Mike Lee

Mike Lee

Lead/Teaching Pastor and Founder

Mike Lee is the founding and lead pastor of Hope Community Church and is well known for his dynamic, relevant and insightful Bible-based teaching. Mike received his seminary degree from Talbot School of Theology and has been a pastor for over 30 years. He is married to Laura Lee and their family includes two grown sons, Aaron and Adam and Aaron’s wife Christy. They are also proud grandparents.


Tom Sharda

Executive Pastor
Tom grew up in Michigan and came to know Christ at a young age. Prior to joining Hope in 2016, Tom served 18 years in the marketplace followed by seven years as an executive pastor of a mega-church in Arizona. He completed his undergraduate work at Calvin College and the University of Michigan; followed by his post graduate work at the University of Michigan and Case Western Reserve University. Tom and his wife, Jennie, have been married since 1999. They have four daughters -- Rachel, Rebecca, Jessica and Sarah Grace.

Gary Vet

Executive Director of Expansion and Leadership Development
Gary grew up outside of Cleveland, Ohio where, in 1980, he surrendered his life to Christ. Just before heading to a university to pursue pre-law, he attended a leadership conference for teens at a Bible college where he felt drawn to serve Christ in a full-time capacity. Gary completed his Doctorate of Ministry at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. Gary and his wife, Martha, have two sons, Ryan and Tyler.
Phil Bell

Phil Bell

Executive Director of Family Ministry
Phil grew up just outside of London, England. At 18 he attended a youth ministry convention, surrendered his life to Christ and accepted a call to ministry. In August 2000, he came to the States to work and study family ministry and has continued to work in ministry since. Phil earned a master’s in Christian ministry from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and has a vision to reach the next generation for Christ through developing healthy leaders, strong marriages, confident parents, and empowering children and students to live out their faith. He and his wife, Lisa, have three children, Emma, Addison and Owen.
Palmer Schoch

Palmer Schoch

Executive Director of Ministry Services
Palmer was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan and became a Christian in 1981. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has over 35 years of experience in manufacturing and finance, including 27 years with Nortel Networks and most recently with Urgent Cares of America before joining Hope in 2010. He has a passion for organizational efficiency, excellence and stewardship of God’s resources. He and his wife, Robyn, have been married since 1974 and are the proud parents of four children and nine grand-children.



Jason Collier
Jason and his wife Nannette have been attending Hope since 2008. He spent seven years with Mercy Ships, at one time serving as personal assistant to the founder/president of the land-based operations in Texas. Because of Hope’s vision to combine faith and practical applications, Jason believes that our current growth strategy is the perfect place to utilize his gifts of exhortation and generosity.

jeff-eakesJeff Eakes
Jeff and Nancy have been married since 2001 and have six children. They’ve attended Hope since September 1998. Jeff has served on the Hope Finance Committee since 2005, was a small group leader and is active in two mens’ groups and a couples group. Jeff also serves on the Boards of Directors for Cary Academy, The Miracle League of the Triangle and Global Hope India. Jeff is employed at SAS Institute as Senior Director of Corporate Treasury. Nancy serves on the Prayer Team at Hope and is active in the Restored workshops and individual prayer appointments. The Eakes live in Cary.

Kenton Gardinier
Having attended Hope for nearly 10 years, Kenton Gardinier has long been a champion for Hope’s mission and vision, and believes he’ll be well-suited to serve as an elder, particularly during our next phase of growth and transition. In addition to his experience as a leader and manager in the IT industry, where he led from his perspective as a Christian, he has been involved in numerous ministries at Hope including Live4Hope, First Impressions and Young Life.

mikeheadshot_eldersMike Lee
Mike and Laura Lee have been married since 1978 and have two adult children and three grandchildren. Mike and Laura founded Hope Community Church in 1994 after moving to North Carolina from California. Both have served in nearly every ministry at Hope and have participated in mission trips to Haiti and Africa. Mike is the Lead/Teaching Pastor and Founder of Hope Community Church. Mike and Laura live in Apex.

Derek-Noether_200x200Derek Noether
Derek and Nancy Noether have been married since 1993. They have three wonderful daughters: Ava, Ella and Addison. Derek and Nancy started attending Hope in 2008. They are in a small group and serve in KidCity. Derek has also been involved in Hope’s strategy and organization development, stewardship and financial ministry, marketplace ministry and leads a small group bible study at work. Derek is a senior director and global head of Organization Development at Quintiles and his family lives in Apex.

carl-wilkinsCarl Wilkins
Carl Wilkins has been married to Gale since 1977 and they have been members of Hope since 2008. They have two adult children, a daughter who is married and lives in Durham, and a son who is a senior at NC State. Both Carl and Gale prepare and serve communion monthly at Hope’s main campus, and they also host a small group in their home. Carl, a licensed professional electrical engineer, works at Quanta Technology as an international engineering consultant. Gale is the Executive Director for North Carolina’s Council for Women. Carl and Gale have lived in North Raleigh since the mid-70’s. They have dedicated themselves to volunteerism and public service, primarily working with families.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith has been married to Marti since 1995. They are the proud parents of two daughters, Ryleigh and Alaina. The Smiths have been active members of Hope since 2004. Mike was raised in a Christian home, as the son of a pastor, and has seen church leadership up close throughout his life. In addition to his role as an elder, Mike has served at Hope as a small group leader, a member of the tech team and currently serves as a nursery volunteer. Marti has served as a small group leader, as a member of the medical team and currently serves as the Raleigh Campus Nursery Coordinator. Mike is employed by NetApp, Inc., as a Support Account Manager in the U.S. Public Sector.

Jay Jennings
Jay and his wife Debbie have been married since 1975. They have been part of the Hope family since 2009. Jay is a small group leader and has served as a volunteer in First Impressions for the past five years. He is a videographer/editor at WRAL-TV in the documentary unit. Jay is a graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism and recently earned a Masters of Ministry from Shepherds Theological Seminary in Cary, North Carolina. He has a passion for teaching God’s Word creatively. Jay and Debbie have two adult children, son Jason and his wife Martha, daughter Amy and her husband Ryan. They are also proud grandparents.

How are elders chosen?

The process can begin by someone expressing interest in entering the elder process or the elders may invite some men into the process. Screening includes a training class, reading, personal interview with senior pastor, an application, and approval by the elders. The final step is a confirmation vote by the members. The entire process is handled slowly and with prayer.

What are the prerequisites for an elder candidate?

The qualifications are from 1 Timothy 3:1-12 and Titus 1:5-11.

How long is an elder appointed?

Elders are confirmed for life, but may step aside from serving actively if needed.

What are the elders’ responsibilities?

The elder’s role is to ensure the church accomplishes its mission, protect the essential biblical doctrines (faith) and observe biblical standards (practice).

Why do we need elders?

Elder is the highest biblical office given to the church to exercise oversight and shepherding (1 Peter 5:1-2) of the local body. Elders lead and govern the local church by teaching biblical truth, modeling Christ-like behavior, maintaining doctrinal purity, disciplining members, overseeing finances and praying for the sick.