J. D. serves as the pastor for church multiplication with The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. Before moving to Birmingham, he served for ten years with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and as an Associate Professor of Church Planting and Evangelism in the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where he directed the Center for North American Missions and Church Planting.
After completing his doctoral studies at the age of twenty-seven, he was invited to serve with the seminary, making him one of the youngest professors in the history of the school. Prior to his arrival at Southern, he taught as an Adjunct Professor at Crossroads Bible College in Indianapolis, Indiana. He holds memberships in the Evangelical Missiological Society, and Great Commission Research Network. He formerly served as the Executive Vice President for Administration for the Evangelical Missiological Society and as the book review editor for the Great Commission Research Journal.
He is originally from Corbin, Kentucky. After coming to faith in Christ as a teenager, he soon came to understand that the Lord was leading him into vocational ministry. Following the completion of a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Kentucky, he later completed a Master of Divinity degree in Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Evangelism and Church Growth from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
J. D. has served as a pastor of five churches in Kentucky and Indiana and has worked with four church planting teams. Over the years he has also served as a coach and mentor to numerous church planters. Rather than seeing himself as the “Apostle Paul-type,” he best describes himself as a “Barnabas” to church planters and pastors. His desire is to minister alongside of others in order to see them equipped to become all that God desires for them as they multiply disciples, leaders, and churches.
Over the years, he has written numerous articles and reviews in the area of missions and evangelism and church growth. He is the author of eight books: Missional House Churches: Reaching Our Communities with the Gospel, The Barnabas Factors: Eight Essential Practices of Church Planting Team Members, Discovering Church Planting: An Introduction to the Whats, Whys, and Hows of Global Church Planting, Evangelism: A Biblical Response to Today’s Questions, Strangers Next Door: Immigration, Migration, and Mission, Roland Allen: Pioneer of Spontaneous Expansion, Kingdom Expressions: Trends Influencing the Advancement of the Gospel, and Pressure Points: Twelve Global Issues Shaping the Face of the Church.
In addition to these works, he and Mark Terry co-authored Developing a Strategy for Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Cultural Introduction as a part of the Baker Encountering Mission series, and co-edited, with Craig Ott, Missionary Methods: Research, Reflections, and Realities which is part of the annual Evangelical Missiological Society/William Carey Library publication.
He speaks frequently for churches, networks, conferences, and mission agencies/societies. Believing that every believer is supposed to be a “fruit-bearing” disciple in a local church, he is passionate about seeing the Body of Christ grow as local congregations work to carry out the Great Commission.
He is married to Sarah who is a physician in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, working part-time at a clinic for uninsured populations in Birmingham, Alabama. They have three young children Hannah, Rachel, and Joel. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or located on Twitter @jd_payne.