who are we
Jamie Hudgins - email
A love of worship is a good place to start! Jamie has been actively pursuing his relationship with God since the early eighties. Having grown up in a Christian home, Jamie has been surrounded by the love of God through family and church his entire life. In the eighties was when it all started coming together and finding expression as he started in leadership roles in the church. He began serving in the area of youth ministry while earning an undergraduate degree at Georgia Tech volunteering with Northside UMC’s youth ministry. There he led worship and helped in other roles. God continued opening doors after graduation in youth ministry as Jamie’s heart began to beat for the ministry through ordination in the United Methodist Church. Initial conversations put a hold on that while doors continued to open in other areas of ministry.
Several years as a youth pastor at Saint Paul UMC in Gainesville, GA opened doors for ministry as a professional traveling musician leading worship for retreats and such as well as working with Jerome Olds (Christian recording artist) for several years. God continued to burn in Jamie’s heart a yearning for the connection of ordained ministry in the UMC, so he moved to Kentucky to earn his Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary.
While at Asbury, God began to plant the seeds of a ministry in the hearts of three seminary students. As conversations grew between Tim Price, Steve Gross and Jamie, a new ministry was born. FishForce. The notion of sharing the Gospel with teenagers and motivating them to grow their relationship with Jesus was common ground, and an active, worship centered presentation was to be the product of this conglomeration of seminary students.
FishForce gained quick success as the team led retreats, lock-ins, rallies, and even revivals. As graduation approached in 1997, the team was heading in different directions geographically as Tim focused on the same kind of ministry (birthed as “Harvest Ministry”) in the mid-west centered around Illinois, Steve headed to local church ministry in Indiana (now a missionary in Haiti), and Jamie focused on the South East based out of Georgia continuing as FishForce.
Jamie and FishForce developed working relationships with the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church with events like Goodstock (kind of a concert/giant three day youth rally), with the Gainesville District UMC with events like Remove The Mask (a fall retreat) and “Gatherings” (district youth rallies), and with Lake Junaluska leading worship for Summer youth camps. Additionally, Jamie and FishForce were frequently invited to lead events with the Virginia Conference and districts, as well as events with the Lima District in the West Ohio Conference. Round that out with a healthy dose of local church events in GA, FL, NC, AL, LA, TN and KY and you could say “busy” was an understatement! As a part of all that, Jamie recorded one “mini-album” of original songs, and two worship CDs with FishForce.
All the while, a wooing to ordination was moving Jamie’s heart, and after many conversations with then District Superintendent Parks Davis, Jamie finally found his way into the ordination process. In 2005, it was time to make the shift back in to local church ministry as part of that process and Jamie took an appointment as Associate Pastor at Jonesboro UMC.
From there, he has served as the Pastor of Walnut Grove UMC, Founding Pastor of The Edge of Bethlehem, Lead Pastor of The Springs, a brief stint as Consulting Pastor at Haygood Memorial UMC for the North GA Annual Conference, and now, Lead Pastor of The Highlands UMC in North Hall County!
Being constantly involved with worship music has fanned into flame his love of music. He plays guitar and bass, and tinkers with keys, drums, percussion, and has even been known to pick up his trumpet on occasion. In addition to music Jamie loves to water ski, snow ski and play tennis.
Jamie’s passion for worship and deep desire to see churches be vital in its mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ continues to drive him, and together he believes that The Highlands will continue to grow as we Love God and Serve People!
Rev. Charlie Green - email
Charlie is our Executive Pastor, which means he does things the Lead Pastor doesn't want to do! He is retired after serving in the North GA Conference for 30 years. He shepherds our Small Group ministries, preaches occasionally, and helps out in many other areas.
He and his wife, Phyllis, chose to worship at The Highlands, when they could have gone anywhere they wanted to go. He and Phyllis have two grown sons (one of whom worships at The Highlands) and two grandsons. They will gladly show you pictures on their phones. Just ask!
Charlie is noted for his "I don't need no stinkin' microphone" voice. He is also active in the local Walk to Emmaus Community, and he loves to talk. He's here most Sundays, unless he and Phyllis are off on a trip and firmly entrenched in "Adventure Mode." Are you ready to get cplugged into a group or a bible study? Send me an email!!
Scott Gilstrap - email
Scott works with our teenagers. He is married to Elizabeth, has two beautiful daughters named Ella and Anna Lee and has two awesome dogs named Ollie and Charlie.
Scott is passionate about equipping young people to discover and fulfill God's will for their lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, reading, sports, music and cooking.
Rev. Mari Lane Brooks - email
Congregational Care Pastor
Mari Lane Brooks is a retired Ordained Deacon in the United Methodist Church. In addition to her Divinity courses, she has earned Bachelors and Masters Degrees in education as well as a Masters of Science in Community Counseling from Georgia State University. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Georgia with over 20 years experience counseling with children and families. Mari Lane specializes in family counseling and play therapy with children ages 4-10. Young children do not always have the life skills to respond to understand or communicate what they are feeling and experiencing. Play therapy uses toys and games which children are familiar with in new ways. Using the familiar to help them communicate and understand life then gives the child and family new insight to recognize the roots of problems in their life and to achieve the changes they desire.
Lauren Gough - email
Lauren has lived in Georgia her entire life. She met her husband, John-Michael, during freshman year at Young Harris College and later transferred and graduated from the University of Georgia. They married in 2001 and have lived in Gainesville ever since. She is a stay-at-home mom of three, Aubrey, Adelyn and Harrison. She enjoys UGA football, reading and spending time with The Lord. She has always had a heart for missions and dreams of one day traveling the world for the Kingdom to see the broken brought to life.