Mike Lee

Lead Teaching Pastor and Founder
Mike Lee is the founding and lead pastor of Hope Community Church. He has been teaching the Bible for over 35 years in a dynamic, relevant and insightful way. His desire is that people in the Triangle and the world come to know and love Jesus and renew their minds through God’s Word. God gave him and his wife, Laura, a vision for a different kind of church, and they and six families launched Hope Community Church in 1994. Mike has written a book, You Can’t…God Can and launched an app, Be Renewed, that offers daily devotions. He and his wife, Laura, have two sons, two daughters-in-law and seven grandchildren.

Jason Gore

Executive Pastor
He is a graduate of North Carolina State and was also a Captain on the Wolfpack’s Wrestling Team. Go Pack! Although he gave his life to Jesus at a tiny little church in Morrisville in 1987, it was during his time at NC State that his journey with Christ accelerated. Jason first attended and began serving as a volunteer at Hope back in 1997. Since then, he has been involved in the business world, various forms of full-time ministry, church planting, and has served as a Pastor since 2003. His passion is to allow God to use his strengths and gifting to see those who are far from God come to understand how they are loved by Him, how they were created to live... and to work hard at having fun along the way. Jason and his wife, Diana, have three children: twins Aidan and Addison and their youngest, Connor.

Dawn Stride

Executive Director | Ministry Strategy
Dawn committed her life to Christ and began actively serving in the church as a young adolescent. After university in Minneapolis, MN, she served as Music Director in a church near Toronto, Canada, her husband’s hometown. In 2005, they moved to Uganda, East Africa to work with Watoto Church before joining Hope in 2012. From her own personal experience, Dawn has seen worldwide how God uses ordinary people to do the extraordinary when He is involved. She is passionate to see believers not just attend church, but to actively be the church where they live, work, and play, living out the mission of Christ. Dawn, along with her husband Doug, are blessed with three teenagers, Brennan, Garrison, and Milaena.

Derek Sisterhen

Executive Director | Finance & Operations
Derek grew up in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and became a Christian in 1993. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and joined Hope’s staff in 2010 after a career in banking and financial consulting. Derek is passionate about the stewardship of God’s resources so the church is best positioned to impact lives with the Gospel. He and his wife, Elisa, have two children.

Don Smith

Executive Director | Creative Ministries
Ministry has been in Don's story since the beginning. His father was a pastor of a church plant in New York, and his mother grew up in another plant from the same organization.Don never intended to be in full-time ministry, but God had other plans for him. After spending 18 years in three large churches, he shifted his focus to the Macro Church by working on the leadership team of a church planting organization called Exponential. He has worked with them for the last five years. Don has a vision to help creatively communicate and illustrate what's next for the Church. He is driven by the goal of finding unique ways of making the story of God attractive to those who aren’t likely to darken the doors of a typical church. Hope thrives off of the same vision. Don and his wife, Jenna, have been married since 1996 and have three boys – Brayden, Ian, and Gavin.

Jim Horton

Executive Director | Human Resources
Jim spent his young life in upstate New York before moving to Vermont. He was raised in the Catholic Church and came into a personal relationship with Jesus later in life. Jim is a graduate of Penn State University with a bachelor’s degree in Labor Relations and a graduate degree in Training and Development. He has over 35 years experience in retail operations and human resources and joined Hope’s staff in late 2013. His passion is servant leadership, serving God and His church. Jim and his wife, Pam, have been married since 1988 and have two sons and four grandchildren.

Jamie McDonald

Executive Director | Multisite & Campus Life
Not growing up in church, the last place Jamie thought life would lead him was into vocational ministry. However, beginning his relationship with Jesus later than most drives his passion and urgency for reaching those who aren’t here yet. Jamie spent 10 years in business development serving the family entertainment and expedited logistics industries before answering the call to full time ministry in 2005. Jamie has served in creative arts ministry, adult discipleship, and as an Executive Pastor in Durham before joining Hope’s staff in 2018. He studied theology at Liberty University and enjoys merging biblical truth and marketplace experience to equip leaders for impact. A Durham native, Jamie and his wife Lauren have three sons, Mason, Jaxon and Finn.

Gary Vet

Senior Executive | Strategic Partnerships
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.



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.

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 Fuquay-Varina.

Bill Fulton
Bill and Barb began attending Hope in 2004. They have been blessed with two married daughters and five grandchildren. Barb Volunteers in the nursery and they have enjoyed being in a small group for over 10 years. From 2007 to 2011, Bill volunteered as the first Director of Local Hope. Since then he has been active in the Ship of Zion ministries including the Galley Grocery store. After a 34 year career, Bill retired from IBM where he was a Business Development Executive.

Chris Chuang
Chris and Linda have been married since 2003 and are blessed with four wonderful children (Connor, Mason, Sophia, and Rosalie). They’ve attended Hope’s Raleigh campus for nearly a decade and have served in KidCity and as small group leaders.  Chris has also been involved with Marketplace Matters and collaborated with Hope’s executive staff on a variety of strategy and organizational development topics. Chris is a graduate of Stanford University, loves coaching youth basketball, and currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Republic Wireless (a division of Bandwidth.com).  Chris has long been inspired by Hope’s mission and feels called to “be available” for Jesus to use his gifts and experiences from the marketplace to help Hope achieve its vision to Reach the Triangle and Change the World. 

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 served as a volunteer in First Impressions for several years. He and Debbie are actively involved helping couples in re|engage. 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 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.

Brian Ralph
Brian and Kristen have been married since 1994 and have three wonderful daughters (Abby, Eden and Izzy). They relocated to Raleigh in 2015 from Charlotte and have been engaged with Hope Community Church ever since. They lead a small group and Kristen is the liaison with North Ridge Elementary School facilitating project classroom and backpack buddies. Brian earned his Ph.D. from Ohio University and serves as President of William Peace University in Raleigh.


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.