Afshin Ziafat is the lead pastor of Providence Church in Frisco, TX. Before taking his current role in October 2010, Afshin spent over a decade traveling nationally and internationally proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ in churches, retreats, camps, conferences, and missions. Afshin helped launch Vertical Bible Study at Baylor University in Waco, TX and has also traveled into the Middle East to train Iranian pastors. Afshin’s passion is to teach the Word of God as the authority and guide for life, to preach Jesus Christ as the only Savior and Redeemer of mankind, and to proclaim the love of Christ as the greatest treasure and hope in life. He and his wife, Meredith, currently reside in Frisco, TX, along with their three children, Elyse, Ansley, and Isaac.
Dr. Crawford Loritts was ordained to the ministry in March 1972. He and his wife, Karen, married on May 22, 1971 and have been featured speakers at Family Life marriage conferences. Dr. Loritts has written nine books including the newly released book with Karen, Your Marriage Today…and Tomorrow. He has several degrees, serves on several boards, and is the host of two national radio programs, the weekend program Living a Legacy, and the daily program Legacy Moment. They have four children and one grandchild. Presently, Dr. Loritts serves as Senior Pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, GA.
Valerie Bell is an award-winning author and sought-after speaker who shares her spiritual journey with refreshing honesty, gentle humor, and a hunger for God. She has written many magazine articles and published numerous books—including A Well-Tended Soul; Real Survivors: Finding Hope and Courage in Times of Crisis; Made to Be Loved: Enjoying Spiritual Intimacy with God and Your Spouse; Faith-Shaped Kids: Helping Your Child Grow Spiritually; Nobody’s Children; Getting Out of Your Kids’ Faces and into Their Hearts—and her most recent publication, An African Awakening: My Journey into AIDS Activism, a collaborative project with World Vision. For 10 years she was heard regularly on The Chapel of the Air, a nationally-syndicated daily radio broadcast featured on more than 500 outlets across North America.
Dr. Julius J. Kim serves as the president of The Gospel Coalition, a position he has held since February 2020. Prior to that he served for twenty years as the dean of students and professor of practical theology at Westminster Seminary California. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and serves as an associate pastor at New Life PCA in Escondido, CA. He is the author of multiple books and articles, and contributor to several study Bibles. He and his wife, Ji Hee, reside in Escondido, CA, with their two daughters.
Breakout Session Speakers
Julie Lowe is a faculty member at Christian Counseling & Education Foundation. She holds a Master of Arts in Counseling from Biblical Theological Seminary. She is a licensed professional counselor with over 15 years of counseling experience. Julie is the author of Childproof: Parenting by Faith, not Formula. She has extensive experience with women’s issues, sexual abuse, body image issues, parenting, and child maltreatment issues. Julie is also a registered play therapist and has developed a play therapy office at CCEF to better serve families, teens, and children. She is a trained facilitator for Stewards of Children, a non-profit organization that provides training on child sexual abuse. Julie has trained a therapy dog that she works with both professionally and on a volunteer basis. She and her husband, Greg, have six children and serve as foster and adoptive parents.
Melodie Bissell is the President of Plan to Protect®, an organization providing the highest standard of abuse prevention and protection to 10,000 churches and organizations through policy-writing, training, screening, and consulting. Prior to working with Plan to Protect®, Melodie was the Executive Director for Child Evangelism Fellowship of Ontario and has served as the National Children’s Point Person for The Christian and Missionary Alliance Churches in Canada. Melodie is an author of numerous books and articles including co-authoring the best selling Plan to Protect®: A Protection Manual for Children and Youth, and those that serve among them. Melodie is a Doctor of Ministry Candidate at the University of Toronto. Melodie is married to Scott, who is a Pastor of Missions and Outreach for Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church. They have three children working and serving overseas.
Theresa Sidebotham has represented a variety of businesses, ministries, and churches in her capacity as founding attorney at Telios Law PLLC. This has included legal and policy issues such as child protection and safety, as well as facilitating investigations; both historic and current. After attending Columbia International University, Theresa received a Bachelor of Arts in Literature from Wheaton College. She graduated from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law with her Juris Doctor in 2005 and was licensed by the Supreme Court of the United States in March of 2019. Theresa speaks regularly on protecting children from sexual assault, specifically in ministry settings. Currently serving as the pro bono General Counsel for the Child Safety Protection Network, Theresa has previously served as a board member for Special Kids, Special Families. She also became a member of the Digital Images Task Force in 2016.
Sally Wagenmaker provides legal counsel in corporate, tax, employment, and real estate matters for nonprofits operating on local, national, and international levels. Her clients include churches and other religious organizations, social service providers, and schools. Sally’s corporate and tax work includes development of new tax-exempt entities, providing guidance for effective nonprofit governance and other operational legal issues. Prior to practicing law with Wagenmaker & Oberly, Sally was a partner with Mosher & Wagenmaker and also worked with the Chicago law firm of Hoogendoorn & Talbot. In addition, she worked as a solo practitioner, providing legal assistance to indigent and low-income clients primarily in Chicago’s west side neighborhood of North Lawndale. Sally lives in Chicago with her husband Dan, and they have two children in college.
Dee Dee Mayer is the Associate Head of School for Spiritual Life at Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village, CA. She has spent over 20 years in private practice serving youth and families including 10 years in her role at Oaks Christian School, and has served in many roles including program director of Options House, a youth shelter in Hollywood serving runaway and throw away youth, in First Offenders as a mental health counselor for gang intervention, and at Northridge Hospital in the adolescent lockdown psychiatric unit. Dee Dee spent five years as co-host of MovieGuide TV with Ted Baehr, a Christian movie review organization created to inform families of the impact of media on wellness. She holds a masters degree in Social Work from California State University, Long Beach and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Ministry degree from Azusa Pacific University. Dee Dee has been married to Albert for 25 years and together they have three college-aged children. She loves the Lord and leading students and families to the abundant life for which we are all designed!
Victor Vieth has trained thousands of child-protection professionals from all 50 states, two U.S. Territories, and 17 countries on numerous topics pertaining to child abuse investigations, prosecutions and prevention. Victor gained national recognition for his work in addressing child abuse in small communities as a prosecutor in rural Minnesota, and has been named to the President’s Honor Roll of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. In 2012, Victor was awarded the Pro Humanitate Award from the North American Resource Center for Child Welfare.
Dr. David Fletcher is often called “The Dean of Executive Pastors”. David was a pastor for 35 years in a variety of churches- single, multisite, mergers, and churches with camps, schools, apartments, and cafés. He founded XPastor.org in 2003 and its 1,100 free articles have become a principal resource for leaders in a complex church world. David has two graduate degrees from Dallas Seminary and executive education at the Kellogg School of Management and the Harvard Business School. He teaches Doctor of Ministry students at Dallas Seminary and Evangelical Theological Seminary in India, and has written eight books and scores of articles for national publications. He and his wife, Tami, love to walk the hills near their home in Austin, Texas, and David loves scuba diving in rivers, lakes, missile silos, and the world’s oceans.
Dr. Phil Morrison pastored in the US for 14 years before moving to Kenya in 1992. As a lecturer at Moffat Bible College, he became passionate about equipping under-resourced pastors who are responsible for multiple congregations. As a result, he founded The Multi-Church Pastor Institute and has mentored and trained pastors in Africa, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. He received a Doctor of Ministry degree from Africa International University and served as Africa Inland Mission’s Theological Education Consultant. Currently he serves as the mission’s Child Safety Assistant. He serves on the Child Safety and Protection Network’s board and is one of their international trainers. He is the author of ten books which are focused on church leadership, practical living, and child safety issues. He now lives in New Holland, Pennsylvania, is married to Jan, and has six children and five grandchildren.
Scott Beard serves as Deputy Director for the Department of Crime Victim Compensation, in Columbia, South Carolina. He has advocated for rights and services for crime victims on the local, state, and national levels for the past 30 years as a civil attorney, victim advocate, executive administrator, and public policy professional. Scott’s efforts include advocating for legislative and public policy reforms for crime victims, directing a rape crisis center, managing a prosecutor based domestic violence program, and managing two statewide crime victim compensation agencies. He has also been involved in several faith and victim services programs on the state and national level. Recently he was invited to speak to two conferences in the Balkans to help advance the rights of victims in those countries and to help develop their victim compensation programs.
Robert Showers is Managing Partner of Simms Showers Law Firm which focuses on civil and commercial litigation and church, nonprofit, and business law. Before going into private practice in 1989, he acted as Deputy Assistant Attorney General and served as Executive Director of the National Obscenity Enforcement Unit in the U.S. Department of Justice. Mr. Showers took a leave of absence from his law practice in 1992 to start the National Law Center for Children and Families where he served as its first President and General Counsel. He has trained hundreds of law enforcement and prosecutors, legally aided victims of child abuse crimes, and defended churches and nonprofits in areas including sexual misconduct and child abuse. He has lectured extensively nationwide and written articles on church and nonprofit law, sexual misconduct, and child sexual abuse. Mr. Showers serves on the boards of the National Christian Legal Society Board (Past President), Hope Force International, Every Orphan’s Hope, National Law Center for Children and Families, Gateway Community Church, and the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Steve Case currently serves as the assistant vice president at Brotherhood Mutual. He joined the company as an associate attorney in 2014 and was elevated to associate corporate counsel in 2016 before assuming his current role in March 2017. As senior corporate counsel, he oversees the day-to-day operations of the legal department. After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Manchester University, Steve received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Toledo College of Law in 2010 and received his CPCU designation in 2017. Prior to joining Brotherhood Mutual, he worked in insurance defense litigation. Steve attends The Pointe Church in Fort Wayne, IN., where he previously served as the Grow Group director and now serves on the ministry advisory board.
Thomas Hampson has been an investigator for over 50 years. Starting as an intelligence analyst for the US Air Force during the Vietnam War, he went on to become an investigator and later Chief Investigator for a state agency in Illinois. For several years he worked extended undercover investigations infiltrating several groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazis, and the former Minutemen. During his tenure with the state he directed an eight year investigation into the abuse, molestation, and sexual exploitation of children. It remains the most extensive law enforcement investigation on the topic ever done in the US. After he left the employ of the state of Illinois, Mr. Hampson founded an international investigation agency that specialized in conducting complex civil and criminal investigations. In 2006, he was retained by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to conduct a year and a half investigation into predator priests in Illinois. It was the investigation of those priests that prompted Mr. Hampson to establish Truth Alliance Foundation. Using his extensive knowledge of all varieties of predators, from common street hustlers to serial killers, he set out to develop a better way to protect children. If properly implemented, the protection method developed by Truth Alliance Foundation will screen out all predators from any ministry.