Welcome to Heartland Student Ministry!

Heartland Students is for students in grades 6-12. Our groups meet on Sunday or Wednesday nights.

MIDWEEKfor Middle School students; meets on Wednesday nights from 6:00 pm until 7:45 pm.

THE GATHERINGfor High School students; meets on Sunday nights from 6:00 pm until 7:45 pm.

Both services include live worship, relevant teaching for students, and a small group time divided by age and gender. Small group leaders are committed to their students and serve the same group each week. A snack bar with pizza, candy, and drinks is available at all student services.

Our small group leaders are the heart of our student ministry, meeting with their students on a weekly basis at the end of our large group time. During small groups, students engage in conversation with their leader and peers about applying the message to their lives, pray, and build community with one another.

Heartland Students provides many activities through the year for the large group and small groups.

Student Ministry Staff & Leaders

Robby Gross, High School Pastor

Robby Gross joined the Heartland family, starting in June 2023.

Robby and his wife Amelia, a native Floridian, were married in 2016, and have two young daughters, Micah and Malia, as well as their dog Ivey. Robby was born and raised in East Tennessee and is a graduate of the University of Tennessee. He was ordained into the ministry in 2016 and completed his master’s degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary that same year. He has a great desire to see the hearts and minds of students to be transformed by the Gospel.

During the fall, Robby will be heard whistling Rocky Top while watching the Tennessee Volunteers play on Saturdays. He also enjoys playing music, cycling, and cooking. Robby’s life verse is Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not for men.”


Pastor Ricky joined the Heartland staff in 2020. A graduate of The Baptist College of Florida and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ricky holds a BA in Missions and an MA in Christian Studies. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry in Christian Leadership from SEBTS. He and his wife, PJ, met and were married in 2009 while in college together. They have four children, Jason, Anthony, Rachel, and Ryann. The Holder family loves spending their spare time at Disney World.

Pastor Ricky has been serving in churches since 2007 and was ordained to Gospel Ministry in 2012. He has served in churches in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. He has always had a passion for students of all ages, having served with babies through college age throughout his years in ministry. Pastor Ricky’s favorite verse is 2 Timothy 2:2 which says, “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” His goal in ministry is to equip the next generation to share their faith boldly and share it often.

Small Group Leaders

6th Grade Girls – Lauren Chaney and Cate Chatman

6th Grade Boys – Andy Aaron and Josh Wingo

7th Grade Girls – Cece Green, Jordan Vallad, and Allyson Waters

7th Grade Boys – Brian McMahon and Tim Ratliff

8th Grade Girls – Sonia Martinez and Marissa Wingo

8th Grade Boys – David Simmons and Eddie Warren

9th Grade Girls – PJ Holder and Sara McMahon

9th Grade Boys – Lane Bowers and Calvin Casey​

10th Grade Boys – Eric Holm and James Imhoff

10th Grade Girls – Lauren Daughtry, Hannah Holden, and Emily Kent

11th Grade Girls – Carlie Casey, Leisel Cogswell, and Meagan Dedmon

11th Grade Boys – Ian Garner and Ryan Whitehead

12th Grade Girls – Brittany Gardner and Amy Whitehead

12th Grade Boys – Ian Garner and Ryan Whitehead