Our Team

William Wolfe, Executive Director

William Wolfe is the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Baptist Leadership. He has been a part of the Southern Baptist Convention for 13 years. After spending a decade living and working in Washington D.C., including for three Members of Congress, Heritage Action for America, as a Director at the State Department, and as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense at the DoD, William moved to Louisville, KY, to complete his seminary education in person. During that time, he became increasingly involved in much-needed work to revitalize the SBC as an institution, and the launch of CBL is an outgrowth of that work. Combining his experience in public policy and political strategy with his theological education and knowledge of the SBC, William has become a widely respected and authoritative commentator on the role of the SBC in broader American evangelicalism and the intersection of faith and politics in our nation. His work has been published in major outlets like Newsweek, The American Conservative, Christian Post, American Reformer, Daily Signal, The Federalist, and Daily Caller, etc., for think tanks like The Center for Renewing America, and for Christian publications such as 9 Marks and Founders Ministries. He also serves as a regular contributor to Liberty University’s Standing for Freedom Center. He completed the Pastoral Internship program at Capitol Hill Baptist Church and the Presidential Internship at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has a B.A. in History from Covenant College and an M.Div. from SBTS. To book William for media appearances or speaking engagements, please contact him at media@centerfor­baptistleadership.org.

Richard Henry, Associate Editor

Richard Henry has been part of the SBC for over a decade. He has served in various churches in different capacities, most recently as the Senior Pastor of an SBC church in Western Kentucky. He has a B.A. from California State University, Northridge, and an M.A. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He hosts the Contra Talk podcast, examining cultural and theological issues from a Christian worldview and interviews biblical scholars from across the country. He also writes and produces content for Truth Script. 

Advisory Board

Tom Ascol

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL, since 1986. He is also the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition, he edited and contributed to several books over the years and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He has a B.S. degree in sociology from Texas A&M University and an M.Div. and Ph.D. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Mark Coppenger

Mark Coppenger has taught in either a full-time or adjunct capacity at Vanderbilt, Wheaton, Elmhurst, TIU, MBTS, and SBTS. After teaching three dozen different courses throughout his career, he retired from SBTS in 2019 as a Professor of Christian Philosophy and Ethics. He’s pastored a “legacy” church in Arkansas, planted a church in Illinois, and served as an interim pastor in Kentucky—a total of 17 years as senior pastor—and led SBC student ministry groups at Wheaton and Northwestern. He’s served in denominational posts in Indianapolis and Nashville, and he chaired the SBC Resolutions Committee in 1989. Mission trips have taken him to South America, Southeast Asia, North Africa, the Middle East, and both Western and Eastern Europe. He has a B.A. from Ouachita University, an M.Div. from SWBTS, and a Ph.D. from SWBTS. He posts regularly at markcoppenger.com.

Dusty Deevers

Dusty Deevers is a pastor at Grace Reformed Baptist Church of Elgin, State Senator for Oklahoma District 32, and CEO of Deevers Properties. Dusty has worked in SBC life for decades and previously served on the staff at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of Christian resources on abolishing abortion, the Christian view of the role of civil government, and Loving Your IVF Neighbor: In Vitro Fertilization, Assisted Reproduction Technologies, and Loving Your Neighbor as YourselfHe holds an M.Div. from SWBTS.

Steve Gentry

Steve Gentry is the Lead Pastor of Village Church, located in the suburbs of Richmond, VA, which he co-founded 15 years ago. He is married with three children and has a D.Min. in Expository Preaching and Teaching. Steve served for ten years as a church planting strategist with the SBC of Virginia, where he assessed, trained, and coached church planters.

Craig Mitchell

Craig Vincent Mitchell is a Christian ethicist, economist, and engineer. He is an independent scholar whose research focuses on Christian ethics, worldview, and public policy. He is an ordained Baptist minister and a published author of a number of books and articles. Craig has served as a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Criswell College, and taught adjunctly at the University of Texas in Arlington, Gateway Seminary, and Regent University, as well as a number of other schools. In addition, Craig has done work in public policy for various think tanks, including the ERLC, the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, and the Institute for Religion and Democracy. He has also worked with the Heritage Foundation and the Acton Institute. Finally, Craig served as a USAF officer, attaining the rank of major while testing both aircraft and spacecraft. He has a Master’s and a Ph.D. in Christian Ethics and Philosophy from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Lewis Richerson

Lewis Richerson has served as the Senior Pastor of Woodlawn Baptist Church since 2012. He previously served at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in various capacities from 2005 to 2012, where he also received his M.Div. in Biblical Languages and Ph.D. in Preaching. Lewis has been pastoring in SBC churches since 1999, when he began serving as an interim pastor in rural Rapids Parish, Louisiana. He also helped launch a ministry in India that includes an accredited Bible college and seminary, church planting efforts all over India, an orphan ministry, and pastor training.

Sam Webb

Sam Webb is a partner at Webb Strahan, PLLC, and Elder at University Park Baptist Church. Sam has been involved in Southern Baptist life for decades, serving as a deacon and elder in Baptist churches and preaching regularly. He has taught courses at several institutions, including Texas A&M University, Trinity Law School, Houston Christian University, California Baptist University, and Liberty University. He holds a M.A. in Religion from Reformed Theological Seminary and a J.D. from Texas Tech.

Jon Whitehead

Jon Whitehead is a lifelong Southern Baptist and the founding attorney of the Law Offices of Jonathan R. Whitehead LLC, located in Missouri. He is a Trustee of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), a former President of the Kansas City Lawyers’ Chapter of the Federalist Society, a 2002 Blackstone Fellow, and a graduate of Southwest Baptist University and Harvard Law School. He represents nonprofits in litigation, with deep experience in religious congregations and ministries. He was co-counsel in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer (2017) and with First Liberty and IJ in Carson v. Makin (2022), protecting religious freedom in generally available government programs. Jon regularly files amicus briefs before the United States Supreme Court and United States Courts of Appeals on behalf of groups including the ERLC and the Missouri Baptist Convention. In 2013, he successfully obtained an injunction against the Obamacare abortifacient mandate on behalf of Christian business owners, and in 2020, he sued Jackson County, Missouri, for discriminating against local churches under the guise of COVID regulations.