Our Church Staff

Leadership Team:

At Highlands, we are blessed to have a very experienced team of pastors, ministry directors, and lay volunteers to provide effective and anointed leadership to our church family.  These are our awesome team members:  


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Pastor Mark Reese, Senior Pastor

Pastor Mark is our Lead Pastor at Highlands. He has a deep love for people, a passion for worship, and the preaching and teaching God’s Word. He grew up in the Columbus, Ohio area and began ministry as a youth pastor in inner city Columbus. While attending Boyce Bible College, he began ministering as an Evangelist, spending a decade traveling and recording as the Lead Singer for nationally known recording artists like The Mercy River Boys, Nashville, TN, The Kindlers, Nashville, TN. and a solo recording stint with Music City Gospel and Cedar Hill Records, Nashville. Pastor Mark still has a great love for music and ministers in our Highlands Praise Team ministries. His pastoral life developed as the Senior Pastor at the Goshen Run Church of God Chillicothe, Ohio, and Associate Pastor of Evangelism & Outreach at the Brookside Church in Chillicothe. He also served as a church planter and Lead Pastor with the Southern Hills Community Church in Kingston, Ohio before coming to Highlands. He has a special relationship with our church congregation and loves to develop these relationships. Pastor Mark and his wife Sally have two grown children, Emma Reese Baker who is married and lives in the Lancaster area, and Mark Anthony Reese, who attends Carson Newman Baptist University in Jefferson City, TN. You will enjoy the ministry, experience, vision, and passion of Pastor Mark.   

Pastor Roger Dempsey, Associate Pastor of Congregational Care

Pastor Roger is our Congregational Care Pastor at Highlands.  He comes from the great state of West Virginia originally, and you will know this when you meet him. Everyone loves Pastor Roger, and for good reason. He began ministry in the Association of Free Will Baptists, serving as an interim pastor for several churches, then as a church planter in the central Ohio area. He served more than 30 years as the Senior Pastor at the Harvest Time Free Will Baptist Church in Sunbury, Ohio before coming to join us in ministry at Highlands. Pastor Roger is a passionate preacher of the Word and helps in the care and development of our congregational life and spiritual drive at Highlands. He has a special relationship with our congregation and church family. He is bold for the kingdom of God. Our young people say, “Nobody tells a story like Pastor Roger.” He recently lost his wonderful wife Barbara as she went to be with our Lord. He has two grown children: Glenn Dempsey, and Christina Dempsey Madden, and five grandchildren.  You are going to love the care, experience, drive, and passion of Pastor Roger Dempsey.
Pastor Joe

Pastor Joe Duncan, Teaching & Young Adults Pastor

The Bible has a lot to say about teaching. Pastor Joe is the newest member of our pastoral team.  He has a great love for God’s Word and an enhanced ability to convey its depth in the life of everyday people. He loves to teach. He grew up right here in the Lancaster community and has made his living on their local family cattle and dairy farm. He began ministry life here in Lancaster, and has been preaching and teaching for nearly two decades. Pastor Joe teaches our mainstream adults in our various gatherings and our college and career areas. This is a new area of ministry development at Highlands. Pastor Joe is married to his wife Laura and has two children: Elly, who is a Freshman at Kent State University, and Cal, who is a Freshman at Amanda Clearcreek High School. You will enjoy the ministry of Pastor Joe. 



Angela Russell, Director of Music & Children’s Ministries

Angela Russell is our Director of Worship Music & Children’s Ministries at Highlands. She has a bachelor’s degree in ministry from Ohio Christian University, and a master’s degree from Muskingum University in early childhood development. She grew up in a pastor’s family in Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Ohio, and has been deeply involved in music and performance most of her life in the family’s traveling music and evangelistic ministry. She has also been featured in many Ohio University community vocal performances, and stints in the southern gospel music arena with groups. Angela leads our contemporary and traditional music worship ministry and has served on worship teams like the Fairfield Christian Church praise team and others. We are honored she is leading our worship team at Highlands. She has an awesome voice, an infectious laugh, and you will not forget her personality. She is a person of deep commitment to Jesus in ministry. In addition to her music leadership role at Highlands, Angela serves as the Administrator of our newly formed Highlands Christian Academy Daycare and Preschool, and JAM (Jesus and Me) Children’s Ministries at Highlands. You will be blessed by the talent, calling, ministry, and heart of Angela Russell.          


Paul Russell, Director of Technology & Audio-Visual Ministries
Paul Russell is our Director of Technology and AV Ministries. Today’s worship services and church ministries are enhanced by PowerPoint style worship software for visual needs and live music and instrumentation. The visual aspect of worship is now utilized with a 20% greater level of biblical and teaching retention for attendees when utilized. At Highlands, we have a great live band and praise team including digital keyboards, drums, guitars, and 4-5 vocalists on stage during praise & worship or special music.  These ministry areas include computer operations, worship Livestream cameras and software, two software technician team members, 1 sound technician, and 7-10 worship team members for live band and vocalists. Paul grew up in this ministry arena in his home church near Beaumont, Texas. He continued in this calling and technology development at the World Harvest Church in Canal Winchester, Ohio and the Fairfield Christian Church here in Lancaster, Ohio before calling Highlands his church home. We are very blessed to have Paul leading this team. Paul has a heart to jump in and create platforms of ministry that change lives. You will enjoy the humor, drive, talent, leadership, and heart of Paul Russell.