Congratulations nate edmondson!
Lead Pastor Update | August 10, 2021
Dear Highlands Family, The Highlands Elders are pleased to announce that after a thorough vetting and discernment process, Nate Edmondson has accepted the call to become the full-time Lead Pastor of Highlands Community Church.
Since Nate’s appointment as Teaching Pastor in October 2020 and as Interim Lead Pastor in January 2021, the elders, staff, and members of Highlands have borne witness to God’s calling of Nate to serve in the Lead Pastor role on a full-time basis. Nate has demonstrated integrity, character, faith, and gifting in preaching God’s Word to our congregation and in providing leadership to our entire church family during a tumultuous and challenging season. The Elders are unanimous in supporting Nate and agreeing that he is the right man for this role.
Furthermore, the Elders are thankful for how God has uniquely called Courtney as a leader alongside her husband and her support throughout this process. She has demonstrated strength, depth of character, spiritual and professional gifting, love for others, and commitment to follow Christ during this past year at Highlands.
We invite the entire Highlands family to a special Commissioning Service which will take place on Sunday morning, September 5, at 9:00 and 10:45, with a celebration to follow at noon. More details will be forthcoming soon. Please make plans to join us in celebrating how God has graciously brought Nate, Courtney, and their family to Highlands to minister alongside of us as we help people find and follow Jesus Christ.
Chairman of the Elder Board
Learn more about Nate:
Nate grew up in Tennessee and trusted in Jesus to save him as a child. In high school, his family planted a church where he began teaching the Bible in kids ministry and leading worship bands for student ministry. That experience, combined with the insight of several older Christians, helped him discern a call to ministry. Nate earned an undergraduate degree in Pastoral Leadership from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL, and a Masters of Divinity from Western Seminary in Portland, OR. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry from Western Seminary. Nate is married to Courtney, who is also a graduate of Moody, and she is a mental health counselor. Together they have one daughter, Esther, and another daughter on the way. When he’s not doing church stuff, Nate enjoys following Tennessee sports, smoking meat, going on walks with Courtney, and playing with Esther.
Before returning to Highlands in 2020, Nate spent six years serving in student ministry, including serving as the High School Pastor at Highlands from 2015-2017. Nate has served as a teaching and college pastor at a church in Lexington, KY, and successfully replanted a church in St. Louis, MO.
A note from Nate:
Courtney and I are honored and humbled to continue serving at Highlands. We have been blessed in so many ways by the people of Highlands over the years, and we hope to be a blessing in return. Lord willing, I plan to communicate with you in the coming weeks about some of what you can expect from me as the Lead Pastor. More than anything, I want to please the Lord and enjoy Him. I hope to help others do the same. I’m grateful my daughters will get to grow up in a church like this one, and I’m excited to continue serving with you as a partner in the gospel.
What process did the board follow to come to this decision?
In December of 2020, an initial discussion about the role of Lead Pastor took place by the existing members of the Elder Board. They were advised by the consultant Highlands was working with to wait several months, to allow more time of healing for the staff and church family. On January 31, 2021, Nate was named Interim Lead Pastor, as the Elder Board began planning for the elder transition that was just finalized.
In March, Glenn Joslin, the former Elder Board Chairman, approached Nate about his interest in possibly becoming the next Lead Pastor of Highlands. Nate confirmed his interest in the role, but only if a thorough review process was undertaken which included an independent committee comprised of volunteer leaders within the church. This committee was formed in April and consisted of men and women from different generations, various lengths of service at Highlands, and involved in a variety of ministries. In total, thirty members of the congregation have participated in interviewing and vetting Nate.
The interview process included multiple interviews which were exhaustive in coverage and used to dive deep into Nate’s marriage and parenting, personal theology, biblical pastoral qualifications, ministry philosophy, vision for the future of Highlands, near-term and long-term priorities for ministry here at Highlands, and staff leadership development recommendations. The committee also interviewed his wife, Courtney, to better understand Nate’s personality and walk with Christ outside of Highlands. Additionally, the board contacted five pastors Nate has served with in other churches across the country. Their feedback further confirmed what we have seen from Nate on a day-to-day basis.
The Staff Lead Team were all interviewed by an outgoing and incoming Elder to share their assessment of Nate as the next potential Lead Pastor for Highlands. Their feedback was readily received as they had closely worked with Nate over the past 8-10 months. The Elders (both former and current) have observed Nate’s leadership in both one-on-one meetings, board meetings, and elder training meetings. They have full confidence in his ability to pastor, shepherd, and lead our congregation.
While this process was ongoing, there were multiple other candidates who presented themselves to the Board. The Elders reviewed each of these prospects and found that none were worth pursuing for the role of Lead Pastor at Highlands.
This season has afforded the staff and elder board a unique opportunity to observe Nate first-hand as a leader and pastor for an extended period of time. This opportunity turned into a blessing for Highlands and an answer to the faithful prayers of many. Nate is authentically committed to his faith in Jesus Christ, forward thinking, honest, humble, truly cares for the people in this congregation, and serious about his own personal accountability.