Lions Roar Speakers
Lions Roar 2023 - Speaker Biographies
Dr. Fares Abraham leads Levant Ministries, a Middle East-based organization focused on reaching, equipping, and empowering the next generation of Christian leaders. Through world-class media productions and an innovative approach to evangelism and discipleship, Levant leads the way in Gospel-centered Arabic ministry both online and on the ground. Fares is an author and a frequent international guest speaker. Prior to founding Levant, he worked as a senior training specialist, instructional designer, and consultant for various large U.S. and international corporations and government agencies. He holds an MBA and a doctorate degree in Strategic Leadership from Liberty University, where he currently serves as an online professor in the School of Business. He and his wife, Soha, have three children.
John P. Arana Jr. is the founder and president of Excel Ministries and Senior Pastor of The Oasis Church in Arlington, Texas. He has spoken in seminars, workshops, and colleges in over 25 countries. He has a heartfelt call for healing the body of Christ and ministering to the new generation through a contemporary style. He has over 35 years of ministry experience in pastoral ministries and executive administration with such ministries as CBN 700 Club, Nicky Cruz Outreach, and Christian Men's Network. John is a regular lecturer at Christ for the Nations Institute. He and his wife Karen have three daughters and eight grandchildren.
David Bendett is the founding pastor of Rock City Church and the founder and owner of Coffee Waves coffee shops in the coastal bend of South Texas. Rock City is a multicultural church serving their community through compassionate care and evangelism. Coffee Waves has been voted Texas’ Best coffee shop two years in a row and has become a destination spot for thousands of vacationing families. David graduated from Oral Robert’s University with a degree in Organizational Relations. He and his wife, Amber, have two amazing children, Cadence and Zion.
Over a 43-year career that started when he was scarcely out of his teens, Glenn, with his younger brother Bob, built, bought, and sold numerous businesses, primarily in the consumer product industry, working with national and international customers and manufacturers. Their pattern of success was to choose something they were passionate about, a product that could be innovative, and work with people they enjoyed being around. Most importantly, they stayed thankful to God for His generous blessings on their families and businesses. The brothers sold their last company in 2017 and have been mostly “retired" since then. Glenn has been married for 48 years to Debbie, a Christian author, and together are parents of three grown children and five fantastic grandchildren.
Bishop Dale C. Bronner, the fourth of six sons of the late Mr. Nathaniel Hawthorne Bronner, Sr., and Mrs. Robbie Bronner has a mission to reach the lost and teach the found. He is the founding pastor of the 25,000-member Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral. An internationally renowned speaker who is fluent in many languages has, in just the past twelve months, spoken at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, TD Jakes’ conference, and to tens of thousands of people all over the world. Bishop Bronner is a director and part owner of Bronner Brothers Manufacturing Company, a family-owned, sixty-year-old hair care business. Bishop Bronner’s latest bestseller is Power Principles: The Benefits of a Wisdom-Driven Life. His messages reach millions weekly through his national television and radio broadcasts. He serves on numerous boards and Chairs the Christian Men’s Network. He and his wife, Nina, have five children and numerous grandchildren.
Joel Brooks is the senior pastor of Stones Church, a dynamic, 3,000-member, multi-cultural church with campuses in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, Michigan. A nationally known speaker, he founded Romantic Warrior Ministries. He authored The Unspoken Rules of Love, which speaks to the heart of women and brings value and fatherhood to women in a world where self-dignity and respect are often lost. A longtime friend of Christian Men’s Network and the Cole family, Pastor Brooks emphasizes men taking the leadership role for which God created them. He also targets young adults, challenging them to mature and accept responsibility. Pastor Brooks also takes a strong stand for racial reconciliation and unity. His television broadcast Transformed is viewed nationally and internationally and has had a dramatic regional impact in West Michigan for over 20 years. He and his wife, Pastor Yvonne, are the proud parents of eight beautiful children and four grandchildren.
Paul Buchanan is a successful businessman, husband of 34 years, and father of four. His primary ministry is encouraging businessmen to implement godly principles in their businesses and teaching them the value of using marketplace funds to support Kingdom initiatives. Additionally, he has worked with local churches, leading men’s groups, hosting weekend retreats for teenage boys, and hosting marriage groups with his wife, Melanie. Currently, Paul is hosting a weekly Maximized Manhood group with young men to help instill the CMN values in the next generation. He has been part of CMN since he was 19 years old and frequently is a guest minister on international CMN outreaches.
Brandon is the lead pastor of C3 Fort Worth after serving for over a decade as the student ministries pastor under founding pastor Paul Louis Cole. Born and raised in the D/FW Metroplex, Brandon is endeavoring to build a church that courageously serves and influences the area for the glory of God. His passion is to see Jesus on every street and in every heart grow and see what God is doing in and through C3 locally and globally. He and his wife Meredith were high school sweethearts and now parents of two sons.
Paul Louis Cole, D.Th., is a noted speaker, pastor, author, and one of the world’s foremost experts on men’s issues. Paul is an award-winning media producer/director, but his passion is carrying a message of Christlike manhood to the world by presiding over the Christian Men’s Network. He has conducted seminars on wisdom, parenting, and manhood in over 70 nations. Begun by his father, Edwin Louis Cole, Christian Men’s Network and its new outreach, the Global Fatherhood Initiative, helps pastors build strong men, strong families, and strong churches in over 100 nations. Paul’s mission is to rescue families, defeat fatherlessness, and end child abuse by providing leadership tools and strategies to bring a clear and defining word to men. Paul and his wife of forty-plus years, Judi, reside in Grapevine, Texas. They have three children, all involved in ministry.
Andrew Donkin made a decision to follow Christ in 1980. He is married with two daughters. He has a heart for men and helps them to realize their full potential both with their families and in their business pursuits. Andrew has served in his church in various ways, including Men's Ministry Leader and on the Elder Board. Although he is on the far side of the curve, his goal is to finish strong in his Kingdom pursuits.
Dr. Tony Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative, and author of over 125 books, booklets, and Bible studies. The first African American to earn a doctorate of theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, he has been named one of the 12 Most Effective Preachers in the English-Speaking World by Baylor University. Dr. Evans also holds the honor of writing and publishing the first full-Bible commentary and study Bible by an African American. His radio broadcast, The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, can be heard on more than 1,400 US outlets daily and in more than 130 countries. The Tony Evans Training Center is an online learning platform providing quality seminary-style courses for a fraction of the cost to any person in any place. The TETC currently has over 40 courses to choose from and has a student population of over 2000.
Executive Director, Light of Life Rescue Mission, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
With years of ministry experience as a producer, musician, and minister on a national and international level, working with key ministry leaders worldwide, Jerrel Gilliam has most recently found a tremendous outlet at Light of Life Rescue Mission, helping transform lives through the love of Christ by providing food, shelter, addictive recovery services and hope to men, women, and children. Light of Life meets the immediate needs of men, women, and children who are experiencing homelessness, poverty, or addiction. while empowering them to transform their lives with a goal to restore them as healthy members of the community. Jerrel has been recognized as a community transformational leader who sits a several boards of directors including Federal Home Loan Bank, Affordable Housing Council, Citygate Network-International Association of Rescue Missions, and Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation.
Travis Hardin is a community advocate who has been honored as a top 100 candidate for the John C. Maxwell Global Leadership Award, Wells Fargo Diversity Champion Awards, Toastmasters International Distinguished Award, and United Way Worldwide nominee for a reality series telling the story of ordinary people making an extraordinary difference in their communities. For more than 25 years, Travis has spoken to thousands of people with inspiration for purposeful living to grow and increase positive influence in our communities beyond our wildest expectations. Travis previously served as Chair for the City of Phoenix Workforce Board, and he’s been a voice for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Habitat for Humanity, Feed My Starving Children, Mayo Clinic, Phoenix Suns, and many more nationally recognized programs. Married to his wife for 18 years, he is the father of one daughter, and a proud father figure to many.
As the owner and operator of truck stops in Wisconsin and Illinois, Keith developed a National Truck Stop Network of 160 truck stops that earned the rank of Number Two in the nation for truck stop networks. Keith joined the Christian Men’s Network in the mid-1980s. He credits his success both in business and in life to the Lord and to being able to glean from his friend and mentor, Dr. Edwin Louis Cole. For decades, Keith has taught men using CMN books and Majoring in Men curriculum in various churches and as an evangelistic outreach tool with friends, neighbors, and their sons. Keith is blessed to celebrate fifty years of marriage to Peggy, with three grown children and ten grandchildren.
Nancy Houston is a leadership coach, speaker, licensed professional counselor, and sex therapist. She is a director with the Townsend Leadership Program and an adjunct professor for the Townsend Institute. Her first book, Love and Sex: A Christian Guide to Healthy Intimacy, was released in February 2018. With over twenty years of working with people, she believes our lives can be radically different given the right ingredients mixed with grace, truth, and love over time. For 42 years, she has been married to her high school sweetheart, Ron. Together, they have four married sons and eight grandchildren.
Kason Huddleston has been in ministry for 33 years and currently serves as the senior pastor of Freedom Place Church in Rowlett, which he founded in 2003. He founded the organization PrayRowlett, which has since developed into a city-wide organization involving both ministers and city leaders. Out of this, Kason began other city-centered organizations, such as Rowlett Christian Business Leaders (bringing local business leaders together), The Purple Conference (an annual domestic violence awareness conference), and mentoring programs for middle school and elementary students. Outside of ministry, Kason is a vital member of his community. He has been married to his wife, April, for 32 years. Together, they raised three children, who are grown and carry Kason’s legacy of love and community.
Replenish, Dallas, Texas
Stemming from three decades of ministry experience, Rawd Jones developed a vision and passion to see pastors and leaders live a replenished life. He's a leader of leaders with the resume and skills to back it up. As an energetic, motivating, and passionate speaker he is highly sought after by churches, businesses, and corporations to elevate people's lives. After reading about the dismal stats of pastors and pastoral burnout, Rawd and pastor friends decided to do something about it and RPLNISH was born. RPLNISH has now served 1000 pastors giving them an experience for 4 days and 3 nights, all at no charge for pastors and ministry leaders. In addition to Experiences RPLNISH also provides soul care resources, coaching and pulpit ministry, all with a goal to ensure pastors’ souls, families, careers, and ministries are all fresh and replenished. As an energetic, motivating, and passionate speaker, Rawd is highly sought after by churches, businesses, and corporations to elevate people's lives.
Mike Kai pastors the thriving, multi-site Inspire Church in Hawaii and is committed to equipping leaders with the tools and resources they need to succeed. In his commitment to cultivating and empowering other leaders in their professional endeavors, Mike founded the Inspire Collective to build strong business leaders who positively impact their organizations and communities. Mike is also a prolific author, including The Pound For Pound Principle, with which he launched The Pound for Pound Academy to help business leaders and entrepreneurs scale their businesses and achieve sustainable growth. He founded the Inspire Network to resource pastors in Hawaii and Send Hope International to transform children and families by supporting missionaries and church plants worldwide. A prolific author, he has also written Plateaus and That Doesn't Just Happen- How Excellence Accelerates Everything. He and his wife, Lisa, reside in Honolulu and are proud parents of three daughters and two grandchildren.
Otto Kelly pastored Word of Life Church, Reno, and served as the Executive Director of the Reno Crisis Pregnancy Center, where he ministered to young men. He created “Daddy Academy” and Dad-Excellence (Dad-E) to reach young men who fathered children out of wedlock. In Otto’s first career, he was one of the top ten college running backs and part of the famed University of Nevada “Wolfpack.” In the NFL, he played for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles. He later became a popular TED Talk speaker, served as co-president of Reno’s Ministerial Alliance, and served as a Nevada Juvenile Justice Commissioner. Otto won the 2018 award from the Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society and is in the University of Nevada Hall of Fame.
Steve and Sharon Kelly are the Senior Pastors of Wave Church in Virginia Beach. Since taking on the church in 1999, the church has experienced rapid growth using a multi-congregational model. Now, with multiple congregations across the region, the church continues to expand its influence in the community and across the nation and the world. Steve is passionate about the cause of Christ and loves seeing people fulfill their God-given potential. Steve is committed to teaching the Gospel message in a relevant way, helping individuals and families grow and flourish. His grasp of and commitment to championing the cause of the local church, along with Wave Church’s weekly broadcasts (on various platforms), have gained his ministry global influence. Steve is the author of many books, including his most recent, The Accent of Leadership.
Walt Landers is the senior pastor of The Life Church and Founder/CEO of Texas Leadership Charter Academy in San Angelo, Texas. Born and raised in San Angelo, Walt was first employed by his father’s construction company, then in commercial construction. As he pursued growth in Christ, he was called to pastor in central Texas, then accepted his present pastorate in 1997. In 2009, Walt became the Founder/CEO of San Angelo’s only charter school, Texas Leadership Charter Academy. From 83 staff members and 600 students in its inaugural year, TLCA has grown to 350 staff members and over 2300 students, offering parents in four Texas cities the opportunity for a private school atmosphere in a publicly funded free-tuition education. Walt’s ultimate desire is to improve lives by shaping and molding tomorrow’s leaders through education today. He and his wife JoAnn have a son, three daughters, and three grandchildren.
Erich Lau is the President of Lighthouse Media in Phoenix, Arizona, which works with Christian ministries to expand their television outreach. For over 20 years, he has had a strong connection with the Christian Men’s Network, serving in several capacities. Erich attributes much of his spiritual growth and business successes to the principles he has learned from Dr. Cole's Majoring in Men Curriculum. He is married to Lisa, his wife of over 30 years, and they have three grown children: Erica, Tara, and Cameron.
Founder and Pastors, Abba Love, Jakarta, Indonesia
Eddy Leo is a founding co-pastor of a renowned, thriving church. While studying for a degree in architectural engineering, Eddy helped found Abbalove Ministries in Jakarta, Indonesia. With more than 2500 home groups, as well as hundreds of outreach organizations to bless the nation. Abbalove is actively planting churches worldwide. Eddy has founded more than 100 men’s centers across Indonesia, that have “graduated” over 1,200,000 men, all receiving Christ. Eddy travels the world speaking on men’s ministry and church growth. He actively trains and equips pastors and leaders in Indonesia, and elsewhere in Asia, Australia, Oceania, North America, Europe, Eastern Europe and Central America. He and his wife Rose make their home in Jakarta and have two sons.
Skylar Lewis is a visionary entrepreneur, author, speaker, and family man. He is the founder and CEO of Rise Up Kings, a company dedicated to empowering men and women to reach their full potential in all aspects of their lives. He has authored multiple books, including The 2 Day CEO and the RUK 90 Day Journal. His passion is helping others fulfill their God-given purpose without sacrificing their Faith, Family, or Fitness.
Sam Masteller is passionate about using what is relevant to teach what is timeless. He is dedicated to encouraging others to greatness in God and infusing their faith so they may fulfill their potential in God’s Kingdom. He has authored two mini-books, The Game Plan & Momentum, to help individuals jumpstart their lives and move forward even when life seems stuck. He is husband to Michele and father to the Favored Five: Mikayla, Caleb, Carter, Colby & Makenna.
The son of church elders and pastors. Chris knew at a very young age that he was called into ministry. Chris trained at Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, where he met his wife, Vanessa. At that time, Chris had started working at Sojourn Church, Dallas, first by straightening chairs and praying over each one, then in the Children’s Ministry, Youth Ministries, followed by Families Ministry. With decades of ministry experience, he became Senior Pastor. Chris graduated from The King’s University, Southlake, Texas, and received his Master of Divinity from Southeastern University, Lakeland, Florida. Chris shared his testimony of a gunshot wound in the book Shot in the Dark. He and Vanessa have four children, two of whom serve at Sojourn Church.
Daniel Montero is a prolific singer, author, and minister of Costa Rican descent who serves as the Spanish Associate Pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, where he leads “Renueva,” the biannual spiritual retreats that serve pastors and local church leaders to renew their spiritual lives, refocus on their ministries, and give new impetus to their service to God. For three decades, Danilo has impacted Latin America, Europe, and the United States as a pioneer in Contemporary Christian Music in Spanish. Danilo has recorded more than 20 musical projects produced in Costa Rica, Canada, Japan, Israel, Puerto Rico, Peru, Mexico, and the US and collaborated with famed musicians such as Su Presencia, Thalles Roberto, and Kike Pavon to produce many instant radio hits that have influenced Spanish language churches throughout the world. He’s been nominated many times and awarded a Latin GRAMMY, has won a Billboard Award, was nominated for Dove Awards, and several times won the ARPA Award. As an author, his El Abrazo del Padre was nominated for a Gold Medallion Award.
Mike Mueller, together with his wife Michele, started their church in a town of 3000 because they saw a need for their community to know the love of Christ. Mike has a passion, especially to minister to men and lead them into an identification with Christ. He continues to work in his profession in financial services. Mike and Michele’s children are serving Christ and are involved in the ministry. Their family is presently growing with new grandchildren.
Michael Murphy served as the Senior Associate Pastor to Brian Houston and then the Director of Hillsong Music during the years when Hills Christian Center grew into the internationally renowned Hillsong Church. He then planted and grew a megachurch, Shirelive, in another part of Sydney. He founded Leaderscape to help other pastors worldwide make disciples. He also serves as President of Alphacrucis College. He has served in denominational leadership, has overseen church planters who planted more than 500 churches and chaired a national youth outreach called Youth Alive. Michael is also the founder and former director of Christian Men’s Network Australia. Today, Michael ministers 300 days per year, coaching and encouraging key pastors and their teams worldwide to achieve greater results through effective leadership based on Biblical wisdom and experience.
Coming from south Brazil, Marcos earned a degree in mechanical engineering and soon embarked on a 22-year career. While working, he volunteered to help families. In 2003, he started teaching courses for Universidade da Família. In 2009, he attended a Maximized Manhood small group, and his life was changed. Immediately, he received a call on his life to “rescue men” with the teachings that had changed him. In 2012, he became the full-time national director of /Universidade da Família in Brazil. As a result of the ministry, tens of thousands of Brazilian men have become “real men” through Jesus Christ. Thousands of churches are engaged in the men’s movement. Marcos Pohl believes that Jesus will change Brazil. He and his wife, Gleds, have one daughter.
Javon Ruff has served at Free Chapel for the past 22 years collectively at the Gainesville campus, the Orange County campus, and currently at the Spartanburg campus under the leadership of Senior Pastor Jentezen Franklin. Javon is a graduate of Spirit Vision Bible Institute and the National Institute of Christian Leadership. His ministry encompasses the School of Discipleship, Small Groups, Men’s Ministry, and Pastoral Care. Combined with his ability to preach and teach the Word of God, he has a deep passion for helping others discover their purpose, develop their leadership qualities, and see lives changed and generations impacted by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Javon and his wife Shana, who has a Master’s Degree in Counseling, work hard to see people healthy and whole spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically. They have two children, Sydni and Jacob.
Born and raised in Uganda, Dennis Sempebwa has served in 83 countries as an award-winning recording artist, leadership trainer, author, educator, pastor to pastors, sought-after speaker, and a thought leader with numerous doctorate degrees. After experiencing terrorism as a child, Dennis pursued both Christ and his gift of music, spending 17 years crisscrossing the globe with his award-winning “Limit X,” one of Africa’s most successful gospel music groups. He is the president of Eagle’s Wings International and The Sahara Wisdom Center, inspiring transformational thinking in academia, private institutions, and governments. He is the co-founder of the International College of Excellence in Chicago, the founder and chancellor of the accredited ministry training college THE 300, and the pastor of the global online church Ekklesia. He has authored fifteen books, including Black Like Me? The Search for Meaning & Identity in the 21st Century has won reviews across the globe for addressing anarchy, victimhood, tribalism, classism, racism, and systemic injustices. Dennis and his wife, Ingrid, are blessed with five children and live in Dallas.
Dr. J. Doug Stringer is the Founder and President of Turning Point Ministries, which birthed an international movement called Somebody Cares America/International (SCA/SCI). Somebody Cares is a model international organization recognized worldwide for connecting needs and resources during human calamities such as fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, and hurricanes. In thirty-plus years of ministry, Doug has navigated the globe numerous times, ministering in places from garbage dumps to palaces. He addresses thousands of people annually and is considered an expert on community transformation. An Asian-American, Doug is a bridge-builder and ambassador among ethnic and religious groups. Doug is a sought-after conference speaker whose recent book, Leadership Awakening, won high praise by his peers.
Owners, Sonshine Furniture Today Inc., Home Collections, Denver, Colorado
Pastor, Church Planter, and Evangelist, San Francisco Bay Area, California
Jon Tyson is a pastor and church planter in New York City. Originally from Adelaide, Australia, Jon moved to the United States over two decades ago with a passion to seek and cultivate renewal in the Western Church. He is the author of Sacred Roots, A Creative Minority, The Burden is Light and Beautiful Resistance. Jon lives in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan with his wife and two children. He serves as the Lead Pastor of Church of the City New York.