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 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.

Ministry Staff

Kathy Collins, Children’s Ministry Director (kcollins@theascentchurch.com)
Gabe Awbrey, Student Director (gawbrey@theascentchurch.com)
Dr. Heidi Petak, Communications/Women’s Ministry Director (hpetak@theascentchurch.com)
Ben Canon, Technical Director (Canon@loudmountainstudios.com)
Blake Ackerman, Facilities Director (backerman@theascentchurch.com)


Joyce Silva, Office Coordinator (jsilva@theascentchurch.com)
Ashley Virgil, Administrative Assistant (avirgil@theascentchurch.com


Mike McKinney, (mike.mckinney66207@gmail.com
Chuck Stovall (cstovall@gmail.com)
Dan York, Chairman (dan@firstcause.org)
Randy McLelland (randymac@randymac.com
Parker Lohrenz (plohrenz@gmail.com 
Jeff Collins (collij2@gmail.com)
Brian Petak, Lead Pastor (bpetak@theascentchurch.com)