Our Leadership

Dr. Neil Franks, CEP®

President & CEO

I have had the privilege of serving as the President and Treasurer of the Missouri Baptist Foundation since October 2017. My journey here followed a decade-long tenure as the Lead Pastor of First Baptist Church in Branson, Missouri. During my time at the church, we experienced significant growth, nearly tripling our weekly attendance and more than doubling both the general and missions’ budgets. My passion was making a positive impact on the Branson community through local outreach events.

Beyond my role at the Foundation, I’ve had the honor of being elected President of the Missouri Baptist Convention twice and serving as Chairman of its Executive Board. Additionally, I held the position of First Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Pastors Conference.

My roots trace back to Malvern, Arkansas, where I was raised as the second of two sons in an educator family. I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communications from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, AR. My academic journey continued with a Master of Divinity, BL, from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and culminated in a Doctor of Ministry degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO.

In my personal life, I found love and partnership with Kendra during college. Although it was love at first sight for me, it took a bit longer for Kendra to be convinced. Dr. Kendra Franks, an accomplished musician, recently completed her Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Missouri. We’ve been happily married for over 20 years and are blessed with two sons, Kirk and Travis.

Outside of work and family, my interests include reading, extensive travel (having explored 29 countries and 35 states so far), cheering for Sporting KC in soccer, and cherishing moments with my loved ones.

Shelly Vaughn, CTFA®

Chief Operating Officer

I have served Missouri Baptist individuals, churches, and Institutions for over 25 years. I love to help people accomplish financial goals, whether individually or corporately. I have held the Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA) designation since 2012 after completing Cannon Trust School I, II, and III. I currently maintain a Missouri Real Estate Broker’s License.

I have two children, ten grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. When I am not working, you will likely find me with someone who calls me Gram. I love the sunshine, playing in the dirt (gardening), and fishing.

When I am not working, you will likely find me with someone who calls me Gram. I love the sunshine, playing in the dirt (gardening), and fishing. I also serve at two other nonprofits, one with a mission to rescue individuals from human trafficking and the other creating life change in Jesus’ name by educating students in Kenya.

Whether they are here on earth or have already left for their heavenly home, being entrusted with a person’s money is a humbling and sacred responsibility. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve at MBF!