Michael has served Manna Church as Senior Pastor for over thirty years. In that time, the church has grown from 350 to over 9,000 members. Coupling sound biblical teaching with relevant, practical application and cutting-edge outreach, Michael and the pastoral staff have worked to create a culture that advances the Kingdom of God “across the street” and around the globe (actively engaged in 63 countries). Michael’s heart is not only to see God’s people equipped to change their world, but also for the planting of churches with the same world-changing vision. Under Michael’s leadership, Manna has helped to plant over 100 churches to date and is presently engaged in planting a version of Manna Church near every U.S. military base in the world.
Michael has authored seven books to include Building Successful Relationships, How to Get Promoted, Overcoming Barriers to Church Growth and most recently, Empowering Leadership.
Michael and his wife Laura married in 1979 and live in Fayetteville, North Carolina. They have 8 children and 22 grandchildren (and counting). In their spare time, they both enjoy training and competing in endurance sports, with over 27 marathons (Michael), 22 marathons (Laura), 3 Iron Man finishes (Michael), and a 50- and a 75-mile Ultra Marathon finish (Laura) to their credit.
Dr. Steven Crowther is president of Grace College of Divinity in Fayetteville, NC. He received his Ph.D. from Regent University in Organizational Leadership with a major in Global Leadership, as well as his Master of Arts degree in Theological Studies from Asbury Seminary. He has led churches and Bible Colleges for over 20 years. In addition, Steven does consulting to help other colleges with accreditation and leadership development. He lives in North Carolina but also travels to Latin America where he teaches leadership and theology. He has several published articles on leadership including Integral Biblical Leadership and The Spirit of Service: Reexamining Servant Leadership in the Gospel of Mark, as well as one book, Peter on Leadership: A Contemporary Exegetical Analysis.
Steven has been married to his wife, Terri, for 41 years; they have 4 adult children and 13 grandchildren.
Randy Thornton is the founder and Senior Pastor of Grace Church in Southern
Pines, NC. He received his Bachelor’s Degrees in Biblical Theology and
Ministerial Theology in 1986. He was on the pastoral staff and served as an elder at Manna Church in Fayetteville, NC, before planting Grace Church in 1988. Since then Grace Church has prospered, with over 2,500 people now calling it home and a second campus in Seven Lakes. Grace Church has also planted churches in Columbia, SC; Leland, NC; and in the nation of Honduras. In addition, for the last several years Randy has worked with churches on how to break barriers hindering growth. He serves on the board of 95 Network, which takes its name from the fact that 95% of the churches in America are under 95 in attendance.
Randy and his wife, Sarah, reside in Pinehurst; they have four adult children and two amazing grandchildren.
Kendrick Vinar has been the lead pastor at Grace Church of Chapel Hill, NC, since 2005. He received his B.A. from St. Olaf College in Math and Religion and his M.A. in Teaching from the University of St. Thomas. Originally from Stillwater, MN, Kendrick taught high school math and physics, as well as coached basketball for 5 years at Bethany Academy in Bloomington, MN. He also served as a staff pastor at City Hill Fellowship in Eden Prairie, MN, for 8 years.
The Vinar family enjoys country living on their hobby farm (raising chickens and riding horses). Kendrick loves training his English Springer Spaniel, Lexi, and also enjoys golf, running, working out, photography and hunting. His wife, Nana, is a UNC grad from the School of Public Health. They have five children, ranging from 11 to 23 years old.