Executive Leadership Team

Jason Gore

Lead Pastor

Jason’s life began training him for leadership as far back as his time wrestling and playing football at Cary High School.  The influence of great coaches both there and during his time on the Wolfpack Wrestling Team at NC State converged with his deep desire for those far from God to know the hope that comes from a personal relationship with Him. Jason first attended and began serving as a volunteer at Hope Community Church back in 1997, while his career path took him from the business world into full-time ministry and, eventually, into serving as a pastor in 2003.  Through it all, he has remained connected to his roots on the mat and the field, serving his community as a coach in youth sports, instilling the life and leadership skills that meant so much to him growing up into another generation of kids and teenagers. Even as a coach and with the honor of being the Lead Pastor of Hope Community Church, he would tell you that his most important roles are being a husband to his wife, Diana, and a father to his three children: Aidan, Addison, and Connor. 

Julie Biggs

Executive Liaison and Administrator

Julie grew up in Fairborn, Ohio and has been a part of Hope Community Church since 2002. She worked in retail sales for many years and was a stay-at-home mom for about eight years before joining Hope staff in 2013. Julie is passionate about removing barriers that keep people from connecting to God and each other and helping them experience the joy and freedom found only in the gospel. She loves spending time with her family, walks with friends, and losing herself in a good book.  She and her husband Tom have two adult children.

Derek Sisterhen

Executive Director | Ministry Integration & Development

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 three children.

Heather Sullivan

Executive Director | Community Impact

Heather Sullivan is a wife to Shaun and mom of two sons—Seth and Brady. She is driven by the belief that every one of us can change the world with the hope found in knowing Jesus—and it all starts when we learn to see the people around us the way He does. As a former high-school teacher turned football, wrestling, and plant mom, her passion as a follower of Jesus is to influence entire communities to jump into loving and serving youth and families so that every kid can be confident in and compelled by the hope they have in Jesus. 

Clay Burgess

Executive Director | Spiritual Formation

Clay is a native of North Carolina.  He graduated from the University of North Carolina and has been a pastor in the Triangle area since 2002.  His theological education includes a MDIV from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a ThM and DMin from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.  Clay joined the Hope staff in 2019 and has served in a variety of capacities.  He is passionate about studying and teaching the Bible and helping others do the same.

Clay is married to Stephanie, and they have three adult sons. In addition to his responsibilities at church, Clay loves hanging out with his family enjoying good food and lively conversation.  He enjoys peanut M&Ms, watching shows, Yankee games, and Tar Heel sports with Steph.  To be able to do all of that at the beach is a great day for him!

Wes Dyke

Executive Director | Finance and Operations

Originally from East Peoria, Illinois, Wes and his wife Nikki have been part of Hope Community Church since 2010.  He joined the staff in 2021, bringing 20 years of corporate accounting and project leadership experience.  Wes helped Nikki establish and lead Carolina Youth Theatre, a non-profit organization that served hundreds of students and entertained 30,000+ patrons over 15 years.  Wes is a CPA and serves in Hope’s Stewardship Ministry. When not in the office or at a Hope campus, look for him at home reading and sipping coffee, at the gym, on a tennis court, riding a greenway, or enjoying good food.

Jamie McDonald

Executive Director | Campus & Family Life

Not growing up in church, the last place Jamie thought life would lead him was into ministry. Prior to working in churches, Jamie spent 10 years in business development and expedited logistics.

Before joining Hope’s staff in 2018, he served as a creative arts director, adult ministries, and Executive Pastor at a church in Durham. He studied theology at Liberty University and enjoys equipping leaders for ministry and marketplace impact.

A Durham native, Jamie and his wife Lauren now reside in Holly Springs with their three sons, Mason, Jaxon and Finn.

Ministry Lead Team

Doug Stride

Apex Campus Pastor

As campus pastor, Doug Stride is excited to ignite the church to reach the Triangle and change the world by investing in the communities of Apex, Holly Springs, and the surrounding area. Doug grew up just outside of Toronto, Canada where he came to know Jesus at an early age, and grew up loving hockey, music and anything outdoors. After graduating from North Central Bible College in Minneapolis, MN, he served as a worship pastor in Ontario for eight years before heading to Uganda, East Africa as part of the leadership team of Watoto Church. Since coming to Hope in 2012 and serving in a number of capacities, he is excited to now be living out the mission of Hope right where he lives, investing in the community of Apex. He remains a lover of the outdoors, fishing and spending time with his wife, Dawn, and three young adult children (Brennan, Garrison and Milaena).

Duane Calvin

Raleigh Campus Pastor

As the Raleigh Campus Pastor, Duane Calvin oversees the Raleigh campus staff. He formerly served as Global Hope Ministry leader at Hope before taking on the role of Garner Campus Pastor when the Garner campus launched in 2019. Prior to his time at Hope, Duane was the Family Ministry Pastor at a church in Okinawa, Japan. Pastor Duane is a retired United States Marine. He loves basketball, football and spending time with his family. He and his wife Tasha have two young adult children, a daughter named Tia and a son named Sam.

Pastor Matt Curtis

Matt Curtis

Fuquay-Varina Campus Pastor

As the Fuquay-Varina Campus Pastor, Matt spends his time investing in relationships of Fuquay families, local businesses, and the campus staff. He formerly served as a Young Adult Pastor at Hope. Prior to moving to North Carolina from Texas, Matt worked in homeless ministry and served as a Family Pastor in San Antonio, before spending several years in the oil field of south Texas. He and his wife Jillian have two boys, lots of tacos, and even more legos.

Shaun Sullivan

Garner Campus Pastor

As the Garner Campus Pastor, Shaun oversees an amazing campus and a passionate staff focused on reaching the Garner, Clayton, and South Raleigh areas. Shaun grew up in Sneads Ferry, NC where he learned to play baseball and to find clams in the waterway under the bridge. He began to follow Jesus at 17 years old and pursued ministry shortly after and earned a Religion degree at East Carolina University in 2000. Shaun served 10 years in youth ministry, 7 years in a local coffee distribution company, and most recently 7 years as Hope’s Garner Area Pastor over small groups, community outreach, and discipleship. He loves spending time with his wife Heather and their 2 teen boys and enjoys loving and serving the Garner community as a family.

Jessica Benninghoff

Family Ministries Director

Gary Vet

Director | Pastoral Development

Janel Bunten

First Impressions Director

Dawn Stride

Global and Domestic Mission Director

Sam Kenoly

Worship Director

Matt Wish

Communications Director

Rob Jones

Director of Programming

Sam Kenoly

Worship Director


Jason Gore

Jason Collier

Jeff Eakes

Bill Fulton

Chris Chuang

Carl Wilkins

Jay Jennings

Brian Ralph

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.

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

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

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

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.