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

Worship Pastor, Jared Anderson, his wife Megan,
and their six kids: Everett, Francie, Beckett, Lyla, John Diego & Christine

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 recently 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.

Jared Anderson, Worship Pastor (janderson@theascentchurch.com)

The career of one of the most distinct and celebrated voices in modern worship—with songs like “Glorified,” “Amazed” and “Rescue” widely sung in churches around the world—almost never happened.

“I grew up playing the piano in church and singing in youth meetings. But by the time I was in college, I saw my music going in a different direction,” says Anderson.

In fact, Jared considered distancing himself from worship music entirely, but always felt a pull to write something for the church. “God revealed to me, and it was a slow process, that worship isn’t just a genre of music,” he explains. “Worship songs are prayers. We’re reciting the word of God back to him, and pretty soon we’re not just reciting it or singing it, we’re living it.”

Jared now embraces his calling as a worship leader and songwriter.

But he’s very honest about what that means for anyone in that role. “We’re in the foot washing business,” he says. “If you want to lead, you have to serve. And if you want to serve, you have to surrender. And if you surrender you’re going to have to die.” These aren’t empty words. Dying to some of his dreams paved the way for God to do something bigger. It’s a narrow road, but it’s the path Jared has chosen to travel.

Amidst the pulls of ministry and creative pursuits, it is the love of his family that grounds Jared. A few years ago, he and his wife Megan, along with their four children (Everet, Becket, Francie, and Lyla) decided to enlarge their already full family. After much prayer, the Andersons adopted two orphans, John Diego and Christine, from Haiti.

All of these experiences add to Jared’s understanding that life is much larger than what happens in the church pews on a Sunday. “Sunday is just the rehearsal,” Jared says. “It’s during the rest of the week that we walk out our faith.”

Ministry Staff

Kathy Collins, Children’s Ministry Director (kcollins@theascentchurch.com)
Aaron Atwood, Interim Student Director (asm@theascentchurch.com)
Harley Wilson, Interim Student Director (asm@theascentchurch.com)
Bailey Klinger, Assistant Children’s & Student Director (bklinger@theascentchurch.com)
Rachel Olson, Student Ministries Intern (rolson@theascentchurch.com)
Dr. Heidi Petak, Women’s Ministry Director (hpetak@theascentchurch.com)
Jay Hartwell, Missions Coordinator (missions@theascentchurch.com)
Shauna Chanda, Worship Leader (shauna@shaunachanda.com )
Ben Canon, Technical Director (Canon@loudmountainstudios.com)
Blake Ackerman, Facilities Director (backerman@theascentchurch.com)
John Mrazek, Operations Consultant (johnmrazek@sharedxp.org)
Rick Clapp, Staff Coach/Consultant (rick@beyondsurvivalcoaching.org)


Joyce Silva, Office Manager/Finance/HR (jsilva@theascentchurch.com)
Ashley Eaves, Hospitality, Communications Coordinator & Sunday AM Quarterback (aeaves@theascentchurch.com)
Victory Schaal, Administrative Assistant (vschaal@theascentchurch.com)


Chuck Stovall, Chairman (cstovall@gmail.com)
Randy McLelland (randymac@randymac.com)
Parker Lohrenz (plohrenz@gmail.com
Jeff Collins (collij2@gmail.com)
Jason Schott (jetschott@gmail.com)
Brian Petak, Lead Pastor (bpetak@theascentchurch.com)

Elder Confirmation Process

For a number of months, the elder team has prayerfully depended on the Holy Spirit to guide our church in identifying who would join our elder team in this next ministry season. Elders typically serve for three years and then roll off the elder team unless asked to continue serving. 

Elders Chuck Stovall and Randy McLelland are stepping down after serving for the last three years, and we are grateful for their dedication, service, and commitment to our church family.

Leadership Structure

We have 5 elected and confirmed lay elders at this time, and follow a collaborative elder-led leadership model where our Lead Pastor, who is also an elder, leads the staff and the day-to-day oversight of the Ascent Church through leadership and preaching. Pastor Brian and the elder team collaborate together to lead at a macro-level through policy governance. 

Elder Selection Process

The elder selection process has three aspects: aspiration, qualification and confirmation. We are now entering the confirmation phase.

In 1 Timothy 3:1, Paul says “The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” Aspiration is very important, as this servant-leadership role requires much time, service, commitment and prayer. We have prayerfully considered a number of qualified men, based on the qualifications outlined in 1 Timothy 3. We are grateful that Ascent Church has many men who are qualified for this office of leadership.

Elder Candidates

After prayerful consideration of a number of qualified candidates, Ascent’s elder team is presenting Paul Zigan and Mike McKinney as qualified elder candidates who have willingly agreed to move forward in the confirmation process. Mike has served as an Ascent elder in the past. A short bio and family picture for each are below. Please prayerfully consider Paul and Mike to serve on our elder team.

Two-Week Public Vetting Period and Confirmation

The confirmation process at Ascent involves a two-week period of public vetting and confirmation and culminates in an online membership vote after this two-week vetting period between November 22-December 5.

If there are any concerns you have regarding either Paul or Mike’s character or their fitness for serving in the office of elder at Ascent Church, please contact one of the elder team during this two-week period. Our email addresses are in the list below.

Any specific concerns will be addressed directly during this time. If they cannot be appropriately resolved during this two-week time, we will delay the membership vote or remove the candidate. If there are no concerns or they can be resolved appropriately, we will open an online membership vote on Sunday, December 5 for three days. While only Ascent members are eligible to vote, anyone with a legitimate concern may express themselves during this two-week period.

Thank you for praying for our church family and for the Zigan and McKinney families during this important time.

Elder Candidate: Paul Zigan

November 2021

Paul is just a guy whose life was transformed by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ in 1974 and has given his life since then to help others find that same power in their lives and the same joy of serving the Lord as he has found.  Apart from Christ, the most influential person in Paul’s life has been his beloved wife of 53-years, Joy, who has encouraged him to be the man God desires him to be. He loves “doing life” with her, their family, and close friends.  They have two grown and married children who love the Lord, Paul and Tina, eight grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and though none live close by, they enjoy seeing them whenever they can.

Paul has participated in church leadership as a Deacon and Elder in previous churches in California. However, feeling called to full-time ministry in 1977, Paul left a 12-year career with the Los Angeles Police Department, and after completing his training at a Bible College in Long Beach, CA, moved the family to San Jose, CA in 1980 to assist in a very successful church plant. Paul served as an Elder there for 9-years and then was called as an associate pastor at that church for 17-years. He also served as a Police Chaplain for Santa Clara PD. After moving to Colorado in 2006, he served another 9-years as an associate pastor at a church in Colorado Springs.

Paul retired from full-time ministry in 2017, and since then, he has been serving our local community as a Volunteer Victim Advocate for the Colorado Springs Police Department. Today, at the Ascent Church, through a ministry called SHAPE, Paul is teaching the course material and helping people find their unique place of ministry within the church according to their gifts, passion, and calling. 

Elder Candidate: Mike McKinney

November 2021 

My parents met in Charleston, SC, and were married in Pueblo, CO during World War II.  I was born in Charleston after the war, and then Dad’s job moved us to Tulsa, OK.

 I was raised in a Christian family and have loved Jesus for as long as I can remember.  In an environment of love and prayer at my church in Tulsa, OK, I gave my life in faith to Jesus as my Lord and Savior at age 9 and was baptized.  We also lived in Wichita, KS, and later moved to Lubbock, TX.

Living in Lubbock, I graduated from Texas Tech University in 1969 with a degree in Industrial Engineering.  Working as an engineer in Des Moines, IA I responded to God’s call to enter vocational ministry and to train to become a pastor.  I went to Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO, where I received my Master of Divinity in 1974 and my Doctor of Ministry in 1980.

While at seminary I met my wife, Brenda, in the church where I served as Associate Pastor.  Brenda’s faith and servant heart has enriched our journey together as we have served four churches since 1972.  God blessed us with twin daughters in 1975 while pastoring in the south of St. Louis, MO.

 I was the founding pastor of a church in West Des Moines, IA where we served for 12 years.  I retired in 2013 after serving 25 years as the lead pastor in Leawood, KS.  During our time in KC, I also served as an adjunct professor for both Midwestern Baptist and Central Baptist Theological Seminaries.

After 43 years of full-time pastoral ministry, we moved to Colorado Springs to be close by our daughters, their husbands, and our 5 grandchildren.  We have not “retired” from life or ministry!  I want to continue to serve the Lord in whatever capacity He calls and have an intense desire to always do His will.