THE BIRTH OF HIGHLANDS
In 1978, Highlands Baptist Church was founded by Johnny King at People's Baptist Church, an outreach of the Bible Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia. The church originally began meeting in the Lakeland High School band room. In July of 1978, the church bought the old property of the First Baptist Church of Highlands City, FL. The church reorganized and changed its name to Highlands Baptist Church.
NEW PASTOR OF HIGHLANDS
One year later, in July of 1979, the church called John Richardson to be their new pastor. In 1980 the church moved to a location on New Tampa Highway where they changed their name to Liberty Baptist Church. While on New Tampa Highway, the church experienced many good years of growth and productivity.
NEW FRIENDS OF HIGHLANDS
In 2003, Liberty was in need of bigger facilities to accommodate their growth. It was then that God led Temple Baptist Church to contact Pastor Richardson with a proposal. Temple had plenty of facilities, but no pastor to shepherd the flock. After much prayer and consideration, the two churches merged together and reclaimed the name of Highlands Baptist Church.
Two years later, in March of 2005, God led New Testament Baptist Church to also join together with Highlands Baptist Church. Through both mergers it was truely amazing to see the unity of the people at Highlands.
THE ROAD AHEAD
In October of 2012, God brought Peter and Natalie Grant from Macon, Georgia to team with Pastor Richardson in the ministry at Highlands. As was originally planned, the church voted unanimously in September 2013 to make Peter the Co-Pastor with the intent of becoming the Lead Pastor after Pastor Richardson's retirement. On July 26, 2015, Pastor John Richardson announced his retirement, and Peter Grant became the Lead Pastor of Highlands Baptist Church. The vision of Highland is to continue to accomplish what God has called the church to do - make an impact in the community for the glory of God!
For more about the vision of Highlands go to the "Our Purpose" page.