We are blessed by the Lord with a number of men that meet the biblical qualifications to be an elder. Although there are many responsibilities of an elder described in Scripture, some elders are called out to focus on governing, which we call the Board of Elders. The Scriptures, Holy Spirit, our Statement of Faith and our Bylaws are the primary means of guidance for the Board, where all decisions are made in unanimity. An annual process of review and appointment of Board members is conducted with those new to the Board serving for one year as an Elder Candidate to assure that they are fully up-to-speed and qualified before stepping in to the Board.
All elders who are on HCC’s staff have the primary responsibility for managing. Some staff elders also serve on the Board of Elders to assure that we are well connected, which requires them to be intensive in both managing and governing.
Overall, all elders are responsible for the shepherding of the congregation which includes both ruling and teaching (1 Timothy 5:17).
Our Current Governing Board of Elders:
Jesse has been married to Jessica (Jessi) since 2008. Their children are Austin Elijah, Aiden Isaiah (in heaven), Asher Noah, Asa Riley, and Autumn Grace. Jesse became the Lead Pastor of Highlands in 2018, following Pastor Jim’s retirement. Jesse teaches the Bible in a mostly expository approach that is infused with humorous personal stories, accessible intellectual demand, and deeply engaging challenge. He has taught at special events in several countries including The Moody Pastors Conference and the Northwest Ministry Conference, and preaches at LiveBible.TV. Jesse is currently pursuing a doctorate from Southern Seminary. He earned his Master of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and his bachelor’s degree in Percussion Performance from Florida State University. Jesse is the author of I’m A Christian – Now What?, 365 Devos for Guys: Man Up to Your Faith, and What it Means to Be A Christian for the B&H Publishing Group. Formerly, Jesse was the Brand Manager and a contributing writer for LifeWay’s Explore the Bible. His articles have appeared in Facts & Trends, Outreach, LifeWay.com, Boundless, and more.
Ernie currently serves as the Board’s chairman. He has been part of Highlands Community Church for 35 years. He also serves as the North American Missions Director where he enjoys walking along side of people who want to connect their friends with Jesus. Ernie and his wife, Lori are blazing through life with five children who each paint their days with stories and emotions. As a vocation, Ernie works with an exceptional team in the role of Manufacturing Director at a local Aerospace manufacturer. His passion is seeing people thrive and realizing the potential of who God made them to be.
Pastor Simi serves as an elder and is passionate about helping ethnics achieve spiritual success as they integrate into the western church and lifestyle. He shepherds HCC’s Eastern European Community, translates one of the worship services for them, and teaches their adult Sunday School class. Simi is passionate about mission and likes hiking, fishing and spending time with his wife and their three boys. Prior to serving at HCC, Simi served 12 years in the Romanian Church and five years in the Moldovan Church in this area.
Gregg has been attending Highlands since 2009 and joined the Elder Board in April of 2015. He earned his MATS from Bethel College and his Master of Divinity from Corban University. He previously pastored a church for five years, and served in youth ministry for 15 years. He is currently involved in Upward Basketball as a referee, and has led several adult classes. He has two children and one grandson. Gregg enjoys flying, weightlifting and spending time with his grandson.
Nick currently serves as Highlands’ Executive Pastor. He grew up at HCC and now enjoys the blessing of serving alongside many of the families who poured into him when he was younger. Nick earned his Masters of Divinity from Multnomah Biblical Seminary. He loves serving Jesus with his wife, Johannah and their two kids, Cadence and Matthias.
Glenn currently serves as the Board’s vice chairman, and has been attending Highlands Community Church since 1998. Originally attracted to Highlands by the strong Children’s programs, he currently serves in the Nursery and Early Childhood programs where he and his wife Ellen provide a safe environment for infants while giving parents the freedom to turn their full attention toward discipleship via the adult Sunday School classes and Church services. Prior to this role, Glenn and his wife spent several years welcoming new comers to Highlands before church and served multiple years in the Highpoint program for 6th graders. Glenn and Ellen have two college age daughters who actively serve the Lord in ministry at a local church near the University they are attending. With 30+ years of corporate business experience, Glenn has an MBA with an emphasis in Finance and more than 25 years working in various Project Management leadership roles.
Scott has been at HCC since 1980 and has been on the Elder Board most of that time. Scott has done course work at Dallas Theological Seminary and received a MA in Theology from Western Conservative Baptist Seminary. With an engineering background, Scott has held various managerial roles for 37 years with Proctor & Gamble and the Boeing Company. He most recently served on HCC staff for six years as Executive Director, with the responsibility to maintain coordination across the staff and working special projects. His passion is teaching and helping people fall in love with Jesus. Scott and his wife Kathy have four children and nine grandchildren and are avid boaters.
Serving in various teaching roles at Highlands Kent, Jim’s passion is encouraging people to learn to understand, trust, and love God, with all their heart. Jim came to Highlands in 1992 with his wife Louise and son Jonathan after serving as a pilot in the Navy. A Seattle native, he grew up in Washington, Alaska, and Oregon, and studied history at Oregon State University. He loves talking about God and His word, discussing ideas, reading, coffee, the outdoors, long walks, preparing and sharing a good meal, being with family, and almost anything having to do with the water.
Jerry has served on the Elder Board since 2012 and is currently the Secretary. He rededicated his life to the Lord in 1993 and along with his family, has been attending HCC since 2002. He is passionate about ministering to children and young people. He and wife, Jill, have been serving in various areas within Children and Student Ministries since they started attending HCC. Jerry is currently the Awana Commander and leads a time of worship for elementary age children on Sundays. Jerry and Jill were married in 1985 and have two sons, Ryan and Tyler. A retired aerospace engineer and former Iowa farm boy, Jerry is a serious gardener, grows a variety of fruit and berries, and enjoys using power equipment of all kinds.
Derek serves as the Next Generation Ministries Pastor & Team Leader at Highlands overseeing the staff and ministries to the next generation. Derek has served on the staff team at HCC for over twenty years investing in children, students, families and leaders. He is a graduate of Seattle Pacific University and Multnomah Seminary. Derek enjoys travelling, speaking on leadership, going to Disneyland whenever possible and eating out. One of his passions is investing in next generation leaders. Derek, his wife (Moni) and children (Micah and Mackenzie) love being a part of the HCC family.
Dick became a Christian in 1974 and became an HCC member in 1977. He’s been on the Board since just after Elder Board inception, and has served in various roles such as Vice Chairman, Secretary and Finance Committee representative, as well as the designated HCC Treasurer. For many years Dick taught classes concentrating on Bible doctrine. He led and was involved in HCC’s visitation ministry and was a Discovery & Base Series Ministry teacher for many years. Dick and Judy have been married since 1967 with 2 children, Debbie and Ryan, and 4 “grandgirls.” Dick likes salmon fishing, landscape gardening, and attempts golf. He is a “Rentonite” from birth.
Dennis has attended Highlands for more than 20 years and has served in Children’s Ministries and Student Ministries since arriving. For the past several years, he has taught third, fourth and fifth grade boys. He loves teaching the boys about Jesus’ life and the early church, and loves seeing them become believers in Christ. Dennis and his wife Nicolette have raised their daughter and two sons at Highlands, and they all still live locally (which Dennis and Nicole love, especially because God has blessed them with four grandchildren). Dennis works for a large healthcare company, managing a team that implements software for Emergency Departments. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, reading, doing outdoor activities (when it’s not raining TOO hard), and riding his motor scooter.
Deacons and Deaconesses
Deacons and Deaconesses act with delegated authority from the Board of Elders in their assigned areas of ministries (Acts 6:1-6) and meet the biblical qualifications.
Documents of Interest
As issues develop that need biblical resolution, study teams are formed to examine the topic and then bring a document to the full Board. Upon approval, the document becomes a Position which then drives Policy and procedure documents that are mostly the domain of staff. A few of the Position statements have been of wide interest: