Nate Hercula – Interim Lead Pastor
Nate and Natalie met at Crown College in Minnesota where Nate earned degrees in Pastoral Leadership and Biblical Studies. In 2013 they finished their collegiate studies, got married, and started serving in full-time ministry. They packed up and moved to Vermillion, SD in 2015 for Nate to serve at Hillside as the Pastor of Ministry Development. In 2017 Nate became ordained, and they also welcomed their first child, Elliott, into the world. Now, they are excited for the arrival of their second child come January 2021.
They love music and theatre. In fact, Natalie’s degree is in Dramatic Arts. You will also find them talking about sports frequently, especially baseball (Go Pirates!). They enjoy hanging out with friends, going to the park, watching movies, and witnessing Elliott grow up. They feel incredibly blessed to be surrounded by such a loving church and community.
In 2020, Hillside’s lead pastor and Nate’s mentor, Steve Walters, went to be with the Lord at the young age of 61. His homegoing has left a big hole in many hearts. We find hope and encouragement in the fact that he is with Jesus, and that we will see him again someday. Nate has willingly stepped into an Interim Lead Pastor position to help lead Hillside through this time of grief and pastoral transition.
Colton Thrane – Worship & College Ministry Intern
Colton graduated from Crown College in December 2019 with a degree in Worship Ministry and Christian Studies, after beginning his internship at Hillside in July 2019. Born in Minnesota, raised in Iowa, and recently leaving residence in Wisconsin, Colton is a native to the Midwest and is excited to now call South Dakota home for the duration of his internship.
With a passion for music, Colton has many hobbies that go with that love, such as collecting vinyl, playing guitar, and singing almost everywhere he goes. He is also an avid sports fan and enjoys baseball, football, rugby, volleyball, and biking (which seems to be a theme at this church).
Colton's favorite verse is 2 Timothy 2:2 "and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also." Colton has a love for discipleship ministry and a desire to see the church grow due to spiritual multiplication much like what is represented in this verse.
Lynette Axtell – Administrative Assistant
Lynette has been serving at Hillside since October 2001 where she has been involved with the AWANA program as well as working behind the scenes to facilitate the many ministries and programs here at Hillside.
Originally from southwest Kansas, Lynette and her husband, Todd, moved to South Dakota in 1995 where they raised their three daughters. Lynette’s time is now primarily spent enjoying her four grandchildren, cooking for her extended family, and spending time with her parents who have retired in Vermillion. She can also be found cheering for the Carolina Panthers and tweaking her fantasy football team each fall!