Staff & Leadership

We have a passion for people, our city and our world. Our culture and leadership is characterized by worship, the love of God, and a genuine call to ministry. These core values have been shaped by our rich history of great co-workers and energy; always pressing forward in our call to love God and love others.

  • MICHAEL VALLANDINGHAM

    SENIOR Pastor

    Pastor Michael became pastor at Eastern Heights in May 2010.  He was saved and baptized at the age of 8 in Wetumka, OK.  He surrendered to full-time Christian service when he was 17 while attending Falls Creek.  He married Tara Sledge on August 13, 1994, and they immediately began their partnership in ministry when he became the youth pastor at FBC Greenfield, OK.  Michael pastored FBC Red Rock and FBC Wister before he spent some time as Assistant Chaplain at Oklahoma State Penitentiary.  He then pastored Vamoosa Baptist Church, as well as his home church of FBC Wewoka, before accepting the call to pastor at Eastern Heights.  He holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Baptist University, a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Michael and Tara have two college age children, Jordan and Jonathan, two adopted elementary age children, Ruby and Abel, as well as foster children.

  • RYAN FORREST

    WORSHIP LEADER

    Ryan Forrest has led worship in churches throughout Oklahoma for the last 15 years. As a worship leader, he desires to encourage affection for Jesus and His Word through music and congregational singing. Alongside worship ministry, music is his passion, and he enjoys composing and arranging in his free time. In addition to his leadership at Eastern Heights, Ryan works full time as an Information Technology Specialist for Bartlesville Public Schools. He is married to Rachel, and they have two children, Raley and Rory.

  • LUCAS Smith

    Associate Pastor of youth and families

    Lucas became Associate Pastor of Youth and Families in December 2016. He was saved and baptized at a young age in North Little Rock, AR. After graduating high school, he was called to ministry while in college. After serving the church in various areas of ministry, the Lord confirmed that he was being called to vocational student ministry. He attended Williams Baptist University in Walnut Ridge, AR and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts - Christian Ministries degree in May 2007. Two weeks later, he married his high school sweetheart Cheri Hicks. He and Cheri shortly thereafter moved to Ft. Worth, TX for Lucas to begin his seminary training at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Lucas transferred to Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO. He graduated in 2011 with a Masters of Divinity - Christian Education degree and a Masters of Arts - Biblical Languages degree. Upon completion of his degrees, he was Associate Pastor of Student and Education Ministries at First Baptist Church in Pryor, OK for five years.  Lucas and his wife Cheri have two children, Levi and Caris.

  • CATHY TENNELL

    Administrative assistant | Care Team Leader

    Cathy celebrated her 35th Anniversary of serving in the church office in 2017. She volunteers in many roles in the church.  Cathy serves on the Stewardship Team, Care Team and Decorating Team.

  • JEnnifer Hines

    Church Secretary

    Jennifer is a long time member of Eastern Heights Baptist Church.  Jennifer is also the Preschool Team Leader, is a 3’s –Pre K Life Group Bible study leader, serves on the Decorating Team, as well as volunteering in many other areas of the church.  Jennifer is married to Gene and they have 2 children, Hayley and Brandon.

  • Dwayne and cassie Conner

    Children's MINISTRY TEAM LEADERs

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  • Brian Buford

    Adult Ministry Team Leader

    Brian began this new ministry opportunity after serving as a children's LifeGroup leader and volunteer in the Preschool Extended Session and WorshipKids.  He is a leader in Bounce which is a disaster relief agency out of Texas that uses youth to help bring restoration to those afflicted by natural disasters.  As Adult Team Leader he oversees Son Seekers, Women's Ministry, Men's Ministry and LifeGroups.

  • Chantel Gray

    Missions TEAM LEADER

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  • Debbie Laroche

    stewardship Team leader | Treasurer

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  • Gene Hines

    PROPERTY TEAM LEADER

    Gene is a long time member of Eastern Heights Baptist Church.  He serves as head of the properties team, a member of the Stewardship Team and is a trustee.  He also is the Adult 2 Life Group Bible study leader.  He and his wife Jennifer have 2 children, Hayley and Brandon.