The Missouri Baptist Convention missionary staff makes up one team with one vision and one mission. Our vision is: Transforming lives and communities with the gospel. Our mission is: Cooperating with Missouri Baptists to make disciples, multiply churches, and develop leaders.
Six directors, whose biographies are listed below, lead this missionary team.
Dr. Wes Fowler is Executive Director of the Missouri Baptist Convention. He directs the state’s missionary staff; administers Cooperative Program funds given by Missouri Baptist churches; serves as publisher of The Pathway, the official news journal of the MBC; and sets the state’s cooperative strategy for fulfilling the Acts 1:8 mission mandate.
Prior to his election by the MBC Executive Board in 2023, Fowler served for 12 years as senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Mayfield, Ky. He grew up in that church, and was saved and baptized there at the age of eight. He accepted the church’s call to return as senior pastor after serving as youth pastor at First Baptist Church, Valdosta, Ga., and senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Homerville, Ga.
In addition, Fowler served as chairman of the Board of Directors for Sunrise Children’s Services, Kentucky’s largest foster/residential childcare provider. He also served as president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention (2020-21); as a member of the Mission Board of the Kentucky Baptist Convention (2017-19); and as chairman for the search committee that brought Todd Gray to the KBC as executive director-treasurer in 2019. He also served on the SBC Committee on Committees in 2022.
Fowler earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science at Valdosta State University (2003); a Master of Divinity at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (2007); and a Doctor of Ministry with an emphasis in expository preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (2015). In 2022, Southern Seminary honored Fowler as Alumnus of the Year.
Fowler and his wife, Tara, married in 2004. They have three children: Brax, Bryley, and Pierre.
Dr. Wes Fowler
Brad Bennett is the Making Disciples Director for the Missouri Baptist Convention. His responsibilities include evangelism; strategies for church leaders and families; and age-graded training events and conferences to equip Missouri Baptists to transform lives and communities with the gospel.
Bennett has been equipping individuals and churches in relational evangelism for more than 20 years. He has served as student pastor at MBC churches in Salem and Neosho, and more recently he served as pastor of evangelism at Second Baptist Church and Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Springfield.
Saved at the age of 19 while racing professional motocross, Bennett soon answered a call from the Lord to full-time ministry. He is the founder of Real Encounter Outreach, which blends action sports with an anointed message of the gospel to introduce people from all walks of life to the person of Jesus Christ.
Bennett and his wife, Janet, have three children and three grandchildren.
Dr. Rick Hedger is the Multiplying Churches Director for the Missouri Baptist Convention. He is responsible for church multiplication strategies and Great Commission partnerships here, there, and everywhere. He works to support healthy churches that plant other healthy church-planting churches.
Hedger was born into the family of God and called into Christian service in 1978. Since then, he has served as senior pastor of churches in Missouri and Arkansas and in a church-planting role in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Missouri.
As pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Neosho, Mo., he developed partnerships with International Mission Board missionaries to engage the people of West Africa. God soon turned the call on his life to “Call Out the Called” through local churches, serving as mission awareness director for the Illinois Baptist State Association and now at the MBC.
He holds a B.A. degree in Bible from Missouri Baptist University, and both a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary.
Dr. Rick Hedger
Jim Misloski is the Developing Leaders Director for the Missouri Baptist Convention. He is responsible for equipping and strengthening today’s churches and church leaders; discovering the next generation of leaders and preparing them to serve; and mobilizing leaders for Kingdom service in every sphere of influence. He directs the MBC’s pastoral ministry, transitional pastor training, disaster relief training and deployment, church revitalization, and support events.
Prior to coming to the MBC in 2016, Misloski served as state director of missions for the Colorado Baptist General Convention. Before that, he served as church planting missionary for Longs Peak Baptist Association (Colo.), and as a church planter/pastor and discipleship/missions pastor in Colorado. He also has corporate experience, serving as senior brand manager for Group Publishing and, before that, vice president of creative services for Darcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles in St. Louis.
Misloski holds a Master of Divinity degree from Gateway Seminary (formerly Golden Gate Theological Seminary), and a B.A. degree in art/communication from Missouri State University. He and his wife, Paula, have three children.
Jason Yarnell serves as interim director of Collegiate Ministries, following the death of Gene Austin earlier this year. Yarnell also serves as campus missionary at Missouri State University. Learn more about Jason and his ministry here.
Gene Austin, long-time director of Collegiate Ministries for the MBC, died May 23, 2023, after a battle with cancer.
Austin served in Missouri Baptist collegiate ministry for 23 years, beginning in 2000 as a campus minister with the Baptist Student Union at Truman State University in Kirksville. Austin oversaw Missouri Baptist ministry efforts on 26 campuses across the state of Missouri.
Read more about Austin’s life and ministry here.
Ministry Support and Apologetics
Rob Phillips is the director of Ministry Support and Apologetics for the Missouri Baptist Convention. He is responsible for MBC messaging, web, video and graphic services, live event support, technology, and promotion of the Cooperative Program and Missouri Missions Offering.
He also leads a statewide apologetics ministry, speaking in churches and leading conferences on defending the Christian faith, and providing free downloadable resources for pastors and teachers at oncedelivered.net.
Phillips has extensive communications experience in business and Christian ministry and has served as a bi-vocational pastor. He holds a B.A. degree in journalism from Oklahoma Baptist University and is certified in Christian apologetics from the North American Mission Board.
He is the author of 12 books including: The Apologist’s Took Kit; What Every Christian Should Know about the Trinity; What Every Christian Should Know about Satan; and, most recently,What Every Christian Should Know about the Return of Jesus.
Phillips and his wife, Nancy, have two children and reside in Jefferson City, Mo.