Dr. Mark Ford
Senior Pastor
Mark and Teresa Ford were long-time residents of Pickens County, SC. Mark and Teresa came up through the Pickens school system, both graduating in 1975 from Pickens High.  They began dating in their senior year and have never been apart since.  The romance blossomed into marriage on December 31, 1976.  In the next two years, Teresa would finish an associates degree from Anderson University and go on to earn her bachelor and masters degree in agricultural education from Clemson University. Mark would finish studies at a local Bible college.

After a time of mission work in Paris, France, the Ford’s returned to begin their ministry at Mile Creek Baptist Church of Six Mile, SC in 1981. During these early years they began their family, with God giving them two wonderful children – Raquela Ruth Alexander and Paul Christian. In 1988 the Lord led the Ford’s to Praters Creek Baptist Church where they experienced a blessed and fruitful ministry from 1988 to 1997.  During those years, Mark would pursue a degree in history and a minor in Greek at Southern Wesleyan University.  With the gracious and supportive assistance of the church, Mark would go on to earn his M.Div. from Erskine Theological Seminary.   

Following a fruitful and blessed ministry at Westminster First from 1997 to 2003, Mark and Teresa were called of the Lord to serve at Cross Roads Baptist Church in Easley, SC. from 2003 to 2012.  During these blessed years, ministry opportunities expanded with Mark teaching at Southern Wesleyan University as an adjunct and serving as an associate chaplain at Palmetto Baptist Hospital. Mark finished his doctorate at Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on leading a church into missional thinking and ministry. 

God has been gracious to the Ford family and continues to allow them to participate in the great work of His Kingdom to a hurting and lost world as Senior Pastor of Highlands First Baptist Church, beginning in 2012.  Mark and Teresa love the Highlands community and the people of First Baptist and anticipate great things for the church. Along with her teaching at Highlands School, Teresa uses her love of cooking and hospitality skills to be a blessing and help those in need of encouragement.  

Mark and Teresa share a mutual love for their four grandsons and the outdoors. Most of all they love the Lord and count themselves privileged to serve His people and His Gospel. 

Justin Bohner
Assistant Pastor of Discipleship
Justin joined the pastoral staff at FBCH in April of 2022. Prior to being at this church, Justin and his family attended Discover Church, in Franklin, where he served with the worship team and youth group. His wife Linnette also faithfully served the youth group for over 10 years. He felt the call to ministry in late 2021, and in the Lord’s providence was placed at FBCH. Justin has a strong desire to see the church deepen in it’s theological, as well as experiential, understanding of the Christian faith, as well as seeing disciples made. He is currently pursuing theological training at London Reformed Baptist Seminary. He and his wife Linnette have three children; Mason, Avett, and Ashlee.
Sergio Barranco
Pastor of Hispanics Ministries
Sergio Barranco first started serving at First Baptist Church as a church planter in 2013, reaching out to the Hispanic Community. The Lord called him to being a pastor in 2015. He has been happily married to his wife Angelica for 21 years and together they have three wonderful children; Karla, Jazmin, and Alexander. He is excited to see the growth in FBC and is glad to serve here until the Lord calls him elsewhere.


Dr. Dennis Hall
Pastor of Evangelism 

Dennis and Linda Hall moved to Highlands in 2004 from Birmingham, Alabama. Dennis holds a Masters Degree from the Washington University School of Medicine and managed Baptist Hospitals for thirty years. The health care ministry allowed him to speak and present the gospel in churches, and at many other venues across the U.S. and worldwide. Linda holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alabama and is a professional retailer. She takes her Christian witness into the workplace.

Following his retirement from health care administration, Dennis began to study Christian apologetics, eventually earning a Masters Degree in Christian Apologetics from Liberty University. He went on to earn a Doctor of Ministry degree in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty University. His evangelistic focus has been on the motorcycling world, the homeless, the addicted, and the incarcerated.

Dennis and Linda have four children and eight grandchildren and consider family a priority as part of a Christian witness.

Lay Elders
Dave Latta                                                                                           James Yasciewicz
828-200-6087                                                                                                                                                         828-489-7146