Our Story


Burns Ave Church of God began in November 1973 --  The South Lake Wales Church of God felt there needed to be a Church of God in downtown Lake Wales so they sent a group of 35 charter members who began by holding meetings at the Woman's Club in LW.  The group was led by Dr. Harold Boyer and Dr. Leslie Ratliff.


Ten acres of ground was purchased on Burns Ave very quickly and the first building was constructed in fall of 1974.  Rev. Ron Holder was called to be the first Pastor and served until 1976.


In 1976 Rev. Gordon Garrett became the second pastor, the building was extended to include an enclosed foyer, offices, an education wing, and a fellowship hall.  Nina Ratzliff led the establishment of a daycare that operated until the early 90's.  


Lead Pastors from 1987-1996:

  • Rev. Craig Frank from 1987-91

  • Rev. Tom Walton from 92-94

  • Rev. Bob Highlands from 94-96


The current Lead Pastor, Jack Hilligoss and his wife Jenelle arrived in May of 1997 and have called Lake Wales home ever since. Bonnie Barker, Executive Pastor came to Burns Avenue Church of God in August of 2001, along with her husband Keith and their family.


In 2006, the church formally voted to change its name to HighPoint Church. Shortly after, in 2008 we remodeled offices and educational space while adding our current place of worship in the Sprung structure.

Recent Past

In fall of 2017 we voted to attempt the sell of the church property on Burns Ave. The property was sold to Victory Ridge Academy in Spring of 2018 and we have leased the use of the building from them ever since.


We looked at many, many, MANY properties and made an offer on an old Toys R Us on Hwy 27. While the process wasn't fun, He blesses us in the waiting. We finally bought 20 acres on Hwy 17 in the Spring of 2019. Construction began in Fall of 2020.