Our Story

Our Story

Higherground Church has deep roots, being originally founded in 1979 by Norwegian Pastor Arne Dahl, who came to America, planted three churches in New York prior to moving to Florida and pioneering his fourth church at the age of 80 in the home of Tom and Rosemary Smith. At 81 years old, he appointed Pastor Tom as Senior Pastor in February 1981. The church grew under his leadership, and thirteen acres of prime property in St. Lucie West was purchased, and 33,500 sf of buildings were built. In the late 1990’s the church experienced a powerful awakening of God, with hundreds of lives changed and many miraculous healings taking place.

In February 2002, Pastor Tom went into semi-retirement and passed the mantle of the church pastorate to his son, David Paul Smith. Several years later, with the ministry in Florida continuing, the call of God was felt by Pastor David and Pastor Tom to plant a prophetic church in the Knoxville, Tennessee area, and Higherground Church was birthed.

After planting and pastoring for a season, Pastor Tom recognized the call of God on Gil and Liz Oelschlager and appointed them as Pastors of Higherground Church. They both minister the Word of God practically and prophetically, desiring to see people realize their God-given purpose and destinyby knowing Him, His Word and His Presence. Today, Higherground has a simple focus…be avibrant communityof God’s presencewhere unchurched and non-religious people would love to come; fuel personal revival, and reach out to bring life, hope and healing to our community.

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