Pastor James T. Meeks is the founder and senior pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Chicago, one of the fastest-growing megachurches in the United States and the largest African-American church in Illinois with more than 15,000 members. Pastor Meeks led Salem in building the House of Hope, a $50 million, 10,000-seat community and worship center which is the largest facility built as a worship venue in the nation. A former three-term Illinois state senator, he currently serves as chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education. The author of two books, Pastor Meeks and his wife, Jamell, have four children and five grandchildren.
Dr. Mary Hendrickson, LPC, serves as assistant professor in the Human Services program at Moody Bible Institute. She has worked as a pastoral counselor and marriage and family therapist intern in Southern California and Brooklyn, New York. She holds a Doctorate of Education in Pastoral Community Counseling and a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, MFT. As a licensed counselor, Dr. Hendrickson advocates for quality mental health services to underserved urban populations.
Hanibal Rodriguez is senior pastor at Wheaton Bible Church in suburban Chicago. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Education as well as postgraduate studies in Theology from Covenant Theological Seminary. Hanibal is married to his high school sweetheart, Heidi. They have two daughters, Camila and Alejandra.
Colin Smith is senior pastor of The Orchard, a thriving, multi-campus church in the Chicago area. Colin's teaching extends through Unlocking the Bible, a ministry that proclaims Christ through media and mobilizes believers in evangelism. He is committed to mentoring next-generation pastors through The Orchard School of Ministry and has authored more than a dozen books. Colin and his wife, Karen, have two married sons and five granddaughters.
Tim Downey has taught at Moody Bible Institute since 2005. He currently teaches in the disciplines of youth and pastoral ministries, spiritual formation, leadership, and strategic planning in the Division of Applied Theology and Church Ministries. He is also program head for First Year Experience, mentoring upperclassmen to care for and equip incoming freshmen as they transition to collegiate life. Tim has also served as an associate pastor, church planter, missionary, and international speaker. He has spoken at numerous seminars and made keynote addresses worldwide concerning the gospel, leadership, youth ministry, and worldview. He and his wife have three daughters.
Dr. Josh Laxton serves as co-director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center in Wheaton, Illinois. He is also co-regional director of Lausanne North America and an adjunct faculty member at Wheaton College’s Graduate School of Ministry, Mission, and Leadership. A teaching pastor at Wheaton Bible Church in West Chicago, Josh is author of The Bible in 52 Weeks for Men. He holds a PhD in Missiology and loves mobilizing the church to participate in God’s mission. He and his wife, Joannie, live in Wheaton with their three children.
One of our student preachers at Founder’s Week, Josiah Willis is a senior at Moody Bible Institute. Josiah will graduate in May 2022 with a BA in Biblical Studies and an Interdisciplinary in Pastoral Studies. A native of Carrollton, Texas, he and his wife, Madison, plan to move to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, following graduation to pursue a position in Bible teaching.
One of our student preachers at Founder’s Week, Kim Myers is a senior at Moody Bible Institute. Kim will graduate in May with a BA in Biblical Preaching. A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Kim plans to serve in a church or a ministry organization with a focus on curriculum development and preaching while pursuing an MA in Exegesis.
Pastor Erwin Lutzer is pastor emeritus of The Moody Church in Chicago, where he served as senior pastor from 1980–2016, leading the church through unprecedented growth. He has authored more than 50 books, including the bestselling One Minute After You Die: A Preview of Your Final Destination and Hitler’s Cross, which won the Christian Bookseller’s Gold Medallion Award. His radio program Running to Win is heard on several hundred radio stations in the United States and in several other countries. Pastor Lutzer and his wife, Rebecca, have three adult children and eight grandchildren.
Dr. Chris Rappazini, PhD, Pastoral Studies Professor has taught full time with Moody Bible Institute in Spokane, Washington and in Chicago over the past 11 years. Chris, who graduated from Moody in 2007, is an active contributor to Moody’s monthly devotional, Today in the Word, and co-authored Church Policies and Procedures: Common-Sense Guides for Administering Churches in a Complex World. He is the former president of the Evangelical Homiletics Society and previously served as associate minister of preaching and teaching at Southside Christian Church in Spokane. Chris and his wife, Ashley (’12), reside with their three children in Northwest Indiana.
David Giese’s journey has been a witness to God’s grace. After graduating from Moody Bible Institute (’12), Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (’15), and The University of Edinburgh (’16), David has served God through Moody as an adjunct instructor, Pastors Conference workshop speaker, and contributor to Consider This with Moody Radio. David serves as lead pastor of The Village Church of Gurnee in suburban Chicago. Most importantly, he is deeply loved by God and deeply loves his wife, Sally. David and Sally (and their dog, Winston) live in Gurnee.
Mark Jobe has led Moody Bible Institute as president since 2019. He has served as lead pastor of New Life Community Church, which meets in 27 locations in and near Chicago. Mark earned a diploma from Moody Bible Institute in 1984, a master’s degree from Moody Theological Seminary, and a doctorate in transformational leadership from Bakke Graduate University. He is the author of What Now?: How to Move into Your Next Season (Moody Publishers) and can be heard on Bold Steps, a daily program on Moody Radio. He and his wife, Dee, have three adult children and one grandchild.