I want to brag a little on a small church congregation whom I have had the privilege to call family for over 17 years.
Seventeen years ago, I was introduced to High Places Community Church in Oak Ridge, TN. High Places is a non-denominational Christian church that was started in 1990. Throughout these more than 27 years, High Places has served as home to so many people from nearly every walk of life. With a core mission to to simply “Turn on the Lights” in places that have grown dark, the church has demonstrated its commitment to that mission in a myriad of ways. From ministering to the sick, to celebrating life’s joys, to providing for people in times of need, to cultivating and nurturing one of the most active youth programs in the area, to bringing life back to a blighted area in the community, this small faction of people has had a tremendous impact on their church family and thousands of people touched by them.
Several years ago, the church took a gigantic leap of faith and moved from their rented strip mall meeting space and took a mortgage to purchase the Historic Grove Theater in Oak Ridge. Following a long-held vision of its founding pastor, the church wanted to create a space where the community could come together, share their creative gifts, and celebrate special events. It is a safe space, and the church has always held that access to this opportunity is a gift from God and that groups using the theater would not be charged for its use. It is working, and hundreds of people visit the theater every year for all kinds of events ranging from club meetings, movie viewings for special needs groups, beauty pageants, weddings, theatrical and music productions, to even include temporary housing for people who are in transitional times of their lives (Seriously! How weird would it be to live in a theater?!?).
All that is to say, that I am proud of this small church family, and I am in awe at what faith and vision can make happen when people come together to lift each other up. It is the Christmas season, and we all know that special needs arise when the holidays are among us. It is also cold, and people experience need during winter weather in specific ways (utility bills, a place to live, frozen pipes, etc.).
High Places continues its mission to turn on the lights in places that have grown dark. That never changes, and opportunities to turn on the lights are ever-present.
If you would like to partner with and support the ministry of High Places, you can help turn on the lights here:
I am proud to be a part of this church community, and I hope that everyone who reads this is warm, loved, and filled with Christmas spirit.
Thanks for reading!