2021 Recipient

john-mcclendon-bio-picJohn McClendon
John is a speaker, author, and consultant in areas related to church leadership, discipleship and Sunday School. He currently serves as the Executive Director, Baptist Association of Christian Educators (BACE) and Discipleship Pastor, Northside Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He previously served at LifeWay Christian Resources as the Training & Development Manager and Lead Adult Ministry Specialist. He graduated in 1986 from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, earning the Master of Arts in Religious Education degree. He has served churches in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee. Learn more about John at www.johnmcclendon.com.


2019 Recipient

Jay Gordon
Since 2014 Jay has served as the Adult and Small Groups Minister at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL. His passion is to make disciples by equipping small group leaders. Jay has also served additional churches in Alabama and Arkansas. Jay has a passion for investing in and networking with other discipleship/education pastors. He sees this as paying back a debt for the time and energy others invested in him. Jay has provided significant leadership to the network of discipleship/education pastors in Alabama which is now called the Discipleship Network.

2018 Recipient

Joe Sherrer
Joe is the Associate Pastor of Discipleship at First Southern, Del City. In addition, Joe is the Ministry Based Professor of Christian Education for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Joe’s ministry passion is to help adults become “fully devoted followers of Christ.” Joe has contributed to the writing and development of Bible study curriculum, led conferences both nationally and internationally, and helped develop conferences for adult ministry. Joe has influenced and continues to influence the lives of many church leaders including students, pastors, church staff, and lay leaders.

2017 Recipient

Topper Reid
Topper currently serves as Pastor of Small Groups at Westwood Baptist Church in Alabaster, AL and as the President of Bill Taylor & Associate’s Church Coaching Division. Topper has served on church staffs for over 25 years including Hunter Street Baptist Church in Hoover, AL, where his small group ministry grew from 800 to over 3,300 in attendance. Topper has also served with Myrick Gurosky and Associates (MG&A) as Director of Church Development and continues to serve as a trainer and consultant with many churches and faith-based entities on a contract basis and is a frequent seminar leader and writer for various publications.

Topper is a graduate of Samford University and Southern Seminary.

2016 Recipients

Bruce Raley
Bruce currently serves as the Executive Pastor, First Baptist Church, Hendersonville, TN. Bruce’s previous ministry experiences include:
1982-1996, Minister of Education, Walnut Street Baptist Church, Jonesboro, AR; 1996-2006 Teaching Pastor, First Baptist, Panama City, FL; 2006-2015 Director of Church Education, LifeWay Christian Resources, Nashville, TN

Bruce earned a Bachelors in Journalism, 1983 and a Masters in Mass Communication, 1985 from Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AR. In 2013, Bruce earned the Executive Leadership Certificate from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.

Daryl Eldridge
Daryl is the President of Rockbridge Seminary, a fully-online seminary built on the five purposes of the church. He has served as the Dean of the School of Educational Ministries at Southwestern Baptist theological Seminary and faculty member from 1984 through 2003.

Before seminary teaching and through his faculty career, he has served in the local church as a youth pastor, minister of education and music, and minister of spiritual development. He is the editor of the textbook, The Teaching Ministry of the Church and is the author of numerous articles and curriculum materials. He has taught internationally, including assignments in Kenya, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. He is a sought-after speaker on trends in the church, servant leadership, and spiritual development.

Daryl earned a BA (Biology and Chemistry) in 1973 from Drury College, Springfield, MO and an MARE in 1977 and a PhD (Foundations of Education) in 1985 from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, TX.

Keith Wilkinson
Keith is currently the Director of Older Singles Sunday School, Quail Springs Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, OK. Keith’s previous ministry experiences include: 1965-1969, Pastor, Crown Heights Baptist Church, Woodward, OK.; 1969-1972, Director of Associational Missions, Chickasaw (now Grady) Baptist Association, Chickasha, OK.; 1972-1975, Director Youth Sunday School/VBS, Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, OK.; 1981-1983, Field Services Coordinator, Sunday School, Baptist Sunday School Board (LifeWay), Nashville, TN.; 1983-1997, Director, Sunday School Department, Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, Jackson, MS.; 1997-2007, Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma in various positions including: Sunday School.

Past Recipients

Allen W. Graves 1980

William R. Bumpas 1982

Joe Davis Heacock 1982

Ernest J. Loessner 1982

J.P. Edmunds 1983

Josephine Scaggs 1983

J. Marvin Crowe 1984

A. V. Washburn 1984

Gaines S. Dobbins (posthumously) 1985

Elmer Bailey 1985

Phillip B. Harris 1986

Margaret Sisemore 1987

LeRoy Ford 1989

Jack H. Naish 1990

Donald Trotter (posthumously) 1990

Keener Pharr 1991

Will Beal 1994

E. Mavis Allen 1995

Lucien Coleman 1995

Merle T. Basden 1996

Charles Lowry 1997

Harry Piland 1997

William Cromer, Jr. 1998

Robert S. Cook 1999

Hazel Rodgers (posthumously) 2000

Alva Parks 2001

L. David Cunningham 2002

Bobbie S. Patterson 2002

Jerry Stubblefield 2003

Bob Fuston 2005

Gail Motley 2007

Morlee Maynard 2009

David Simon 2011

Rick Yount 2012

Margaret Lawson 2013

Judy Morris 2014

J. Earl Mead 1981

John K. Durst 1982

Gracie Knowlton 1982

Russell Hooper Dilday 1983

R. Othal Feather 1983

William H. Souther 1983

Findley B. Edge 1984

M. Russell Noel 1984

W. L. Howse, Jr. (posthumously) 1985

J. M. Price (posthumously) 1985

John T. Sisemore 1987

Alma Hunt 1988

Annie Ward Byrd 1990

Norman Godfrey (posthumously) 1990

Thurman B. Prewett 1990

C. Winfield Rich 1993

Joe Haynes 1994

Bob Edd Shotwell 1995

Russell Comer 1996

William E. Young 1996

Harold Souther 1997

Henry E. Love 1998

J. Roger Skelton 1998

Lloyd T. Householder 1999

Joe Burnette 2000

James D. Williams 2001

Robert L. Feather 2002

Bernard Spooner 2003

Lawrence Klempnauer 2004

Charles Tidwell 2006

William (Bill) Gambrell 2008

Lucy Dorr 2010

Ron Moore 2011

John Boone 2013

Tim Holcomb 2014

Cathy Jeffcoats 2015