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- 23nd Annual -

July 24 - 27, 2016

Christ or Chaos   by: Tony Lowden
Jesus Commitment To An Old-Fashioned Biblical Love   by: Dr. Gerald Harris
Giving Thanks For America   by: Kelvin Cochran
Pressed Out of Measure   by: Mike Stone
Whatever It Takes   by: Thomas Hammond
Heaven   by: Tommy Fountain, Sr.

Michael R. Griffin, Sr.
Senior Pastor


Dr. Gerald Harris

Gerald Harris has served as editor of The Christian Index since May 2003. Prior to joining the staff he served for nine years as pastor of Eastside Baptist Church in Marietta. Harris came to Georgia in 1990 as pastor of Peachtree Corners Baptist Church in Norcross, where he served for four years. He has served as pastor in North and South Carolina, and Mississippi. He is a native of Hickory, N.C.

Harris is well known to Georgia Baptists as a pastor and denominational leader. He served as president of the state convention in 1999 and has been an active member on a variety of committees, including the GBC Executive Committee, Administrative Committee, and chairman of the Nominating Committee. He is a trustee of Mercer University.

On the national level he has served on the SBC Executive Committee and on the Resolutions Committee, as well as on the board of the Baptist Sunday School Board (now LifeWay Christian Resources).

Harris has written for a variety of denominational publications, including devotions for Open Windows and HomeLife magazines. He has also authored two books, Pardoned to be Priests and Olympic Heroes: World-Class Athletes Winning at Life. He has a master’s degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctor of ministry degree from Luther Rice Seminary.

He and his wife, the former Martha Jean Maxwell of Newnan, are parents of a daughter, Miriam, who is married to Billy Godwin, pastor of Ephesus Baptist Church of Douglasville; and twin sons John Mark and Gerald David.


Mike Stone

Mike Stone serves as the senior pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, GA. He originally came to Emmanuel in October of 1996 as minister of music and became the pastor in 2002. He is a graduate of Valdosta State University and is completing a Masters of Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.

He has served in various positions in the local Baptist association as well as in the Georgia Baptist and Southern Baptist Conventions. In 2017 he was elected President of the Georgia Baptist Convention.

Pastor Mike lives in Blackshear with his wife Andrea, and their four children, Michaela, Andrew, Sarah and Matthew.


Tommy Fountain, Sr.

Tommy Fountain, Sr. has been serving as the Senior Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Monroe, GA since August 2013.

The Lord placed a great burden upon Tommy's life at the age of 19 for soul winning. As a staff member for five years, the Lord cultivated that desire by giving him many opportunities to win a lot of students for Christ.

As a pastor for 24 years, he has averaged 65 baptisms each year. He has been the pastor of four churches that has seen significant growth in evangelism. His preaching is evangelistic, expository, enthusiastic and conservative to the core. He has been a leader in evangelism in the Georgia Baptist Convention, the Alabama Baptist State Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention. His heart's desire is to preach with the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and with such simplicity men and women, and boys and girls will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.


Kelvin Cochran

Kelvin Cochran

Shreveport, Louisiana native Kelvin J. Cochran, as a five-year-old boy, was spellbound by Shreveport Firefighters fighting a fire across the street from his house and dreamed that one day he would be a firefighter.


A proud student of Caddo Parish Public Schools, he graduated from Woodlawn High School (1978); Wiley College (1999) with a Bachelor's Degree in Organizational Management; Louisiana Tech University (2004) with a Master’s Degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology; and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Interdisciplinary Leadership from Creighton University.

Employment History:

His employment with the Shreveport Fire Department began in 1981 as a firefighter. He was then promoted to Fire Training Officer and served in this capacity from 1985 - 1990, when he gained promotion to Assistant Chief Training Officer. His service in this position concluded when he was appointed Fire Chief of the Shreveport Fire Department on August 26, 1999. On January 2, 2008 he was appointed fire chief of the City of Atlanta Fire Rescue Department. On August 17, 2009 he was appointed as the United States Fire Administrator by President Barack Obama; June 19, 2010 he was re-appointed by Mayor Kasim Reed as Fire Chief of the City of Atlanta Fire Rescue Department.

Faith History

Kelvin was baptized at an early age at the Galilee Baptist Church in Shreveport, LA. His service there included Sunday school teacher and deacon. Upon relocating to Atlanta in 2008 he joined the Elizabeth Baptist Church and continued his service as a teacher and deacon. He was called to preach in January 2015 and currently serves on staff as Chief Operating Officer/Chief Strategic Officer of Elizabeth Baptist Church.


He is married to Carolyn Marshall Cochran and the father of three children and has one granddaughter.


Thomas Hammond

Thomas Hammond
William Thomas Hammond, Jr. is currently serving as Lead Pastor at Alpharetta First Baptist Church, Alpharetta, Georgia and President of the Georgia Baptist Convention.

Previously served:

• Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee as the Vice President of Convention Advancement.

• The North American Mission Board, as Senior Director of the Church Evangelism Group.

• Director of Missions for the Metrolina Baptist Association in Charlotte, North Carolina.

• Minister of Evangelism at Hebron Baptist Church, Dacula, Georgia.

• The Ohio Baptist Convention as an associate in the Evangelism Department.

• Chaplain for the Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC) in Memphis, Tennessee.

Thomas is a graduate of Augusta State University, Augusta, GA and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, Cordova, TN. He and his wife, Kerri, have two daughters: Katie and Karley.


Augusta State University, Augusta, GA (1980-1986) B.B.A.

Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, Memphis, TN (1987-1990) M.Div.


Tony Lowden

Tony Lowden
Tony is a well-rounded, godly man. Having grown up in North Philadelphia in a single parent home, he understands the plight of poverty and illiteracy. He believes that in order for young people to become productive citizens in their communities, they must have a firm biblical foundation and a good education.

Tony double majored in Economics and Government at the University of Southern California on an athletic scholarship. He earned his M.Div. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. While in California, Tony headed the Democratic Caucus, and later the Republican Caucus, for the state. He worked for Eli Lily, as well as Astra Zeneca, leading their Government Affairs Divisions for the United States.

Today, Tony Lowden is the Executive Director of STONE Academy, an after-school enrichment program that serves at-risk children in the Macon-Bibb County area. He has served as a youth pastor at Lundy Chapel Missionary Baptist Church as well as in leadership capacities in numerous civic organizations in the Macon-Bibb area, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development Board and the Board of Directors for the Center for Racial Understanding. He is a 2011 graduate of the esteemed organization Leadership Georgia as well as 2014 graduate of the inaugural class of the Bailey-Sullivan Leadership Institute of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO). In 2012, Mr. Lowden was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal to serve as a commissioner on the State Charter School Commission and continues to serves in that position. Formally the project coordinator for the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, he currently serves the Director of Faith and Justice Initiative for the Governor's Office of Transition Support and Reentry.

Tony is married educator and performing artist Pilar Lowden.