family, you’ll find her in her garden, enjoying tea with a friend, or taking a long walk with her beloved husband.

Juan Sanchez

Senior Pastor, High Pointe Baptist Church

Since 2005, Juan has served as senior pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and holds an MDiv, a ThM, and a PhD in systematic theology from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition, Juan serves as a council member of The Gospel Coalition, co-founder and president of Coalición, assistant professor of Christian theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. He has authored numerous books, including 1 Peter for You and Seven Dangers Facing your Church. Juan came to faith in Christ at the age of 17 out of a Roman Catholic background, and since 1990 has been married to Jeanine. They live in the Austin metro area and have five daughters, two sons-in-law, one granddaughter, and one grandson

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Sandy Willson

Senior Minister, Second Presbyterian Church

Sanders L. (Sandy) Willson was the senior minister of Second Presbyterian Church, Memphis, Tennessee for twenty-two years.  He also pastored Memorial Presbyterian Church in Elizabethton, Tennessee and Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church in Lookout Mountain, Tennessee.   He is currently serving as interim senior pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church  in Birmingham. Sandy and his wife, Allison, are deeply grateful for five children, three daughters-in-law, a son-in-law, and twelve grandchildren.

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 5 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 five amazing boys: Caleb, Luke, Jonathan, David, and Mac.


Donna Gaines

Founder & President, ARISE2Read

Donna Gaines is a Pastor’s wife, former educator (M.Ed. from Texas Woman’s University), Bible teacher, author of four books, (Choose Wisely, Live Fully, Leaving Ordinary: Encounter God Through Extraordinary Prayer, Seated: Living From Our Position in Christ and There’s Gotta Be More) and editor of A Daily Women’s Devotional. Donna is the Founder and President of ARISE2Read, a nonprofit focused on breaking the poverty cycle through the gospel and education.

She is a disciple maker who fervently desires to see the lives of women transformed as they encounter God through His Word and prayer. Embracing God's missional calling on her life, Donna mobilizes women to practically live out their faith through both inner city and international efforts.  She is the wife of Dr. Steve Gaines, Sr. Pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church.  Steve and Donna have four children and eleven grandchildren.


Danny Hinton

Executive Director, Downline Little Rock

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 & Ouachita Baptist 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.


Libby Swenson

Regional Director of Development, LOVE JUSTICE

Pre-Conference: Discipleship on the Front Lines of Sex Trafficking Prevention

Libby has spent the last 24 years working in campus ministry. Serving in various countries overseas, Libby’s heart’s passion has been for the vulnerable and oppressed. Thirteen years ago, when she learned of the problem of modern-day slavery, she successfully forged a partnership between Cru International and International Justice Mission and made the move to Love Justice International in October of 2018 as their Regional Director of Development. A graduate of the University of Arkansas with a BS in Health Sciences, Libby loves to stay active riding her bike, hiking and running from bears. She lives outside of Boulder, CO and is married to Bob, and enjoys time with her two step-daughters, Lauren and Kristin. 


Andrew Fennig

Director of Strategic Partnerships, LOVE JUSTICE

Pre-Conference: Discipleship on the Front Lines of Sex Trafficking Prevention

Andrew started his career in the public sector working to solve complex problems with good policy and is now in the private sector trying to do the same with strategic partnerships to help advance Love Justice's mission to fight the world's greatest injustices. Andrew graduated from Taylor University with several of the founders of Love Justice and earned an MBA from Oxford University. In addition to his work with Love Justice, he teaches an entrepreneurship and innovation course at Taylor University. Andrew lives in rural Indiana on a small pumpkin and hay farm, near the farm on which he grew up, with his awesome wife and four beautiful kids. He loves his family, leading worship, discussing the deep things, and chocolate. He hates talking about himself, especially in the third person.

Jeff Blom

Pre-Conference: Discipleship on the Front Lines of Sex Trafficking Prevention

Mr. Blom has 33 years of law enforcement, investigative and security experience. He is a former Chief of Police and has served in executive leadership with another non-government organizations working on combating human trafficking around the world.

With over thirteen years of international and domestic anti-human trafficking experience at an operational and strategic level, Mr. Blom has conducted over 450 undercover operations in 33 countries working closely with local law enforcement officials on victim interventions. He has developed an intelligence fusion center and pioneered an intelligence-led investigative strategy in human trafficking investigations.

Mr. Blom is a certified law enforcement trainer and has conducted numerous trainings for domestic and foreign law enforcement agencies on the subject of human trafficking.  He has been recognized by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for his work in an American pedophile case and is an expert witness for the United States Attorney’s office on foreign child sex tourism cases.  He’s an internationally published author on the subject of human trafficking investigations and interventions and was the keynote speaker at Interpol’s human trafficking conference on its 100th anniversary. He has lectured at Universities in the Philippines, Russia and across the United States on the subject of human trafficking and was a technical advisor to the writer and actors in a Hollywood movie, which is based upon his work in Cambodia.

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Shari Rigby

Portrays Amy Harrison, wife of main character in OVERCOMER

Pre- & Post-Conference: Overcomer Movie

Actress, director, writer and inspirational speaker Shari Rigby is outspoken and passionate about her faith and family. She has appeared in “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful,” as well as in the feature films NOT TODAY, which received seven awards including an IFFF Spirit Award and Best Justice Film, and OCTOBER BABY, named one of the “Top 15 Impressive Box Office Performances of 2012” by CNN. Shari founded “The Women in My World,” a women's group focusing on identity, purpose, ministry, serving others and living life in Hollywood. Shari and her husband, Matt, have been married 21 years and have two sons.

Ali Velasquez

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.