Pastors & Staff

Ronnie OWens


Dr. Ronnie Owens has preached in more than 1,100 revival meetings. He was saved, called to preach, and entered the pastorate at the age of 19. After entering full time ministry, he returned to Clear Creek Bible College and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for further education and training. He has served as Pastor of five churches in three states for 22 years that consistantly grew in membership and overall attendance. The churches under his leadership in Kentucky were also listed for four years in the Top Ten fastest growing churches in the state.Ronnie and his wife Judy have two children; Rhonda and Sarah. Rhonda is married to Reverend Charles Goodman of Manchester, KY, who is the pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church. Sarah is a High School graduate and currently employed at the Appalachian Regional Hospital in Middlesboro, KY.

Dr. Ronnie Owens became the Senior Pastor of Higher Ground Baptist Church on May 3, 2015 following a church member vote with 81.2% favorable. His first day in the pulpit as our pastor was on the morning of May 31, 2015.

Barry Epps

Music Minister

Barry is a native of Travelers Rest, South Carolina, and has been in Music Ministry for 30 years.  In January of 2011, Barry answered the call to become Higher Ground's Minister of Music.  Barry's passion is loving God and leading believers into a closer walk with the Lord.  His level of enthusiasm and depth of leadership has shown to be an effective witness throughout his ministry.

April Williams

Preschool Director

April has been married to her husband Chris for 21 years.  She and her husband have 4 children, Kindall, Katie, Malachi, & Lillian.  She and her family have been attending Higher Ground Baptist Church since 2016.  Since her time at HGBC, she has enjoyed volunteering in the Nursery, teaching the four year old Sunday School Class, and teaching at Playhouse Pal’s.  In her free time, she enjoys making memories with her family, hiking, and reading.

Penny Slaughter

Ministry Assistant

Penny is a native of Kingsport, Tennessee. She graduated from Sullivan South High School and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Education from ETSU in 1987. Penny joined the fellowship at Higher Ground on January 22, 1995. She joined HGBC’s staff in July 2006. She is active in the orchestra, Awana, and other Children’s Ministry events. She has been on mission trips with HGBC to Nicaragua, New York City, and Africa.

John Peak

Television & Media Outreach Director

Experienced Audio Tech and Video Editor that has worked in multiple industries all with a focus on creative. Skilled in Video Editing, Audio Production, Simple 3D and Creativity.