Jimmy Dorrell, Executive Director and President, Co-Founder
Jimmy Dorrell is co-founder and Executive Director of Mission Waco. He grew up in Conroe, Texas and came to Waco in 1968 to attend Baylor University where he majored in religion and received a BA in 1972. He graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with an MDiv in 1978 and received his MA in Environmental Studies from Baylor in 1993. In 2001 he received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.
Dorrell is pastor of Church Under the Bridge and also teaches classes at Baylor University and Truett Seminary in Waco. He has served on many boards including Teen Pregnancy Prevention Council, Parents as Teachers, Compassion Ministries of Waco, Waco Tribune Herald Board of Contributors, Census 2000 Special Housing Subcommittee Chair and currently the Christian Community Development Association. He has been honored through awards such as Family of the Year Award-Waco Conference of Christians & Jews, Hometown Hero Award, Citizen of the Year-National Association of Social Workers Waco Unit and Baylor University Alumni’s Abner V. McCall Humanitarian Award.
After receiving his degree from seminary in 1978, he and his wife Janet moved into the North Waco neighborhood where they began their call to incarnational ministry, to live among the poor and help bring “good news” through relationships and empowerment opportunities. His passion for the poor and mobilizing the middle-class to become involved in the lives of the poor became the strategy for Mission Waco that continues today.
For fun, Jimmy enjoys playing table tennis and spending time with his wife, Janet, and their children, Seth, Josh, Zach, and Christy, and their grandchidren, Zoe, Finley, Zane, Nielah, Zeke, Angelo and Ziah.
Jimmy has written several books: Trolls and Truth, Plunge2Poverty, and Dead Church Walking.
Janet Dorrell, Mission World (Global Missions) and Poverty Simulation Director, Co-Founder
Janet Dorrell serves as Mission World director, Poverty Simulation trainer and Exposure Trip leader for Mission Waco. She grew up in Oklahoma City and attended Baylor University where she received her Bachelors of Science and Education degree. For 15 years she home schooled her four children and later embarked on her anthropological thesis research in Punjab, India among nomadic peoples and finished her Masters of Science in 2002 from Baylor.
Janet currently teaches at Baylor University and supervises graduate interns in research among women and nomadic peoples. Janet leads the exposure trip to India in May, and the trips to Haiti (March, May, and sometimes Fall) and Mexico city in July of every year. Ten weekends a year she leads participants in Mission Waco’s poverty simulation to help mobilize middle-class people to become compassionately involved in the lives of the poor.
For fun, Janet celebrates life with her husband and considers it a gift and a privilege to be on mission together. Her children, Seth and Sarah, Josh and Danielle, and Zach, and Christy and Angelo bring her immense joy. She and Jimmy are now proud grandparents of Zoe, Finley, Zane, Nielah, Zeke, Angelo and Ziah. She loves riding her horse, playing with her dogs and exploring other cultures of the world.
VOCATION – “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Frederick Buechner
John Calaway, Associate Executive Director of Development and Volunteers
Prior to coming on staff John attended Hardin-Simmons University and after graduating in 2006 he lived in Nepal and worked among the Sherpa people to start a business, plant churches, train pastors and host medical clinics in remote villages. It was in Nepal that God began to develop his heart for the local church and those living in poverty. Soon after returning he got married and attended Baylor University’s Truett Seminary where he received his Master of Divinity degree with a concentration in Missions and World Christianity in 2011. While in graduate school he became actively engaged with Church Under the Bridge and Mission Waco. It was here that he learned about Christian community development and how to think about addressing systemic issues surrounding poverty. After graduating from Truett he moved to Austin and was a Missions Pastor for six years before moving back to Waco to join our staff in early 2017.
John has led multiple workshops for the No Need Among You Conference over the years, been a speaker for the Texas Christian Community Development Network, and is active in the Christian Community Development Association. He has sat on different boards for non-profit organizations and traveled all over the world leading hundreds of people to serve the poor.
He loves to go mountain biking in Cameron Park, competing in triathlons, mountain climbing and backpacking all over the U.S., and traveling around the world. His wife, Sarah, is a pediatric physical therapist and is passionate about advocating for children with special needs. They both love having fun with their two young kids, Cohen and Cora.
Kathy Wise, Associate Executive Director of Operations and Mobilizing
Kathy Wise is Assistant Director of Mission Waco. She grew up in Gatesville, Texas, graduated from Baylor with a BBA degree and moved to Alexandria, Virginia where she worked in business for 10 years followed by 5 years on staff at First Baptist Alexandria (community ministries, single adult ministry). She returned to Waco to attend Baylor’s Truett Seminary where she earned her M.Div. degree in theology, including a mentorship semester in Clinical Pastoral Education/chaplaincy at Hillcrest Hospital. Kathy began volunteering with Mission Waco in 1998 to learn more about cross cultural relationships, completed Mission Waco’s Urban Ministry Institute in 2000 (including a 2-month “urban placement” with the Jesus People in Chicago that opened her eyes to community living), and then joined Mission Waco staff in May 2000. She oversees much of the operational side of Mission Waco, as well as the work group and intern programs, and staff liaison with The Ark Apartments.
Kathy enjoys being part of Church Under the Bridge, hiking, biking, participating in entrepreneurship and redevelopment in Waco, and introducing people to Waco.
“Gratitude is the attitude which enables us to receive the hidden gifts of those we want to serve and to make these gifts visible to the community as a source of celebration…. There is little doubt that jealousy, rivalry, anger, and resentment dominate our society much more than gratitude. Most people are afraid to make themselves available to others. They fear that they will be manipulated and exploited. They choose the safe way of hiding themselves and thus remaining unnoticed and anonymous. But in such a milieu of suspicion and fear, no community can develop and no good news can become visible…. True missioners are people who are hunting for the Divine treasure hidden in the heart of the people to whom they want to make the Good News known. They always expect to see the beauty and truth of God shining through those with whom they live and work.” (Nouwen, Gracias)
Carlton Willis, Associate Executive Director of Programs
Carlton Willis is Director of the MPowerment Program, which provides job training, computer training and adult literacy to the poor and marginalized, as well as working with participants to help them overcome barriers that prevent stability. Carlton is a native of Abbeville, SC. He attended Anderson College where he received a BA Degree in Music, with an outside field in Business. After graduation Carlton became Evening Director of Student Activities and worked in Admissions and Residence Life. After a year, Carlton joined Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee where he was Assistant Director of Admissions/Coordinator of Minority Recruitment for seven and a half years. He also served as Director of Music at Oak Valley Baptist Church in Oak Ridge, TN for two years. Carlton joined Mission Waco as Director of the MPowerment Program in December of 2000.
Carlton enjoys singing, traveling, meeting people, and hanging with family and friends. He attends Greater New Light Missionary Baptist Church where he serves as Co-Choir Director, and assists with Sunday School class.
Bruce Brown, Finance Director
Finance Director Bruce Brown is a Certified Public Account with over 36 years of experience. An Oklahoma native he graduated from Oklahoma University with a BBA in 1977 then obtained his Masters of Business Administration degree in 1983 from Central State University. Bruce has a wide range of experiences in work and life. He has worked for the U.S. Army, CAP Cities/ABC, Ernest & Whinny, Getty Oil, Southern Farm Bureau Insurance, ITT and others. For years Bruce volunteered his gifts to help non-profits and his church. In 1997, with the help of business leaders and some awesome pastors, he set up a non-profit corporation, Central Texas Community Development Corp. (CTCDC), to facilitate activates related to helping those in need. Mission Waco and CTCDC served many of the same youth, children and families in Waco. The opportunity to join Mission Waco as Associate Finance Director came in May of 2011. Bruce was promoted to Finance Director to manage all accounting plus personnel duties in December 2011.
Family is extremely important to Bruce with a loving wife, nine girls, twelve grandkids and two great grandkids. Loving to travel, Bruce has been all over the world for vacations and mission trips. His love for kids is also evident through mentoring, tutoring and teaching. Bruce was awarded a Golden Apple Award Leadership Development by Waco’s Adopt A school Program. When not busy with family, ministry or CPA practice he tinkers in the garage or watches TV.