Heather Zempel

Discipleship Pastor & Campus Ministries Director

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 the adventures of parenting with her husband Ryan as they raise Sawyer, their fun-loving and energetic daughter. Heather is the author of Sacred Roads, Community is Messy, and Amazed and Confused, and you can read about her ramblings on small group environments, discipling the next generation and SEC football at

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Jodi Otto

Discipleship Team Ministry Assistant

Jodi was born in Indiana, raised in Michigan, and settled in Florida before making her way to DC in 2012 to be a protégé at Ebenezers Coffeehouse—combining her love for the local church, missions, and coffee. Following the program, she's landed on the Discipleship Team and is passionate about helping to set the stage for all who walk into the doors at NCC to encounter the life-changing message of Jesus.  
Jodi reads books about organization for fun, comes alive when she's watching the sunrise in the Shenandoah, rejuvenates when she's in nature and hiking, enjoys gathering people around a dinner table, and if you're familiar with Myers-Briggs, she's a textbook E/ISFJ. 

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