Bishop Linda Adams
In July 2019, the Rev. Dr. Linda Adams was elected as the first female bishop in the 160-year history of the Free Methodist Church USA. She serves with two other newly elected bishops and oversees the northern US from eastern Montana to West Virginia and the Free Methodist work in all the countries in Latin America that have not yet become General Conferences.
Prior to her election, Bishop Adams served as Director of International Child Care Ministries (ICCM) for eleven years. This child sponsorship initiative of the global Free Methodist Church serves approximately 20,000 children in 33 countries. She thoroughly enjoyed overseeing leaders around the world as they collaborated for the holistic development of children through education, residential care and after-school programs.
Bishop Adams earned both the MDiv (1991) and DMin (2000) from Asbury Theological Seminary. In 1997-98 she participated in the Beeson Residential Doctor of Ministry program with a focus on Preaching and Leadership. She also was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Center for Contemporary Christianity in Bangalore, India. She became a Free Methodist Deacon in 1991 and an Elder in 1993. Hailing from Michigan, Bishop Adams graduated from Spring Arbor University and served churches in Michigan, Illinois and New York before beginning to lead ICCM. She and her husband of 42 years, John Adams, have moved to Holland, Michigan. They are parents of two grown children, Nathan and Carrie.
Bishop Keith Cowart
Bishop Keith Cowart oversees Free Methodist ministries along the Eastern Seaboard and the South Central United States, as well as in Europe and the Middle East. He is a graduate of Georgia Southern University (BBA, 1986) and Asbury Theological Seminary (M. Div., 1991; D. Min. 2002). His wife, Pamela Taylor Cowart, is also a graduate of ATS (M. Div., 1991). Keith and Pam have 2 adult sons, Andrew and Aaron (who is married to Hannah Mae), and four grandchildren: Asaph, Akala (Foster), Bethel (Deceased), and Shiloh (arriving early June 2023). They reside in Columbus, Georgia.
In 1997, Keith and Pam planted Christ Community Church in Columbus, Georgia. Over the 21 years that he served as Lead Pastor, Christ Community planted or played a major role in planting 4 other churches and sent out more than 35 men and women to serve as pastors, parachurch ministry directors, military chaplains or missionaries around the world.
During that tenure, Keith also served as Area Director of Southern Europe for FMWM in 2014-2016. Following a brief term as Superintendent of the Southeast Region Conference, Keith was elected Bishop at General Conference 2019.
Bishop Matt Whitehead
Dr. Matt Whitehead was elected as one of the three FMCUSA Bishops at Free Methodist General Conference in Orlando, Florida in July 2019. For the previous 20 years, Bishop Matt served as the Superintendent of the Pacific Northwest Conference headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Prior to his election as Superintendent, Matt served as Lead Pastor at two churches in the Pacific Northwest Conference.
Matt & Melanie celebrated 41 years of marriage in August 2022. Melanie worked at Seattle Pacific University as the Coordinator of Campus Planning & Development. Matt and Melanie are the parents of two daughters, Jessica and Melissa. Jessica and her husband, David, are the parents of three (amazing) little boys. Jessica is a Jr. High teacher at a Christian school in the Seattle area and David is employed at Seattle Pacific University. Matt and Melanie are very grateful that Melissa, Jessica and David all have a personal commitment to Jesus.
Matt holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Seattle Pacific University, a Master of Divinity from Western Evangelical Seminary (Portland Seminary) and a Doctor of Ministry from Asbury Theological Seminary.
Matt & Melanie are big football fans (GO HAWKS!) and enjoy spending time with their three grandsons and family.
Bishop Emeritus David Kendall
David W. Kendall has served as Pastor, Superintendent and Bishop in the Free Methodist Church, providing leadership in the U.S., the continent of Africa, and the Middle East. Bishop Kendall’s passion for ministry centers on two primary calls: first, to communicate the Scriptures as God’s Word in faithful and relevant ways to our world today and second, to assist God’s people to be truly the church in the 21st century. Bishop Kendall received a Bachelor of Arts degree (Philosophy and Religion) from Spring Arbor College (Spring Arbor, MI) in 1976 and Master of Divinity degree (Biblical Studies) from Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore, KY) in 1979. In 1984 he graduated from Union Theological Seminary (Richmond, Virginia) with a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies, New Testament.
He also enjoys writing and seeks to build up the church through the printed word as well. He contributes regularly to Christian periodicals and endeavors to maintain an active life in the blogosphere. He is the author of Follow Her Lead, a 2019 Publication; God’s Call to be Like Jesus: Living a Holy Life in an Unholy World, a 1999 publication, both of Light and Life Communications, and Co-Author of, The Female Pastor: Is There Room for She in Shepherd?, also a Light and Life publication in 2005.
He is married to Lavone, who has taught special needs persons in the public schools and the church. They have three daughters who with their husbands have given them, their families and the world, nine grandchildren. The Kendalls reside in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Rev. Dr. David Bauer
David Bauer is an ordained elder in the Ohio Conference and has served under pastoral appointment there, but most of his professional life has been invested in the academy. He has a B.A. from Spring Arbor College, an M.Div. from Asbury Theological Seminary, a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia and has done post-doctoral studies as a visiting scholar at Princeton Theological Seminary.
Since 1984, David has been a member of the faculty at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is presently the Ralph Waldo Beeson Professor of Inductive Biblical Studies and dean of the School of Biblical Interpretation at Asbury Seminary. He is active in the Wilmore (Ky.) Free Methodist Church, serving as team leader for ministry to seminarians. He also serves as the coordinator for the Free Methodist Fellowship at Asbury Theological Seminary.
In addition to the Study Commission on Doctrine, David serves on the board of The Word is Out Ministries. He has served on the executive committee of the Institute for Biblical Research, and has been co-chair of the Matthew Group and the Hebrews Consultation of the Society of Biblical Literature. His website on inductive study of the Bible is inductivebiblicalstudy.com.
Rev. Dr. Allison Coventry
Allison Coventry is reflective practitioner who values the intersection of experience with solid research. Shecompleted my Doctor of Ministry (DMIN) degree in 2013 at Northeastern Seminary. Her dissertation title is: “Immersion in a Culturally Intelligent Biblical Worldview: Becoming effective and responsible participants in God’s mission.”
She is a pastor serving in Seattle and filling a variety of roles. The most important part of her ministry is investing in people, having spiritual conversations, and seeking to engage our neighborhoods and world in ways that lead to health and wholeness.
Rev. Dr. Bruce N.G. Cromwell
In addition to SCOD, Bruce helps lead two scholarly communities, Ecclesiademy and Graduate Students’ Theological Seminar (GSTS), both of which involve Free Methodist persons with graduate degrees. He has served on the denominational Committee for History & Archives, has been Vice President of the Free Methodist Urban Fellowship, and represents the FMCUSA on the Catholic-Evangelical Dialogue.
Bruce has his B.A. from Greenville College, and both his M.A. and Ph.D. in Historical Theology (Patristics) from St. Louis University.
He and his wife, the Rev. Dr. Mindi Grieser Cromwell, have two sons, Levi and Bennet.
Dr. Elisée Ouoba
Elisée Ouoba is an Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Spring Arbor University. He has a PhD in Biblical Theology from Wheaton College, IL and a ThM in Biblical Studies from the Bangui Evangelical School of Theology in Central African Republic.
Elisée served as missionary in the city of Bangui where he taught full time at the seminary and preached in various churches. Prior to serving in Bangui Elisée was a Bible College professor and an Associate Pastor in his home country, Burkina Faso. His research focuses on biblical theology and hermeneutics in the context of world Christianity. He and his family are active members of the Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church.
Edward Song is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA, where he has taught since 2013. Ed has a BA from Yale, an MA from Oxford, and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. Prior to arriving at Westmont, he and his wife taught for 7 years at Louisiana State University.
Ed teaches and writes on matters of moral and political philosophy, philosophy of law, and public policy. He is particularly interested in inequality, political theology, the efficacy of free markets, and in more practical public policy related issues regarding poverty. Ed and his family worship at the Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara.
Rev. Dr. Denny Wayman
Rev. Dr. Denny Wayman has served the Study Commission for over twenty years and moderates the SCOD’s Free Methodist Conversations website. Denny was the lead pastor of the Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara for 40 years and Lead Superintendent of the Southern California Conference for 8 years. Denny is now retired continuing to write CINEMA IN FOCUS, a commentary on the spiritual and social implications of film with Hal Conklin. Denny is married to Cheryl who is a Marriage and Family Therapist and they have two sons and five grandchildren.