SBTC Missions Team  

 Doug Hixson photo

Doug Hixson, Director of Missions and Church Planting

Doug oversees the areas of missions and church planting for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

He has served in ministry for twenty eight years as Youth Pastor, Senior Pastor and most recently as a Church Planter in South Dakota. Doug's church plant in South Dakota also planted three churches in the region.

Doug is married to Dana and they have two children-Benjamin and Adyson.

 Jason Lankford, Church Planting Associate

Jason serves as a church planting strategist. He is tasked with networking with SBTC churches to develop partnerships. He also works with and trains new church plants.

He has served in various areas of ministry overseas and most recently, as a Church Planter in Alaska. Jason is married to Caroline and they have three boys.

Dan Acharya, Missions Strategies Associate

Dan serves as a Missions strategies associate, leading People Group ministries.

Born into a Hindu family and raised as a Brahmin priest, Dan was introduced as a teenager to his Savior through John 15:16. He has been in ministry over 24 years as a church planter and evangelist both in Asia and Texas. He has seen God plant over 160 churches throughout his years in ministry.

Gayla Harris, Ministry Assistant to Doug Hixson

Gayla manages Reach Houston, Reach Austin, Reach El Paso, Reach the Rio Grande Valley and other mobilization partnerships, Reach Texas offerings and the annual Church Planter retreat.

Carmela Mechling, Ministry Assistant for Church Planting

Carmela manages the Church Planter application system, church planter monthly reports, Church Plant, PGM and intern funding/projections, demographic reports, coordinates church planter orientations and basic trainings.

Anna Whitson, Ministry Assistant to Dan Acharya

Anna manages the People Group Missionaries and their trainings, ESL trainings, Global Hunger Relief grants, Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon Offerings and the missions team webpages.


Chuy Avila, Missions Associate

Chuy serves as a church planting strategist and catalyst for the DFW area. He is tasked with networking with pastors to call out planters from their churches, facilitating training for new planters and supervising current planters. 

David Ortega, Missions Associate in Rio Grande Valley, Texas

David serves as a church planting strategist and catalyst for the Rio Grande Valley area. He is tasked with mapping the region, networking with pastors to call out planters from their churches, facilitating training for new planters and supervising current planters in the area of Texas from Brownsville to Rio Grande City.


Aaron Clayton, Ministry Facilitator

Aaron serves as a church planting strategist, training and walking alongside church planters in the areas of mid to south DFW and farther south.

 He and his wife Charity planted Remedy Church in Waxahachie, TX, beginning in 2011. They have 3 kids. In addition to church planting, Aaron has worked in various areas of ministry including college ministry and mobilizing high school and college students to the nations.

Shawn Kemp, Ministry Facilitator

Shawn facilitates the overseeing of church planters in the North Texas area. He consults with sponsoring churches and also helps with the SBTC Cowboy church network. He is currently the founding pastor of The Crossroads Church in Anna, Texas.

Jason Crandall

Jason Crandall, Ministry Facilitator

Jason facilitates the planting of churches in the Houston area.  Jason is married to Allison and they have 3 boys, Drew, Blaise and Judson.  Jason has a Bachelor’s degree from Bob Jones University, a Master of Arts degree from Liberty University, a Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate from Southern Seminary.  Jason is the founder and lead pastor of CityView Church in Pearland, TX.  He is the author of the book Proliferate, A Church Planting Strategy for Everyday Churches and a frequent blogger at

Ben Hays, Reach Houston Strategist

Ben serves as the Reach Houston Strategist and stepped into this role in the summer of 2016. He coordinates the SBTC efforts in Houston for church planting and church revitalization. Ben also works to mobilize short term mission teams from around Texas to serve alongside church planters in Houston. Ben has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Finance from Stephen F. Austin State University, as well as a Master of Arts degree in Biblical Exposition from Pensacola Theological Seminary. Ben is currently the pastor of The Church in the Center in downtown Houston, an SBTC church planted in 2008 in the world’s largest medical center. Ben is married to Kelli and they have five children.

Martin Gonzalez picture

Martin Gonzalez, People Group Strategist

Martin serves as People Group Strategist for the Houston area. He has served as a leader and pastor in churches in Texas, and as a missionary to people groups in Mexico and Nepal. In 2012  Martin founded Glocal Adventures, a mobilization and equipping ministry focused on the foreign born communities. Martin has 30 years of ministry experience and holds a Certificate of Theology, a Bachelors in Biblical Studies and a Masters in Theological Studies with a Concentration in Cross-cultural Missions. Martin is originally from Mexico, is married to Lupita and has two daughters: Bere and Edna.

Steve Cochran 

Steve Cochran, Reach Austin Strategist

Steve serves as the Reach Austin Strategist. He serves as a church planter within the SBTC at CrossWalk Church in Round Rock, Texas. He received his Masters of Arts in Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and received his undergraduate degree from Stephen F. Austin State University. He has served in full-time ministry for 40 years and pastored 3 Texas churches. Steve is married to Karen and they have four children.


Kason Branch, Ministry Facilitator

Kason serves as a church planting strategist and catalyst. He is tasked with guiding church planters interested in partnering with the SBTC through the initial application process. He also supervises established church planters in the DFW area. Kason planted Creekstrone Church, which launched in April 2016 in Keller, Tx. He and his wife, Shanea, have two children and reside in the North Fort Worth, Texas area.                                                         


Jorge Díaz, Ministry Facilitator

Dr. Díaz serves as a facilitator for planting new churches in El Paso. He also pastors Semilla de Mostaza, Centro Familiar Internacional. He has been a pastor and planter of new churches in Guatemala, Colombia and the USA. He served as the General Director of the Baptist Publishing House. Since his retirement, he has participated in planting 3 new churches.

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