South Leaders

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God’s Word says we are designed for community. At Bethel, we want to create opportunities for people to be known and to know others..


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Our pastors are men of compassion, scholarship, and grace who seek to glorify God and point the world to Christ. They are among the imperfect people who make up our church, believing and teaching that Jesus came to save sinners through His life, death, and resurrection. Our pastors desire to make disciples who seek to treasure and follow Jesus.

Ross Strader

Senior Pastor

Our family loves being a part of Bethel Bible Church. I’ve served as senior pastor of Bethel since we moved here in 2006. My wife Leslie and I grew up in the same West Texas town, but didn’t meet until a “blind date” in graduate school. We married in 1995 and still look forward to our weekly breakfast date together. I graduated from Hardin-Simmons with a Masters in Family Psychology and, after serving 10 years on Young Life staff, attended Dallas Theological Seminary where I earned my Masters of Theology in Pastoral Leadership. I’m currently working on my Doctor of Ministry in Theological Exegesis from Knox Theological Seminary. Leslie and I have three kids – Maggie, Jay, and Katherine. I’m a Mac guy and a pretty big Bible software nerd. I love my family, pie, talking theology, and enjoy the occasional Netflix binge when I find the time.

Fritz Hager

Executive Pastor

I attended Bethel for the first time in 1982 as a sophomore Robert. E. Lee student — my family had recently moved to town from the Dallas area. After graduating from West Point and serving in Desert Storm I left the Army, married my wife Sarina, and started a business career. Over the next 15 years I ran and built companies, and our family grew to six kids (elementary through high school). In 2009 I accepted the opportunity to join the pastoral team at Bethel, where I do whatever Ross tells me. I graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary in 2012 with a MABS and finished my ThM in 2015. I enjoy hunting or fishing in my spare time outside of the family, work, and school.

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Mark Kuykendall

Executive Pastor of Leadership & Strategy

Born in Fort Smith, AR, I grew up in the small town of Ozark. As a High School freshman, we moved to Henderson, TX where I met my wife Marla. We were high school sweethearts and married two years after graduation. I graduated with an accounting degree from the University of North Texas. Marla and I have three children, Kylee who is married to her husband Josh, Ufayse, and Marcus. I studied Christian Education specializing in youth and families at Dallas Theological Seminary. In December of 2016, I graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lousiville, Kentucky with a Doctorate of Christian Ministry, specializing in leadership. In my free time, I enjoy running, hunting, building with my hands, and buttermilk pie.

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Chad Bradley

Associate Pastor

Bethel Bible Church became our home in 2021. We moved to Tyler from northern Ethiopia after serving as missionaries with SIM. In Ethiopia, we equipped the growing protestant church through theological education by teaching at a local Bible college and in the surrounding countryside. My wife, Nancy, and I met while studying at Dallas Theological Seminary. She graduated with a Master of Arts in Cross-cultural ministry and I with a ThM. We married in 2013. She is my partner in life and ministry. We have so many things in common, including our deep roots in Texas, but especially our love for Jesus. We have two beautiful daughters and one handsome son. Our family loves anything outdoors. We especially enjoy hiking as a family in beautiful East Texas.

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Todd Wright

Pastor of Worship, Communications and Media

My wife Kristen and I moved to Tyler from Lufkin, Texas a few years ago, and I’ve been leading worship at Bethel South ever since. We have two awesome kids — Jonah, our oldest, is pretty much a video game master, and Finley, the baby, is pretty much a party waiting to happen! Kristen and I have been married since 1998 and we love East Texas. I love writing worship songs, social media, and Batman (not necessarily in that order).

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Jeff Bice

Missions Pastor

I have the best job at Bethel Bible Church because I have the privilege of encouraging our people towards God’s great mission of having as many people as possible across the entire globe worship His great name. I love connecting with our missionaries, sending our teams to the nations and helping our church learn about God’s heart for everyone. My wife, Stefanie, and I started out in ministry with Athletes in Action running camps in Ohio, moved into camping in my home state of Texas, and then transitioned into church ministry in 2010.

We love being with our three grown kids and traveling either overseas on mission trips, or in the states to National Parks. In my time off I like mountain biking, hiking, reading a good spy novel, and eating lemon or raspberry pastries.

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Brent Kirkley

Tapestry Counseling Director

I grew up in Southern California and moved to Texas in 1976. My wife Jill and I have been married for over 45 years, and we have two children and two grandchildren. I have been involved in pastoral and counseling ministries in East Texas for over 30 years and have been a member at Bethel since 2014. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and have my Master’s in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary and my Master’s in Counseling from Stephen F. Austin State University. My current role is Director of Tapestry Counseling. Tapestry Counseling is a non-profit counseling ministry that offices at Bethel’s South Campus ( It is a privilege to be a part of Bethel and be a part of a church that has a heart from reaching East Texas and the world with the message of the gospel.

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