About Prairie Chapel
Making new disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Prairie Chapel is an inviting Christian community where everyone, regardless of any circumstance, can encounter God’s love, grow in faith and prepare one’s heart for greater service in God’s Kingdom.
Prairie Chapel's Pastoral Staff
Senior Pastor, Jeff Cole
Pastor Jeff has been the Senior Pastor at Prairie Chapel since 2010. He has served as the worship leader for the church since it was planted in 2000. Jeff loves God and people. Fun, loving, and friendly, you can always expect a friendly smile and a warm welcome from our energetic pastor.
Pastor Jeff graduated from Skyline High School in 1986 where he met and eventually married his high school sweetheart, Melissa. He and Melissa have two adult children, Corbin and Chloe. The family has grown with the addition of daughter-in-law Dani, grandson Asher, and soon-to-be son-in-law, Lane. Jeff & Mel are madly in love and enjoy doing ministry work together.
Pastor Jeff grew up in the church and accepted Christ as his savior at the age of 13. During his later teenage years he left the church and did not attend for over 15 years. It wasn’t until he and Melissa had their first child and moved back into the Urbana community that he started attending church again.
“I am someone who has been there and done that. You’re a lot more compassionate if you have been in someone else’s shoes” he explains. “I have a pretty good perspective of people and where they might be in their lives and in their faith journeys. I just like to keep it real. The grace of God, my experiences both good and bad, along with my upbringing and education have prepared me well for pastoral leadership.”
In his free time Pastor Jeff enjoys writing, music, the outdoors, and traveling. He is a graduate of Skyline High School, has a BFA in Theater from UCM in Warrensburg, MO, and completed his Course of Study education at Saint Paul School of Theology in Leewood, KS.
Youth Pastor, Zac Vader
Pastor Zac has been the Youth Pastor at Prairie Chapel since 2017. Zac describes himself as loving, humble, and honest, sometimes a procrastinator, always someone who loves people and God.
Zac grew up in church. “Every time the doors were open we were there”, he says. As a youth, Zac was very active in his youth group and participated in a variety of mission teams and experienced a number of traveling mission trips. It was during those early years that God began to shape Zac’s heart. Zac accepted Christ at the age of 13 and soon after began leading his church’s Wednesday night services. “At the age of 16, I felt a specific calling from God directing me to youth ministry. God put youth on my heart. He pointed out to me the lack of Christian influence on students in public schools.” Zac’s response was to begin working with kids in the public school system, first as a Jr. High Football Coach and announcing various sporting events where he has the opportunity to interact with kids and parents, then as teacher. Zac is also employed by the Exceptional Pupil Co-Op as an early Childhood Special Education Teacher. In this role, Zac works with two groups of special needs pre-school students whose classes are held at Prairie Chapel.
In his free time Pastor Zac loves spending time with his wife Morgan, and their two children Parker and Lily. Any time with them is cherished, but outdoors time is Zac’s favorite. Zac enjoys hunting, fishing, and trapping, but most of all, he says, “I love spending time in nature with my family, showing them the details God created in everything.
Zac is a 2014 graduate of Skyline High School and graduated from Southwest Baptist University in 2019.
Prairie Chapel was birthed from two small, established churches in the community, whose congregations realized they were dying. With very few children in the Preston or Urbana United Methodist Church congregations at the time and not many folks moving into the area, the two congregations, seeking God’s will with much prayer and discernment, made the decision to close their doors and create something new. After meeting in the school gymnasium for three years, the congregation moved into the fellowship hall on Easter, 2000, which was the first facility on the 23 acre campus across from Skyline School.
Wanting to provide a home for pastoral leadership, the next building project would be the parsonage, which was constructed in 2006.
After steady growth over the years, in 2017 the growing congregation again began to prayerfully seek God’s will for their next steps to make more space for the expanding congregation and community facing ministries that were rapidly outgrowing the existing space. In August, 2019 a groundbreaking celebration was help and construction on a new worship center began.
In May 2021, the new worship center was opened, creating seating capacity for approximately 400, providing much needed space for children and adult education, a youth wing for our teen and pre-teen ministries, and a larger nursery for the many babies and toddlers who are now part of Prairie Chapel.