My name is Andrew and I serve Hope Community Church as the area pastor lead. This shouldn’t come as a shock, but my number one job at Hope is to lead a team of area pastors. As a church, we’re convinced the best way to love people where they are and encourage them to grow in their relationship with Christ is through small groups unified around that mission and sharing the vision of “reaching the Triangle and changing the world.”

So what does an area pastor do exactly?

Area pastors are tasked with shepherding (the word ‘pastor’ is a synonym for ‘shepherd’) a specific area of the Triangle. Our first goal is to imitate Christ who is the Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20-21) so we might be an encouragement to the Church (1 Corinthians 11:1) and, alongside other leaders of Hope,  equip the Church for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). Naturally, the day-to-day activities of an area pastor serving Knightdale might look quite different from those of the Cary area pastor, but we fulfill the mission and vision of Hope primarily through small groups located throughout our respective areas. We are passionate about training leaders who can lead others (2 Timothy 2:2; Sometimes called the “Jethro Principle” based on Exodus 18) and connecting the many needs of this church to the many hands and feet of Christ (1 Corinthians 12; Philippians 2:4; Matthew 25:35-40).

Every small group at Hope is in an area pastor’s span of care. This blog is an introduction to the men who have committed themselves (and their families!) to serving you.

Hope — meet your area pastors!

AreaPastors_Portraits_2015_4Name: Andrew Yates

Family: My wife (Kelli) and I just had our first child, Hannah, who will be 6 months old on the 21st. Kelli was an aerospace engineer with Bell Helicopter while I was at seminary in Dallas. Hannah has her mother’s blue eyes and her father’s curious nature.

Span of Care: Ultimately, I’m responsible for connecting every mission partner (our word for members) at Hope to a healthy small group while supporting current small groups. This is (obviously) impossible for one man so I lead a small group comprised of area pastors committed to serving their respective area.

How did you become a Christian? My parents raised me in a Christian home and as a result of AWANAS I heard the gospel message every week and around 7 or 8 years old I trusted Jesus to save me from the brokenness in the world and in myself.

Favorite Quote: There is nothing, absolutely nothing, half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.
-Wind in the Willows

What is something most people don’t know about you? I’m brown/green colorblind and can’t do anything athletic other than swim (doctor’s orders).

What are some of the ways you paid the bills before you came to Hope? I have been a Starbucks barista, a civil engineer, and a professional Boy Scout.

What hobbies do you enjoy? Disk golf, sailing, shooting, home brewing, camping, really anything on a boat.

Why are you a pastor? Because I love people and a relationship with God through faith in Christ is the only ‘secret sauce’ to a meaningful, successful life. I want as many people as possible to enjoy a life of purpose and to share the hope that I have!

What is your favorite thing about your job? God is doing things here that are way bigger than anything I could do myself. If I was hit by a truck today, I could be proud of the influence my life has had for permanent good. God has chosen to work through this church and I am so honored to be able to share in what He is doing.

Cat or Dog person? Definitely dog.

AreaPastors_Portraits_2015_2Name: Aaron Lee

Family: Wife – Christy, daughter – Olivia (7), son – Brennan (6), daughter –  Embry (1)

Span of Care: Cary Small Groups

How did you become a Christian? Not exactly sure “when it happened” but I prayed to accept Jesus when I was a little boy during a “hell scare talk.”  In my teens, I began to understand what a relationship with Jesus was.  Trusting Jesus seems like an event in scripture but it plays out your whole life. Tough to say.  Look at the disciples.

Favorite Quote: No quotes really.

What is something most people don’t know about you? Hmmm.  I’ve never broken a bone, or had chicken pox and seem to be immune to most poison ivy.  Pretty cool huh?

What are some of the ways you paid the bills before you came to Hope? I became a real estate agent in 2006, own my company and continue to sell homes, but on a part-time basis now.

What hobbies do you enjoy? Hardcore video game player (Gaming PC, Xbox One), going to the movies, watching movies, games, soccer.

Why are you a pastor? I never thought I’d be a pastor.  Looking back, it has something to do with caring about underdogs in life, connecting people with ideas and building communities.  When I meet someone I think “what can I do to help this person in what they’re trying to do or become?”

What is your favorite thing about your job? I enjoy analyzing people and systems and creating things that don’t exist or improving things that do.

Cat or Dog person? My favorite pet was Molly the Puggle (Mollbear) -what an incredible “poochador” (Mexican for dog)!

AreaPastors_Portraits_2015_1Name: Shaun Sullivan

Family: Wife – Heather, sons – Seth (9) and Brady (6)

Span of Care: Garner/Clayton and inside the Beltline/South Raleigh

How did you become a Christian? I was 17 years old when I heard a Campbell college student share his story at a weekend retreat on Oak Island.  He told how he was a good kid and believed in God but growing up did not understand how much God cared about him and wanted to have a personal relationship with him.  Through a friend, he came to understand those things and also learned how, through prayer, he could talk to God and pray to Him directly and that God would listen with great interest.  I knew as he was sharing he was describing me and what was missing from my life.  He said he prayed that Jesus would not be far away, but that he would accept him as a follower.  I was completely broken and gave my life to Christ as a thankful follower.

Favorite Quote:  “What gets written down gets done.”

Something most people don’t know about you?  I love music and play guitar.

What are some of the ways you paid the bills before you came to Hope?  10 years in youth ministry followed by seven years in sales and management with a local coffee distribution company in Apex.

What hobbies do you enjoy? Playing sports, reading in a quiet place, board games and video games.

Why are you a pastor?  Encouraging and including others brings a lot of joy to my life.  Jesus often had compassion on others and I am inspired every day by his love for people.  Leading everyone I can to the green grass of Psalm 23 is the best way I know how to imitate him.

What is your favorite thing about your job?  In the office, working with Andrew Yates.  In the community, developing coaches and leaders.

Cat or Dog person?  “Dogs are man’s best friend.”  What positive quote does anyone know about cats?

  1. August 30, 2016

    Hi. Jill Gore here. Filled out response card regarding small groups. Received an email invite from Edalisse to join their Hadden Hall group on Thursdays. I replied back to her but it did not accept her email address. My husband travels on some Thursdays so we are going to hope that something on Sundays works. I appreciate the idea of hadden hall since we are new to the area. Sorry that did not work out.

  2. August 30, 2016

    Howdy Jill, I’ve reached out to Jon and you should hear from him shortly! He’s already mentioned a group that he has in mind that could be a good fit for you and your husband.

    Feel free to reach out to me anytime at if you have any other questions!

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