Mark Batterson

Lead Pastor

Mark was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and grew up in Naperville, Illinois.

Mark went to the University of Chicago on scholarship playing basketball and majoring in pre-law. After a prayer walk through a cow pasture, he felt called to full time ministry and ended up at Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri. That's the short story. Mark also holds a Doctor of Ministry from Regent University. He is the author of a dozen books including his first published title, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day and The Circle Maker, a New York Times Bestseller.

Mark, and his wife Lora, moved to Washington, DC in 1994 to direct an inner-city ministry. He has served as Lead Pastor of National Community Church since 1996. Under his leadership, NCC has grown from a core group of 19 people to one church with ten services at seven locations.

Mark and Lora live on Capitol Hill with their three children: Parker, Summer, and Josiah.

Joel Schmidgall

Executive Pastor | A1:8 Director | Barracks Row Sunday Campus Pastor

Joel was born and raised in Naperville, Illinois. He is an unpaid marketer for all things Chicago, especially the Cubs, Malnotti’s pizza, and Portillo’s beef-and-cheddar!

He graduated from Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri with a BA in Biblical studies and then spent a year working with the National Prayer Breakfast before joining the NCC team full-time in 2000. Joel oversees all locations at the church, as well as leading the Barracks Row campus. He also provides leadership to missions, outreach initiatives and serves on the weekend teaching team.

Joel and his wife Nina were married in 2004 and have three little Cubs fans: Ella, Zeke, and Renzi. Favorite family traditions are music jam sessions, tickle time, and reading books over and over and over and over. They live on Capitol Hill and love this city!

Heather Zempel

Discipleship Pastor

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. Having obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biological engineering from Louisiana State University (Geaux Tigers!), she worked as an environmental engineer and as a policy consultant on energy and environment in the United States Senate before coming on staff at National Community Church. Using her educational background, Heather now can be found exploring environments that foster spiritual growth.

She lives on Capitol Hill where she can be found enjoying theater with her husband Ryan, searching out the best barbeque joints, and nerding out on church history. Heather is the author of Sacred RoadsCommunity is Messy, and Amazed and Confused. You can read about her ramblings on small group environments and discipling the next generation at heatherzempel.com.


Christina Borja

Business Administrator | CFO

Christina is married to Dairo and has been on staff since January 2002. Dairo and Christina met in Cuenca, Ecuador while Christina was doing a year-long missions term. The rest, as they say, is history. They live on Capitol Hill, just a few blocks from Ebenezers Coffeehouse, and have two children, Giovanni (May 2007) and Cali (January 2009). Christina serves as our Chief Financial Officer and has had several different jobs over the years at NCC, including overseeing the construction of 201 F Street NE (coffeehouse, church offices, and meeting space for community events) and was our founding manager of Ebenezers Coffeehouse. Currently, Christina and her family are spending a year abroad as one our “Acts 13 Missionaries” in Granada, Spain. She will return to NCC as our CFO in the fall of 2014.