THEMES

Highlands College’s Strategic Plan incorporates eight themes that apply to all goals. The themes address foundational elements essential to accomplishing our mission and vision.

DEPENDENCE ON THE HOLY SPIRIT. Depend on the Holy Spirit—trusting in His wisdom, provision, and guidance—to ensure we develop life-giving leaders who are spiritually attuned and emotionally healthy.

Jesus informed his apostles that while he would not be with them, he would send an advocate, the Holy Spirit—a gift from God to guide us and assist us to accomplish more than we can alone. Acts 1:8 instructs, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you,” and 2 Corinthians 3:17 teaches, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Highlands College abides by a deep and institutionalized belief that the Person of the Holy Spirit must guide us in every action. This invitation of the Holy Spirit is holistically cultivated. The Holy Spirit must be demonstrated; staff and faculty must walk with Him. Spirit-led actions are foundational to a Highlands College culture of freedom, inspiration, and empowerment. The power of the Holy Spirit also undergirds spiritual and emotional well-being in our staff, faculty, and students, which leads to identification, understanding, and utilization of our spiritual gifts. And it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we liberate those who are oppressed in the world.

HIGHLANDS COLLEGE FAMILY. Preserve and build upon Highlands College’s deeply relational family spirit—characterized by enthusiasm, commitment, generosity, perseverance, creativity, flexibility, and mutual support. 

Everyone deserves a loving and caring group of people they can call family. At Highlands College, we develop kinship through a shared set of Christian beliefs and values. Our culture is familial and relational; we depend on each other. The importance of a human touch is foundational to everything we do. Our family spirit is about love, support, respect, and enthusiasm, but also about high expectations, commitment, discipline, and hard work. We strive to be elite without being elitist. At Highlands College, we create a caring and compassionate community for Christ that cultivates the ministry leadership calling in our students so that they may lead lives of eternal impact.

ONE HEART. ONE MIND. Passionately pursue God’s call for unity of heart and mind as a diverse faculty, staff, and student community developing the next generation of ministry leaders who can thrive in varied cultures, loving others as God loves us.

At Highlands College, we respect the fundamental God-given dignity of all human beings. We recognize, appreciate, and value people from different cultures and backgrounds, and understand that different perspectives can result in better solutions and a richer, more enlightening college experience. Our complex and changing world creates challenges for ministry leaders, but also rich opportunities in the harvest field. We are committed to fostering a diverse environment that helps us sharpen our students’ cultural awareness and competence. This ability to relate to and reach others different from us is critical to our mission of making disciples of the many and different peoples of the world. Most importantly, we must always remember that what unites us—the love of Jesus and love for each other—is stronger than what might divide us. We must always remember Jesus’s charge to us: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35).

ELEVATED COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING. Elevate communications and marketing to an institutional priority to advance visibility and reach; set strategic goals in student and faculty recruitment, fundraising, partnership development, and placement.

Communications and Marketing (C&M) must align with and support our strategic plan. Accordingly, we are committed to making sustained investment in a centralized C&M function that maintains C&M discipline, arming the Highlands College family—all College ambassadors—with the latest messaging and training. Through a deeper understanding of the market landscape and the needs of priority audiences, C&M is implementing a more segmented messaging approach, with an emphasis on accessibility through language, diversified platform selection, rich storytelling, and personalization. We are also refining the Highlands College and associated Impact branding to be more differentiated and deliberate, with strong emphasis on a college look-and-feel. We are broadening our scope to reach new audiences through a proactive media strategy, increased advertising spend, leveraging our distinct thought leadership content, and connecting with and using the trusted voices of influencers—always committed to leveraging Church of the Highlands’ visibility and reputation, while building and maintaining a distinct identity. We are amplifying our effectiveness by maximizing technology, including increased and better data capture, research, and analysis to measure our effectiveness and adapt our tactics.

OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE. Assure operational excellence, characterized by well-defined objectives; deploy a continuous multi-level process of measurement and analysis; expect strict accountability, so that team, financial, and physical resources are effectively and efficiently stewarded.

Highlands College is committed to achieving operational excellence, finding the optimal balance between quality outcomes and low cost, to responsibly steward God’s gifts to us. Operational excellence begins with setting meaningful, objective, and measurable goals. To support these goals, we develop clear, tangible, and simple metrics, and set aggressive, but reasonable, targets for these metrics.

We continuously track and analyze our progress. Honest, transparent, and informative reporting drives decision-making. We use metric tracking and reporting to ensure accountability and both team and individual ownership of success, as well as to recognize and reward achievement. We enable accountability and success through empowering our team. And we look everywhere for best practices that facilitate improvement.

STRONG, DYNAMIC RELATIONSHIP WITH CHURCH OF THE HIGHLANDS. Remain immersed in the ministry and life of Church of the Highlands while always focused and cognizant that we are building a distinct collegiate culture.

Church of the Highlands has been incredibly generous to Highlands College, putting us on solid structural and financial footing. Our Church relationship is a huge strength that we are committed to fully leveraging. We are working to strike the right balance in the Church-College partnership, with a thoughtful shift toward the College creating its own ecosystem and identity. This involves finding the right level of autonomy, clarifying lines of authority, and streamlining decision-making, including evaluating governance. Some Church-provided functions will likely migrate to the College. The College must maintain close alignment with Church theology. We will seek ways for the Church to more effectively exert its influence to catalyze the College vision, understanding Highlands College must increasingly establish its own sphere of influence.

IMPACTFUL SERVICE. To be a productive and contributing member to our community, state, and nation, reflecting God’s love through meaningful engagement and impactful service.

1 Peter 4:10 instructs, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” From day one, Highlands College raises up leaders who influence and serve outside of the walls of the gathered church. We are using our relationships with community influencers to amplify our impact and be a good neighbor. And we are more deeply incorporating outreach into our curriculum through service-based learning. This includes greater emphasis on practical experiences that extend beyond Sunday services and immerse us in our community, where students learn how to identify and address societal needs. We will build the College’s identity for generosity through College-centered Serve Days. This community service provides rich opportunities for sharing the Gospel.

AMPLIFIED IMPACT THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS. Identify, cultivate, and maximize diverse collaborations and partnerships with organizations to accelerate and amplify our impact to advance the Kingdom of God.

The call to build the Kingdom of God is urgent. We are living in the most opportunity-rich time in history. The greatest need is now. Highlands College’s partnerships are playing an increasingly important role in accelerating and amplifying our impact. We can do more together. We are casting a wide partner net. Our most important partner criteria are values/objectives alignment and the ability to leverage respective capabilities. We are looking outside Church of the Highlands and even globally to find excellent partners, to include: ARC and Grow, other churches, and para-ministry bodies; the business community; secular entities; other like-minded/spirited educational institutions; and philanthropic organizations. ARC, the Association of Related Churches, has a mission to provide support, guidance, and resources to launch churches. To date, ARC has helped plant 910 churches. Our objective is to become an adept practitioner of collaborative engagement, developing deep, long-lasting and valuable partnerships, including public-private partnerships. Grow is a network of over 14,500 churches that was started by Church of the Highlands to provide tools, training, resources, and events to network churches to help them achieve their full growth potential so they can reach their cities for Jesus.