Financial Oversight – Leadership


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. Brian Brooks

Brian Brooks, originally from Longview Texas, is a lifelong United Methodist on both sides of his family and has been in pastoral ministry since 2000. He is presently the Senior Pastor at FUMC Hallsville, since 2015, and is married to his high school sweetheart Hannah. Hannah is a high school administrator. Brian & Hannah have three children. Brian is a graduate of Howard Payne University with a B.S. in Exercise Sport Science and a Minor in Computers. He also has a MDIV from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University and is a graduate of the Advancing Pastoral Leadership Program of the Texas Annual Conference.

Brian is from a family of financial people. His father was a CPA and a national bank examiner and owned banks as well as his great grandfather. His wife Hannah is a finance major and Brian took many classes with her as electives. His oldest son is pursuing Accounting as his major in college. To say that financial oversight and leadership runs through his DNA is not a stretch. Upon moving to Hallsville, it was revealed almost immediately that the church needed to cut $100,000 out of the budget to continue to be viable. Brian set out over his first year to listen and discover the best way to go about that, and over the next few years, the church was able to trim $119,000 out of the church budget through various methods. Some methods involve hard decisions and conversations, and some just involve regular oversight and continuous monitoring. Many churches get complacent about what they are doing and how they are doing it and do not look at the whole picture. One of the other things that is important to look at is different ways to give, and the ways people are motivated to give. All of this is part of the entire strategy of having strong financial oversight and sound financial leadership.

Other clergy also utilize Brian quite regularly for clergy coaching, counseling, training, mentoring. All of this is done on a one-on-one basis and is driven solely by the other clergy reaching out for help in a particular area. Brian utilizes some of the skills he learned in Advancing Pastoral Leadership and is time as the Executive Pastor at Williams Memorial in Texarkana Texas to help these clergy make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

James Cermin

Twenty-three years with wholesale grocer, Grocers Supply Co., Inc. provided me with valuable experience in many areas. I held the position of Accounting Manager for both the large company and some of the smaller subsidiaries. I also served for many years in the corporate tax/family area. This included working directly for the family/owners in various aspects of both their business and personal finances. I achieved the designation of Certified Public Accountant from the State of Texas in 1980. For thirty-five years I have had a business preparing tax returns for small companies and individuals.

I have been involved as a member of both a small and a large church. Service in many areas includes Chair of Finance, Lay Leader, and Chair of Church Council. I have been a member of the Council of Finance and Administration of our Texas Annual Conference for the last five years. My years in both industry and public accounting has provided a wide range of experience in Finance.

Billy Cooke

I was raised a Methodist in Dickinson, TX and have maintained my Methodist roots for almost 67 years now.  I attended the University of Houston receiving a B.S. in Civil Engineering in December 1978.  My professional career as a consulting engineer in Private Practice was spent in Houston until retiring in 2017.  My wife, Marsha, and I raised our children in the Katy area.  Marsha continues to teach at HCC serving as an adjunct professor

Over the years, I have served on numerous committees at St. Peters UMC in Katy and Katy First, including serving as Chairman of Trustees, Finance and Church Council.  I have also served as Chairman of the Building Committee at Katy First as well as Co-Chairing along with my wife and another couple our Capital Campaign Team.  I also managed the retirement of the debt we incurred when we had the Connection Center constructed at Katy First.  While at Katy First I served two non-concurrent 3-year terms as Finance Chairman.  I also served two non-concurrent terms as Church Council Chairman, one 3-year and one single year.  I believe my talents will be best utilized in Financial Oversight – Leadership due to this experience.  With a background in design and construction, I can also help in any Building Committee efforts.

Rev. Patrick Evans

I am an outgoing upbeat person. I believe that God has a solution if we would but listen and get on board. I am a 2nd career pastor with experience from the world and that shades my viewpoint. I like doing hands on missions and talking about what God has done.

I have 20 years of banking experience that includes financial analysis. I have set up a 501-3c and been involved in many pledge campaigns. I can help with your church analysis of issues and suggest ways to cut cost and raise revenue.

Jody Griggs

I am the youngest of three daughters, so I have spent my life problem solving. I am a current member of CF&A.  I am on the board of Texas Conference Choir Clinic and serve as the Middle School Camp Director. I am a National Official for Track and Field and have been inducted into the Texas A&M Track and Field Hall of Fame. I have worked in the United Methodist Church for 31 years and counting. I love being a part of the financial ministry of the church. I feel like I am a part of all the ministries of the church and help touch members and visitor’s lives.

Sharing the knowledge that I have gained over the last 31 years would provide me great joy. I have used Shelby since 1996 and have used ACS the last two years. I think I can provide clarity and understanding for those getting started or those who need and extra set of eyes to help them problem solve or create new. Managing the stewardship of the church is a blessing.

Rev. Dr. Daniel Hannon, Jr.

Dr Daniel Hannon is a 39-Year Member and Elder of the Texas Annual Conference having served 4 congregations; Associate-Pastor of Evangelism and Adult Discipleship at /St. Peter’s, Katy & Bear Creek, Houston; Pastor-in-Charge First, Overton, and as the 29-year tenured Founding & Senior Pastor to Christ Church United Methodist of The Woodlands from 1991-2019.  Dr. Hannon is in the Retired Status and is Certified Interim.  As Founding and Senior Pastor to Christ Church, Dr. Hannon has led the development of a 9-Acre Campus which contains 100,000 square feet of buildings for worship, education, recreation, school, District Offices, and columbarium.  During this tenure, he has received 5,000 persons into the Christian Faith and /or membership into the church.  In addition to his church experience, Dr. Hannon is a public-school teacher in the Alief ISD, with a Life Certification in Secondary Education, Public School Teacher State of Texas. He holds four Degrees, BA Stephen F. Austin State University, MEd University of Houston, MDiv Emory University & DMin Drew University.   During his ministry and Work Dr. Hannon has received 7,000 people into the life of the Methodist Christian Church.

Dr. Hannon is well versed in the local Parish Ministry and how to lead, grow, and sustain the parish ministry of a local congregation effectively and faithfully.  As an experienced, certified public-school Teacher with a Master’s in Education, he offers insight on how to develop Christian Education Ministries.  His Evangelism strategies based on effective marketing and relationship development, has led to the reception of 7,000 people into the membership and life of the church over his years of service.  Central to his work is the insights on effective preaching, staff development and worship ministries.  He has led 7 Capital Campaigns which have raised $16,000,000 in facility, land and building assets. 

Stacie Hawkins

I have 20 years of financial oversight that includes financial analysis. I have served on Wespath’s Board of Directors for the past 6 years and have been involved in financial oversight in United Methodist Congregations for 14 years. I can help your church analysis of issues and suggest ways to cut costs and track the financial records.

Current roles: Local - Finance Team, United Methodist Women, Communion Stewardess, New Membership Team. Conference - Board of Pensions, Delegate to General Conference 2020. General Church - Wespath Benefits and Investments, Black Methodists for Church Renewal.

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.

Many of the churches I have served have previously experienced a variety of challenges and struggles in their financial situation.  One was operating hand-to-mouth with an inability to even keep accurate financials through the financial system they employed.  After five years of leadership, they were financially strong with a much larger operating budget and faithful ministry.  Another church engaged in a large capital project and had not paid their indebtedness in nearly five years prior to my arrival, while struggling to operate and not paying apportionments.  In five years, they paid most of the debt while paying 100% of apportionments with an expanded budget.  Another church had a year-end crisis to cover expenses every year.  They now operate consistently in the black with expanded ministry and numerous areas previously lacking funding now paid for and completed.

Rev. Dr. Faulk Landrum

I am a retired elder from the Texas Annual Conference after having served various congregations and institutions including Lon Morris College for 22 years and Director of Heartspring Methodist Foundation for 11 years. I retired in 2002. I am married to Eleanor.

I am glad to serve the Texas Annual Conference in any way I can to strengthen the United Methodist congregations.


Rev. David Lindwall

I graduated from the University of Georgia in 1982 followed by 15 years with Shell Chemical, most recently as a product Manager in London. In 1999 I answered the call to pastoral ministry and attended Asbury Theological Seminary. Since graduation I served as solo pastor at Falvey Memorial, associate pastor at Longview First, and have been serving as Senior Pastor in Montgomery since 2010. My wife Stephanie and I have four adult children who all live in the Houston area. 

  • Identifying financial leadership with strong gifts for ministry 
  • Developing a good working relationship with financial leadership 
  • Maximizing existing funds for ministry and promoting growth in giving  

Rev. Paul Meiller

I am a second career pastor currently serving in my first appointment at Aldersgate UMC in Santa Fe, TX. For 20 years prior to this, I was as an engineer for a multinational chemical company. I have broad experience in projects, operations, management, and accounting. My beautiful wife Alison and I are lucky parents to two girls, Emilie (12) and Julia (10), and one rabbit, Oreo. 

I have experience with keeping the financial books for a mid-sized church and preschool. I helped Chapelwood UMC in Lake Jackson overhaul their financial systems which included a transition to QuickBooks Online. 

Seaborn Nesbett

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.

Financial leadership and oversight developed over my forty plus years in the financial industry is second nature to me, but I give all the credit to a loving God that has blessed me with that talent.

Rev. Brenda Porter

I have been a CPA since 1985 and was ordained as a Deacon in the United Methodist Church in 2002. Before my ordination I had worked in industry, primarily 16 years for Hines Interests. After seminary I worked as a Church Business Administrator for 5 years, since that time I’ve worked in a small Christian CPA firm. Initially I worked on church audits, but since my retirement in 2013 my work has been mainly focused on preparing 990s (the tax returns required for a non-profit).

Financial Policies and Procedures – An important area where I can help a church is with their financial policies and procedures. I have served in a church office and have also been involved in auditing churches and non-profits. This gives me a unique insight into the challenges faced by churches as they strive to be good stewards of the resources God has blessed them with. I am also aware of many resources that will aid a church with both developing and finetuning their policies.

Internal Controls – I am available to work with a church to review their existing internal controls and help them improve those controls. Strong internal controls are an important component of any organization’s financial policies and procedures.

IRS Issues – Payroll can be confusing at the best of times and clergy payroll has many additional rules and requirements that can add to that confusion. I am available to discuss the basics of clergy payroll taxes and assist a church with payroll questions. While I no longer prepare clergy tax returns, I can recommend other competent tax preparers who are knowledgeable about clergy taxes.

Other – I have had considerable experience with complex reconciliations and have also been involved with several other financial issues.

John Sneed

As a financial professional for more than 40 years, I enjoy helping organizations achieve their financial objectives and improve the benefits and conditions for their employees. As a life-long United Methodist, I learned in Confirmation class John Wesley’s advice to “Do all the good you can …”, and I try to remember that advice when making decisions or advising others. I have been a member of Cypress Trails UMC (now known as Spring Community Church, a United Methodist congregation) since 1983, serving on many committees and service areas, and have especially enjoyed serving others through U.M. ARMY (United Methodist Action Reach-out Mission by Youth) for the past 20 years.

I am available to assist churches with developing, evaluating and improving their accounting, budgeting, and financial reporting systems to provide the necessary information for making sound decisions regarding the use of the church’s resources. I can provide tools for converting detailed, financially oriented budgets to narrative budgets for use in stewardship campaigns. I can also assist in the evaluation of overhead costs, non-clergy employee benefits, property and casualty insurance and financing alternatives and make recommendations accordingly.

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.

The opportunity to serve in matters related to finance is based on years of experience in different sectors of the church. In the local church setting I am familiar with how to manage small church budgets in the range of $150,000, while in larger churches the budgets were approximately $500,000. Additionally, I have been able to share in capital improvement campaigns and annual stewardship programs. While serving in offices of the annual conference I had numerous responsibilities for financial oversight:  Group Health Benefits and Pension funds that were multi-million dollar operations;  building up annual conference reserves in order to assist with funding of administrative costs, program development, and clergy benefits; creating Investment Policies for both the benefits sectors and annual conference; leadership on the Council on Finance and Administration; and participation both past and present on the Investment Committee.  Membership on non-profit boards has given me the opportunity to work on their Finance Committees, notably with Wiley College and Methodist Retirement Communities. All these diverse experiences, coupled with the longevity of service, help me be a suitable resource for financial leadership.