revitup! Speaker Biographies





Thad Austin portrait photo Thad Austin
Title: Establishing Cultures of Generosity

The Reverend Thad Austin is an elder in the United Methodist Church and a Ph.D. candidate and the William and Edie Enright Fellow at Indiana University's Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Thad is a leading expert on religious fundraising, social entrepreneurship, and church leadership and administration. In his last appointment, Thad served as Executive Pastor at First United Methodist Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In his free time, Thad loves to travel (41 countries and all 50 states, thus far), hike (has hiked the 1,100 miles between Pennsylvania and Georgia), sail, and spend time with friends.

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revitup presenter photo Michael Baughman
Title: Direct Donor Dollars—“The Big Ask”

The Reverend Michael Baughman is an ordained elder serving in the North Texas Annual Conference as the lead pastor for Union—a new kind of coffee house that seeks to care for those in the surrounding community. He has served congregations of varying sizes in the North Carolina, Greater New Jersey, Central Texas and North Texas Annual Conferences. Much of his time in ministry has been spent starting and building youth and young adult ministries.

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revitup presenter photo David Bell
Title: When There’s a Will, There’s a Way

The Reverend David S. Bell is the president and executive director of the United Methodist Foundation of Michigan and a senior design partner with Design Group International. His areas of expertise include charitable estate planning, stewardship education, planned giving, faith-based personal budgeting and clergy finance. With more than 20 years of experience consulting with individuals, congregations and non-profit organizations, he creates hope by designing practical services that help faithful people live generous lives. Bell has a keen understanding of the current economic climate and the consumer trends impacting charitable giving.

As an avid writer and speaker, he addresses the often-overlooked spiritual discipline of generosity and the debilitating impact of hyper-consumerism. He gained experience as a pastor, development director, and regional and national church executive. He is active with the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Ecumenical Stewardship Center, the Christian Leadership Alliance and the National Association of Church Business Administrators. Bell recently completed a graduate certificate in Executive Leadership from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western University. He is a graduate of The College of Wooster and a magna cum laude graduate of the Drew Theological School.

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revitup presenter photo Nate Berneking
Title: Surviving Clergy Taxes

The Reverend Nate Berneking is the Director of Finance & Administrative Ministry for the Missouri Annual Conference, Nate serves as a resource to the clergy and congregations of the Missouri Conference. In addition to his oversight of Conference finance, legal and business matters, he also conducts regular workshops on finance, administration, local church trustees, stewardship/generosity, clergy benefits and tax issues. An attorney, he previously worked in a large law firm’s corporate, finance and securities practice group.

Nate is the author of The Vile Practices of Leadership, published by Abingdon Press and maintains a website with finance and administration resources for pastors and churches at

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revitup presenter photo Chris Bouchard
Title: Stewardship, the Other 90%

Chris Bouchard is the Director for the Missouri United Methodist Foundation’s (MUMF) Clergy and Church Financial Ministry (C2FM), which is funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. The purpose of the C2FM is to better equip clergy and lay leaders to effectively improve the health, vitality, and effectiveness of their ministries. The purpose of the grant is to:

  1. Assist in developing new or strengthening existing programs to reduce or alleviate some of the key financial pressures that inhibit effective pastoral leadership
  2. Improve the financial literacy and management skills of pastoral leaders through educational programs and other efforts to increase their ability to provide capable fiscal leadership for their churches and ministries under their care.

Prior to joining the MUMF, Chris worked at the Missouri Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) for 24 years and served as the state director for five years. He has a great deal of experience in helping small business owners improve their financial and management to improve the vitality of their operations. Services of the SBTDC include one-on-one consultations as well as educational workshops. Chris was also a member of the Missouri Air National Guard where he held positions of financial management officer, budget officer and comptroller of the Lambert Air National Guard unit, and was an instructor pilot in the Air Force. Adult education has been a large part of his professional career and he believes education must be practical so it can be used by the learner.

Chris is a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, where he is an elder. Over the years, he has served on the session, board of trustees and deacons. He also facilitates Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University programs at FPC.

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revitup presenter photo Bob Christophel
Title: Revving Toward the Future: Clergy Benefits Review

Bob Christophel is a benefits educator who provides financial, retirement and other benefits education for clergy and lay employees. Prior to joining Wespath in 2015, Bob worked for a not-for-profit multi-employer pension and 401 (k) system in New York City, providing benefit communications and participant education for employees of New York museums, performing arts centers and other cultural institutions. Previously, he was a licensed investment representative in a corporate retirement services division, where he focused primarily on participant education for national corporate 401 (k) plans.

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Bob Fairbrook portrait photo Bob Fairbrook
Title: Dissolve That Debt

Bob Fairbrook has been a financial counselor since 1979, including eleven years as a partner at Retirement Benefits Specialists in Bellevue, WA. Prior to that Bob owned Northwest Retirement Planning in Seattle and served as an adjunct Professor at City University in Bellevue. Bob graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA and has been a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) since 1995. Bob has been a Workshop Presenter for EY since 2009 and is currently serving on the Investment Committee for the American Medical Association Foundation in Chicago.

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Craig Gilliam photo Craig Gilliam
Title: Conflict Transformation: A Skill and an Art

The Reverend Dr. Craig Gilliam is a JustPeace collaborative staff member, director of the Center for Pastoral Excellence, Louisiana Conference and adjunct instructor, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. With more than 24 years’ experience serving in Church, Gilliam has earned deep respect for his work with leaders and communities. He has worked with hundreds of congregations from different denominations over the years that are caught in conflict and anxiety. His areas of expertise include: conflict transformation in congregations, leadership education, team building and group process.

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revitup presenter photo Mary Henley
Title: Strengths-Based Leadership for Pastors


The Reverend Dr. Mary Henley is an ordained Elder in the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church and is in her 17th year of full time pastoral ministry. Mary is a Gallup-Certified Strength Development Coach, and has worked with individuals and groups on strengths-based development, utilizing Gallup’s Clifton StrengthFinder, for ten years. She has worked with both individuals and groups/team, clergy and church/denominational leaders, as well as nonprofit organizations, business and government. Mary currently serves as Senior Pastor at Helena United Methodist Church in Birmingham, AL and holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in leadership development.

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Cary James photo Cary James
Title: Understanding and Overseeing Church Finances

The Reverend Cary James, Jr., is an Elder in the Baltimore-Washington Conference and has served in full-time ministry for 20 years. He has served as a church planter, in congregational development, youth pastor, associate pastor and lead pastor. Rev. James is the lead pastor of Sharp Street Memorial United Methodist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. Rev. James is a graduate and facilitator of the Mid-Atlantic United Methodist Foundation Financial Leadership Academy. He is a graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary Urban Church Leadership Initiative. He is a graduate of the DeVos Foundation Transformational Giving Program. Rev. James serves on the Conference Board of Pensions and Health Benefits, Conference Investment Committee and the Board of Ordained Ministry. He is certified as a DISC Facilitator, Leading from Your Strengths Coach, ICF Certified Coach and Situational Leadership II Facilitator.

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revitup presenter photo Jane Pernotto Ehrman
Title: Chill and Refill: Creating Life Balance and Avoiding Compassion Fatigue

Jane, owner of Images of Wellness, LLC, is a Mind/Body Medicine Specialist in Cleveland, Ohio. She works with adults and children on a variety of issues, including chronic disease treatment stress-related illness and, grief and loss, and more. Jane has been an international speaker, for over 25 years on a variety of topics related to health and wellness, and work/life balance, compassion fatigue and burnout.

Besides her private work, Jane is the Lead Behavioral Health Specialist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Lifestyle Medicine, in the Wellness Institute.

She has a Master’s of Education from Pennsylvania State University, with an emphasis on Mind/Body Medicine and an undergraduate degree in Health Education from Youngstown State University. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist, a National Board Certified Diplomat in Clinical Hypnotherapy, and certified in Interactive Guided Imagery™. She candidly shares her insights with high energy, compassion and humor.

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