Directional Leadership Team

Leadership Team

Allen Jessee

Allen Jessee, is the Lead Pastor of Highlands Fellowship and has served in ministry since 1983. In 2011, Allen joined the Highlands staff as the Maturity Pastor and then stepped into the Lead Pastor role in 2012. Prior to joining Highlands, Allen planted Community Heights Church in Claypool Hill, Virginia and pastored the church for 25 years.

Allen has lived in Southwest Virginia his entire life. After graduating from Lebanon High School, he attended Emory and Henry College and received a degree in Chemistry. He continued his education at Liberty University, receiving his Master’s degree in Biblical Studies, graduated from Luther Rice Seminary with a Masters of Divinity degree and returned to Liberty University for his Doctorate of Ministry. He is a passionate communicator, teacher and leader. He is also passionate about investing in the next generation, equipping others with leadership skills to be game-changers in their own communities.

Allen and his wife, Brenda, have five children; two are "homemade”, Martha and Joseph, and three are “heart-made”, Bella and Timmy from Ethiopia, and Chris. Both Allen and Brenda have a heart for foster care and have made a huge impact on foster care in our community.


Jim Fleming

Jim serves as the Executive Pastor at Highlands Fellowship and leads the Directional Leadership Team. Jim also oversees Highlands Global Missions and serves on the Board of 4G3 Ministries, where he has a heart for raising up global leaders and connecting global ministries to help fulfill the Great Commission. Prior joining Highlands Fellowship staff in 2015, Jim served in various Supply Chain leadership roles at Eastman Chemical, including Global Director of Logistics. Jim has a BS degree from the University of Tennessee in Supply Chain Management and MBA from Stephen F. Austin State University. Jim and his wife, Teresa live in Johnson City, Tennessee where Teresa is a Mental Health Therapist at GracePointe Counseling. They have 2 sons who live in Davis and Lake Forest, California, along with 2 incredible daughter-in-law’s and 4 grandchildren. Highlands has been home for them since 2007. Jim is an avid runner and sports enthusiast, and dog walker along with Teresa.


Lora Fuller

Lora serves as the Director of Operations & CFO and is a member of the Directional Leadership Team. She first attended Highlands in 1999 and experienced God and church in a new, transformative way. God captured her heart for ministry and she joined the staff in 2002. Lora's greatest desire is to help others to experience the life giving transformation of Jesus. She is a local girl born and raised in Bristol, Virginia, graduated with an Associate degree in Accounting from Virginia Highlands Community College and a Bachelor in Business Administration from Tusculum University. Lora and her husband Michael live in Bristol, Tennessee and have been blessed with four children and eight grandchildren. In her free time, Lora enjoys yoga, reading, learning, eating good food and spending time with the family.


Steve Robinson

Steve, Highlands Fellowship Bristol Campus Pastor, has served the Bristol community since 2008. He also serves as the Multisite Pastor for Campuses, as part of the Teaching Team, and on the Directional Leadership Team. In all the roles in which Steve serves, he believes that the power of relationships is key to sharing the gospel with those far from God. He graduated from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters Degree in Theological Studies. Steve grew up in Coebrun, Virginia. He is a patriot and served his country for three years in the U.S. Army where he learned building the right team makes all the difference in accomplishing the mission. Steve and his wife, Heather, began attending Highlands in 2002. They have been married for 23 years and God has blessed them with two amazing daughters, Abigail and Maggie. Alongside his family, Steve enjoys the outdoors, from spending summers boating on the lake or four-wheeling on a mountain top.


Alex Wilson

Alex Wilson serves as the Pastor of Worship Gatherings, on the Directional Leadership Team and has been on staff since 2008. He was born and raised in Knoxville, TN, where his love for music and Jesus was evident from an early age. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from Carson-Newman University, where he met his wife and best friend, Laura. The Lord has blessed them with two daughters, Alyssa and Emma, who bring them great joy. Alex also has a Master of Divinity degree from the M. Christopher White School of Divinity at Gardner-Webb University. Alex has a passion for leading others in worshiping Jesus through creative arts. He also enjoys investing in other leaders and helping people experience life with Jesus. You'll often find Alex sipping a great cup of coffee, playing a board game, running a few miles, making music, or accomplishing his "honey-do" list to make his home more beautiful.



Alan Buchanan

Alan Buchanan, and his wife Glenna began attending Highlands in 1996 shortly after it launched in 1995. They’ve been blessed to see the church grow from 100 in attendance, meeting in the local high school to multiple campus locations, and making an impact for Christ in many parts of the world. Alan served on staff at Highlands from 2001 to 2007 as the Director of Missions and was involved in the formation of the Global Glory of God (G3). He has led teams to several African and Middle Eastern countries teaching leaders the importance of having a biblically balanced church. Alan and Glenna have greeted every other Sunday at the Abingdon campus for over 20 years and are very excited about all the Lord is going to accomplish through Highlands. Alan was born and raised in Clintwood, Virginia, later moved to Abingdon and currently lives in Bristol, Virginia. He is a graduate from Bristol Commercial College and has been an entrepreneur owning multiple successful businesses over the years. Alan has faithfully served in many roles over the years and currently serves as a Trustee.


Eddie Neely

Eddie Neely and his wife, Jeni, reside in Bristol, VA. They have been members of our Church since 2006 and Eddie has been a Trustee for over 10 years. They have 4 children, 9 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. Eddie was born and grew up in Bristol and graduated from East High School in 1969. Eddie served in the US Army from 1969 until 1972 and started college at ETSU that year, and graduated in 1975 with a BS-Accounting. He began his professional career at Dent K. Burke and Associates, CPAs and earned his CPA certificate in 1977. The majority of Eddie’s professional career was in the coal mining industry working for Paramont Coal Company, the Pittston Company, and Alpha Natural Resources, retiring from Alpha in 2012. After a short retirement, Eddie joined a great local company, KVAT Food Stores, Inc. (Food City), as Chief Financial Officer in February 2021. In his spare time, Eddie enjoys running. He serves on the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors of Ballad Health and as a trustee of The Alpha Natural Resources Nonunion Retirees VEBA Trust.

David Brightbill

David Brightbill

David Brightbill and his wife Kandy began attending Highlands in 2004 while living in Lebanon Virginia. They have two sons Adam and Travis and two grandson’s Kipton and Judah. David’s professional career began in engineering at IBM. Then in 1981, he joined Nalco and finished his career leading their global mining division. Under his leadership, Nalco’s industrial operations further penetrated the global markets with expansion in Latin America, Africa and Asia Pacific. Retiring after 35 years with Nalco, David joined the staff at Highlands Fellowship as Executive Pastor in 2015. After serving on staff, he transitioned to a Trustee role where he continues to serve. David holds an MBA from King University with post graduate work at the University of Michigan Kellogg School of Business.

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