Church Staff


The Rev. Joseph Wheat – Senior Pastor

Joseph is a 1984 graduate of Auburn University, where he received a BS in Economics. He graduated in 1987 from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi with a Master of Divinity degree. Joseph also received a Doctor of Divinity degree (honorary) from New Geneva Theological seminary in 2006.  Joseph has been the Senior Pastor at Highlands since July, 2005. He was the Senior Pastor of Village Seven Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Prior to Village Seven he was the Founding Pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Joseph began his ordained pastoral career at First Presbyterian Church of Augusta, Georgia as an assistant pastor. While at First Presbyterian he met Gina Smith, and they were married in June of 1990. The Wheats have two daughters, Sarah Caitlin and Emily Grace.

FullSizeRenderThe Rev. Bradford Mercer  – Senior Associate Pastor

Brad is a graduate of the University of Texas, Reformed Theological Seminary, and the University of Wales, UK, where he wrote his dissertation on C.S. Lewis. He is a contributor to the recently published book, Views from Wake Forest: Essays on C.S.Lewis. Brad has served as a Director at Pine Cove Christian Conference Center in Tyler, Texas, where his ministry focus was strategic planning for facilities and program ministry; creating and overseeing budgets; and teaching, mentoring, and training staff and guests. He has also served as a pastor at Tyler Presbyterian Church and Fifth Street Presbyterian Church, both in Tyler.  He was on the Executive Staff at First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, for eight years. His ministry emphasis there was teaching, discipling, and leading. Most recently, he was the Senior Pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Greenwood, MS.  Brad and his wife, Cindy, have two children, Hannah and Harrison. Hannah, who is married to Scott Archer, and their sons Ethan, Levi, and Luke, live in Brandon, MS.  Harrison and his wife, Carissa, currently live in Colorado Springs with their sons Tyler and Ian.


The Rev. Billy Meenan – Pastor of Student Ministries

Billy became the Senior High Coordinator at Highlands in January of 2011.  He was born and raised in the beautiful state of Colorado.  After briefly attending Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, GA, Billy transferred to Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, CO where he graduated with a degree in Psychology and was involved with Reformed University Fellowship.  He completed internships with churches in Colorado Springs, CO, Hattiesburg, MS, and Eugene, OR, before serving at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Brandon, FL as the Director of Youth and Family Ministries in 2008.  He is received his Master of Divinity degree at Reformed Theological Seminary in 2017. Billy met his wife, Christina, during their time at Colorado State.  They have three children, Will, Evelyn, and Sam.

Mrs. Laurie Nordan – Women’s and Children’s Ministry Director

Laurie grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, and graduated from Ole Miss with a B.A. in Home Economics. She and her husband, John, served in many churches throughout the Southeast until making their home in Madison.  She has served as Children’s Ministry Director at Highlands since 2004 and Women’s Ministry Coordinator since 2014. Her desire is to see women and children grow into a real relationship with Jesus as their Lord and Savior. She and John have four children: Trey, Natalie, Shelby, and Oliver.  They also have two son-in-laws, Matthew Clark and Tyler Daniels, one daughter-in-law, Emelia, and three grandchildren, Ginny-Pearl, Charlotte-Anne and Jack.

Mrs. Becky Brown – Ministry Support

12717180_924446407653430_3161061202369063373_n (1)Mrs. Julie Crosland – Nursery Coordinator

Julie is a charter member of Highlands. She is originally from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She has been working with nursery at Highlands since the beginning. Her husband, Dr. Craig Crosland, is a Ruling Elder at Highlands.  They have two grown children, Pearce and Claire.

Mrs. Marsha Areundo


Mr. Larnie Shinnick – Director of Administration

Mrs. Cherita Swanson – Financial Assistant

Cherita was born and raised in Mississippi.  She and her husband, Michael, live in Gluckstadt.  They are members of First Independent Methodist Church in Madison.  She and Michael have three sons:  Bradley (married to Kellie), Derek (married to Liz) and Zach (married to Erin).  They also have two grandsons, Cage and Hutton, and one granddaughter, Dallas Rose.

Mr. Damon Winston – Director of Grounds and Maintenance

Ms. Kathy Richardson, Director of Housekeeping