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who are we

our staff


Kyle Smith - email

Lead Pastor

Kyle answered the call to ministry in 1985. Over the past 32 years he has served churches throughout Central and North Georgia as a youth minister, associate pastor, and pastor.

He and wife Sonja will be married 30 years this coming February. They have two children, Austin who just graduated from Kennesaw State and Lacy who is in her senior year at KSU.

They enjoy the beach, camping, and riding motorcycles.


Rev. Charlie Green - email

Executive Pastor

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 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

Mission Coordinator

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.


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