Leadership Structure

Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the word of God, Heartland is led by a body of “elders.” This body is divided into three different teams--a Lead Team, Board of Directors and Pastoral Elders--which are described below. Each team is specialized in function and role according to the gifts, abilities, passions and responsibilities of the team members.

Current Leadership Structure Update – 3/2021

Heartland’s leadership structure is transitioning from a Lead Pastor model to a Lead Team model, which we have been practicing our way into over the last three years. Following several months of diligent study with our Leadership Structure Task Force, the Elders revised and unanimously ratified our bylaws to reflect our new mutual leadership model on January 11, 2021. The new bylaws can be opened below.

A couple of key highlights:

- The Board of Directors will have a majority of non-staff elders to staff elders (at least 2 to 1).

- The Lead Team members are full time staff members and are Directors on the Board of Directors.

- The Lead Team is fully accountable to the Board of Directors in all matters.

- Our Lead Team will consist of three co-equal pastors: a Communities and Discipleship Pastor (CDP), an Organization and Development Pastor (ODP), and a Leadership and Teaching Pastor (LTP).

- Brad Herndon has joined us a our Communities and Discipleship Pastor, Lead Team member and Director on the Board on April 1, 2021, with unanimous approval of Management Team and Board of Directors.

- Craig Cheney was unanimously nominated by Management Team and approved by the Board of Directors.

- We are currently interviewing candidates for the Leadership and Teaching Pastor.

Is there a Transition Plan? Yes. Management Team has designed an approach to provide continuity of leadership in a season of leadership change. This transition plan is designed to honor the responsibilities of our current teams until the new teams are functioning. The Board of Directors have spoken into and approved the Transition Plan (1.17.21), while recognizing the possibility of changes as we go forward.

Who will lead the church until the Lead Team has been fully established? Until the new Lead Team members are approved by the new Board of Directors and have been fully established in their roles (approximately 90-120 days), Management Team will function as and with the Lead Team. We have been functioning like this since our former Lead Pastor, Dan Deeble, resigned in January of 2020.

What is the process of hiring a new Leadership and Teaching Pastor (LTP)? The Search Team recommends LTP candidates to M-team, who then complete the vetting process and recommend the selected candidate for approval. The LTP will be nominated by Management Team and approved by our Board of Directors.

How will the new Board of Directors be chosen? Our current non-staff Directors, James Kanary (Vice Chair), Thomas Badgett, Abby Doyle, Rusty Fulling, Carlo Jurani, Derek Seitz and Carroll Sinclair have been invited to serve on our new Board of Directors. Management Team/Lead Team will invite at least two more leaders to start the application process to be considered for addition to the Board of Directors. We are diligently pursuing qualified women and men as possible nominees. After candidates have been fully vetted, Management Team/Lead Team will vote to nominate new Directors. The current Board of Directors shall vote to approve the nominees by a unanimous-to-two thirds. A strong Board of Directors is important as we embrace our mission in this new era. The non-staff head of Pastoral Elders will be nominated by Management Team/Lead Team and approved by the current Board of Directors.

This team is comprised of Heartland staff members who lead major Heartland ministry areas. Their focus is on ministry vision for Heartland and on staffing. Responsibilities of this team include developing ministries and establishing churchwide priorities that contribute to the big picture vision established by the Management Team/Lead Team. (This includes hiring/firing staff, establishing a budget, and establishing systems and policies that allow the church to function most effectively to accomplish its mission.)

Current Management Team members are Tom Brawner, Michelle Pemberton, Steve Fisher, Shibu Mathew and Craig Cheney. Current Lead Team members are Brad Herndon and Craig Cheney. Search and hiring processes are continuing for our next Lead Team addition, the Leadership and Teaching Pastor

This team is comprised of volunteer members of Heartland who have marketplace expertise in legal affairs and financial management. Their focus is on Heartland’s finances. They insure that Heartland’s financial affairs are handled with responsibility and integrity in accordance with ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) standards. They must approve the Heartland budgets proposed by the Management Team, and they authorize buying/selling of real estate, securing real estate leases or borrowing of money. (Additionally, an Audit Review Team selects the auditors for the yearly audit and works with Heartland Operations Team to review both the yearly audit results and Heartland’s internal control structure, presenting a final report to the Board of Directors.)

Current Directors are Thomas Badgett, Abby Doyle, Rusty Fulling, Carlo Jurani, James Kanary, Derek Seitz and Carroll Sinclair.

Description of roles coming soon.

Current Elders are John Auld, Tasha Cook, Brad Gregory, David Irwin, Betsy Lehleitner, Brian McBride and Ryan Nelson.