Along with high-quality education, we value hands-on training

Heartland's track program helps bridge the gap between what you learn in the classroom and what you experience in real life. During your time at Heartland, you will have the opportunity to choose between kids or youth track and creative or missions track (for example, you could specialize in kids and creative).

Tracks meet once or more a week and are led by River of Life staff. Tracks offer practical experience, mentorship, field trips, and skill development. To learn more about the tracks we offer, see below.


Students in the kids track will work closely with our kids pastors Mark Eskew and Marissa Beaudry to learn the ins-and-outs of developing and running a rural kids ministry. Students are involved in teaching kids from birth to 5th grade. This includes:

  • learning how to plan kids lessons utilizing characters and object lessons
  • creating set designs
  • leading interactive worship experiences
  • facilitating life groups

youth track

Students work closely with our youth pastors Kyle Curran and Dillon Patterson to learn how to creatively do effective rural youth ministry. Students will work with youth from 6th-12th grade. This includes:

  • service planning meetings
  • leadership team involvement
  • production
  • hospitality
  • media creation
  • life groups
  • worship (if desired)
  • set design
  • speaking opportunities


The creative track is split into three departments—worship arts (Derrick Benoit), production (Andy Norris), and marketing (Brynn Sauer and Hannah Eilers). Students will get an overview of each creative department before choosing a specific one. Depending on their specialized department, this track will include:

  • service production
  • graphic design
  • photography
  • audio/visual tech skills
  • live worship
  • scheduling media posts

missions track

Students work closely with our missions director Gabe Thomas to learn the heart of missions and the steps to launch into full-time mission work. This includes:

  • studying world religions
  • taking field trips to various locations
  • learning about the steps to becoming an AGWM missionary
  • preparing for and leading missions trips