tom hlad
Senior pastor

Tom grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and came to faith in Christ at the age of eight during evangelistic meetings at his church. While attending Baptist Christian High School, he met his wife Christine when her father took the senior pastor position at a church in the area. Christine originally grew up in Waterloo while her father was the senior pastor of Walnut Ridge in the 50’s – the 70’s.

Tom and Christine were married in 1976 in Cleveland.  After eight years of marriage Tom received his call to full-time ministry. He earned his Bachelors of Theology degree at Appalachian Bible College in West Virginia. He also holds a Master of Religious Education degree from Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Tom and Chris have served in ministries in West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan and Iowa. It is a joyful homecoming for them to be back in the Waterloo area. Tom takes seriously both the privilege and responsibility of leading Walnut Ridge, as Senior Pastor. His heart and passion for our church  is, “To be a Flourishing Family that is Glorifying God, by Abiding in the Love of Christ, Nourishing one another with the Word, and bearing Good Fruit in the World.” Tom and Chris have four grown children and six sweet grandchildren.


jason falck

Jason grew up in Waterloo and graduated from West High School in 1992. He gave his life to Christ in his youth thanks to the faithful witness of his parents and the influence of his youth group. He attended Taylor University in Upland, IN. In 1999, Jason joined the staff of Cru and spent the next 16 years doing campus ministry, including five years in France.

Audrey is French and grew up in the Paris area.  They were married in July of 2010 in Minneapolis.  After doing campus ministry together in Lyon, France for three years, Jason and Audrey returned to the Cedar Valley.  They have two little girls.  Amy was born in Lyon in 2013 and Julia was born in Waterloo in 2016.  

Jason’s education includes a Masters in Biblical and Pastoral Studies from Bethlehem Seminary in Minneapolis, MN, and a Masters in Church History from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL.


aaron mazzarella
youth and worship pastor

Aaron has lived in the Cedar Valley his whole life. As a teenager, he attended youth group at Walnut Ridge and was invited to summer camp at Iowa Regular Baptist Camp, where he chose to put his trust in Christ alone for salvation.

Aaron married his wife Ciara in the summer of 2014. Together they began searching for a church to serve in. They were soon led to Walnut Ridge because of the church’s commitment to God’s Word and passion to spread that Word. Aaron and Ciara have two daughters, Magnolia and Eleanor.

Aaron received his Bachelors in Biblical Theology from Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing his M.A. in Practical Theology at Faith Baptist Theological Seminary. His passion for the Rooted Youth Team is "Growing by Going".