Avis Blake-Thomas, B.S., M.A.C.E
Avis Blake-Thomas is Co-Founder, Board President and CEO. She has a Masters in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary. Avis worked at DHL Express for 24 years before retiring in 2009, where she held several positions of increasing responsibility, including her last position as Software Development Manager. In that position, she was responsible for a multimillion dollar budget, led the development of software used by DHL’s customer base worldwide, and managed a team of business system analysts, software developers, and quality assurance testers.
In 2009, Avis served in a volunteer capacity with Inspire Women Inc., a Houston, TX based non-profit that provides scholarships to women in ministry for education or missionary service. At Inspire Women she was the Scholarship and Events Coordinator, and was responsible for the planning and marketing of its annual citywide conference. In 2013 Avis rejoined Inspire Women to teach their monthly Bible study to women in ministry and leadership across the city of Houston. Avis served on the board of To Raise A Child, a Houston, TX based non-profit that is dedicated to ensuring children in at-risk environments have access to early childhood education. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and served on the leadership committee for Young Life South Central Houston. Avis is a licensed and ordained minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Tina Brown, B.S., M.B.A., M.A./M.A.C.E
Co-Founder / Vice-President of Academic Affairs
Tina Brown is Co-Founder, and serves as Board Secretary and as the OBA Executive Vice President. She is a retired Naval Reserve officer and currently works as a Chief Technology Officer for a Houston Oil services company. She has a B.A. in Adult Education, an MBA, and a M.A./Christian Education. Tina and her husband, Eric, are adventurous and have lived in a variety of places over the years. This has resulted in Tina serving in many ministries such as children’s ministry, small group ministry, online learning ministry, and adult education ministry. Most recently, Tina served for four years as the Dallas Theological Seminary Spiritual Formation (SF) Coordinator at the Houston campus assisting in the development and continuity of the SF Program. Tina is the proud mom of a son currently serving in the US Navy.
Dr. Willie Bolden, B.S., M.A., D.Min.
Board Vice-President/Instructor/Curriculum Development
Dr. Willie Bolden serves as the Board Vice-President. He earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Southwestern Theological Seminary in 2006, a Master of Arts in Theological Education from Talbot Theological Seminary in 1992 and a Bachelor of Science in Christian Education from Biola University in 1979. Presently he is the Executive Director of Church and Community Relations at the Dallas Theological Seminary Houston Campus. Dr. Bolden has served as the lead pastor of four churches, two in Southern California, one in Dallas, Texas and one in DeSoto Texas.
Al Thomas, B.S.
Board Treasurer / CFO
Al Thomas serves as Board Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer. He is a graduate of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Business Administration. He has nearly 30 years of experience working in both the “Upstream and Downstream” segments of the Oil and Gas industry. He is currently a Corporate Level Manager and leads the Joint Venture and General Accounting functional areas. He is a native of Portsmouth, Virginia and has resided in Houston, TX for the past 30 years. He is a member of Wheeler Avenue Baptist church where over the past 20 years he has grown tremendously as a disciple of Jesus Christ where he serves as a deacon. Al's gifting is primarily in the areas of “Service”, “Helps” and “Administration”. To that end, he has served in an array of Church Ministries, often in a leadership capacity. Areas of Ministry experience include: Men’s Ministry, Diaconate Ministry, Evangelism Ministry, Audio/Visual Communications Ministry, Sunday Offerings Accounting Team Ministry, Greeters and Transportation Ministry to name a few. He is member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and is a continuous supporter of Young Life South Central of Houston and Houston Habitat for Humanity.
Dr. Franklin Callaway, B.A., M.Div., D.Min.
Board Member/Instructor/Curriculum Development
Dr. Franklin Callaway has a Bachelor of Arts in Christianity and Speech from Houston Baptist University, Houston, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, TX, and a Doctor of Ministry in Church Leadership from Southern Baptist Seminary, Louisville, KY. He has also studied Business Administration at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, KY, and Sociology and Religion at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX.
Dr. Callaway has served as Adjunct Professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Houston, TX, Senior Pastor of Truevine Missionary Baptist Church, Spring, TX, Minister of Christian Education at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, Houston, TX, Interim Pastor at Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, Houston, TX, Minister of Christian Education and Evangelism at Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, Houston, TX, Professor and Chairman of Ministry Skills Department at the College of Biblical Studies Houston, TX, Director of Ministry of Damascus Road, Houston, TX, Associate Minister at Mount Zion Baptist Church, Fort Worth, TX, and Community Organization Director for the Fort Worth Area Council of Churches, Fort Worth, Texas. In 2013, Dr. Callaway planted a church in North Houston and is working diligently to build that church as a beacon of light for the kingdom of God. Dr. Callaway is also retired from the United States Air Force.
London Wilson, Jr., B.B.A., M.A.
Board Member & Vice-President of Church & Community Relations
London Wilson, Jr. is a native Houstonian. He received his BBA from The University of North Texas in Marketing. He has held various sales and leadership positions at IBM, Diebold, and Lexmark International. He is the Founder and Executive Director of the Just Do GOoD Foundation, a 501(c)3 entity promoting doing GOoD daily. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary with a Master of Arts in Christian Leadership. He is a member of Delta Sigma Pi, a professional business fraternity. He is also a licensed State of Texas realtor. He enjoys his position as a 5-Star Chaplain with Marketplace Chaplain USA performing his duties in the greater Houston area.
Bob Stephens, B.S., ThM.
Board Member, Instructor and Curriculum Development
Bob earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemical Engineering from Louisiana Tech University and worked several years in the Petrochemical Industry. He attended DTS, graduated with a Masters of Theology, and gained valuable experience pastoring a church. He is now self-employed and involved in teaching and discipling ministries in the suburbs southeast of Houston.
Pastor Juan Ayala, B.A., ThM.
Pastor Juan Ayala serves as senior pastor of Misericordia Baptist Church, in Houston, Texas. He has pastored there since 2010. Juan also served as senior pastor for Esperanza Baptist Church, Humble, Texas from 2001-2010. Juan received his Bachelors of Science from The College of Biblical Studies in Houston, TX in 2009. He received his Master of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary in 2014. Juan was ordained as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ by Iglesia Bautista Fuente de Agua Viva in May of 2003.
Juan’s relationship with Jesus Christ is best captured in his own words:
“The words and works of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, have transformed my life. My life is sustained through Jesus who has reconciled me to God the Father and has called me to the ministry of reconciliation. I have been called to love God, through an on going relationship, but also to serve Him by serving others. I have been called as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ to bring hope to lost people, to guide and equip those who have believed, and to build future leaders in the local church.”
Juan is married to Lucia G. Ayala and they have two children, Maribel Alyssa Ayala and Monica Melissa Ayala.
Brett Bacon, B.A., M.A.C.L. Candidate
My wife Kimberly and I live in Irving Texas and we currently serve at First Baptist Church Irving. I am a Dallas area native and had a saving encounter with Jesus Christ at the age of 8 at while attending vacation Bible School in Irving. In junior high I began to sense a call to ministry and surrendered to that call at the age of 14. I am a graduate of East Texas Baptist University with a BA degree in Christian Ministry and Psychology. My areas of focus in college were Biblical hermeneutics and exegesis, and abnormal psychology and mental illnesses. As an undergraduate I had the privilege studying the effect of personal faith on helping and serving behaviors among our ministry students. I have served as a volunteer at several churches in both the Dallas and Houston areas in Single Adult, Young Married and Senior Adult ministries as a Bible Fellowship teacher and director. Kimberly and I are both very “mission minded” and have been able to both serve on mission in Texas and abroad as well. Additionally I have been involved in process management, leadership development, and supervisory roles for several companies including AAA Texas, Best Buy and others. Kimberly and I were married in March of 2009 and she is the greatest blessing God has ever provided me.
Following a trip overseas in 2013 I felt God leading our family to begin pursuit of full-time ministry and I enrolled at Dallas Theological Seminary and currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Christian Leadership. My great passions in ministry are the pursuit of excellence in Biblical teaching, leadership training, and fostering a lifestyle of service in the lives of those I serve beside. One of my life verses is Ezra 7:10 and am continually inspired by Ezra’s devotion to scriptural obedience and personal excellence. My hobbies include live fire cooking, writing and entertainment software.
Ross Baker, B.A., B.S., M.A.
Ross graduated from Grove City College in 1978 with a BA in History and Business with a minor in economics. He moved to Houston in 1983 with Philipp Brothers/Phibro, then worked for Mannesmann Pipe and Steel as a division manager for 14 years. Ross is owner and President of Baker Alloy & Metal, incorporated in 2001, that provides raw materials to the U.S. steel industry. He also consulted to Celtic Marine Corp. of Baton Rouge, LA, which provides third party logistics such as ocean transportation, barging, stevedoring and trucking, to many companies around the U. S. and the world; from 2001 -2015.
Ross graduated from the College of Biblical Studies (Houston, TX) in in 2009 with a BS in Biblical Counseling; and from Dallas Theological Seminary in 2014 with a MA in Biblical Studies with a concentration in the Biblical languages (Hebrew and Greek), and a Graduate Teacher Diploma from the Evangelical Training Association. Ross has served Christ, in many roles including: Senior High counselor for 30 years and Confirmation teacher for 8 years. He has also served on the Board of Stewards, Social Concerns Committee, and basketball coach for various ages. He has been a Stephen’s Minister for 16 years. He has also been on many short term mission trips to points in the U. S., Costa Rica, Russia and Kenya, leading the international trips that built and repaired homes and living quarters. Ross speaks Spanish, and also some Russian and German. He currently teaches Sunday School classes for the Harvesters class at Tallowood Baptist Church where he is also a deacon, has substitute taught at Briarmeadow Charter School for 3 years, where his son attended. Ross has been active in the Walk to Emmaus movement (Methodist off-shoot of the Cursillo community) since 1995 where he came to Christ, and has served in various capacities including Lay-Director. Ross is also a teacher Christian Aplolgetics.
He has been married to his wife, Adria, for 30 years and they have one son, Alec, who is 23 years old. Adria (Ed.D) is director of the Office of International Students and Scholars at Rice University. The Bakers joined Tallowood Baptist Church in January 2014.
Bill Baldwin B.S., M.A.C.E.
Bill is a 1985 graduate of Texas A&M University and a 2016 graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Bill is an IT engineer and has been employed with AT&T for the last 15 years. Bill has two adult children and a lazy cat.
Daniel Blair B.A., Th.M.
Bio Not Available
Michael Brown B.A., Th.M.
Bio Not Available
Sherry Brown B.A., Th.M.
Bio Not Available
Trevor Calhoun B.A., Th.M.
Bio Not Available
Daryl Clark B.A., Th.M.
Bio Not Available
Lex Corpuz B.S., Th.M.
Lex Corpuz has a Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Space Physics with an emphasis on gravitational wave astronomy from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Lex currently works as a math and science tutor for high school students in Dallas. He loves to explore the use of narrative in scripture, gaming, and science fiction. Lex and his wife Vanessa are from the San Francisco Bay Area and have been married for seven years. Together, they are preparing to be missionaries in Japan.
J. Chris Frost B.A., Th.M. Candidate
Bio Not Available
Luke Hatteberg B.A., Th.M.
Bio Not Available
Allan Ingraham B.A., Th.M.
Allan Ingraham was born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas. In 1979, he enrolled on an athletic scholarship at Texas Christian University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Broadcasting in 1984. He competed in the 400m of the 1984 summer Olympics in Los Angeles and was ranked 5th in the World by Sports Illustrated. Later that year, he was employed as a Sports Reporter for Z.N.S. in Nassau, N.P. Bahamas.
After working in the insurance industry as Customer Service Supervisor and Marketing Director, Allan sensed God’s call into the Ministry. He enrolled at the College of Biblical Studies, where he audited over thirty credit hours between 2002 -2003. He earned a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary in 2014. Currently he is pursuing a Doctor of Ministry at The Masters Seminary in Sun Valley California.
Allan has been a member of Bible Way Fellowship Baptist Church since 2006 and currently serves as the Shepherding Pastor and Personal Assistant to Senior Pastor Dr. Ivory L. Varner, and as an Elder and a Minister of the Gospel. Allan and his wife Annette, a physician at Nassau Bay Pediatrics, are parents of twin sons, Cory and Derrick, born in 1993.
Dr. Jamale Kempt, B.A, M.Ed., M.Div., D.Min.
The Reverend Dr. Jamale Kempt, the fifth of six children born to Mrs. Thelma Matthews, serves in ministry as the founding pastor of Calvary Christian Church in Sugar Land, Texas. A proud native Houstonian and product of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church where Reverend Dr. Marcus D. Cosby serves as senior pastor, Jamale Kempt received the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education and the Master of Education in Administration at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas, as well as the Master of Divinity from Houston Graduate School of Theology in Houston, Texas.
Daniel Kennebrew B.B.A, MBA, M.A.C.E
Daniel Kennebrew holds a BBA and MBA from MississippiState University and Masters in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary. In addition to his role at OBA, Daniel is a Business Lecturer at Prairie View A&M University, Minister of Music and Young Adult Lead Teacher at Second Church of Christ (Holiness) USA and President of National Sunday School & HYM Congress, COCHUSA Global.
Dr. Richard Klein, D.Min.
Instructor and Curriculum Development
Dr. Rich Klein received his doctorate from Dallas Theological Seminary. He has also done post-doctoral study in Jerusalem, Israel. Dr. Klein has thirty-eight years of pastoral experience and has also been an associate professor for twelve years. Other ministries that he has been involved in include writing, radio broadcasting, and traveling widely ministering to several varied audiences. Currently, Dr. Klein pastors a church plant, teaches Bible classes, tutors Graduate and collegiate level students, counsels, and professionally mentors several. You can contact Dr Klein at 713-933-9574 or at email@example.com.
Keith Lindley, ThM., PhD. Candidate
Keith Lindley (ThM, 2016) is pursuing a PhD in Theological Studies at DTS. He is an active member of Stonebriar Community Church, an instructor of Bible and Theology at the Opened Bible Academy, and an ordained pastor. His main research interests include theology, apologetics, and the intersection between faith and popular culture. He and his wife, Megan, live in Dallas with their dog, Fitz."
Fred Mitchell B.S., Th.M.
Bio Not Available
Dr. Darren Moore, B.A.,MBA.,M.Div.,ThM, PhD.
Dr. Moore, a native of Opelousas, Louisiana, is the Pastor of Truevine Missionary Baptist Church, Spring, TX. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Grambling State University, the Master of Business Administration from the University of Virginia, and Doctor of Philosophy from Duke University. His religious training includes the Master of Divinity in Biblical and Theological Studies from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Master of Theology from the Duke University School of Divinity.
Janella Pyles, B.A., M.S., MDiv., D.Min Candidate
Janella Pyles is one of our newest instructors at OBA. A product of the Sacramento area of Northern California, Janella Pyles was born in Tampa, Florida and raised in the church. She is passionate about the local church where she has served in a number of capacities, including ministry assignments in Christian Education, music, missions, communications, and as an executive administrator and pastoral assistant. Her mission field has also extended to Corporate America where she has worked in the healthcare, financial services, and oil and gas industries.
Janella recently completed a Master of Divinity degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia in May 2015. She also holds a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Regis University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism (Public Relations) from California State University, Fresno.
Dr. Chad Rankin, B.S., MACE., DMin.
Dr. Chad E. Rankin accepted his calling to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ over 20 years ago. His passion and gifts of preaching and teaching have afforded him opportunities to minister in different venues across the world including Almaty, Kazakhstan and Barahona, Dominican Republic. Over the last 18 years, Dr. Rankin has served in various ministry capacities including conference speaker, church planter and church revitalization consultant, teaching assistant and substitute professor at College of Biblical Studies-Houston, visiting professor at CALTEC Bible College in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and guest lecturer and chapel speaker at Dallas Theological Seminary. In October 2016, he published an article in Christian Media Magazine entitled “Should Pastors Use Social Media?” In November 2016, Prairie View A&M University honored Dr. Rankin as the guest speaker and recipient of the Collegiate 100 Power Award. In an effort to provide biblical literacy to the body of Christ, Dr. Rankin volunteers his time by serving as an adjunct professor at Open Bible Academy, which is a tuition free Bible school in Houston, Texas.
Dr. Rankin served in full-time ministry for 12 years as the Assistant Pastor of Bible Way Fellowship Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. Currently Dr. Rankin is Director of Operations at Cross Roads Community Church in Pearland, TX.
A native of Dickinson, Texas, he earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in 2003 in Leadership and Biblical Studies from the College of Biblical Studies in Houston, Texas. He earned a Master’s Degree in 2011 in Christian Education and Educational Leadership from Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas. His passion for preaching and learning also led him to pursue and earn a Doctor of Ministry Degree in 2015 in Homiletics and Congregational Leadership from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. Rejuvenate Magazine recognized him as 40 under 40 on the Cusp in 2013 and in 2015 he was profiled in the DTS Alumni eNews Magazine in an article entitled, “Alumni Spotlight.”
Dr. Rankin serves his local community as a mentor and member of the National Center of Fathering better known as Watch D.O.G.S. He is also member of the NAACP Dickinson-Bay Area Chapter and board member of the City of Dickinson Building and Standards Commission. Additionally, he enjoys reading, playing golf and spending time with family and friends.
Charles Davenport B.S., USN, ThM. Candidate
Charles Davenport is a student at Dallas Theological Seminary, currently working on a Master of Theology with emphases in Biblical Theology and Hermeneutics. Originally from Georgia, he is a graduate of Georgia Tech and did four years in the US Navy after college. Following the Navy he moved to Houston, started his studies at DTS, and began working in the residential construction industry. In May of 2017 Charles married his lovely wife Melissa and moved to Dallas, where he works as a technical rep for a building products manufacturer while he anticipates a graduation date of Spring 2019 (Lord willing!). He and his wife are members of The Village Church's Dallas Northway campus, and his desire is to help people better understand the Bible so that they can know God better, love Him more, and become more like His Son Jesus.
Travis Reems, MACL ,M.A. Bible/Theology Candidate
Travis Reems--husband to Miranda and father to Mackenzie, Caleb, and Hadassah--has taught courses on Biblical hermeneutics (Bible interpretation), systematic theology, the Pentateuch, and how the Bible integrates as a narrative whole.
Holding ordination from the National Association of Christian Ministers, Travis also studies theology at Dallas Theological Seminary (MACS). His area of research interest relates to spiritual formation, specifically to Christian living.
Daymond Wilkins, B.S.N., USN, ThM., DMin. Candidate
Reverend Daymond Wilkins is the son of Mrs. Paula Wilkins, and the late Reverend Clarence G. Wilkins. He is a native of Houston, Texas. Reverend Wilkins confessed his hope in Christ at the age of four, at the Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church in Houston where his father served as pastor. Reverend Wilkins accepted his ministerial call to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in July 2004 at Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church, and preached his initial sermon on September 19, 2004. Reverend Wilkins sensed and answered the call of God on his life to preach the Gospel and “serve this present age.”
Reverend Wilkins is a 1995 graduate of James Madison High School in Houston. He attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) full scholarship and received the Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1999. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy and served as a Navy Nurse. Reverend Wilkins served five years on active duty, and four years in the naval reserve.
Reverend Wilkins is employed at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital as a registered nurse. In December 2015, Reverend Wilkins the Master of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary-Houston Extension. He is currently a PhD student at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reverend Wilkins is an associate minister and member of Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church. He is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated.
Reverend Wilkins has been blessed to share the Word of God in numerous places throughout the United States. He desires that every time he stands to preach, that he would be hid behind cross of Christ and that Christ would be seen. A scripture that Reverend Wilkins bases his ministry on is 2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV, “ But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
Classroom Community Leader
Margaret Materre is an associate minister at New Faith Church under the leadership of Dr. T. R. Williams, Sr. She is affectionately known as “Sistah Minister” and provides biblical counseling services to women and children. Margaret has been a lead teacher and mentor, for both existing and perspective teachers, for over 20 years at New Faith Church. Her experience in the areas of customer service and leadership enhance and strengthen an already vibrant educational and pastoral care ministry. She is uniquely gifted with the ability to make simple profound and yet captivate an age diverse audience. Margaret has been an ordained minister since 2001. She has preached at various churches throughout the state of Texas and is also a conference leader and facilitator.
God has blessed Margaret to develop “creative” ways to minister outside the walls of the church. Using the example of Christ, she has found unique ways to minister to people by presenting the gospel using multimedia, volunteerism, community involvement and community outreach.
Margaret is the widow of the late Rev. Ronald J. Materre and they have one son Ryan.
Classroom Community Leader
JoAnne Perry completed and graduated from the first Inaugrual class of OBA. That experience has prompted her to seek continuing her education in Theology. She received a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Master's degree in Public Administration both from Texas Southern University. Her current field has spanned over 30 years in State and Municipal Government. She is interested in the Development and Sustainability of Programs, Evaluation and Measurement and Leadership.
Classroom Community Leader
Pamela Walker is the youngest of four siblings, born in Navasota, Texas. Pam attended Lon Morris College in Jacksonville, Texas where she met her husband of 27 years. Upon graduating in 1989 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in accounting, she accompanied her spouse on a 24 year military career in the United States Air Force where they became proud parents of two beautiful children who are both attending college. During this time, Pam worked for Defense Finance and Accounting Services as an Accounting Technician and at the same time serving as an Auditor for the San Bernardino Hilton Hotel.
As Pam and her family transitioned and retired to Houston in Oct., 2000, she then took her gifts to CalAtlantic Homes formerly known as Ryland Homes as an Office Coordinator where she handles all business administrative duties to ensure office processes run smoothly.
Pam was destined for calling in ministry. Her late grandmother and mother were both Mission presidents at Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Navasota, Texas. She and her sister DeElla have since taken reigns at the position of Mission co-president. Pam is a member of Mount Hebron Missionary Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, under the leadership of Dr. Max A. Miller, Jr. She was honored to serve as treasurer in Women for Christ from 1991-1996, Mtn. Home Gospel Church, Mtn. Home, Idaho. This organization allowed women time alone with God, time in God’s Word, and fellowship with other women.
Creative Marketing Assistant
Grace Jordan graduates this May from Dallas Theological Seminary with a Masters in Christian Education. Grace also holds a Bachelors in Business Administration with an emphasis in marketing from the University of Oklahoma. Grace currently works as an advertising sales representative in the oil and gas industry, and is happy to offer her marketing background and graphic design skills to OBA.
Classroom Community Leader
“The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear. The Lord is the strength of my life whom shall I be afraid.” (Psalm 27)
A lover of God, Melisa Smith believes in God fully. Intimately, she calls herself God’s girl. Melisa is currently the Division Director of Adult Sunday School at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church where she also teaches and is a Minister in Training.
Melisa is credited as the very first student to register at Open Bible Academy where she graduated January 2017 with the inaugural class. Determined to share God’s word and help others apply the Word to their everyday life, Melisa is faithful in her studies, work and pursuit of God.
She is an accomplished author of two self-published books; a devotional book entitled Coffee with God, and a Christian fiction short story entitled Cause God Promised. A committed servant, Melisa is dedicated to the call of Christ. She is the mother of two young adult children, Jordan and Christi.
Classroom Community Leader & Newsletter Editor
Sheila Martin's original hometown is Jackson, Tennessee. She has made Houston, Texas her home for the last 31years and loves it.
After graduating high school 30 years prior, she went to college for the first time. Sheila graduated from the College of Biblical Studies in Houston August of 2017 with a B.S.. in Biblical Studies and Christian Leadership. She plans to attend Liberty University online to receive a M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies in Apologetics and Communications in the Spring of 2018.
Sheila is the Founder of Disciple Keeper's Ministry-a citywide one on one discipleship ministry that encourages believers to become and make disciples for Jesus Christ. Sheila has been employed at the USPS as a city letter carrier for 28 years. She is the proud mother of two sons and two daughters, (one by marriage), and two grandsons. Her greatest love and passion is for Jesus Christ!!
Dr. Karen Giesen, B.A., M.A., M.A.C.E., D.Min.
As Adjunct Professor in Educational Ministries and Leadership, Dr. Karen Giesen teaches, mentors, and advises students on the Dallas Theological Seminary Houston campus. She proudly counts the OBA founders among her former students. She and her family attend First Presbyterian Church Houston where she sings in the choir. She has served as Director of Christian Education, in communications, and in children’s ministries in former local churches. She came to faith in Christ as a teenager at Camp Peniel in the Texas Hill Country, where she later volunteered summers, edited the quarterly newsletter, and served on the board of directors. For six years, she led a Girl Scout troop at Yellowstone Academy. A native Houstonian, she graduated from Austin High School, Rice University, and Dallas Theological Seminary. She likes to write, enjoys entertaining, and loves sunsets. She and her husband Barney live in an older Houston neighborhood near their children and grandchildren.
Rick Hale, P.E., M.B.A, M.A.
Rick has a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from Texas Tech University and is a licensed Professional Engineer. He also holds an MBA from the University of Dallas and a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. He has worked at Perry Homes, the nation’s eighth largest private homebuilder since 1989, currently serving as Executive Vice President as well as serving on the Executive Committee which provides oversight of all company operations. Rick has been married to Lanette since 1980 and they have two adult children.