A native Alabamian, Heather Zempel currently leads the discipleship efforts at National Community Church in Washington, DC where she oversees small groups, directs leadership development training, and serves on the weekend teaching team.
Heather followed a circuitous route into full-time ministry. She went to Louisiana State University where she obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biological engineering. After working as a consulting engineer in Nashville, Tennessee, she moved to Washington, DC where she worked as a policy consultant to a United States Senator.
In January 2002, Heather joined the team of National Community Church (NCC) part-time while still working full-time on Capitol Hill. In 2005, Heather left the Senate to join the NCC team full-time as Discipleship Pastor. In her role, Heather serves on the weekend teaching team and oversees small groups, leadership development, and strategic growth environments. She developed The Story course, in which she covers the entire chronological story of the Bible in six hours, and she also teaches NCC’s Theology 101 course. In 2008, Heather launched the Protégé Program, a year-long intensive spiritual growth, leadership development, and ministry immersion experience that prepares next generation leaders for ministry. She has led church history study tours and pilgrimages to Israel and Greece.
Heather has written three books. Sacred Roads explores different methods and expressions of discipleship throughout church history, and Community is Messy dares readers to embrace the mess that leads to growth and transformation. Her newest book, Amazed and Confused, explores how we respond when God's actions collide with our expectations. Heather is a contributor to smallgroups.com and has been a content contributor for various curricula for LifeWay.
Heather has worked with Christine Caine and the A21 Campaign in fighting human trafficking in Greece and has led several teams on action and awareness trips in Thessaloniki, Greece. She also serves on the Lionshare Leadership Board, where she represents the emerging generation in the conversation and strategy of launching one million disciple-making communities.
Heather has been a speaker at the Orange Conference, Blue Conference, Right Now Conference, Willow Creek Community Church, North Point Community Church, and the Catalyst Conference. The topics she comes back to over and over again include discipleship, leading the next generation, building teams and leading in tensions, igniting a love for the Scriptures, church history, theology, and mentoring.
She lives on Capitol Hill where she can be found enjoying theater with her husband Ryan, watching SEC football, and searching out the best barbeque joints, and nerding out on church history. You can read about her ramblings on small group environments, discipling the next generation and SEC football at www.heatherzempel.com.