Meet the Staff


Wes Hilliard

Lead Pastor

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Wes and Allison joined the Heritage staff in June of 2001. They have two children. He has a passion to see the Church of Jesus Christ thrive with power, vitality, emotional health, and life-changing zeal to make the presence of Jesus real to our world. He believes, "If Jesus and the early church did it, so should we!"

Wes has been ordained for over 20 years. He has also spent over 30 years associated with the military as a cadet, field artillery officer, and a chaplain. This has taken him around the world and exposed him to many life-changing encounters. Wes retired in February 2015 as as the Joint Forces Headquarters Staff Chaplain and the Senior Army Command Chaplain for the Arkansas National Guard.

Roger Goins

Director of Ministries

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Roger and his wife Kathy joined Heritage staff in January of 2004. They have 3 children (all married--finally), 4 grandchildren, and 3 dogs. Roger loves to see people passionately doing what God created them to do without the worry of resources or administrative distractions. Roger's role is to provide leadership and administrative support to all ministry areas.  In his spare time, Roger is the volunteer assistant coach for the Van Buren High School softball team.

From preacher's kid and farm boy to paratrooper to professor, God brought him through all of this to serve at this place and at this time. He has loved every step of the way!



LaToya Shepherd

Outreach Pastor

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LaToya Juanita Shepherd, was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas in August 2007. She was born to teen parents and subsequently reared by her mother and grandmothers.

The divorced mother of three great children, Christa Marie (21), Rachel Jenay (19) and Leonard Jonathan (18), LaToya has always loved children and working with families. LaToya obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University in Spring Arbor Michigan (2008) and is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Divinity at United Theological Seminary. Licensed for ministry in the United Methodist Church as a Local Pastor in 2016,   LaToya served as the pastor of Mission United Methodist Church in Fort Smith before coming to Heritage.

LaToya has served in ministry for the past 22 years in various capacities, including 16 years as clergy spouse, assistant to the pastor, worship leader, Sunday school teacher, youth leader and workshop speaker. LaToya came to the United Methodist Church in 2010 through an invitation to a UMW event and entered the candidacy process in 2012.

LaToya’s favorite scripture and song are Psalm 23 and “His Eye is On the Sparrow”. LaToya loves “ministry work” and feels a distinct call to minister to women, children, clergy spouses and those who are considered “less fortunate”.

 She enjoys reading, writing, teaching, singing, crocheting and bargain shopping.

Worship Arts Pastor

Caleb Lester


Caleb, his wife, Shalon and their daughter, Isabella have recently joined the Heritage Family from Edmond, Oklahoma where Caleb was a Music Minister and a Mortgage Lender and Shalon had a private piano studio and instructed piano.  

Caleb looks forward to being in full time ministry and partnering with other churches in the River Valley to further God's Kingdom.


Madison Simmons

Children's Minister

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Madison is not new to Heritage.  She grew up here in Van Buren and is a product of the ministries of Heritage.  Madison recently graduated from ATU with Bachelor's degrees in Emergency Management and Speech Communication.  She also served as a FORGE intern with the Wesley Foundation fostering discipleship relationships with freshmen and ministry team leaders.  Madison has worked as an intern with UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) organizing data and managing volunteers for Arkansas Disaster Response. She also worked as a Counselor at Camp War Eagle where, among other things, she managed up to 150 children on a boat dock.  

Madison recently married her high school sweetheart, Jake Simmons and looks forward to sharing her ideas and experiences as she leads our children's ministry into the future.

Brian Seewald

Discipleship Pastor

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Brian and his wife Shawnna joined the staff at Heritage in January of 2006. They have 3 children. Brian feels so blessed to be able to work with the students at Heritage Church. He has a deep passion to teach the Word of God and show students that being a Christian is a daily thing.

Brian and his family took a leap a faith to move to Arkansas from California, leaving behind their family, friends, and his band Shadowbox Puppets. He is awed that God would allow him and his family to be a part of Heritage Church.




Jake Simmons

Youth Minister

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Jake grew up here in Van Buren and recently graduated from ATU with Bachelor's degrees in Emergency Management. He also served as a FORGE intern with the Wesley Foundation fostering discipleship relationships with freshmen and ministry team leaders. 

Jake is married to his high school sweetheart, Madison Simmons who is our Children's Minister.  Jake looks forward to sharing his ideas and experiences as he leads our youth ministry into the future.

Brad Martin

Associate Youth Minister

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Brad and his wife Audrea began working with the youth at Heritage in January of 2006.  They have 3 children.  Brad is very passionate about bringing God’s Word to life and teaching students what it means to live out a practical and authentic relationship with Jesus.  His desire is that every student leaves equipped to go and lead lives that seek to glorify God in a tangible way in their everyday lives.

Brad works full time as a loan officer with Citizens Bank in Van Buren.  He loves the way that the passion of the youth at Heritage helps keep him feeling young and continually teaches him how powerful our youth can be in ministry!  He is deeply blessed to do ministry with such amazing students and adult leaders!

Brad Sneed

Middle School Pastor

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Brad and Marilyn Sneed joined the Heritage Staff in a part-time capacity in August 2014.  They have three daughters.

Brad and Marilyn have served as student pastors for over 20 years along with working as a teacher and administrator at an international school in east Asia. They have a heart to see junior high students fall in love with Jesus and live a life fully engaged in His Power, Grace and Mercy.

Max Goins

Congregational Care Pastor

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Max and his wife Marilyn joined the staff at Heritage Church in June of 2010. They have 4 children, 20 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. He has a great love for people and a deep desire to help meet their spiritual needs.

Max's life in ministry could be best described as an "adventure led by God." Nothing has been more exciting than when he and his wife followed God's leading to serve in a far away place called Russia.

Becki Kneeland

Welcome Minister

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Becki and her husband Mike joined the staff at Heritage in July of 2011. They have 2 children. Becki's passion is people. She is a hometown girl that believes God has gifted her in such a way that she never meets a stranger.

She loves to develop long-lasting Christian friendships that go well below the surface. She believes that every person has priceless value in the eyes of God.


Bobby Boyakin

Business Administrator

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Bobby and his wife, Diana began attending Heritage in January 2009.  They joined the staff in September of 2017.  They have one daughter and three grandchildren.  

Bobby spent 34 years in the business world business world but has always had a heart for ministry.  During those years, He pastored a small congregation for four years.

He enjoys his family, especially the grandkids, and his church family.  The friendships developed at Heritage, expecially through Life Groups, have blessed he and his family beyond measure.


Kathy Goins

Communication Secretary

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Kathy and her husband Roger joined the staff at Heritage in January 2004. They have 3 married children and 4 grandchildren. Kathy is responsible for for any publications, as well as Heritage's social media links to the public.

The most important things in her life are Jesus, family, and friends! She grew up with 4 siblings and felt like there was always something exciting going on, one of the main reasons she loves to be at Heritage Church!

Pam James

Staff Secretary

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Pam and her husband joined the staff at Heritage in April of 2013. They have 3 children, Colt and his wife, Victoria andJennifer. Pam is the Staff Secretary and is one of the first people you might hear on the phone at Heritage.She loves to help, encourage, and pray for everyone! She is also blessed to be the Director of Women’s Ministry. Her goal for the women of Heritage is to connect the generations of women through discipleship and community.

Most important to her is her family and friends! God has called her family here to grow and be blessed. Growth and blessing opportunities abound at Heritage!

Steve Kelton

Facility Manager

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Steve is our Facility Manager. Steve’s job is to ensure that our facilities and equipment are cared for and used in ways to glorify God, maximize availability, minimize costs, and ensure safety. His job includes fixing things, coordinating with contractors, and coordinating volunteers.

Steve is also a volunteer leader in our student ministry. He comes to us following a long career with the City of Fort Smith as the Traffic Manager. You may hear Steve talk about his adult son and daughter; you will definitely hear him talking about grandchildren Charli Ann, Chase, Georgia and Jack.