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Coaches & Specialists

Al Gwinn

Al served as the resident bishop of the North Carolina Conference/Raleigh Area of the United Methodist Church from 2004-2012. During that time he chaired the Design Team for the Council of Bishops’ District Superintendents and Directors of Connectional Ministries Annual Training, the Administrative Concerns Committee and the 2008 General Conference Commission on the Study of Ministry. He was also a member of the Board of Publications. He continues to serve on the Board of Trustees of Asbury Theological Seminary.

Al and Joyce are now living on their Hawk’s Nest Farm in Clark County where they raise beef cattle, garden and are developing an Agritourism opportunity for persons of all ages to enjoy their farm.

Al is also a certified coach with Spiritual Leadership Inc. where he spends many hours each week coaching local churches, pastors, district superintendents, and bishops.

Brad Bennett 01052014

Brad Bennett

Brad is a United Methodist elder and has coached SLI projects at the conference and local church level.  As a local pastor for 20 years, he infuses SLI processes into leadership and discipleship development.  He is passionate about God directed, Christ empowered transformation.  He has provided community leadership through The Boy Scouts of America, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and various expressions of the Walk to Emmaus.

Brad has a Master’s degree from West Virginia University in Computer Science and a Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary.  He is married to Stephanie who is also a United Methodist elder and serves with her as co-pastor.  They are blessed with a beautiful daughter Rachel.

Brandon McGinnis

Brandon McGinnis is an ordained Deacon in the Kentucky Annual Conference of United Methodist Church.  Brandon lives in Wilmore Ky with his wife Sarah, daughter Allie, and son Elijah.  Brandon is currently serving as the Director of the EKU Wesley Foundation in Richmond KY.  Brandon has been involved in and around SLI since 2004.  He became a certified coach in 2010 and has coached various projects from local churches to UMC conference teams.

Bryan SIms

Bryan Sims

Bryan has worked since 2001 as a Leadership and Organizational Change Coach with Spiritual Leadership, Inc. (SLI) where he has trained and coached leaders, teams, churches, and organizations over extended periods of time to bring spiritual awakening and missional effectiveness. He has worked in several United Methodist Conferences including Northwest Texas, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Alabama-West Florida.

He is currently Associate Professor of Leadership and Lay Equipping at Asbury Theological Seminary and the Director of the Center for Lay Mobilization within the Beeson International Center at the seminary. Bryan is a graduate of West Texas A&M University (1998) and Asbury Theological Seminary (M.Div., 2003) and has a Ph. D. in Organizational Leadership from Regent University (2009). He and his wife MyLinda have been happily married since 1997 and have four children: Isaiah, Luke, Silas, and Lydia.

Catherine Self

Cathy Self

Cathy joined Spiritual Leadership, Inc. in 2006, serving since then as Coach for a variety of projects including the first Hispanic/Latino team and the National Emmaus/Chrysalis Leadership team. Cathy concurrently serves as President and CEO for Baptist Healing Trust, a private grant-making foundation for health related nonprofits in Middle Tennessee. With thirty-five years’ experience in the health care field, Cathy has provided direct care as a physical therapist and as an organizational leader through a number of roles including previous service as Vice President for Organizational Learning with Saint Thomas Health Services in Nashville, TN. Cathy was awarded a Masters in Leadership from Trinity Western University with an emphasis on servant leadership in 2003 and a PhD in Organizational Learning from Regent University in 2009. A lifelong Southern Baptist, Cathy grew up as a deacon’s kid, pastor’s kid, missionary kid, and now minister’s wife. She has served in many roles within the Church including Sunday School teacher, choir member, retreat and Bible study leader. Cathy is married to Barney and they have two children Aimee and Matthew. Being “Nana” to the grands is Cathy’s crowning joy.

Chris Goff

Chris has served in United Methodist congregations for the past 22 years, mostly in the areas of Discipleship, Missions and Counseling and has been involved with SLI since 2014. He's passionate about building disciples, developing leaders, facilitating teams and helping ordinary people participate in God's grand mission to transform the world. Chris has an M.S.W. from Florida State University and a M.Div. and D.Min. from Asbury Theological Seminary. Chris serves on a church staff with his wife, Pam, and they are proud parents to teenage triplets: Zach, Clay and Emma.  When Chris has free time he loves kayak fishing and hiking.

Chris Kelsey

Chris Kelsey has worked in vocational ministry for more than 30 years, serving  churches in Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama. He is a Deacon in the United Methodist Church and has a passion for seeing people and organizations become intentional in their spiritual leadership. Chris connected to SLI in 2015 while attending Asbury Theological Seminary, where he earned a Master of Arts in Christian Ministries. He currently serves at Auburn United Methodist Church in Auburn, AL.

Christin Nevins

Christin Nevins

Christin Nevins coaches SLI projects at the conference, district and local church level. Her passion for seeing the Church transform communities by offering hope and vision as well as supporting and equipping lay and clergy leaders to thrive in their calling brought her to SLI in 2012.

She’s led teams and facilitated groups in corporate and ministry settings for over 20 years. In addition to her work with SLI teams, she also works as an organizational change consultant and executive coach.

Christin has a B.A. in Organizational Communication from Indiana University. A Wyoming native, Christin has made Indianapolis Indiana her home since 1995. She has run several half-marathons and is a big fan of PBS and TED Talks. She loves being outdoors, cooking, and knitting. Christin and her husband, Adam, have been on a lot of adventures together. Their greatest adventure is raising their three children– Carolyn, Emily, and David.

Chuck Lord

As one of the original Board members, Chuck has been actively involved with SLI since its inception in 2000. He has been a full time SLI coach since 2008, when he retired from nearly 30 years as teacher of music theory and music technology at the University of Kentucky. Chuck has led teams from a variety of organizations - churches, non-profits, denominational associations - in several states including Kentucky, North Carolina, Florida, Kansas, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Alabama. He and his wife Sue make their home in Lexington, KY; they have three grown daughters and four grandchildren.

Craig Robertson

Craig W. Robertson is founding member and Development Partner of Spiritual Leadership, Inc.  Besides the work of developing relationships and discovering areas where SLI's particular ministry might serve best, Craig's project focus is on: large regional areas, or judicatories, containing 800 - 1200 churches; European coach development and projects; and serving on SLI's lead team providing strategic direction to the organization.
Craig’s business experience includes founding and serving as President of Lightpath, Inc., an engineering systems integration firm. This company was purchased by one time fortune 500 company Ogden, Inc. an environmental engineering firm where Craig became National Technical Director. He was then hired by Ogeta Services a Geographic Information Services firm to serve as the Chairman of the Board and CEO.  Craig has served in many roles within the Church including lay leader, District lay leader, Director of New Church Development and Delegate to General and Jurisdictional Conference. Craig has now been serving within SLI since 2000. Craig is married to Jill and they have two children Amy and Jacob.

Dan Prine

Dan Prine is an Elder in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. He has been involved in SLI projects since 2010. He uses the principles of SLI every day as he leads his local church. Dan is passionate about how God can work in amazing ways through God-centered leadership teams.

Dan is a graduate of the University of South Florida (1991) and Asbury Theological Seminary (2000, MDiv) Dan is married to Shani and they have two children - Adam and Rebekah.

David Owen

Rev. David V. W. Owen is a retired United Methodist Clergy and serving as a coach with SLI. His ministry experience includes serving a number of United Methodist congregations throughout the Indiana Conference. In addition, he has been a District Superintendent, University Chaplain, Director of Congregational Development for the Indiana Conference and Bishop’s Executive Assistant. He and his wife June reside in Franklin, IN.

Donna Gaither

Donna Gaither recently retired from the General Board of Discipleship (UMC) where she served as the Executive Director of Strategic Systems.    She brought to this position almost twenty-five years of experience on the staff of local churches in both Tennessee and Western North Carolina. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tennessee Wesleyan College and a Masters of Arts in Religion from Florida State University.  She is a certified Director of Christian Education and a Deacon in the Tennessee Annual Conference. Donna and her husband Mike live in Nashville, Tennessee and their adult daughter lives nearby.   She has been involved with SLI since 2003, and has facilitated leadership incubators in both Tennessee and Nebraska.  She is passionate about helping congregations build intentional discipleship formation processes.

Evelyn Fisher

Evelyn Fisher is a retired clergy member of the Great Plains Annual Conference.  She served at local churches of all sizes as pastor, a district superintendent, and Director of Congregational Excellence for the conference. A decade long association with SLI has allowed her to pursue her passion for helping existing churches become more vital.  She also has extensive experience in conflict mediation with churches.   When she’s not continuing her ministry as a coach for SLI she enjoys spending time with her 12 grandchildren and her three daughters.

Greg Survant

Greg Survant is founding member and Managing Partner of Spiritual Leadership, Inc.  Besides the work of creating systems, tools and processes to help manage and support SLI's growing team and presence, Greg's project focus is on: large regional areas/judicatories containing 800 - 1200 churches; specialty ministry areas within these judicatories; and serving on SLI's lead team which provides strategic direction to the organization.  Greg is also contributing to the leadership of SLI's emerging Hispanic ministry.
With 32 years experience at IBM and Lexmark International, Inc, Greg continually delivered high performance results in partnership with his staff in challenging and complex situations, producing breakthrough results in multiple areas of the business. As vice president of Lexmark’s Business Products business area, Greg and his teams had a track record of delivering world class results and effecting large-scale transformation on a global basis.  Greg also championed Lexmark’s Operational Excellence and Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.
For over 30 years, God's call on Greg's life appears to revolve around developing in both large organizational leadership and in church leadership to the mutual benefit of the two. Greg and his wife Glenda have two adult sons.
Ideal pic

Ideal Curtis

Ideal has been involved with SLI since 2010. She has been involved in coaching projects at the local church, district, and conference cabinet level in New Mexico, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and West Virginia. As a member of the SLI Lead Team, Ideal is a part of the SLI development efforts including distance coaching, multi-team and individual coaching, and other upcoming improvements to the SLI model. She is also a part of the Lay Mobilization Institute coaching team.

Her 30 years of Administrative and Leadership experience both in the Education field, and in many church opportunities including women’s ministry, worship team, pulpit supply, are valuable resources for her place on the SLI Lead Team.

She was also able to utilize her leadership skills in the position she held of Western Regional Leader representing the Upper Room to the 12 Western states with the Walk to Emmaus movement.

Ideal has a passion for sharing God’s special love for women, and has a speaking ministry where she has been the keynote speaker at retreats, conferences, and other Women’s Ministry events. That passion produced a book, I Am My Father’s Daughter, published in 2011.

Ideal is married to Les. They have one son, Kurt, a beautiful daughter (in-law), Heidi, and their granddaughter, Haddie is simply adorable!


Jamey Lee

Jamey is originally from Lafayette, LA, currently lives in Memphis, and has a passion for innovation & design thinking, leadership capacity building, recovery ministry, and new faith communities.

Having been with SLI since 2003, he has had opportunity to work with small, medium, & mega-churches, church plants, and aging congregations as well as District teams made up primarily of clergy.  Currently Jamey is the lead coach at Selmer UMC in TN and LifeSpring Church in GA where the momentum is shifting from dying to thriving with exciting results emerging from a new vision and strategies.

Husband to Michelle and father of three, the Lee family have been pioneering, incarnational residents in the diverse, inner-city neighborhood of Binghampton since 2006.  In his spare time Jamey serves as founding pastor of Jacob's Well, a United Methodist congregation bringing together rich and poor, black, and white, and all in between as they seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.


Jorge Acevedo

Jorge is the Lead Pastor at Grace Church, a multi-site, United Methodist congregation in Southwest Florida with five campuses (Cape Coral, Fort Myers Shores, Fort Myers Central, Fort Myers Trinity, and Sarasota in Southwest Florida). Grace Church is recognized as having one of the largest and most effective recovery ministries in America. From 1992 to 1996, he served as Executive Pastor at Christ Church United Methodist in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; from 1988 to 1992, as the Associate Pastor at First United Methodist Church in Kissimmee, Florida; from 1984 to 1988 as Minister of Youth and Children at Trinity Hill United Methodist Church in Lexington, Kentucky.

Jorge is a specialist for SLI.


Julie Love

Rev. Julie Hager Love serves as Director of Connectional Ministries for the Kentucky Conference of The United Methodist Church and is an ordained deacon. A native of Berea she is a graduate of Berea College and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. In her ministry she works with outreach, campus ministry, local church vitality, camp and retreat ministry, disaster response, communications and providing resources for the over 800 local churches in the conference. Previously she lived in Prestonsburg for 10 years where she served as a Church and Community Worker in ministry with the 53 small membership churches in the Prestonsburg District. She and her husband, George (a pastor in Presbyterian Church, USA), live in Mt. Washington, Kentucky and have two children - son Cameron (designer for the Post & Courier newspaper in Charleston, SC) and daughter Eliza (student at Birmingham-Southern College).


Kevin Parido

Kevin has served in churches for 15 years in multiple areas of ministry.  In each of those church settings, his passion has been leadership development, discipleship, organizational structure, and strategy.  He has authored, facilitated and trained other leaders in a year long discipleship experience called The Fallow Ground Project, which creates space for people to encounter and embrace Jesus’ freeing and activating love through Bible study, discussion, accountability, and gift discovery. He came into contact with SLI in in 2011 and he instantly knew that SLI was doing the work he had always dreamed of doing.  With SLI, he has worked with conferences, districts and local churches.

He is currently working at Winchester First United Methodist Church in Kentucky as Pastor of Formation and Equipping.   Kevin is a graduate of Kentucky Christian University (1999) and Asbury Theological Seminary (M.Div., 2013).  He and his wife Sarabeth live on his father’s farm with their three boys:  Lukas, Liam, and Landon.

 Marc Nussbaumer

Marc Nussbaumer

Marc Nussbaumer is 57 years old and married to Annarös since 1982. They have three adult children and two grandchildren.
As an SLI Coach he brings together the aspects of his calling to preach, teach, coach and train.

He first was a teacher in the public school in Switzerland, then in 1990 he became a pastor in the United Methodist Church in Switzerland. Besides being a pastor in a local church, he trains and coaches people in churchplanting processes and churchrenewing processes.in the UMC and beyond in Switzerland, Germany and France. Today he leads the SLI Europe Coordination team and several team-incubators in Switzerland and Germany.

Mike McFarren

Mike McFarren

Mike McFarren was a teacher and coach for eight years in Titusville, Pennsylvania and Plymouth, Ohio before becoming involved as a layperson in planting Living Water Community Church in Dalton, Ohio.  Four years later he became its pastor, and for twenty years led it through various stages of growth.  Currently he is the Superintendent for the Ohio Conference of the Free Methodist Church and served prior to this appointment as Conference Coach of Pastoral Support for two years.  Mike has a great heart for healthy, vital congregations, and, building on five years with SLI, is looking forward to continued and growing roles with SLI. He and his wife Robin have three sons and seven grandchildren.

Missy Johnson

Missy was first introduced to SLI in 2012 where she was a member of a leadership team at her church that partnered with SLI for a visioning process. She entered coach training in 2013 drawn by the transformative opportunities for individuals and communities that the SLI process provides in partnership with the Holy Spirit. She has had the privilege to work with teams on the Conference, District and Local levels in Texas, Mississippi and Florida. Missy graduated from the University of Arkansas with a BS in Pharmacy and worked for over 30 years in retail pharmacy with a majority of the time in management positions. She and her husband Steve live in Houston and are the parents of three adult sons and one beautiful daughter-in-law.

Paulo Lopes

Paulo is originally from Brazil and he believed his calling was to become a diplomat. He and God just disagreed on what kind of diplomat he would become. Paulo and his wife Juliana came to the US shortly after marrying in 2007. They now have three Brazilian-American daughters, Carolina, Sofia, and Olivia. Paulo is the Director of Next Generation Ministries for the Virginia Conference of the UMC, overseeing ministries with children, youth, young adults, and campus ministries. He is passionate about helping people and organizations (especially churches) become clearer and better at what they do, and he loves getting to preach or teach. Paulo enjoys good food, soccer, music, and spending time with family and friends in his neighborhood.

 Ron Ball pic

Ron Ball

Ron Ball has served churches in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Oklahoma over the 40 years of tenure as a United Methodist pastor. many years in the Alabama-West Florida Conference UMC. He was appointed as District Superintendent of the Montgomery-Opelika District in 2007 and served until June of 2013 when he took a retired status.  Presently, he is working as a Coach with SLI, as well as serving as Director of Congregational Excellence in Alabama-West Florida.

Because he loves people, evangelism has always been an important part of Ron's ministry. Four times he has received District Harry Denman Awards for evangelism, he is a certified trainer for Evangelism Explosion, a Growth Plus Consultant, a preacher for Camp Meetings and revivals, and has been active in both the Big Bend and Blue Lake Walk to Emmaus movements. One of his great loves is Missions. He has helped lead Mission trips to Haiti, Mexico, Central and South America, as well as trips within the U.S. The "watchword" for Ron’s ministry is based on John 5:19, where Jesus said, "The things I do I do not do on my own initiative. I only do what I see the Father doing, and in like manner."

He and his wife, Charlotte, have been married since 1965. They have 3 married daughters and 10 grandchildren.


Ron Crandall

Ron is an ordained United Methodist elder and retired Dean of the E. Stanley Jones School of World Mission and Evangelism at Asbury Theological Seminary. After missionary work in Vietnam and serving pastorates in California and Arizona he worked for the GBOD in Nashville for six years.  His current ministry focus is twofold: smaller membership churches and effective Christian witness. This dual passion led to the development of ABIDE for SLI. His book Turnaround and Beyond—A Hopeful Future for Smaller Membership Churches captures half of this story, and his widely used small group study WITNESS: Learning to Share Your Christian Faith the other half.  Ron is married to Bonnie and they have two sons and two grandchildren.


Tami Coleman

Tami Coleman is a lifetime United Methodist and is in her twentieth year of pastoral ministry. She grew up in Georgia and served as a pastor for ten years in the South Georgia Conference. Her family moved to Kentucky ten years ago and is proud to call this home now. She is now serving as the Associate Director of Connectional Ministries for the Kentucky Conference. She is married to Jim, who is the Professor of Religion at Kentucky Wesleyan College and is the proud mother of three sons, Josiah, Jonathan, and Jacob.

Other coaches

Currently, SLI has 49 certified coaches and specialists. Other than the coaches highlighted above, the list of coaches includes: Aaron Buttery, Roland Affolter, Iosmar Alvarez, Andreas Benz, Fred Blackwell, Wayne Davis, Michael Girgis, Claudia Haslebacher, Annaros Nussbaumer, Wes Olds, Kathy Rohrs, Petra Foede, Scott Larsen, Dave Scifres, Matthias Fankhauser, Judy Stevenson, Ellen Harris, Denis Peay, and Vona Wilson.

SLI Association

Today, SLI's Association consists of some 200 people. These include the people identified above plus others involved in coaching projects along-side certified coaches.

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