Special Guests

Special guests range from authors and well-known speakers to missionaries who serve overseas and missionaries who serve in North America. We also try to connect Georgia Baptist women with missionaries who are serving within the state. We want you to be part of the ministry efforts happening in your own communities.

2016 Special Guests

MARGARET FEINBERG, margaretfeinberg.com
A self-described “hot mess,” Margaret Feinberg is a popular Bible teacher and speaker at churches and leading conferences such as Catalyst, Thrive, and Women of Joy. Her books, including The Organic God, The Sacred Echo, Scouting the Divine,Wonderstruck, andFight Back With Joy and their corresponding Bible studies, have sold nearly one million copies and received critical acclaim and extensive national media coverage from CNN, the Associated Press, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and more.

She was recently named one of 50 women most shaping culture and the church today byChristianity Today , one of the 30 Voices who will help lead the church in the next decade by Charisma magazine and one of the ’40 Under 40’ who will shape Christian publishing byChristian Retailing magazine. Margaret lives in Morrison, Colorado, with her husband, Leif, and their superpup, Hershey. She believes some of the best days are spent in jammies, laughing, and being silly.

SHELLY JOHNSON, shellyejohnson.com
Worship music is not a career choice, it’s a calling, and it’s one that LifeWay Worship Artist Shelly E. Johnson has embraced with joyful surrender. Most well-known for writing the powerful worship anthem “Power of the Cross”, which has been recorded by Natalie Grant, Steve Green and is being used in churches worldwide, Shelly has served as worship leader alongside Beth Moore, Tony Nolan, Andy Stanley, and toured North America with renown Irish Hymn-writers Keith & Kristyn Getty. On September 23, 2014, Shelly released her label debut worship album Your Kingdom Come, in partnership with LifeWay Worship and Elevate Entertainment. As LifeWay Worship’s 2012 Songwriter of the Year, Shelly tours the country leading worship and striving to build the Kingdom of God and serve His Church through her music. Shelly also serves on staff as worship leader at First Baptist Woodstock, a multi-campus, mega-church in the Atlanta area. Visit www.shellyejohnson.com to learn more.

2016 Conference Leaders

Mary Frances Bowley
Mary Frances is the President and Founder of Wellspring Living, an organization fighting childhood sexual abuse and exploitation since 2001. She has been a leader in bringing the fight against child sex-trafficking to Atlanta and is a founding member of the Governor’s Task Force for CSEC Victims.  Bowley was appointed to the Governor’s Commission on Domestic Violence in 2010-2012.  Bowley has also received the Martin Luther King Community Service Award, AKA Humanitarian Award, and partners with PASSION Conferences. She is the author of A League of Dangerous Women and The White Umbrella.  Mary Frances is married to her best friend, Dick, and has 2 sons and 3 grandsons. Dick and Mary Frances currently reside in Peachtree City, GA.



After some time abroad in the Middle East exploring God’s call, Brandon and his wife were drawn to the unreached immigrants of New York City and North Jersey. They serve as Global Gates missionaries and strive to catalyze church planting efforts among Near Easterners in the city and abroad. Brandon and his wife co-founded a friendship center in North Jersey that offers ESL and other services to Arab immigrants. They also served as refuge center coordinators for the JFM Network to aid and disciple persecuted and homeless believers. They currently disciple believers and participate in cross-cultural evangelism alongside their teams. Brandon and his family live in the Metro with their three children and often minister short-term in the Near East.

Terri Butcher
Terri grew up in Savannah & Stockbridge, and at 7 was led to the Lord by her Mom. She received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the UGA.  She married her hero and high school sweetheart, Butch, and began a successful career with BellSouth, until she surrendered to the call to be a stay-at-home-wife-and-mom.  They have three daughters and one son, three sons-in-love and five grandchildren.

Butch and Terri lead marriage conferences, counsel with couples in crisis, and mentor couples. They are very transparent with how the LORD healed and restored their marriage by teaching the practical truths of God’s Word. Butch and Terri are part of the founding team of the Walton County Christian Learning Centers. Butch has served as Board Chairman and Terri has served as Executive Director since the beginning of WCCLC in October 2000.

Linda Cooper
Linda was unanimously elected as the 23rd president of national WMU® in June 2015 at the WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting. She is a native of Tompkinsville, Kentucky, and a graduate of Western Kentucky University, where she earned a degree in dental hygiene and was the top clinician in her class. She has ministered to others through a 36-year career as a dental hygienist in the same dental office in Smiths Grove, Kentucky.

Linda and her husband, Jim, have also been married for 36 years. They are members of Forest Park Baptist Church, in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where Linda is a member of Women on Mission®, and serves as stateside committee chair and church clerk. She also assists with church-wide WMU projects and participates routinely in domestic and international missions opportunities.

Cindy Fruitticher
Cindy serves in Student Groups and Faith Development at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.  If you have ever attended a Georgia Baptist Mission Board youth event it is highly possible that Cindy was behind the scenes making it all happen! Her years of ministry have been an outlet for her love of students and her passion to see young men and women begin a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Cindy resides in Bethlehem, GA, with her husband and two young sons.

Jackie Hardy
Jackie serves as the President of Georgia Woman’s Missionary Union.  Through speaking and conference leading, she encourages women to live a missional lifestyle. She lives out her missions calling as an educator, mother, grandmother and pastor’s wife.  Her husband, Mike, is the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church Social Circle. Mike and Jackie have two adult children and one granddaughter.

Allison Harvey
Allison Harvey and her husband, Johnny, are SEND missionaries with the North American Mission Board. They live in the Grant Park neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia with their four beautiful girls. Allison has been the Bible study leader at Journey and Camp Pinnacle. She loves sharing God’s truths through opening God’s Word and drama. These days Allison seeks to find joy in the midst of the chaos of homeschooling, entertaining and caring for little ones, planting a church, and connecting with her neighbors.

Jinny Henson
Jinny is a graduate of Baylor University and Southwestern Seminary where she met her husband, John, Pastor of Church for the Highlands, in Shreveport, LA. Jinny has traveled the country entertaining audiences as a stand up comedienne for over 20 years.  She is also an author whose devotional appears in The One Year Bible Devotional Book on August 19th and she has a published a chapter in the women’s devotional book, The Groovy Chicks Road Trip to Love. Most recently, Jinny and her husband John coauthored a beautiful story of God’s redemption in Maggie Lee for Good. In part, the book describes their worst case scenario, the death of their 12 year old daughter Maggie Lee following a tragic church bus accident while on the way to youth camp. In greater part, the book describes the overwhelming way God has redeemed that tragedy through Maggie Lee for Good (www.maggieleeforgood.org) and other acts of love and generosity. Jinny’s story of loss and God’s redemption will inspire listeners who are facing loss, searching for evidence of God’s sustaining grace, or looking for ways to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. It is a powerful reminder that there is no tragedy so profound that God cannot bring good from it. The theme verse of Jinny’s life is John 10:10, “The enemy has come to steal, kill and to destroy but I have come to bring you abundant life.”  www.jinnyhenson.com

Amy Ivey
Amy serves with her husband, Keith, and their four kids in the beautiful North Georgia mountains. She enjoys camping, cooking, reading and being creative. Amy has her Ph.D in psychology and counseling from New Orleans Baptist Seminary. She is a grateful receiver of grace, an advocate for the hurting and a pursuer of freedom.

Being raised in Southwest Missouri, I hardly knew anyone from another ethnic background.  I had always heard about missions in GA’s and various missionaries who would come and present their slide shows on Sunday mornings at my church.  I can honestly say that I never saw myself as a missionary, but as I look back on my life I can see the ways He opened the doors to my heart to what He had planned.  Engaging a foreign culture does not come easily for me, nor is learning another language, but that is where I lean on His guidance and to see people with the love He has for them.  So please lift me up in the work he has set out for me, my husband and two daughters as we serve in the Middle East

Ruth Smith
Ruth is a registered nurse of 37 years with background in Oncology nursing. Married to Dr. Kevin Smith for 37 years and have one daughter, Shannon, 34 years old, married to Jared Radosevich. She is the Children’s minister at First Baptist Church in Monroe, Georgia. Best of all they have blessed us with three grandchildren.

After 28 years of patient care, I came to the Georgia Baptist Mission Board to develop a wellness program for employees as well as other duties. My mission and desire is to care for those who serve the Lord in a way that better enables them to do what God has specifically called them to do. The foundation of the wellness program is Luke 10:27, it says: “Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and, Love your neighbor as yourself.” This verse speaks to wholeness, each part vital and we are told to have each not just one. This foundation calls not only those at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board but each person.

Patrick Thompson
Patrick began the process of planting New-City Church in January of 2013. He has over 25 years of experience in local church ministry and has served at some of the most influential churches in America. Patrick has a passion for teaching, developing leaders and planting churches. He and his wife Katie recently celebrated their 20 year wedding anniversary and have two children PJ and Natalie.

Ann Watts
Ann is a native of Birmingham, Alabama, and a Graduate of Samford University. She reside in Sharpsburg, GA. Ann has a Daughter, son and three grandchildren. She served as President of Georgia WMU 2001-2005 and is currently the WMU Director of Heatherwood Baptist Church and WMU Director of Western Baptist Association in Georgia.