Leadership Team

Meet our Pastoral Leaders, Ministry Staff, and Elders


Lead Pastor, Brian Petak, his wife Heidi,
and their four boys: Josiah, Jonathan, Joshua & Justin

Pastoral Leaders

Brian Petak, Lead Pastor (bpetak@theascentchurch.com)

In 1998, Pastor Brian helped plant Fellowship Bible Church-Nashville and served there in various capacities until being called to Ascent Church in 2017. Since 2017, he has served Ascent first as the Executive Pastor, as Interim Lead Pastor during a leadership transition and was commissioned as the permanent Lead Pastor in April, 2020. We recently asked him a few questions:

How did you and Heidi meet?

I was attending a worship conference in Nashville in 2001 and met some great people. One of the guys I met was a worship pastor at our sister church – Fellowship Bible Church in Northwest Arkansas. One day at the conference, he told me, “Brian, I know the woman you need to marry. Her name is Heidi. She’s beautiful, creative, extremely talented and you guys would make a great couple. And plus, she’s working on her PhD, so she’s really smart.” After a few emails, phone calls and long-distance visits, I proposed and we were married later that year!

What’s something unique about you and Heidi?

When we went to meet with the faculty of Denver Seminary where I was beginning their Doctorate program, they found out Heidi has a PhD and hired her to teach in my program. Heidi’s one of my professors! (And I recently got an A in her class, so thankfully, she showed me great mercy in grading my papers…)

What’s it like to have four boys? 

Never a dull moment! We like to play hard and make a lot of noise. All four of my boys are unique and gifted in various ways. I sometimes wish we were able to make a girl, but apparently God intended Heidi to be unfairly outnumbered.

What are some of your favorite books?

For theology, God’s Greater Glory by Dr. Bruce Ware is probably my favorite. I also love The Pleasures of God by John Piper and Systematic Theology by Dr. Wayne Grudem. Non-fiction – Endurance by Alfred Lansing about Ernest Shackleton’s great Antarctica adventure. Fiction, I love the Brad Thor (Scot Harvath) series. Anything related to foreign intelligence, CIA, politics, espionage, etc.

Favorite sports teams?

America’s Team, the Green Bay Packers, of course! And I love the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers.


Dr. Mark Hopkins, Pastor of Ministries (mhopkins@theascentchurch.com)

Mark Hopkins, who joined Fuller Theological Seminary in 2001, is senior associate professor of Leadership. He has taught at both Pepperdine University and Fuller. Besides academia, Hopkins has pastored churches in a small handful of states in the US for near 20 years and has been on church-planting teams in Russia in the mid-1900s, including directing a plant in St. Petersburg. Presently he serves as Pastor of Ministries at The Ascent Church in beautiful Monument, Colorado. Finally, he says “I am very happily married for almost 50 years to Ann, my covenant partner and friend! We have two married children and seven fabulous grandchildren, ages 3-19!”

How did you and your wife meet?
We met in 1967 in Houston, Texas where we lived across the street from one another for one year. She was 12; I was 14.

What are some of your favorite books?

Besides the Bible, I have enjoyed reading in the field of Church and Missions (my academic focus). Currently, I am enjoying reading a lot of adolescent science fiction with our grandchildren. My favorite by far has been The Wingfeather Saga, a four-book series written by Andrew Peterson. Though targeted at young readers, a number of my friends have enjoyed it as well! We have just begun The Bark of the Bog Owl, by Jonathan Rogers (book one of three in The Wilderking Trilogy). A lot of good life lessons in this one!

What are your favorite things to do?
I enjoy fly fishing when I get a chance … it’s been a while (too long!).

What do you see God doing at the Ascent that is especially exciting to you?
The Ascent Church is (1) growing in its love for God, (2) growing in developing disciples (apprentices of Jesus), and (3) growing numerically. There is a sense of warm, hospitable unity in our midst. All of this is a gift from God.


Dr. Jason Schott, Executive Pastor (jschott@theascentchurch.com)

Jason Schott (ThD) has been at Ascent Church since 2018 where he has served as a lay elder, director of base camps and men’s ministry prior to taking his current position. He served 25 years in the Air Force as a fighter pilot and test pilot and commanded numerous organizations. He and the love of his life, Emily, have two grown children and a beloved daughter-in-law.  


How did you and your wife meet?

  Emily and I met in Boston while I was in graduate school and she was working at a chiropractic office. We say that I came into the office with a pain in the neck…and left with one for the rest of my life (ha ha). It was love at first sight.


What are some of your favorite books?
The Bible…really. I read it cover to cover and start again.  Pop-psychology, historical fiction.

What are your favorite things to do?
Doing nothing is a favorite thing–probably because that almost never happens. Spending time with Emily is THE favorite thing…and I get to do it daily. I’m blessed.

What do you see God doing at the Ascent that is especially exciting to you?
 Emily and I chose Ascent among the many great churches in this area because of its emphasis on base camps. Living life in community is baked into Ascent’s DNA and we love it. We see the life transformations happening in base camps and know that eternality is being impacted.

Ministry Staff

Isaac Adkison, Tech Director (worshiptech@theascentchurch.com)

Joel Gheen, Teaching Fellow (jgheen@theascentchurch.com)
Dr. Mark Hopkins, Pastor of Ministries (mhopkins@theascentchurch.com)
Jay Hartwell,
Missions Coordinator (missions@theascentchurch.com)

Charity Holt, Worship Fellowship (charity.holt9@gmail.com)
Jake Hotzfield, Asst. Student Director (jhotzfield@theascentchurch.com)

Kara Mallory, Executive Assistant to the Lead Pastor (kara@theascentchurch.com)

Jonathan Martin, Student Pastor (jmartin@theascentchurch.com)
Dr. Heidi Petak, 
Women’s Ministry Director (hpetak@theascentchurch.com)
Victory Schaal,
Operations Coordinator (vschaal@theascentchurch.com)
Dr. Jason Schott,
Executive Pastor (jschott@theascentchurch.com)

Ezra Snyder, Men’s Ministry Director (ezra@theascentchurch.com)

Heather Snyder, Communications Director (heather@theascentchurch.com)

Mark Tedder, Worship Pastor (mtedder@theascentchurch.com)
Paul Zigan,
Oversight of Adult Ministries (pzigan@theascentchurch.com)


Dr. Mike McKinney, Chairman (elders@theascentchurch.com)
Paul Zigan 
Chris Farrow 
Randy McLelland 
Joel Gheen
Dr. Jason Schott 
Dr. Mark Hopkins

Brian Petak, Lead Pastor (bpetak@theascentchurch.com)


Bob Bowker
Lisa Bowker
Ezra Snyder
Sarah Milner
Aaron Keller
Randy Wood
Missy Gamble,
Chairman (deacons@theascentchurch.com)
George Petak
Jennifer Gray
Kevin Gray