MEET THE TEAM

W hen Heart of the Father Ministry was planted in 2010, one of our foundational beliefs was that a plurality of elders should lead and govern our body of believers, not one set man. Each one of our elders at Heart of the Father Ministry functions according to the grace God has given him including a weekly preaching rotation, counseling appointments, discipleship, and caring for the flock. The eldership team meets weekly to pray together, fast as needed, and build deep love and relationship with one another. Together, they govern the vision and finances of the community.

The New Testament presents a united teaching on the subject of biblical eldership. In his book, Systematic Theology, Bible scholar Wayne Grudem says, “No passage in the New Testament suggests that any church, no matter how small, had only one senior leader. The consistent New Testament pattern is a plurality of elders in every church (Acts 14:23) and in every town (Titus 1:5). We do not see a diversity of forms of government in the New Testament church, but a unified and consistent pattern in which every church had elders governing it and keeping watch over it (Acts 20:28; Heb 13:17; 1 Peter 5:2-23).”
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MEET THE ELDERS

Barry Nichols

Elder

Barry Nichols currently serves on the Eldership Team as a teaching elder. He is involved in the weekly preaching, small group discipleship, and counseling. He is married to Diane, and together they have seven wonderful children. Barry earned his bachelor's degree in Teaching the Bible from Rhema Bible College.

David Vespa

Elder

David Vespa currently serves on the Eldership Team and oversees the married couples and missions department. David grew up in Ghana, Africa as the son of Assemblies of God missionaries for more than 40 years. David is married to Julie, and together they have two grown children. David has owned a business in Lakeland for more than 25 years and enjoys walking, good conversations, and time with his family.

Jeremiah Johnson

Elder

Jeremiah Johnson planted Heart of the Father Ministry in 2010 and currently serves on the Eldership Team. He oversees the staff and daily operations of the church. He is married to Morgan, and together they have four beautiful children. He earned his bachelor's degree in Church Ministries from Southeastern University.

Derek Kelly

Elder

Derek Kelly currently serves on the Eldership Team as a teaching elder and oversees the team & daily operations of the Winter Haven campus. He and his wife Jessica have a passion to see Jesus exalted and glorified in the life of believers. Derek received his degree in Practical Ministry from Brownsville School of Ministry in 2001 and has served in full-time ministry since 2013.

MEET OUR STAFF

Brandon Jenkins

Discipleship Pastor

Brandon Jenkins currently serves as the leader of our discipleship department. He is passionate about helping people to encounter Jesus through His Word and to see their lives transformed by the freedom that the Gospel brings. He is married to his beautiful wife, Allyson, our worship leader, and together they have one precious daughter, Josie. Brandon graduated from Florida Southern College in 2011 with a degree in Sociology. He began serving in full-time ministry in 2015.

Allyson Jenkins

Worship Leader

Allyson Jenkins currently serves as our Worship Leader. She is driven to see Jesus’ worthiness exalted and magnified through cooperate worship while she also is passionate about discipling her team of musicians in such a way that develops both their personal character and musical skills. She is married to Brandon, our discipleship leader, and together they enjoy the adventure of raising their sweet daughter, Josie.

Christie Thompson

Children's Pastor

Christie Thompson currently serves as our Children’s Pastor. She is married to her wonderful husband, Eric, and they enjoy partnering together to create an environment of excellence and care for our children to be able to know Jesus from a young age. Christie graduated from Southeastern University with a degree in Human Services and has served as a children’s pastor for the past seven years.

Raul Vasquez

Young Adults Pastor

Raul Vasquez currently serves as our Young Adults Pastor. Together with his wife, Kathleen, they are dedicated to raising up young adults who have genuine relationships with Jesus. They also have a passion to see authentic, Christ-centered community formed among those they lead. Raul and Kathleen have two wonderful children together, Amia and Nash, and together they have served in ministry for the last four years.

Mick Zubiller

Youth Pastor

Mick Zubiller currently serves as our Youth Pastor. Together with his wife, Sonya, they are dedicated to equipping the youth to know their identity in Christ and to walk in love and relationship as a family. Mick and Sonya are both adventurous and love having fun with the youth. Their hearts burn to bring hope and to see breakthrough not just in the youth that they lead but in their families, too.

Cissie Wetmiller

Office Administrator

Cissie Wetmiller currently serves as our Office Administrator. She oversees the finances and various administrative tasks. She is enthusiastic about helping the organizational structure of the church function excellently as this lends to the ministries of the church being able to function at full capacity. She is married to Matt, and they are expecting their first bundle of joy in October! Cissie graduated from Southeastern University with a degree in Practical Theology and has had experience both in ministry work and financial industry work.