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Meet the New Class of Leaders

Posted: 4/6/17 at 11:45am. Story by Linda Peay.

The new year brought a host of new leaders into the BGAV family. The Spence Network and Kairos Initiative develop leaders through Uptick and the Kairos Leadership Initiative (KLI).


Uptick Class of 2017

The word uptick is defined as a small increase. An uptick in a certain activity is seen as something making a significant movement. Through the Spence Network, the BGAV invests in the “small increases” by offering networking and mentoring opportunities to eager and innovative leaders who in turn make an impact on the local church.

Since 2008, 136 young leaders have come through the Uptick program. These members are serving across Virginia, the United States, and as far as Norway. By the end of 2017, the total number of Uptick alumni will increase to 167.

The following people are the members of Uptick’s Class of 2017:

  • Benjamin Boyd, new pastor of Mt. Gilead Baptist in Kent’s Store, VA
  • Nick Deere, new pastor of Broadus Memorial Baptist Church in Charlottesville, VASpence Network Logo
  • Matt Dodrill, associate pastor at First Baptist Church of Martinsville, VA
  • Robbie Gaines, site pastor at Highlands Fellowship in Abingdon, VA
  • Brian Hoysa, pastoral resident at Downtown Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA
  • Brandon Kelly, Director of Transformational Ministries for the Churches of God General Conference
  • Lynette Hicks, speech pathologist and minister, Raleigh, NC
  • Anna Hurley, Director of Operations at The District Church, Washington, D.C.
  • Alyx Mikelaites, lay leader, Mechanicsville, VA
  • Heather Stemler, children’s and youth director at CrossRoads Church, Norfolk, VA
  • Brooke Winters, Communications and Development Specialist for Arrabon, Richmond, VA
  • Stacy Pierce, director of The Potter’s House Preschool, Fredericksburg, VA


Kairos Leadership Initiative

Kairos Leadership Initiative (KLI) kicked off its fifth year during a weekend retreat at Eagle Eyrie Baptist Conference Center in January.

Kairos Leadership Initiative met in January at Eagle Eyrie.

Thirteen young adults met for the first of three weekend events planned for this year. The mission of this year-long leadership development program is for each KLI participant to discover his or her identity, discern their gifts and talents, determine their context, and develop their call. Through this self-reflecting process and by using coaches and mentors, participants will be able to bridge their spiritual walk to their life goals of career, community involvement, church, and family.

Welford Orrock, Kairos Initiative/Young Adult Coordinator, said that this first meeting primarily focused on the first two facets “by having the participants spend time reflecting, engaging, and processing who God says they are in Christ through scripture, through the tradition of the church, and through the witness of the Holy Spirit revealed in community together.”

Orrock added, “Our core KLI conviction is: when these four [facets] are aligned—identity, gifts, context, and call—leadership emerges. Another way is to say leaders are those who know best who they are, what they do well, where they are, and why they are there.“

The 2017 members of KLI are:

  • Sara Amos, a senior at Virginia Tech, majoring in Human Development
  • Lindsey Armentrout, a senior at Virginia Tech, studying Mechanical Engineering
  • Kristin Cooper, a senior at Radford University, majoring in Communications
  • Matthew Flint, a senior at Radford University, studying History
  • Kayla Hawkins, a senior at Radford University, studying Liberal Arts
  • Emily Holmes, a junior at George Mason University, majoring in General Studies
  • Jacob Lescault, a senior at Virginia Tech, studying Construction Engineering and Management
  • Cassidy McFarlane, a junior at Virginia Tech, studying Creative Technology (Animation)
  • Joshua Mullins, a freshman at Radford University, majoring in Theatre
  • Virginia Otey, a sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University, studying English and Non-profit Management
  • Justin Ridgeway, a junior at Radford University, majoring in Computer Science
  • Carley Toney, a sophomore at the College of William & Mary, studying Psychology
  • Ben Wade, a junior at the College of William & Mary, majoring in Computer Science

The next scheduled retreat is in May when the group convenes to focus on the next two parts of the program: determining their context and developing their call. Until that time, they will continue to grow as they connect individually with both a coach and a mentor and read and study the assigned texts.

Alumni Spotlights

Nabeel Qureshi, alumnus of the Uptick class of 2011, is a renowned speaker and writer. He wrote the New York Times bestseller, No God but One: Allah or Jesus?, and the follow-up book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, which is the only book ever to win Christian Book Awards for both “Best New Author” and “Best Nonfiction.” Christianity Today featured Qureshi as one of “33 Under 33,” in a cover story on emerging religious leaders. Born in the US and raised as a devout Muslim, Nabeel found Christ through many discussions with Christian friends. He talks about his spiritual development in Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, and in the follow-up, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus Video Study. He recently published Answering Jihad, which delves into jihad, the rise of ISIS, and Islamic terrorism. Nabeel is a lifelong student, holding multiple degrees in medicine, Christian apologetics, and religion; and is pursuing a doctorate in New Testament studies at Oxford University.  Recently, he was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer. The BGAV requests prayers for Nabeel’s complete healing and comfort as he endures chemotherapy. To keep others informed of his progress, Nabeel vlogs about his story on YouTube and Facebook.

Another 2011 Uptick alumni, Brad Rhodes, with his band, MELODIME, created a nonprofit organization—Now I Play Along Too—to provide musical instruments and instruction to children who are in difficult situations. Now I Play Along Too’s first project was at the Source of Light Center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in 2014. MELODIME arrived with over 30 instruments and spent a week teaching the children and setting up continued instruction through local music teachers. They have returned several times to lead music camps, most recently in August 2016.

Katie McKown joined Uptick in 2013 and is currently serving as pastor of Scottsville Baptist Church, Scottsville. She is the first female pastor called to the historical church, and she also serves on BGAV Executive Board. In addition, she is co-leading a new US/Canada Uptick group called “NABWU” (North American Board Women’s Union), which is the North American branch of the Baptist World Alliance Women’s Department.






This article was originally published in the Spring 2017 edition of the BGAV Express.