Our History

The mission of Highlands Church is to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God.

Highlands Church has roots in the evangelical tradition, but departs from general evangelical practice and theology by thoroughly welcoming the LGBTQ community as full members of the community and the church leadership. The mission of Highlands Church is to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God.


Founding pastor, Mark Tidd, Worship Pastor, Rachael McClair and an interim, six-person church leadership team found space in an old building at 3241 Lowell Boulevard in the Highlands neighborhood and held the first worship service on Sunday, September 13, 2009. After completing her doctorate at Fuller Seminary, Jenny Morgan came on staff in August, 2010. Late in 2011 the church learned that this building was sold to developers and slated for demolition. Around the same time, VidaPoint LLC, a foundation with close ties to Highlands Church purchased the old Holiday Theatre at 32nd and Clay Streets and decided to turn it into an event center. VidaPoint offered to rent the space to Highlands Church as the primary tenant and then began a massive restoration project to make the space useable both for the church and for other community events. For most of the year-long restoration taking place between 2012-13, Highlands Church gathered for worship at North High School. The first service in the restored Holiday Theatre was June 23, 2013.


God has continued to challenge and use the congregation in profound ways in the Highlands neighborhood, the city of Denver and far beyond. The church is thriving as a diverse, progressive, Christ-centered community. The small group of folks who took the initial risk to start Highlands Church has seen it grow into a viable, robust community of people following the triune God in new ways. The initial leadership team has transitioned to a larger, established structure consisting of an active board known as the Leadership Council, a staff team of nine and more than 25 active ministry teams each led by volunteer co-team leaders. The church collaborates with various non-profit groups, and serves closely in a community partnership with a small region near La Florida, Honduras. Highlands also works alongside Denver-based organizations like Bienvenidos and North High School, as well as several other local churches. Between 2009–2011, Highlands Church hosted three Symposiums on the Evangelical Church and Homosexuality, which drew hundreds of people from around the country. Currently, Highlands is part of the OPEN (Organizing Progressive Evangelical and Non-denominational) Group working closely with a growing number of other progressive Evangelical churches around the country and around the world.

Highlands Church continues to grow as a healthy, loving community that serves Jesus Christ from a platform of shared leadership. Lay leaders take on significant areas of responsibility, supported by staff team members. A flat, improvisational leadership style creates space for Christ to work in and through anyone and everyone. This kind of leadership is patterned after the loving reciprocity and mutual relationships within the Trinity. The people of Highlands Church are empowered and encouraged to respond to God’s work in their lives and God’s call in their hearts. The gifts God places in each person are honored and encouraged to flourish at Highlands Church.