Speaker Bios

Garen Forsythe (Main Session & Workshop Speaker)

Garen has been directing the ministry to international students attending Emporia State University since 1990. He is the husband of his beautiful wife Pat and the father of three awesome children Charissa, Ariel, and Kieran (one who is now pursuing her Master’s Degree at Duke and two who are working on their undergraduate degrees at Emporia State and K-State Polytechnic respectively). Garen’s passion is helping college students come to know Jesus and then to be formed, in ever-increasing degrees, into his image for the sake of the world.



Brenda White (Workshop Speaker)

Who am I?  I’m a Jesus follower who came to faith as an adult.  It was a journey that began with a whitewater river rafting trip and has placed me at River Community Church in Wichita, KS.  I joined the River family 24 years ago and have served as women’s pastor (shepherd) for 14 years.  Life in community has been integral to my walk with Christ – both through ‘intentional’ discipleship and also watching others live out their faith, just as I did on that rafting trip before I knew Jesus.  The aroma of Christ is powerful and appealing!

Rodney Bartlett (Workshop Speaker)

Rodney is the Worship and Outreach Pastor at River Community Church. Before joining the staff at River, he served on staff at Youth Horizons, a ministry to at-risk Youth in Wichita, and he served for seven years at a church plant in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Kevin Neuenswander (Workshop Speaker)
I am a husband, father, friend and an educator who has either taught or been a principal for K-12 and post graduate students for the past 35 years. I have also mentored young men (and my 4 daughters) for the past 30 years. My mentoring experience has been in all three areas: Paul (placing myself under older mentors), Barnabas (peer mentors) and Timothy (those younger in Christ than me).

Chris and Carrie Davidson (Workshop Speaker)
Chris & Carrie live in Topeka. Chris went to Kansas State and works as a civil engineer for the Kansas Department of Transportation. Carrie attended Washburn and works in financial accounting at Security Benefit.

James Smith (Workshop Speaker)
James is a high school and college instructor, a football coach at Trinity Academy, and a licensed therapist and clinical director at Heritage Family Counseling Services in Wichita, KS. He has been married for 21 years and he and his bride have a 14 year-old daughter. His passion
and calling revolve around teaching, mentoring, and counseling those who long for wholeness and purpose through laughter and love.

David Manner (Workshop Speaker)

David Manner is Associate Executive Director for Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists. He holds a Bachelor of Music; Master of Church Music; and Doctor of Worship Studies degree. David has led worship and leadership conferences for numerous conventions, churches and educational institutions. He writes for various online and print publications and can be followed on his Worship Evaluation Blog.

Melody Richeson (Workshop Speaker)

Melody has worked with college students for over 30 years and seeks to encourage and equip young women who minister to college students. She has worked with FOCUS International for many years and is now living in Manhattan, KS and helping with the ministry at Kansas State.


Jordan Hodges (Workshop Speaker)

Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Pittsburg, Ks. He holds a Bachelor of Religious Studies from Southwest Baptist University, and a Master of Christian Apologetics degree from Biola University. Jordan loves to read, is learning to play the banjo, and is fanatical about the K.C. Chiefs and K.C. BBQ. He and his wife Mallory have two young girls, Bailey and Charlie.