Highlands Baptist Church

Investing the transforming love of Christ

About Us

What We Believe

God, who created us, longs for us to know Him. Creation declares God to us, the Bible informs us of God's works, Christ shows God to us, and the Holy Spirit empowers us to know God relationally. We affirm the totality of the Bible as God's authoritative word to us and His Spirit as the teacher of His word.  Our doctrinal statement is briefly declared in the Baptist Faith and Message.

Our Story

Our heritage begins in the heart of God.

In 1956, God moved Rev. Earl Stallings to envision a new work in the Highlands area of Ocala. Then God called a group of members from First Baptist Church to make that vision a reality. When Highlands Baptist Church held its first Sunday service, eighty-eight members committed to join together with God and each other to form a new local body of believers.

After that, God increased the church body, which led to the development of a vibrant children's ministry. The growth resulted in a need for additional space, and God provided for the construction of a new sanctuary in 1963 and two educational buildings in 1972.

As shared by a previous pastor, “Highlands Baptist Church, like other great churches, has suffered from disappointments. Yet, with its foundation firmly laid by faith in Jesus Christ, it has emerged stronger and better equipped to do the work of ministry.”

Today, members at Highlands are excited to see God at work through the church as a whole and in individual lives. Through God's continued provision, they are coming together to renovate and repair the facilities, even as God is working to bring freedom and healing to people's hearts through relationship with Himself.

Our Mission and Values

Our Lord gave us a simple mandate - Make Disciples.  We express our mission as Investing Christ's Transforming Love. We do that by loving God enough to invest ourselves in growing in relationship with Him and investing this love in others. 

We value the following: 

Praise - Because God matters to us.
We practice joyful, celebrative, reflective, and expressed gratitude to the God who saves us, through both private devotion and congregational participation.

Doctrine - Because God matters to us. 
Scripture is our standard, and the Spirit is our guide. Bible study with comprehension along with Spirit-lead application is our priority.

Compassion Because People matter to us.
We have received mercy, and we give mercy to people as a humble act of service.

Prayer Because Relationship matters to us.
We live in relational dependence on God: asking, listening, and abiding as He accomplishes His will in our midst.

Synergy Because Love matters to us.
Our people are an eclectic group unified only through Christ and His continued revealed will in our collective experience. 

Discipleship Because Life matters to us.
We endeavor to invest in people through intentional, relational discipleship: learning to love and live like Jesus together.

Discovery - Because Joy matters to us.
Our leadership is there to assist us in learning, experiencing, and expressing the wonderful mercies of God.

Meet Our Team

Lead Pastor

Chris Gilliam

Chris responded to God's leadership and became the pastor at Highlands Baptist Church in May, 2012. He has served churches of various sizes and makeup across the southeastern portion of the United States. He is passionate about making disciples and has been doing so since 1996. He loves helping people grow in their relationship with Jesus. Chris is married to Alicia, who assists him in his ministry and disciples others as well. They have three teenage children, Bennett (the Blacksmith), Meredith (the Actress), and Micah (the Athlete), who are growing in their own walks with Christ.

Chris enjoys helping people get involved in God's great work by introducing them to international missions.  He has been traveling to Central America and Eastern Europe for many years and gladly shares what God is doing in other nations. Some of his other favorite activities include reading, writing, enjoying the outdoors, and tinkering.

Student Pastor

Curtis Garrison

After several years of serving in youth ministry at two different churches, Curtis was called to Highlands Baptist Church in August of 2015. He is passionate about teaching students how to live a life that is dedicated to the Lord. Curtis is married to Selena and they have two children, Emmett and Ava Grace.  In his free time, Curtis enjoys reading and watching any sports that involve the Florida Gators.


Worship Leader

Matt Tripp

Children's Ministry Director

Alicia Gilliam

Wife and sanity assistant to Pastor Chris. Mom to three homeschooled geniuses. Zookeeper to an adorable herd of Highland's toddlers. Battle Strategy Consultant to some fabulous children's teachers.


Learning Center Director

Lisa Dickins

Lisa has been in the field of early education since August 1990.  Since then she has obtained her FCCPC then the Foundational Director’s Credential and then the Advanced Director’s Credentials.  She then obtained an Associate of Science Degree in Early Education.  She spent the first five years of early education in a Montessori center before moving to an afterschool program in the Fort Lauderdale area.  After moving to the Ocala area she began her service in this ministry in January 1999 as a teacher and then became the Director of our Learning Center in January 2008.

Our Ministries

AGAPE Student Ministry

The AGAPE Student Ministry exist to equip teens to exalt God and extend the Gospel of Christ to those around them. Students are challenged to grow spiritually through studying and applying God's Word in their lives. They will participate in various activities that will give them the opportunity to put into practice what God is teaching them about loving Himself and others.

The group meets on Sunday Nights 5:30PM - 7:00PM

Mission Outreach

Jesus gave us our mission: to reach others with the message of forgiveness through Him. Out of our love for Him and the people He values, we strive to carry forth this mission. It has been said that "the light that shines the farthest shines the brightest at home."  We believe this, and we follow the Spirit's leading in both local and international missions.  We pray, we give, and we go. Our investment of time, money, and/or self has been in places including Ocala, Alaska, the Dominican Republic, Romania, the Philippines, and Australia.

The Learning Center

Highlands has a long history of exceptional early childhood education that started in 1962. We are happy that the Learning Center can meet an important need in our community by providing loving, Christ-centered care and teaching for young children through kindergarten. For more information, please call 352-694-2194.


CCVIDA is a bilingual Spanish/English church that shares the facilities at Highlands. For more information about their church and meeting times, please visit ccvida.com.

Digging Deeper Classes

Meets on Sunday Nights at 5:30PM.

Location: Highlands Baptist, Main Sanctuary


Visit Us


3530 East Fort King Street
Ocala, FL 34470

Service Times

Sunday Service Times:
  9:15 AM     Bible Study
10:45 AM     Worship
  5:30 PM     Digging Deeper Classes

Wednesday Evening:
  6:00 PM     Bible Study and Prayer