Leadership Awards



David Francis

David Francis is the former Director of Sunday School at Lifeway Christian Resources. Before joining Lifeway in 1997, he served as minister of education at First Baptist Church in Garland, Texas. While serving Lifeway, David published multiple “little books” that has served to train and equip thousands of church leaders and volunteers.

David and his wife, Vickie, love teaching preschool Sunday School and are helping start a new adult class in their church in Hendersonville, Tennessee.


Joseph Brasher

Joseph surrendered to full time vocational ministry in 2010. He has served in two previous churches and currently serves as the Adult Pastor at New Vision in Murfreesboro, TN. In 2022, Joseph began to also serve as the Director of Institutional Effectiveness at Williamson College in Franklin, TN.

Joseph is involved in various networks including Disciple Leaders Network where he has served as the Chair of the Board. His passion for growing marriages and strengthening the local church has provided him with  opportunities to speak for marriage retreats or in small group consultant capacities.


Scott Sullivan

Scott currently serves as the Discipleship Catalyst at Georgia Baptist Mission Board.

Previously Scott served as equipping pastor of First Baptist Church in Haughton, near Shreveport, a position he had held since 2003. He holds bachelor’s degree from East Texas Baptist University, Master of Arts in Christian Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and Doctor of Education Ministry degree, also from NOBTS.

While at his church position Sullivan also was a discipleship consultant for the Louisiana Baptist Convention and adjunct teacher for NOBTS.

Emerging Leader Award

The Emerging Leader Award is given annually to a church leader who is in the early stages of their ministry.  They are already experiencing success and demonstrate leadership potential as a disciple leader. Lifetime Membership in DLN as a part of their recognition.

2023 Recipient


Brad serves as Lead Pastor of First Baptist Church De Soto, MO. Brad is married to his bride, Kristin, and together they have 4 crazy kids (Jackson, Michaela, Jase, and Jacob). In addition to serving as Lead Pastor, Brad also serves as a hospital chaplain, is the Director for National Sustainability and Missouri Team Lead for Prison Seminaries Foundation and is an adjunct professor for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Brad has served as a prison chaplain, church planter, and church revitalizer. Brad has a Master of Arts in Christian Education, as well as a Master of Theology, and a Ph.D. all from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. In his spare time Brad enjoys time in the gym, hiking with his family, and cooking Cajun meals.

Distinguished Leader Award

The Distinguished Leader Award is presented to a mid-career church leader who has made signficiant contributions to the field of religious education and/or discipleship. Recipients receive DLN Lifetime Membership as a part of their recognition.

2023 Recipient


Ken currently serves as the Director of Sunday School & Network Partnerships for Lifeway Christian Resources. From 2010 through 2021 Ken was the managing director of adult ongoing Bible studies. Through his work at Lifeway, and the hard work of the men and women on his team, they served the Bible study needs of approximately 3 million adults each week. In his current role as Director of Sunday School, he writes books, blog posts, and articles, plus travels and trains on the topics of Sunday school, small groups, and church leadership many times each year.

Ken provided leadership as the Groups Pastor at a new church startup in Texas back in 1992. The church began with 44 people in Bible study on launch Sunday. 10 years later it had grown to over 2,400+ members.

Since moving to Nashville in 2010, Ken has served on several church staffs in a part-time groups pastor or consultant role. Ken and his wife, Tammy, have two grown children and one grandchild.

2022 Recipient


Jane served over 40 years on the staff of her church in Elmore, AL — Mount Hebron West Baptist, which changed its name to Crossroads Community Church in 2019.

She’s retired from her most recent position as executive minister. Jane was presented with the Daniel Edmonds Disciple Making Leader Award during the Alabama Baptist Pastors Conference on Nov. 14, 2022.  

Robert Mullins, Jane’s pastor said Barrett has discipled “with her life, and she’s given her whole life to it.” “She can’t get enough,” he said. “She’s constantly encouraging, training and equipping people to do things. She’s all about being a blessing.”

Barrett said for her “it’s a passion of loving to see people not only fall in love with Jesus, but learn to follow Him the way He created us to do it.” “I love to help people know who Christ is and know who they are in Him and help them see how they can help other people do the same thing, to make disciples who make disciples,” she said.

2021 Recipient


John is a speaker, author, and consultant in areas related to church leadership, discipleship and Sunday School. He currently serves as the Executive Director, Disciple Leaders Network (DLN). He  served 9 years as the Discipleship Pastor, Northside Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, TN (2013-2022), and 12 years at Lifeway as the Training & Development Manager and Lead Adult Ministry Specialist (2000-2012).

John greatest blessing is to watch those that he has equipped become successful in their works of ministry as a vocational minister or as a volunteer in the church. This blessing has produced fruit in multiple churches especially his church he served before moving to Tennessee. From 1995-2000 John served First Baptist Tillman’s Corner, Mobile, AL as the Associate Pastor/Minister of Education. During that time the church grew an average of 7% each year while assimilating almost 75% of those who joined the church. In 1997 the church led the state of Alabama in baptisms, baptizing 186.

John graduated from Samford University in 1982 with a BS in Music Education and in 1986 from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, earning the Master of Arts in Religious Education. He has served on church staff in churches in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee.

Tim Holcomb Leadership Legacy Award

The Tim Holcomb Leadership Legacy Award is given to someone has made a significant contribution to the work of discipleship and/or Christian education over their lifetime of vocational ministry. It is named in honor of Tim Holcomb who was a long-time proven and influential equipper of church leaders, disciplemaker, and Christian educator.

After a long battle with cancer, Tim passed away in August of 2016. One of Tim’s greatest concerns was that this organization would continue to thrive and be positioned well for the next generation of Disciple leaders and Christian educators.

Each recipient will receive both lifetime membership in BACE and lifetime complimentary conference registration.

2023 Recipient


Allan Taylor is the Executive Pastor of Ministries at First Baptist Concord in Knoxville, Tennessee. He previously served as the Director of Sunday School & Church Education Ministry at Lifeway Christian Resources where he provided training and assistance to churches and Ministers of Education across the country.

Allan served 20 years as the Minister of Education at First Baptist Church Woodstock, Georgia. Under his leadership, the Sunday School attendance grew from 2,500 to 5,800. He also served at Beaver Dam Baptist Church in Knoxville, TN and London Bridge Baptist Church in Virginia Beach, VA. Before surrendering to full-time Christian service, Allan was a high school football coach.

Allan is the founder of Ember to Blaze Ministries and writes Sunday School, leadership, and training materials. He has authored three books: “Sunday School in HD”, “The Six Core Values of Sunday School” and “Disciplining and Restoring the Fallen”, and four Sunday School DVD series “Sunday School Done Right,” Forward From Here!”, “Sunday School Matters.”, and “The Inspired Teacher.” Allan and his wife, Linda, have three children and three grandchildren.

2022 Recipient


Wayne has served the local church since 1973. He served in several Texas churches before accepting a postion at Lifeway in 1981.

Wayne’s, impact on generations of church leaders through his leadership during his service at Lifeway is immeasurable. He has spent most of his ministry passionately and tirelessly investing in the health of the church, Sunday Schools, and church leaders as a trainer, consultant, and conference leader.

Wayne has written numerous articles and resources for training church leaders. His leadership as a conference planner enabled Lifeway to equip thousands of leaders during Wayne’s tenure.

After retiring from Lifeway, Wayne moved to Redmond Oregon to serve as the Pastor of Administration and Education at Highland Baptist Church. His influence at Highland helped propel the church to becoming one of the largest churches in the Northwest Baptist Convention.

Wayne received his Bachelor degree from Hardin Simmons University, 1972 and his Master of Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1976.

2021 Recipient


Dr. Bill Taylor is the founder of Unlimited Partnerships, an organization dedicated to raising up a new generation of Christian educators by placing them in a network of pastors, church leaders and mentors to support and encourage them in their role as ministers. Before beginning Unlimited Partnerships, he served as the Director of Network Partnerships for LifeWay Church Resources, a division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Prior to his role as director, he served as the overseer of both the Sunday School and the Bible Teaching/Reaching Divisions. After his call at LifeWay was complete, Dr. Taylor served as a Senior Strategist, and also Executive Assistant to the President, for Disaster Relief of the North American Mission Board.

Dr. Taylor’s ministry includes many years of pastoral experience. He has served as the executive pastor of North Phoenix Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona, and as minister of education and administration at Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas; University Baptist Church, Coral Gables, Florida; Roswell Street Baptist Church, Marietta, Georgia, and First Baptist Church, Lafayette, Louisiana.

Dr. Taylor is the author of several books including 21 Truths, Traditions, and Trends, The Power to Change Lives, Sunday School for a New Century and Ten Best Practices. He also produced the video series: Growing Your Sunday School in the ’90s; Teaching to Make a Difference; Growing Your Sunday School in the 20th Century; and 21 Truth, Trends and Traditions.

Dr. Taylor currently lives in the Dallas area where he leads the ministry of UP and is a sought-after speaker and consultant for churches of all sizes.