When asked about ministry, Pastor Heather says, “My goal is the nurture and development of healthy disciples. Because healthy disciples grow in authentic community, and reach out to the world around them.” Finding out how that goal lives out in our community at CRC will be the adventure of learning and joining with God’s calling on our church to build bridges back to God.
Her story began on an August day in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. The Ripley family added a second daughter to their number. It was her privilege to grow up in a double pastors’ family with both parents serving the Seventh-day Adventist church in various ministry capacities. The lesson learned early, membership is a mission adventure that invites involvement. Discipleship is a way of life, who we are and not something we do.
Heather began her college career at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, with plans to complete nursing and pre-medical training. However, this line of study turned into a life-changing experience as God made it clear it was time to make a change in career plans. She heard God’s call on her heart to the gospel ministry.
After completing her Bachelor of Arts in Theology at Southwestern Adventist University in December 1998, she served as Associate Pastor at the Cleburne church in Texas before an opportunity came to attend the Theological Seminary at Andrews University.
Upon completion of her Master of Divinity degree in 2002 she returned to the Texas Conference. Heather was entrusted with the leadership of two churches-Brownwood and Coleman County. While serving in this district, her ministry focused on lifestyle evangelism, worship and Biblical spirituality. After two and a half years with these congregations, God opened the doors to transition to a new role as Pastor for Church Life at the Keene Church at Southwestern Adventist University.
The ten years at the university church in Keene provided for a wide range of ministry involvements. From connecting new members to the church community, to supporting ministries for new moms and young families, to young adult ministry. She gave special emphasis to training and support of Bible workers, prayer meeting series and outreach events.
Most recently Pastor Heather served in the three church district of Newport News, Williamsburg, and Yale. During this time she discovered a delight in ministering to families with small children and creative outreach.
Heather enjoys researching the spiritual disciplines of early Adventists; how they studied the Bible, how they prayed and how they experienced God. Completing her Doctorate of Ministry in 2016 including writing a resource based on her passion in this area. The book is a small group study on how to create a deepening relationship with God by following in their footsteps.
As Pastor Heather begins her leadership at CRC, she is delighted to see what God will do next. She is eager to be a part of the Courthouse Road Church’s vision to be an irresistible influence for Jesus, where all people experience, love and a personal relationship with God is a wonderful setting to share Jesus with each other and the community around us!
Celebrating ten years of marriage to Eric Crews, a software engineer, Heather finds time in her busy life to go on adventures with her family. Daughter Molly is eager to start school with Mrs. Grant at Richmond Academy. Son Owen, a preschooler, is trying to convince his parents he should be there too.