Rev. Jimmy Decker began his career as a government software tester for Accenture before moving into systems analysis in the healthcare industry. During this tenure, he felt a calling to military ministry and began pursuing ordination through United Methodist Church. He attended Perkins School of Theology with the hopes of becoming a military chaplain. His ADHD diagnosis medically disqualified him for military service, and he instead joined the staff of St Andrew in Plano. Being ordained in 2019, he has served as the Pastor of Worship and Pastor of Adult Ministries. He now holds the role of Pastor of Connectional Ministry, overseeing discipleship and spiritual development for children, student, and adult ministries. A graduate of Texas A&M, he is an avid football watcher, and cherishes time with his wife, Kristin, and two-year-old son, Max, most in life.
Nancy Kurkowski grew up in central Africa as the child of United Methodist missionaries. She graduated from Vanderbilt University and, after a career in the investment industry, spent her time raising two daughters and volunteering for several non-profit organizations. She served on the Regional Board of Directors for UNICEF USA for over 10 years and worked as a child advocate for CASA of Collin County. In 2013, Nancy was an Honoree at the Each Moment Matters Award Luncheon in Dallas, TX. She was one of the founding volunteers for the Seven Loaves Food Pantry (part of the Storehouse of Collin County) and now serves as the Dean of Job Skills for the Storehouse Academy. Nancy and her husband, Hal, are active members of St. Andrew Methodist Church in Plano, Texas.
Jorge Acevedo loves Jesus Christ and his Church. Touched by the grace of God at seventeen, he was never the same. Rescued from a life of addictions, his greatest delight is connecting people to Jesus and the Church. He is married to Cheryl Montgomery. Their oldest son, Daniel is father to their four beautiful grandchildren, Mia, Levi, Seth, and Zoe. They also have a younger son, Nathan.
Jorge will retire from his role as Lead Pastor at Grace Church (www.egracechurch.com), a multi-site congregation in Southwest Florida, after 27 years in August and will begin a new coaching, writing, and speaking ministry (www.jorgeacevedo.com).
Jorge is a graduate of Asbury College (B.A.), Asbury Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and United Theological Seminary (D.Div. and D.Min.)
Jorge was the 2001 recipient of the Denman Evangelism Award from the Florida Annual Conference. In 2007, he was named the Distinguished Alumni of the Year at Asbury Theological Seminary. In 2009, the Foundation for Evangelism named Jorge the 2009 Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church.
Jorge has authored or co-authored seven books.
Talbot Davis was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. As a teenager, he was the two-time Texas state champion in tennis for boys’ 18-and-under. After graduating from high school in 1980, he attended Princeton University in Princeton, NJ, where he played varsity tennis for four years, served as team captain, and graduated with honors in English in 1984.
Talbot is a 1990 graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY. In 32 years of full-time United Methodist ministry in the Western North Carolina Annual Conference, he has served two appointments: Mt. Carmel-Midway (1990-1999) and Good Shepherd (1999-present). Since 1999, Good Shepherd’s average worship attendance has increased from 500 per Sunday to 2,000 per Sunday. The church is known for its modern style of worship, ethnic and racial diversity, and radical impact projects. Prior to the Come Alive series, Talbot published six works, all with Abingdon Press: Head Scratchers, The Storm Before The Calm, The Shadow Of A Doubt, Solve, Crash Test Dummies, and Simplify The Message; Multiply The Impact.
Talbot has been married to Julie since 1984 and they have two adult children.
Michael Adam Beck
Michael is currently the Director of the Fresh Expressions House of Studies at United Theological Seminary. Director of Re-Missioning for Fresh Expressions US, and Cultivator of Fresh Expressions for the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. He serves as the co-pastor of Wildwood UMC and St Marks UMC with his wife Jill, where they direct addiction recovery programs, a jail ministry, a food pantry, an interracial unity movement, and house a faith-based inpatient treatment center. Wildwood and St Marks are traditional congregations AND a network of thirteen fresh expressions that gather in tattoo parlors, dog parks, salons, running tracks, community centers, burrito joints, and digital spaces.
Michael cultivates missional innovators in an individual, regional, statewide, and national capacity. He also teaches as an adjunct professor at several educational institutions. He coaches entrepreneurs across the theological spectrum and has consulted with hundreds of churches, districts, denominations, networks, and dioceses. As a practitioner of missional leadership, he has started and developed businesses and planted missional communities most of his life. Michael has done this for over a decade while pastoring in the local church. His coaching and consulting work are not theoretical only, but experiential. He believes in maintaining a practitioner’s ethos: “I eat my own cooking and share experimental recipes.”
Beck earned a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary and a Doctorate in Semiotics and Future Studies at Portland Seminary. He’s the author of seven books, including Deep Roots, Wild Branches: Revitalizing the Church in the Blended Ecology; Deep & Wild: Remissioning Your Church from the Outside In, A Field Guide to Methodist Fresh Expressions; , and co-author of Contextual Intelligence: Unlocking the Ancient Secret to Mission on the Front Lines with Leonard Sweet, Fresh Expressions in a Digital Age: How the Church Can Prepare for a Post-Pandemic World with Rosario Picardo, as well as The 21st Century Christian: Following Jesus Where Life Happens with Michael Moynagh. His newest book, Painting With Ashes is now available.
Shane L. Bishop
Shane has served as the Sr. Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois since 1997. With his strengths of vision casting, preaching, teaching, soul winning and leadership, Christ Church weekend worship attendance has increased under his leadership from 200 in 1997 to over 3,000 each week in 2021. Christ Church, an independent congregation, has ten weekly worship services, three regional campuses and a significant on-line campus. Christ Church was recognized as one of the 100 fastest growing churches in the country in 2018 by Outreach Magazine. In 2010, he received the prestigious Distinguished Evangelist award from the Foundation for Evangelism for his work in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.
A former history teacher and coach, Shane holds both graduate and undergraduate degrees from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Shane graduated cum laude in 1992 from Candler School of Theology at Emory University. There he received the Rollins Scholarship Award for his academic work and effectiveness in pastoral leadership at the St. James-Manchester Charge in Manchester, Georgia. From 1992-1997 he served the Sumner/Beulah Charge in Sumner, Illinois.
Shane has traveled extensively around the world in pilgrimage, mission and ministry. He is the author of four books, has been featured as a writer in various publications and has a single blog approaching 4,000,000 reads. He is the co-host of the podcast Navigating Change with Shane and Mike.
Shane resides in Trenton, Illinois with his wife of 39 years, Melissa and their “200 year old rescue dog.” The couple has two adult children and four grandchildren.