Our leadership takes the responsibility of shepherding God's church seriously and strives to be aligned, clear and accountable in all that we do.
Meet the New Executive Leadership Team
The Executive Leadership Team is comprised of our Lead Pastor of Direction, Lead Pastor of Ministry and Executive Director of Operations. Together, under the oversight of the Council of Elders, they lead and uphold the mission and vision of Forest Hill Church.
Jason Smith - Lead Pastor of DirectionJason Smith has been on staff at Forest Hill for 11 years, and is currently the pastor of the NoDa Campus. Jason has a Masters degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Christian Thought/Theology and is passionate about helping people connect with God and find their purpose, no matter where they are starting from. Jason is a network leader of For Charlotte Mission Network, a gospel-centered network of churches in the greater Charlotte area working together to seek the peace of the Queen City. Jason and his wife Jessica, an artist and designer, have been married for 15 years and have three daughters, Savannah, Eden and Charlotte.
Mike Boulware - Lead Pastor of Ministry
Mike Boulware was born in Lakeland, FL where he grew up the youngest of three boys. He responded to the call of Jesus Christ as a young child.
His undergraduate education includes a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in psychology from Presbyterian College, in Clinton, SC. He received a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Theological Seminary, in Charlotte, NC. As an ordained pastor, he has served as the pastoral care pastor at Mandarin Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville, FL, and in numerous leadership roles the last 15 years at Forest Hill. His passion in ministry is to love people and equip others to do the same so that the Gospel might be known and cause deep transformation in people.
Mike is married to his high school sweetheart Andrea. They have two children, Ashley and Chase. He enjoys going on dates with his wife, playing with his kids, working in the yard and watching a good science fiction movie.
Max Baumgartner - Executive Director of Operations
Max and his wife Gina have been married for 41 years and have three children and two grandchildren. Max has been the Executive Director/COO at Forest Hill since 2008. Prior to Forest Hill, Max was the Board Chair for Charlotte Christian School. And prior to that, Max served as the COO for David Jeremiah's Shadow Mountain Community Church. Max is a proud Navy veteran having completed 11 tours of duty including an assignment as the Supply Officer on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. He is passionate about Jesus, family, learning, and mentoring leaders. His hobbies include hiking, and skiing.
Meet the New Senior Leadership Team Team
The Senior Leadership Team is comprised of 16 of Forest Hill’s ministry leaders from across all six campuses including our six campus pastors and Executive Leadership Team. This group, with its vast years of experience in both ministry and corporate settings, works to achieve the mission and vision of Forest Hill Church.
Max Baumgartner, Executive Director of Operations
Mike Boulware, Lead Pastor of Ministry
Keith Burney, Campus Pastor, NoDa
Gentry Eddings, Campus Pastor, Ballantyne
Paula Forte, Family Ministry Director, NoDa
Gray Gardner, Associate Pastor, Waxhaw
Andy Guthe, Campus Pastor, Fort Mill
Quinlan Lee, Adult Discipleship Team Lead
Todd Lesher, Family Ministry Team Lead
Stacey Martin, Director of Communications
Jonathan Matos, Campus Pastor, South Blvd.
John Parker, Director of Outreach
Jonathan Scott, Campus Pastor, South Park
Jason Smith, Lead Pastor of Direction
Andrew Weiler, Director of Digital Strategies
Rebecca Woodman, Director of Care and Counseling
The Executive Team
The Council of Elders has voted on and approved a plurality of leadership in what was formerly known as the Office of Senior Pastor with a Lead Pastor of Direction, a Lead Pastor of Ministry and an Executive Director of Operations to create a new Executive Team.
We remain committed to our Essentials of Faith and particularly, our belief in the inerrancy of Scripture.
The Transition Team recommended a model with the options of 3 or 5 people in the role formerly known as the Office of Senior Pastor after a season of research and conversation with churches all over the country who have gone through similar seasons of transition.
Council unanimously voted on the 3-person model, the role descriptions and the three people to fill these roles; Jason Smith - Lead Pastor of Direction, Mike Boulware - Lead Pastor of Ministry and Max Baumgartner, Executive Director of Operations.
All campus pastors are excited and encouraged about this organizational shift and retain significant leadership function in the church and at their campuses.
The Executive Team will be building a Senior Leadership Team to support organizational and ministry functions.
Jonathan Scott and Jason Smith will continue to be the primary communicators on the teaching team, with campus pastors continuing to periodically preach.
A DEEPER DIVE
The goals of an Executive Team:
Refine and enhance senior leadership focus on each aspect of mission
Provide collaboration with regards to methods and strategies
Recognize the significant scope, breadth and capacity to operate an organization of this size and scale
Increase synergy and innovation to respond to evangelistic and discipleship challenges in a rapidly changing cultural environment
Provide internal accountability through peer relationships
Increase the diversity of decision-making perspective on the highest order issues
Our decision to move to a plurality of leaders at the senior leadership level is based on biblical principles not direct models. There are several ways to establish models of senior leadership in the local church. We believe that this model will serve Forest Hill best during this season. It is modeled in the New Testament and supported by biblical wisdom and demonstrates practical advantages.
HERE for the Biblical Foundations of a plurality of leadership.
Click HERE for Organizational Justification of a plurality of leadership.
(WATCH our conversation and Q+A with Lay Leaders about this transition.)
Elected by the church body, elders provide spiritual oversight for the life and affairs of Forest Hill including how to use resources in alignment to the purpose and vision of the church. They also administer communion, baptism and prayer.
Current Council of Elders:
Tom Emmrich - Council Chair
Deidre Foster - Council Vice Chair and Head of Senior Pastor Dev. Committee
Andy Asbury - Head of Finance & Risk Management Committee
Tom Mullis - Head of EDC
Jill Hogan - Head of Governance Committee
Andy York - Head of Audit Committee
Click HERE to email the Council.
Elected by the church body, deacons provide support, comfort and care to Forest Hill members with particular needs including prayer and hospital visits.
The Campus Pastors share preaching responsibilities and work collaboratively with senior staff leaders and elders on a Transitional Leadership Team to continue to lead Forest Hill while we format the next leadership structure of the church. We have recently made a significant decision regarding the leadership of the church. Read our latest transition update here.
Our Essentials of Faith
FHC Governance Document
Questions? Email our leaders.