A Brief History of Higher Ground
On September 4, 1988 six people met in a home in East Carters Valley, located just north of Kingsport, Tennessee near the Virginia state line. They shared their vision and their dreams of a church that would preach the message of the Cross and bring glory to God. Word quickly spread, and within two weeks, the number of people in that group had grown to 59. On September 27, 1988 the group met at the East Carters Valley Fire Hall to begin the plan for the church. They voted to officially adopt the name, Higher Ground, appoint a temporary treasurer, a secretary, and a group of men to start the search for suitable property on which to build a church. The church was officially chartered with the State of Tennessee. Although the church did not have a pastor, local preachers were scheduled to come and fill the pulpit each week. A three acre tract of property was found to be for sale at 1625 Lynn Garden Drive and was purchased for $150,000.
Evangelist Phil Hoskins had preached numerous times at the church during its early days, and each time the church was asked about calling a pastor, he would receive the most votes. He was well known in the area, having grown up in Kingsport, and well loved by the church family at Higher Ground. In January 1991, after much prayer, Phil Hoskins agreed to become the Senior Pastor of HGBC.
Through God’s provision, the property adjoining the church (14 acres) was purchased, and a parking lot was developed. Pastor Phil cast the vision for the much needed Worship Center, and within one and a half years over one and a half million dollars was donated to begin construction. Groundbreaking was held on September 14, 1997 and construction began on a 2,300 seat Worship Center. During the construction phase, God moved time after time, providing that which was needed. In July 1998, Higher Ground moved into its new $5.8 million dollar facility. In 2007, Higher Ground opened its Family Life Center, a multi-purpose gymnasium and classroom space.
God continues to move in HGBC worship services through His power and His Spirit. Preaching of the Word, praise and worship, and personal ministry could be defined as the heartbeat of Higher Ground Baptist Church, with Christ being preeminent. In September of 2014, Dr. Phil Hoskins retired from the role as Pastor of Higher Ground Baptist Church.