WHEN DO WE GATHER EACH WEEK?
We get together each Sunday at 10 AM. The address is 2025 Bartow Rd, Lakeland.
Note that we also have something happening each Wednesday, but since the specifics and location can change from week to week, be sure to check our Events page so you have all the details.
WHAT WE VALUE
Ultimately, our goal is that we would be a church with heart and eyes for Jesus only and that that nothing and no one would be celebrated and delighted in more than Him. Our focus is that every heart would thoroughly hallow Him and that Jesus would be rightly treasured and fully honored in all things.
One of our tenets is that we'd be a place where real, "covenant community" is flourishing. We're not interested in subsisting from Sunday to Sunday; we want to see Christ magnified in all areas of life within this church body! To that end, we intentionally facilitate weekly opportunities for believers to come together for fellowship and growth.
OUR STANCE ON LEADERSHIP
When 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 singular man. A true biblical eldership is a qualified council of men that jointly shepherd the local church together. Our elders Barry Nichols, David Vespa, and Brandon Jenkins all lead and govern the body together under Jesus' lordship. The elders act jointly as a council and share equal authority and responsibility for the leadership of the church, all the while understanding that they are not equal in their giftedness, biblical knowledge, leadership ability, experience, etc.
Therefore, those among the elders who are particularly gifted to teach and preach will naturally stand out among the other elders. However, this does not mean that the other elders who are more skilled in other areas such as counseling, leading small groups, etc., have any less authority or responsibility. Barry, David, and Brandon all have different giftings and graces upon their lives and will shepherd the church together according to their calling and the needs of the people.
Additionally, we feel it's important that those with ministry callings and giftings within the church body would not compete with the Lord for the affections of the Church. The leaders and ministries within Heart of the Father exist to point others toward Christ, not to magnify themselves or their gifts.
MEET THE ELDERS
BARRY NICHOLS - ELDER
Barry serves on the eldership team of Heart of the Father. He is passionate about teaching the truth and has become known around HOTFM for leading people to “wrestle” with the Word of God. Along with teaching the Word, Barry and his wife Diane desire to see healthy families and marriages thrive in our community. When not counseling or teaching, Barry loves walking on the beach with his wife, relaxing on the porch with his guitar, reading in his study, and spending time with his many grandkids. Barry and Diane have 7 children and several grandchildren.
BRANDON JENKINS - ELDER
Brandon serves on the Heart of the Father eldership team. His desire is to shepherd the church body to be emotionally healthy and mature, that they might rightly relate to God and one another. He has a heart for young families and young adult leaders. When not counseling church members, Brandon may be found on the golf course, introverting with a book, or spending time with family and friends. Brandon and his wife Allyson enjoy raising their three children.
DAVID VESPA - ELDER
David serves on the Heart of the Father eldership team. Having grown in up Ghana, Africa as the son of missionaries, David is passionate about missions work all around the world. He also desires to see the Lord glorified in the local church, and spends much time counseling with church members and helping oversee HOTFM’s married couples group. When not in his office, Dave might be found walking with his wife, taking a hard-earned nap, shopping, or washing his vehicles. Dave and his wife Julie have 2 grown children and several grandchildren.
MEET THE STAFF
ALLYSON JENKINS - WORSHIP LEADER
Allyson serves as the leader of Heart of the Father Worship. She is driven to see Jesus’ worthiness exalted and magnified through corporate worship while discipling her team of musicians in a way that develops both their personal character and musical skills. In her free time, Allyson may be found shopping at a local Target, searching Pinterest for recipes and decor, and spending time with her family. She is married to Brandon Jenkins and together they are raising their daughters Josie and Cadence, and their son Ezekiel.
MELEA NICHOLS - OFFICE ADMIN
Melea is the Administrator at Heart of the Father. She strives to bring excellence and authenticity into all that she does, and loves being able to connect with the community by serving in such a relational capacity. Melea is also passionate about using creativity for the advancement of God's Kingdom and finds great fulfillment in tapping into her creative side whenever possible. When not answering phone calls and emails, you might find her working out in the gym, introverting with a cup of coffee and some poetry, or spending much-cherished time with family and friends.
MICK ZUBILLER - YOUTH PASTOR
Mick serves as Heart of the Father’s Youth Pastor. He and his wife, Sonya, are hungry for a move of God in the HOTFM teenagers. As they disciple their students, they are dedicated to creating a family atmosphere filled with an authentic love for Jesus and His Word. Their hearts burn to bring hope and to see breakthrough not just in the youth that they lead but also in their families. When not rallying his students, Mick can be found looking for new food joints to try, catching the newest Marvel movie premiere or spending time with his son, Judah.
RICHARD EVANS - MEDIA DIRECTOR
Richard is Heart of The Father’s Media Director. He has a great passion to see every area of media magnify and make much of The Lord. Along with taking attention to the livestream, cameras, website, and stage lighting at Heart of the Father, he creates various graphics for the church and tries to take photos that communicate something. When not working to juggle the digital world at HOTFM, you might find him doing photography, gathering inspiration through nature and art, reading, creating music, and spending quality time with his friends.