Meet our Presenters
(Click on the images to the right to view individual bios)
Online and Live | Dallas Baptist University, Sadler Hall
Conference leader: Randel Everett President of 21Wilberforce
Developing Emergent Leaders in the Struggle for Justice
The Speak Freedom Conference is a two day leadership program on living with passion, leading with excellence, and leading systemic changes.
Register today to attend in-person or participate online. The in-person conference is in compliance with COVID guidelines for the safety of attendees.
Some of the earliest examples of emergent leadership come from Abraham’s life and how he kept the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice. In the New Testament, Jesus’ life was marked by challenging people to think differently about themselves and the world around them and serving others compassionately. So, too, our lives should reflect a radical, selfless way of life. A God-given burden for justice must precede meaningful change. Emergent leaders face significant opposition anytime systemic change is considered. Effective change makers seek out the vulnerable and take positive steps to advocate for change and prevent injustice. Emergent leadership starts with what the Lord requires of us, fueled by the words of the ancient prophet, Micah: “to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (v6:8).
Founder and President
Iran Alive Ministries
Founder and President
Sammy Tippit Ministries
Founder and President
Watch and Pray Ministries
Drayton McLane, Jr.
and former Owner/CEO of the Houston Astros
Founder and Senior Pastor
The Church Without Walls
Founder and Executive Director
Baylor Cooperative on Hunger and Poverty
Michael Evans, Sr.
Bethlehem Baptist Church
Suzii Paynter March
Center for Cultural Engagement Texas Baptists
Founder and President
(Click on the images to the right to view individual bios)
Dr. Hormoz Shariat is the President and Founder of Iran Alive Ministries based in McKinney, Texas. He is the author of “Iran’s Great Awakening”, a book which describes what is happening in Iran today and how the Bible prophecies align with the current events.
Through satellite, he has been broadcasting the Gospel into Iran and the Middle East since 2001. His channel (called Shabakeh7) is arguably the most watched Christian channel in Iran with over 6 million daily viewers (7.7% of the population) and over 20 million who watch it weekly. Using media, he has helped develop a large underground church network in Iran as well.
Dr. Shariat has been called “The Billy Graham of Iran”. Hormoz’s ministry has been featured in Christianity Today, Charisma, World Magazine and other publications. He has been a guest on various radio and TV stations such as CBN’s 700 Club, Daystar, and TBN. Hormoz is a frequent speaker at the Voice of the Martyrs conferences.
Dr. Shariat is from a Muslim background and became a follower of Jesus in 1980 after a comparative study of the Bible and Quran. He has a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Southern California (USC) and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible and Theology from Jessup University.
Sammy Tippit is the Founder and President of Sammy Tippit Ministries (STM). Sammy is a world-renowned counselor, teacher and evangelist with nearly 50 years of experience serving and helping people in over 80 countries. Sammy provides materials that help people tackle a broad array of social, societal, psychological and spiritual issues. He is particularly passionate about making spiritual resources accessible to other countries around the world.
Sammy has been a leading voice among Christians around the world during the last few decades. He is currently preaching some of the largest evangelistic meetings in the world. He has preached in stadiums in war-torn Burundi, met with government and religious leaders shortly after the attempted genocide in Rwanda, and brought hope to persecuted believers in the former Soviet-bloc nations.
Tippit preached a historic evangelistic meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in March 1999, with over 300,000 people attending in four days. In May of that same year, he preached in Maracana, the world’s largest stadium, located in Rio de Janeiro. Not only were thousands converted, but the event was attended and supported by the governor, vice governor, and mayor of the city and state.
Since 2016, Sammy Tippit preached evangelistic and discipleship training events in India, Pakistan, Africa, and South America via Skype technology. He has preached evangelistic events from his home to live audiences in India with up to 25,000 in attendance. He has created discipleship videos for social media pages for 12 language groups. The pages have an average of 6,500,000 views every month. He partnered with the Multiplying Church Movement in Brazil during May 2019 to provide a one-month video, audio and text curriculum. More than 1,000,000 people went through the daily Praying for Your Family series during May 2019. He has established partnerships with churches and ministries around the world and plans to train up to 10,000,000 Christians to share Christ with five friends and family members during May 2020.
Getaneh M. Getaneh is the founder of Watch and Pray Ministries. Born in Ethiopia, Getaneh was later arrested by the Communist authorities of Ethiopia’s Mengistu regime for preaching the Christian gospel.
He suffered years of imprisonment in Ethiopia and in Djibouti, was repeatedly denied food, water, and sleep for days, was tortured with boiling oil poured on the soles of his feet and whipped with a metal. He eventually escaped prison and fled to neighboring Djibouti. When the Communist government fell in 1994, he returned to Ethiopia.
Later, he moved to the United States and founded Watch and Pray Ministries with the vision of “Providing education, encouragement and hope through Jesus Christ to the persecuted, homeless, orphans and widows around the world.”
Drayton McLane Jr. is the founder and chairman of the McLane Group, a holding company with a portfolio of various diverse enterprises.
Drayton resides with his wife, Elizabeth, in Temple, Texas. They have two sons, Drayton, III and Denton and five grandsons. They are members of the First Baptist Church of Belton and very active in their community.
He propelled the McLane Company into a nineteen-billion-dollar company, which merged with Wal-Mart in 1990. Drayton then became vice-chairman of Wal-Mart, maintaining his position as President & CEO of McLane Company.
As former CEO of the Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros, Drayton currently serves as chairman of the McLane Group. He serves on numerous boards and is past Chairman of Baylor Scott Healthcare, one of the largest healthcare organizations in the United States.
A native Texan, this acclaimed businessman, leader, and generous philanthropist, ensures the focus of all his endeavors are based upon strong Christian values and moral ethics.
Ralph Douglas West is the pastor and founder of The Church Without Walls (Brookhollow Baptist Church, Houston, Texas). He first preached as a sixteen-year-old in his native Houston. The Church Without Walls began with 32 members and now embraces thousands of families meeting each Sunday. Pastor West is affectionately known as Pas.
Pastor West holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, AL; a Master of Divinity degree with Biblical Languages from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, TX; and a bachelor’s degree in Religion and Philosophy from Bishop College, Dallas, TX. Pastor West has also completed advanced studies at Cambridge and Oxford Universities and received an Honorary D.Div. degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center at Morehouse School of Religion in Atlanta, Georgia, and Paul Quinn College, Dallas, Texas.
Jeremy Everett is the founder and executive director of the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty. The Collaborative integrates research and practice through projects such as: the Texas Hunger Initiative; the Research Fellows Program; the Global Hunger and Migration Project; the Theology, Ecology, and Food Justice Program; and the Hunger Data Lab.
The Collaborative’s seven regional offices–with nearly 100 staff, interns, and researchers–have assisted local community, state-based, and national efforts to increase hundreds of millions of additional meals through innovative, researched-based interventions. In Jeremy’s tenure with the Collaborative, he has raised more than 250 million dollars to support faculty research, public service, and policy analysis.
Prior to THI, Jeremy worked for international and community development organizations as a teacher, religious leader, community organizer, and farmer. He frequently delivers presentations to congregations, non-profit organizations, universities, and the government sector about hunger and poverty.
Jeremy earned a bachelor’s degree from Samford University, a Master of Divinity from Baylor University, and is finishing his doctorate at Duke Divinity School at Duke University. Jeremy is a Next Generation Fellow of the University of Texas LBJ School’s Strauss Center for International Security and Law, a Senior Fellow with World Hunger Relief, Inc., and was appointed by U.S. Congress to serve on the National Commission on Hunger.
Jeremy is the author of I Was Hungry: Cultivating Common Ground to End an American Crisis, a contributing author in Food and Poverty: Food Insecurity and Food Sovereignty Among America’s Poor (Vanderbilt University Press) and The End of Hunger: How Science, Religion, and Politics Can Work Together to Make Possible (InterVarsity Press).
Jeremy is married to Amy Miley Everett. They have three sons: Lucas, Sam, and Wyatt.
Suzii Paynter March has a lifetime of experience in Christian leadership, organizational leadership and public advocacy. Since September 2019, Suzii has served as the Executive Director of Prosper Waco, a Texas initiative focused on increasing health, education and financial security. Prior to this position, Suzii spent more than 20 years leading Texas and national Baptist denominational groups.
Suzii has held advocacy and leadership roles with the Texas Baptists, Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, the Christian Life Commission, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and Pastors for Texas Children. Through these endeavors and her affiliations with many other associations and groups, she has worked on issues ranging from religious liberty, education to poverty to prison reform. Suzii’s recent work with Pastors for Texas Children has been recognized for advancing education funding in the 2019 legislative session. For ten years, she has helped vulnerable people recover from and prevent predatory lending.
She has been honored as a distinguished alumnus of Baylor University and holds an honorary doctorate from Dallas Baptist University. Her personal honors include recognition for her work in Christian ethics, cross-cultural and women’s leadership. In addition to her Baylor and doctorate degrees, Suzii holds a master’s degree in education from Stephen F. Austin University.
She is married to another outstanding Baylor alumnus and long-time resident of Waco, Ben March.
Bob (Xiqiu) Fu is one of the leading voices in the world for persecuted faith communities in China. Fu was born and raised in mainland China and was a student leader during the Tiananmen Square demonstrations for freedom and democracy in 1989.
Fu graduated from the School of International Relations at the People’s (Renmin) University in Beijing and taught English to Communist Party officials at the Beijing Administrative College and Beijing Party School of the Chinese Communist Party from 1993-1996. Fu was also a house church leader in Beijing until he and his wife, Heidi, were imprisoned for two months for “illegal evangelism” in 1996. Bob and Heidi fled to the United States as religious refugees in 1997 and subsequently founded ChinaAid in 2002 to bring international attention to China’s gross human rights violations and to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.
As president of ChinaAid (chinaaid.org), Fu has testified before the Congressional Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (USCHR), the Foreign Press Association, the European Commission and European Union Parliament.
Fu currently is the Family Research Council’s Senior Fellow for International Religious Freedom in addition to responsibilities as President of ChinaAid. He is the recipient of the 2020 William Wilberforce Award from the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.
Dr. Gus Reyes serves as the Director of the Christian Life Commission for Texas Baptists. He serves on the Executive Committee of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
Before moving to his current position with BGCT, Reyes served as the Director of Hispanic Education Initiative/Affinity Ministries for Texas Baptists. Previously he also served as Director of Service Center and Ethnic Consultant for the Center of Strategic Evangelism.
A 25-year youth ministry veteran, Dr. Reyes is the co-writer with Dr. Richard Ross of “30 Days, Turning the Hearts of Parents and Teens Towards Each Other.”
He served as Youth Ministry Consultant, then, Director of Church Growth Group Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service Departments at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, Tennessee.
Dr. Reyes holds a BBA from UT-Austin, an MBA from Angelo State University, and MRE, PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Gus and his wife Leticia of forty plus years have three children, Andrea, Agustin II, and Samuel. Gus and Leticia are also proud grandparents.
Reverend Dr. Michael A. Evans, Sr. is the Mayor of the City of Mansfield, Texas, and the Senior Pastor of the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield, where he has served for more than 30 years.
Mayor Evans was elected to the Mansfield Independent School District Board of Trustees for three terms, serving from 2007 to 2016 including two years as board president. He also served as an administrator with the Tarrant County College District, with coordination and oversight responsibilities for the district’s ESL and Adult Basic Education Centers. He was a member of the TCC Board of Trustees from 2016 to 2020.
He serves as a consultant on race relations for church, county, and state officials and is a passionate Mansfield community advocate. As part of this advocacy, he has founded several organizations that work for the betterment of individuals and the community.
Dr. Evans’ ministry also extends outside the U.S. where he served as a commissioned officer in the US Navy from 1990-1998 as a reserved Chaplain. The director of the Life Touch Cottage Ministries Inc., a Christian education and evangelism organization serving children and youth in Nigeria–West Africa. He is the former director of African American Ministries for the Texas Baptist General Convention of Texas, where he also served two consecutive terms as president of the entire Baptist convention serving more than 5,300 churches across Texas. He currently serves on the advisory council of Tarrant County Habitat for Humanity, the Methodist Mansfield Medical Center Advisory Board and the Texas Commission of Law Enforcement Advisory Board (Mansfield).
Mayor Evans received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Arlington, his Master of Divinity degree from Texas Christian University’s Brite Divinity School, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Baylor University, where he has also served as a member of the Board of Regents for the University.
Born the oldest of six children and a native of Houston, Mayor Evans has been married to Mrs. Lisa C. Evans, his high school sweetheart of more than 34 years. They have two adult children and a beautiful granddaughter.
Dr. Randel Everett is the Founder and President of the 21Wilberforce Global Freedom Center (21Wilberforce), a Christian human rights nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the growing global need to protect and advance the fundamental and universal right to freedom of religion, belief, and conscience (FoRB).
Previous to founding 21Wilberforce in 2014, Randel spent four decades pastoring churches in Florida, Virginia, Arkansas, and Texas.
Everett was the Founding President of the John Leland Center for Theological Studies in Falls Church, Virginia. He served as the Executive Director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, and currently serves in leadership for the Baptist World Alliance.
Throughout his career, Everett has traveled to nearly 50 countries, meeting with religious and government leaders and witnessing first-hand the ravages of persecution. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas and Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.