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Leadership Profiles

Sep 15th, 2010 | By | Category: Kip McKean, Leadership Profiles

Kip McKean and Elena Garcia-McKean

The first son of an Admiral in the US Navy, Thomas Wayne “Kip” McKean was born in Indianapolis, Indiana May 31, 1954. As a young man, Kip was a leader in school, clubs, sports, MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship) and Boy Scouts where he became an Eagle Scout. He was baptized into Christ at 17 as a freshman at the University of Florida. He went on to graduate Phi Beta Kappa and immediately entered the full-time ministry. In 1976, he married fellow honor student Elena Garcia-Bengochea, whose family had escaped from Cuba when she was only three years old. Together Kip and Elena moved to Charleston, Illinois to initiate a campus outreach. The church in Charleston grew from just a few to 300 in three short years.

After hearing about the McKeans’ work, the elders in a small, dying traditional church of Christ in Lexington, Massachusetts asked Kip to become the full-time pulpit minister. He accepted the position on the condition that he would preach and teach with the conviction that everyone in the church, whether in the campus, married, singles or teen ministry needed to be totally committed to God, in order to remain a member of the congregation. History was made as 30 would-be disciples met in the living room of Bob and Patricia Gempel on June 1, 1979 for the first devotional that would call everyone in the church to be a disciple of Jesus. Elena, along with Pat Gempel, created and developed a ministry for women, teaching them the Bible, the discipleship of Jesus and raising up powerful, young women into leadership. The Lexington church was later renamed the Boston Church of Christ, which grew (for the Northeast United States) an unprecedented 1,000 members in just six years, with services held in the beautiful Boston Opera House.

After hearing about the evidence of God’s grace in the Boston Church, many zealous men and women from the different sects of the traditional Church of Christ and Christian Churches moved to Boston to be trained under Kip and Elena. They were drawn from all parts of the country because of Kip’s vision to evangelize the world in one generation and unique teaching from the Bible that the only true Christians were baptized disciples, who in turn compose the true church of Christ. The Boston Church sent out its first two church plantings to Chicago and London in 1982. Today, this movement of God which began in one church in Boston, has not only multiplied disciples, but has also multiplied churches so that presently there are 329 churches in 140 countries on six continents. Many of these churches are among the fastest-growing in the world. The average Sunday attendance for these churches worldwide, as of January, 1998, was over 160,000!

Kip and Elena were located in Boston for ten years. The Boston Church of Christ had grown from 30 members to a regular attendance of 4,000 and worship services were held in the famous Boston Garden. During the latter part of the eighties, the McKean family lived for short periods of time in Manila, Bangkok, and Cairo establishing and strengthening these new churches of disciples. In January of 1990, the McKeans moved to Los Angeles to lead a young church of 150. In time, the Los Angeles Church, because of its rapid growth, became the “flagship” ministry of all the churches in the movement. Today, over 12,000 are in attendance every Sunday. Also of great significance, the McKeans gathered and led a mission team of 17 disciples that was sent out from Los Angeles to Moscow. In July 1991, a month before the coup, the Moscow Church was planted. Today 3,000 attend the Sunday services of the Moscow Church and there are 17 other churches sent out from Moscow, to all parts of Russia and to all the new nations formed from the former Soviet Union!

The McKeans have always had the deep conviction that children are a God-given trust. They have been active in coaching their children in sports, as well as fostering academic excellence and community involvement. Today, Olivia (16) is a disciple, as is Sean (15). Both are award-winning students and nationally ranked tennis players. Eric (13) is in junior high school, also excelling in studies, nationally ranked in tennis, and captain of his junior high basketball team. The McKean family has become a tremendous example of the fruits of raising children with the Bible as their guide and standard. Presently, Kip and Elena dynamically lead the LA Church and have chosen a limited travel schedule, because of the children’s critical years of development in junior high and high school. However, their singular dream is to live to see the day that every person in every nation of the world has heard the good news of Jesus and the kingdom of God.  (from LA church website, 1998)

Dr. Al and Gloria Baird

Al was born in Beaumont, Texas in 1940. He received a bachelor’s degree at Abilene Christian University, where he met his wife, Gloria, and they married in 1961. They later moved to Austin where Gloria completed her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, and Al obtained his Ph.D. in Plasma Physics at the University of Texas.

In 1968, Al and Gloria moved with their young daughters Staci and Kristi to Burlington Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. Al began a career here with the Sperry Corporation (now Unisys) as a research scientist. From 1968 until 1983, Al became a respected authority in his field of research, publishing over twenty papers and obtaining two patents. His name is listed among “Who’s Who in Technology Today” and “Community Leaders of America”, as well as numerous other outstanding achievement lists. In 1970 Gloria had their third daughter Keri and devoted herself full-time to raising these three young women.

The Bairds were always committed to their relationship with God and devoted to church. In 1983, they entered the full-time ministry in the Boston Church of Christ. They were appointed Evangelist and Women’s Ministry Leader by Kip McKean and Elena Garcia-McKean. They formed a powerful Eldership with Robert and Patricia Gempel in the Boston Church. Today, Al and Gloria inspire disciples of Jesus around the world as they speak and counsel families about zeal for God as a first priority, and maintaining a family life that is above reproach. They are now World Sector Leaders, overseeing the Media/Law World Sector, responsible for all legal issues regarding the International Churches of Christ (ICOC), as well as the dissemination of information about the modern-day movement of God. The powerful video newsmagazine, KNN is produced under their capable direction.

In the LA Church, Al serves as a congregational Elder. Gloria serves as a Women’s Ministry Leader. Their hearts for people and their spiritual wisdom are well-known among the members of the LA Church. Because of their commitment to God and his principles, God has blessed the Baird family. All three daughters are adults married to powerful disciples of Jesus and work in the full-time ministry. Al and Gloria recently celebrated 36 years of marriage and the added blessing of becoming grandparents to three little girls. They have never looked back as they made decisions to serve God in the best possible way, and they are an inspiration to disciples from Boston to Bombay.   (from LA church website, 1998)

Bruce and Robyn Williams

Bruce and Robyn were born and raised in Florida, met in high school and attended the University of Florida, where they were baptized into Christ in the campus ministry. They were married in 1972, two weeks after graduation from college. Robyn received a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and Bruce finished with a Bachelor of Science in psychology. While they worked full-time in the campus ministry in Tallahassee, Bruce earned a Master of Science degree from Abilene Christian University during the summers. From 1979-1989 they led some of the fastest-growing churches in the United States in Miami, San Diego and Chicago. In March of 1991 they moved to Los Angeles to be part of the ministry staff. The regions of the dynamic LA church under their charge see an average of 5,400 people attend every Sunday. Bruce also serves as an Elder of the LA Church.

The Williams’ are committed parents who take seriously their purpose of setting a godly example of discipleship of Jesus for their children. Their oldest daughter Brooke is now 21 years old, a junior at UC Santa Barbara and training for the full-time ministry.

Their son Jason is 19, attending UCLA and also a ministry intern. Youngest daughter Ashley is 11, an excellent student and ranked among the top 10 tennis players of her age division in Southern California.    (from LA church website, 1998)

Marty and Chris Fuqua

Marty Fuqua became a disciple of Jesus in the campus ministry at Eastern Illinois University. He was baptized by his close friend, Kip McKean. After graduation in 1978, Marty was sent out in the ministry in northern Illinois after being trained to become an Evangelist by Kip. He married the former Chris Timmis in 1981, once she completed training as a Registered Nurse from the Newton Wellesly School of Nursing in Boston. Before her marriage, Chris trained to become a Women’s Ministry Leader under Elena Garcia-McKean. In 1982, the Boston Church of Christ sent the Fuquas to begin the Chicago Church of Christ. That church, now one of the largest in Chicago, has an average Sunday attendance of nearly 6,000. Moving to Los Angeles in 1989, Marty and Chris have co-led the LA Church of Christ, again serving alongside dear friends Kip McKean and Elena Garcia-McKean.

The Fuquas are also World Sector Leaders in the International Churches of Christ (ICOC). Their responsibilities include overseeing all ICOC churches in the Midwestern and Mid South United States, Canada, Scandinavia and the twenty-one churches planted as a result of the historic 1991 Moscow Church planting in the Former Soviet Union. They pledged to plant a church in every country under their charge by the year 2000; a difficult task, especially given the current climate of change in some countries. Still, by God’s grace, they recently fulfilled that promise and there are now disciples in every country they oversee, including every independent republic in the former Soviet Union.

Marty and Chris have three children. Their son Ben is 12; their daughter Maria is 11. Recently the Fuqua family had the joy of adding another daughter, Anya, also11, adopted from an orphanage in Russia.  (from LA church website, 1998)

Mike Leatherwood


Served on staff for 17 years of the New York City Church.  Founder of Chemical Recovery ministry, NYC. HOPE for Kids Project Director.  Mike holds Master’s Degrees in Divinity and Social Work.

Left the ICOC in 2003.  Wrote a letter to the leadership of the NYC Church.

2005 -Disciplined by the Arkansas Social Work Licensing Board http://www.state.ar.us/swlb/pdfs/disciplinary_action.pdf

Date of Action: 8/8/2005
Action Taken: License Renewal Denied
Violations: A.C.A. 17-103-304(a)(3) pertaining to engaging in a course of unprofessional conduct as defined by the rules established by the board or violation of the code-of-ethics made and published by the Board; A.C.A. 17-103-203 X Code-of-Ethics/Standards for Practice (G) Client Relationships.



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