Chris Backert

National Director

chris_backertWorking with church leaders to develop new expressions of Christian community and connecting those congregations together is the passion of Chris’s life.  He has served as National Director of Ecclesia since it’s beginning and has been part of several congregations within the network both in Virginia and Maryland.  In addition to his role with Ecclesia, he also helps spearhead Fresh Expressions US and Missio Alliance.

Chris holds a D.Min. in Missional Church Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary where his focus was on the importance of church networks for the future of mission in North America.  He currently lives just north of Harrisburg, PA  with his wife Rachel, daughter Elliana and son Jase.

Contact Chris: chris.backert at | 804.432.5418

J.R. Briggs

Director of Leadership and Congregational Formation

JR_2013-4J.R. Briggs serves as Cultural Cultivator of The Renew Community ( a Jesus community for skeptics and dreamers in Lansdale, PA – a suburb of Philadelphia. He recently created Kairos Partnerships, an initiative that partners with leaders, pastors and church planters during significant kairos moments in ministry.

He also oversees the Renew Apprenticeship Program, a year-long experiential program that equips, trains and teaches young leaders and pastors to become effective and faithful church planters for contextual ministry in the 21st century.  In addition, he is the creator of the Epic Fail Pastors Conference ( which helps pastors embrace failure and see it as an opportunity for grace and growth.  J.R. is on the Board of Directors for Ecclesia. and loves connecting and networking with other new churches and serving as a church planting coach.

J.R. is also a speaker, writer and blogger (  He received his Masters in Missional Theology from Biblical Theological Seminary.  He enjoys skiing, reading compelling books, surfing, canoeing, following the Philadelphia Phillies, traveling and playing basketball and racquetball. J.R. and his wife Megan have two sons, Carter and Bennett. The Briggs family lives in the heart of gritty Lansdale, PA.
Contact J.R.: jrbriggs at  // 215.833.4424


Bob Hyatt

Director of Equipping and Spiritual Formation

hyattBob has felt drawn to pastoral ministry since the 5th grade- he’s always known: this is what he wanted to do- helping people find relationship with God. This has worked itself out most clearly in planting the Evergreen Community in Portland, OR in 2004. This has now expanded to also include coaching church planters and other pastors.

He is a graduate of Western Seminary and currently finishing a D.Min at George Fox Seminary. He’s also the co-author of an upcoming book from InterVarsity Press.

Contact Bob: at  // 503.997.0407



Jane Linton


janeJane Linton is the Administrator for The Ecclesia Network, and also for Fresh Expressions US and Kairos Partnerships.  She was an active part of a Richmond church plant called ‘Imago Dei’ for five years, and loves sharing her love of planning and organization to help churches and their staff fulfill their callings.

Jane graduated from Virginia Tech with majors in History and Political Science.  Before working with churches she taught school groups with the Valentine Richmond History Center.

When Jane is not meticulously and joyfully color-coding tabbed binders and formatting trip itineraries, she can be found chasing her two small boys Alex and Luke around Richmond or working with her husband Brandon on a new Pinterest-inspired home project.

Contact Jane: admin at