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.

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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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Barry Nichols


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


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.

Brandon Jenkins

Shepherding Elder

Brandon Jenkins currently serves on the Eldership Team as a shepherding elder. He oversees the staff and the daily operations of the church. He is married to Allyson Jenkins, and they have two beautiful children. Brandon received a bachelor's degree in Sociology at Florida Southern College.


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.

Leah Ax

Children's Pastor

Leah currently serves as our Children’s Pastor. She had hands on training in ministry right after marrying Jon, who was a Youth Pastor at the time. Together they are passionate about hearing the Holy Spirit and living a lifestyle of obedience to His voice and His Word. Leah said, “Many are called but few are chosen. I asked God one day, “Who are the chosen ones?” He answered me, “Those who obey my voice’’”. Leah got training through Circuit Riders and has written a curriculum for children called, “Young Circuit Riders”. Jon and Leah have 4 beautiful children with number 5 on the way.

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. Along with serving our young adults, Kathleen also serves as our graphic designer. She has a passion to use graphics to connect our body with our ministries, events, and ways they can get involved. Raul and Kathleen have two wonderful children together, Amia and Nash, and together they have served in ministry for the last 5 years.

Carissa Nichols

Office Administrator

Carissa currently serves as our Office Administrator. After graduating from Moody Bible Institute with a BA in Communications, she felt the Lord leading her back to Lakeland to be connected with Heart of the Father Ministry. She desires to see Jesus exalted in all things, from small day-to-day tasks to large events. She is excited to pursue a spirit of love and excellence while serving the body of Christ.

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.