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 Direction 
Jason Smith has been on staff at Forest Hill for 11 years, and is currently the Lead Pastor of Direction. 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.

Why 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.


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:

  • Deidre Foster – Council Chair
  • Glenn McCorkle- Council Vice Chair
  • Graeme Dykes – Head of Finance & Risk Management Committee
  • Jimmy Wade – Head of EDC
  • Tom Mullis – Head of Governance Committee
  • Daniel Rodriguez-Brenes – Head of Audit Committee
  • Angie Bartles
  • Tom Emmrich
  • Derek Harris
  • Libby Kral
  • Liz Mallas
  • Bert Williams


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’s Financials

FHC’s Governance Document

Transition Update

Questions? Email our leaders

© 2022 Forest Hill Church