Rev. Ben Bagley
I am currently the Sr. Pastor of St, Luke’s UMC in Kilgore Texas. I have served throughout East Texas over the last thirteen years and have led churches of varying different sizes. I have enjoyed ministry in two-point charges as a local pastor, been the associate at a larger church, and led ministry in my own solo appointment. I have been married for thirteen years and have four children. During my time in ministry, I have completed a Bachelors in Business Management from Stephen F. Austin State University, a Masters of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology, and another Masters in Business with a focus on Human Resource Relations from Louisiana State University Shreveport.
I believe that both my education and experience in churches have given me the ability to bring a great deal of expertise to many areas. Over the past several years as a part of the APL program, I have focused extensively on self-awareness and how to lead well given my strengths. A huge tool in this learning and growth has been through the enneagram. This tool allows each person to come to a deeper understanding of how God is working in their life as well as ways to better use the gifts God has given them. I have attended multiple seminars as well as led several workshops both on individual growth and parenting well using the enneagram.
Financial Oversight, Change Management, Conflict Management, and Staff Management are all areas that not only have I worked in extensively in ministry, but also have received ongoing education in. I believe that while churches are very different than many businesses, many business practices can teach us a great deal of how to lead in these different areas. I have also learned that many of these areas are interconnected. Many times, a conversation in financial oversight is also an exercise in conflict management. Because of my education and experience with different churches, I believe I can help churches navigate these conversations well and come to a solution.
When I came to St. Luke’s UMC, we had a traditional governance structure. Through VCI and several different conversations, we decided to invest our energy in the Single Board Model. We navigated through the change and created bylaws which helped us to create a very effective new Single Board Structure. This shift in governance models has helped us be nimbler and more responsive as a church especially during the time of the covid pandemic.
Rev. Dr. Jim Bankston
I have been a pastor for over 50 years in the TAC. I have served churches in rural, small towns, suburban and urban areas. I have also been a district superintendent. I have been a part of ministry and growth in almost every kind of setting and circumstance.
If I can walk with you in some aspect of your pastoral or prophetic ministry, I am available to listen to you and help you and your congregation find a way forward toward a faithful witness and a hopeful future in these times.
Rev. Mike Bonem
Mike Bonem is a Christ-follower, consultant, coach, author, husband, and father. He loves to help churches and ministries, and their leaders, reach their God-given potential. Mike is the author of four books on ministry leadership including Leading from the Second Chair and Leading Congregational Change. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a breadth of experience in ministry and business, including 11 years as an executive pastor, consulting with Fortune 100 companies, and leading a start-up business. Mike and his wife, Bonnie, have been married for over 35 years and have four adult children.
Mike has been helping congregations understand and navigate the complexities of change for over two decades. He is the co-author of Leading Congregational Change and author of The Art of Leading Change (forthcoming). Mike has led seminars on healthy congregational change, coached change leaders, and consulted with congregations and ministries as they have dealt with change.
Rev. Dr. Jonathan Bynum
With degrees in engineering and business, Dr. Jonathan Bynum became a third-generation pastor with a unique perspective that has served him well in leading churches of all sizes and in all settings and in all corners of the Conference. As an avid learner and reader, he continues to become better equipped for these challenging times in both our church and our culture. Jonathan and his wife, Lea, enjoy the time they get to spend with their four children and two grandchildren.
With his background in Industrial Engineering, Jonathan brings a systems mindset to organizations while remaining clear that meaningful change happens through the work of the Holy Spirit. Quick fixes and programs fix nothing; patience and perseverance are necessary to lead congregational transformation through reoriented mindsets and changed church culture.
Jan is highly sought after by congregations who desire a better understanding of who God is calling them to be and need help with defining and implementing a plan of action to become that congregation.
Jan is the owner of Grow Church Now and consults with churches who have questions to answer to move forward in living out the Vision and Mission that God has given them. She has been consulting with churches since 2007 and has had the privilege of working with United Methodist congregations of all sizes and demographics, located across the Texas Conference.
One of my favorite sayings is, “What got you here, won’t get you there.” You’ve probably also heard it said that the only constant is change. So, why is change so difficult? Think about it this way…it’s not about change, it’s about what change brings. Change is an inevitable occurrence in any organization and change management skills have never been more critical than today. Successful change must be managed so let’s work together to develop a roadmap to define the steps necessary to prepare, support, and help your leadership team and congregation in making organizational change.
Rev. Jay Jackson
I am a second career minister with 25 years of ministry experience who was raised in the United Methodist Church as the child of a UMC pastor. My first career was as a Chemical Engineer with Exxon, but my entire life has been spent as a devoted member/pastor in the United Methodist Church. I have been blessed to serve in a wide variety of ministry settings from small rural churches to large multi-staff churches. I have served in several East Texas settings, as well as in the Houston area and College Station, and was also a part of the Cabinet of the Texas Annual Conference. I have been blessed to leave every church that I served in better condition than I found it, while bringing significant turnarounds to several of them. I currently serve a dynamic congregation at Longview First United Methodist Church that is thriving and extending ministry in new and exciting ways.
Honoring the legacy of a church’s history while developing faithful and strategic steps to minister in changing contexts has been a large part of my ministry. Learning to listen to the congregation and deal proactively and sensitively with issues has been critical in my experiences of change management in the churches I have served. Discerning the core values, giftedness, and spiritual health of the congregation while analyzing where God is leading the congregation forward has been critical in my ministry. Understanding what can change and how fast change can be accomplished is also critical. I have found that discerning not only what needs to be done, but also who can help accomplish that in any congregation is vital to affecting positive change.
Rev. Mike Johnson
After receiving his M.Div. from a seminary in Michigan, Mike moved to the Houston area to plant a church. After 32 years in the Houston area, you could now say Texas is Mike’s home state. After over a decade of pastoring, Mike received his D. Min. from Fuller seminary in adult discipleship and leadership development and began a Christian non-profit called Ascending Leaders. As founder and president of Ascending Leaders, Mike works along with colleagues to equip churches for Christ-centered discipleship. Measurable results. Eternal outcomes. As a coach, Mike is known for his passion for the local church and its pastor, creativity, design, emphasis on implementation and results, loyalty, vision, management, and effectiveness. Mike is married to Gina with two adult children who are married, living, and serving in the Houston area and three granddaughters.
Mike has taken from what he has read about change management and from his years of experience as a nonprofit, to work through change in the organization he founded and to help pastors and churches work through change, especially the changes it takes to grow a discipleship culture in a church.
I am a retired banker with over forty years financial and management experience. Currently I work Monday through Thursday for a not-for-profit corporation that serves as an agent for the US Small Business Administration. I help business owners cope with outside pressures affecting their business such as a pandemic and changing market conditions. I have served my local Methodist church in numerous roles including the Administrative Board chair with the introduction of a single board model. I served the Texas Annual Conference as a lead consultant for six years for the Vibrant Church Initiative as guided by the Office of Congregational Excellence.
As a consultant with Vibrant Church Initiative, we learned that change does not happen overnight. Until we become aware of the need for change and develop a willingness or desire to make needed changes, we tend to fall back to our old ways of doing church. I have found that my conference training in change management can be helpful in assessing needed change and offering encouragement to avoid going back to “that’s the way we have always done church.”
Rev. Luis Ramirez
Pastor Luis was born in Stillwater, Oklahoma and raised in Maracaibo, Venezuela. He is a graduate of the Moores School of Music and the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Houston where he studied Opera Performance, Italian and Spanish. He received his Master of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Pastor Luis has been active in ministry and in the community through Walk to Emmaus, Kairos Prison Ministry International, United Way, Meals on Wheels, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, SHSU Charter School, UPWARD™ Soccer, Spring ISD Ministerial Alliance, Northwest Area Assistance Ministries and UM ARMY.
In the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, he has served as the Founding Pastor of Misión Milby UMC in Houston, as the Associate Pastor at Servants of Christ UM Parish, also in Houston, and Cedar Bayou Grace UMC in Baytown, and as the Senior Pastor of Cypress Trails UMC in Spring.
While at Cypress Trails UMC, Pastor Luis led a Change Management process that emphasized Community Engagement and Outreach. Over a period of six years, the Church’s congregation accurately mirrored its multiethnic community Demographics. This process included the transformation of the Music Ministries in style and multigenerational engagement, charismatic Preaching, and an emphasis on fruitful Stewardship.
Pastor Luis spurred Cypress Trails UMC’s Revitalization through Fundraising. In six years, he helped raise over $500,000 inclusive of grants, individual gifts, bequests, corporate support and building rental revenue. This caused the Church to reengage its Vision and develop Mission Strategies for reaching the neighborhood.
Pastor Luis has been involved in Clergy Mentorship as a mentor to the Conference’s Exploring Candidates for ordained ministry. He has also mentored the Associate Pastors, Lay Ministers and Staff members under his leadership throughout his ministerial career.
Currently, Pastor Luis lives in Baytown with his wife, Heather, their daughter, Isabella, and their dog, Luna, where he serves as the Senior Pastor of Cedar Bayou Grace UMC.
Rev. Dr. Keith L. Somerville
Dr. Keith L. Somerville is the husband of Mrs. Jessica Somerville. Rev. Somerville is an Ordained Elder in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and currently serves as Senior Pastor of Riverside-Houston United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas.
He is a graduate of Morehouse College, The Interdenominational Theological Center (Gammon Seminary), and a Doctor of Ministry from The Candler School Of Theology at Emory University with a concentration in Biblical Interpretation and Proclamation. His final capstone at Emory University focused on Moral Leadership and the plausibility of moral preaching in times of racial crisis. Dr. also holds a certification in Clinical Pastoral Education from St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital and Texas Children’s Hospital (Houston Medical Center.)
Dr. Jeff Springer
An educator for 34 years, a former Texas High School Head Football Coach and eleven-year veteran of the public-school classroom. Jeff is formerly the Principal at The Magnolia High School (2002-2016). In 2013 he was selected as the State of Texas TASSP State Principal of the year. Besides founding Spring Strategies LLC, that provides educational executive coaching, Jeff also served as the Minister of Men at Wildwood UMC, is a University Student Teacher Supervisor, and is also the founder of Suit Up Ministries, a nonprofit men’s ministry.
Jeff attended Abilene Christian University where he played on the 1977 National Championship Football team, received his Bachelor of Arts in Teaching from Sam Houston State University, and obtained his Masters of Sports Administration from the United States Sports Academy. In the spring of 2020, Jeff completed his Doctorate in Education with an emphasis in Transformational Leadership from Concordia University.
Dr. Jeff Springer is passionate about raising DADs and helping them see their value. Jeff loves being a husband, DAD, and a grandfather. He is always seeking ways to acknowledge men, striving to be the Daily Active Devoted DADs God calls them to be. Jeff who resides in Montgomery, Texas, has been married for 40 years and has two children, and three grandchildren.
Spring Strategies LLC cultivates playful entrepreneurs through the combined use of multi-level strategic coaching and organizational development. Our efforts move to create a more engaged workforce by culturally transforming the “day-to-day” for executives and employees. Elements of our practicing of change include:
- Systems Evaluation
- Talent Recognition
Rev. Dr. Steve Stutz
The Rev. Dr. Steve Stutz is an ordained Lutheran minister who has served rural/small town congregations in west Texas, as well suburban/inner city congregations in the metro Houston area. He has worked extensively with clergy and congregations of the Texas Annual Conference in a wide variety of consulting roles since 2014. He is a certified church consultant through the Society for Church Consulting and teaches at the Houston Graduate School of Theology.
Change management is a collective term for all approaches to prepare, support, and help individuals, teams, and organizations in making organizational change—which includes the local congregation! Dr. Stutz has worked with over 20 UMC congregations in various aspects related to making congregations healthier and more effective. Most change issues can be successfully addressed using ADKAR methodology (an acronym for the five outcomes needed for a change to be successful: Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement) and coaching through the five stages of project management (i.e. conception/ initiation, planning, execution, performance/monitoring, and close). Dr. Stutz can help you sort this out and keep you on track to achieve whatever your change goals happen to be.
Rev. Dr. Tommy Williams
Rev. Dr. Tommy Williams is Senior Pastor of Trinity UMC in Beaumont Texas. Tommy has served growing congregations in rural, county seat, multi-cultural, and large urban contexts throughout the Texas Annual Conference for over 25 years. His experience includes leading an 11-million-dollar capital campaign, growing children ministries, outreach with refugees and at-risk youth, sports ministries, health ministry, and supporting the creation of non-profits birthed out of the congregation. Tommy’s doctoral work centered on the intersection of faith and public life exploring how a church becomes active in the welfare of the communities where they are serving. The Williams family have enjoyed being foster parents and other community involvement wherever they serve. In their off time they enjoy time at their family land in the woods of East Texas.
I believe in gifts-based ministry. Through facilitating a process of conversations with lay people we uncover the gifts God has already given every church and leverage those for kingdom ministry and growth. Rather than wishing we had certain things we focus on what God has given the church and get creative with how we offer those unique gifts in ministry. This process takes ideas to action.
Rev. B. T. Williamson
Rev. B. T. Williamson retired from active ministry in July of 2020 after 53 years of service in Executive Pastor roles, Senior Pastor leadership, Superintendent of the Houston South District, Director of Ministerial Services, Director of the Center for Clergy Excellence, and Assistant to the Bishop. A native Texan, who grew up in a parsonage family and lived across the breadth of the Texas Annual Conference, he holds degrees from the University of Texas and Southern Methodist University and pursued additional studies in Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin.
For the last twenty-two years Rev. Williamson’s career focused on strategic planning, leadership formation, supervision, and administration. His service in the Center for Clergy Excellence helped establish standards for the professional development of clergy, interim ministry services, and one of the strongest benefit programs in the denomination. While in the position of Assistant to the Bishop, Rev. Williamson directed the Annual Conference gathering, coordinated the work of the Cabinet, facilitated the operations of the Core Leadership Team, and supported the bishops’ objectives related to boards, legal, personnel, fiscal, and strategic concerns.
Rev. Williamson was the co-founder of Benevolent Missions International, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing needed ophthalmic care to the underserved in Belize and Fiji. Current avocational interests include serving on the boards of Benevolent Missions International, Methodist Retirement Communities, Wiley College, the Transitional Intentional Interim Ministry Specialists Association, and he continues his membership on the Texas Annual Conference Investment Committee.
When change happens in a local congregation, it can come as the result of intentional planning or sometimes as an unexpected, disruptive event. Change is inevitable, and the strategies employed by church leaders are crucial for stability, acceptance, and the continuity of the church’s purpose. With over twenty years of experience in navigating changes, I have been involved in the change management of pension programs, health benefits, pastoral transitions, episcopal selections, and determining the vision and mission of the annual conference. Understanding how to achieve transparency, engaging in active listening, creating effective messages, and demonstrating non-anxious responses all contribute to an environment where positive behaviors succeed in times of change.