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)
Gabe Awbrey, Student Director (gawbrey@theascentchurch.com)
Bailey Finn, Assistant Children’s & Student Director (bfinn@theascentchurch.com)
Rachel Olson, Student Ministries Intern (rolson@theascentchurch.com)
Dr. Heidi Petak, Communications/Women’s Ministry Director (hpetak@theascentchurch.com)
Jay Hartwell, Missions Coordinator (missions@theascentchurch.com
Shauna Chanda, Worship Leader (sc@shaunachanda.com
Nico Perez, Worship Leader (nicochico12@gmail.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 Coordinator (jsilva@theascentchurch.com)
Ashley Eaves, Operations Coordinator & Sunday AM Quarterback (aeaves@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)
Jason Schott (jetschott@gmail.com)
Brian Petak, Lead Pastor (bpetak@theascentchurch.com)

Elder Selection Process – November/December, 2020


Jason grew up as a small-town farm kid in North Dakota and met Iowa-raised Emily while attending a masters degree program in Boston following his graduation from the Air Force Academy. Jason and Emily have now been married 26 years and have raised two children. Their daughter Erika lives in Denver and their son Tyler and daughter-in-law Abilene live in California. Jason served 25 years as a fighter test pilot and so they moved extensively—15 abodes in eleven states and a Canadian province. They relocated to Colorado in 2018 and currently lead a semi-retired life, renting out a guest suite in their home to supplement their military pension.

In each locale of their many moves, Jason and Emily served in their local church. In 2002 Jason considered leaving the military for full-time ministry and was ordained as a minister of the Southern Baptist Convention. However, he subsequently felt led to continue in the military and serve the Lord in a lay-leader capacity. He earned a doctorate of theology with emphasis on counseling in 2004 and has served as an elder in two previous churches.

Since his Air Force career did not afford much time for hobbies, Jason is excitedly reigniting his interests of skiing, hunting, and woodworking.  His spiritual passions are reading the Bible chronologically and living life in community. God has used Jason’s passion for daily reading the Bible to encourage many other believers to find their own passion for Scripture. In addition, an important aspect of his doctoral dissertation was on the critical nature of small groups to a healthy church. Therefore, the emphasis on base camps is a significant reason Jason and Emily love it The Ascent. 

Jason and Emily desire that their current home in Monument be their final residence, Lord-willing. They intend to grow deep roots into this community as they live out their lives of faith with you.