About Us



Josh Valdez
Lead Pastor

Josh Valdez was born in Shiprock, New Mexico. He spent his elementary years in Bloomfield before moving to Farmington. He is of Hispanic and Navajo descent. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Bible and a Master of Divinity from Bob Jones University. Josh’s desire is for the furthering of God’s kingdom through the equipping of God’s people. He is passionate about expository preaching, theological instruction and personal discipleship. He writes and contributes curriculum for the Institute of Biblical Leadership. He co-hosts a podcast, “Small Church, Big Impact” where he seeks to equip and encourage small churches.  Josh writes regularly about life, theology and ministry on his blog which can be read here.

Josh is married to Val, who sings on the church’s worship team and serves as an HGC Kids teacher. When not ministering at HGC, you’ll find Josh and Val brewing pour over coffee, reading, and taking their Border Collie, Java, and Australian Shepherd, Breve, for walks.


Angela Tornatore
HGC Kids Director

Angela Tornatore was born in Aztec, NM, and has spent her whole life in the Four Corners area. She has worked in education, and has previously served in church ministry as a youth leader. Angela uses these skills to help in Children’s Ministry and strives to disciple children in God’s Word. Discipling children is Angela’s passion, and she works hard to provide HGC Kids with a strong biblical foundation, as well as equipping parents and volunteers to do the same.

In addition to her ministry at Higher Ground, Angela is a homemaker. She is married to Justin and spends time taking care of her two children Calvin and Louisa. She enjoys writing, crafting, and drinking coffee with friends.


Higher Ground Church exists to glorify God, edify his people, and testify his Gospel.

  • Glorify

    The church exists to glorify God. This is the foundational principle for Christ’s church. Church (ekklesia) means a called out assembly or congregation. Members of Christ’s church are called out from the world to bring God glory (Eph. 1:5-6). God desires to be glorified his church (Eph. 3:20-21). The church exists as a living portrait of God’s counter-cultural, self-glorifying wisdom (Eph. 3:10-11). Glorifying God is accomplished at Higher Ground, by principally driven ministry (not pragmatism); unashamed proclamation of and venturing upon the Gospel, God exalting worship (singing and preaching); and faithfulness to God’s word.

  • Edify

    The church exists for the edification of the saints. Edification of the saints consists of disicipleship, community and service.

    Discipleship. Every Christian is to be a disciple maker (Matt. 28:19). To be a disciple is to be a follower, learner, and pupil of Christ. To believe in Jesus is to be a disciple of Jesus (Acts 4:32; 6:2). Disciples are to be like Jesus (Luke 6:40) and to serve others (Phil. 2:1-8).

    Community. God, being triune, exists in community (Gen. 1:26; John 17:20-26). Man is made in God’s image (Gen. 1:16-17), after his likeness (Gen. 5:8). He is made for community. The Church is a relational and interwoven body of believers. The Church is called the Bride of Christ (Rev. 21:9), the Flock of God (1 Pet. 5:2-3), the Fold of Christ (John 10:16), the House of God (Heb. 10:21), the Temple of the living God (2 Cor. 6:16) and the Body of Christ (Eph. 1:22). It is mandatory that Christians joined to a local church (Heb. 10:23-25).  Discipleship and community for the entire family will be accomplished through Bible teaching and relationship building.

    Service. Jesus is the ultimate model for every disciple to follow. He taught that his followers must be servants because he was a servant (Matt. 20:20-28). He had a mindset of service (Phil. 2:1-8). He modeled humble service through the washing of the disciple’s feet (John 13:3-17). Christians serve other Christians by their meeting their needs and building them up (Gal. 5:13). Christians serve non Christians by their lives of holiness (Matt. 5:13-16; John 13:34-35) and their faithful gospel proclamation (Matt. 28:18-20).

  • Testify

    It is the responsibility of every Christian to make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20). Christians must be preaching the Gospel. The Gospel is the power of God for salvation (Rom. 1:16). This is done through verbal proclamation of the Gospel and by distinctive living. When Christians love one another as they ought, they show to the world that they are God’s true followers (John 13:34-35).



  • Scripture

    The Bible is God’s written revelation (Psalm 19; 119). It is breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21), and is inerrant (Psalm 119:89; Proverbs 30:5) in the original manuscripts. Scripture is entirely sufficient: it teaches, reproves, corrects and trains in righteousness that God’s people may be complete (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16).

  • God

    God is holy (Revelation 4:8; 1 Peter 1:16). He is independent (Acts 17:24-25), unchanging (Numbers 23:19), eternal (Psalm 90:2), everywhere present (Jeremiah 23:23-24), all powerful (Isaiah. 46:9-10), and all knowing (Psalm 139:1-6). He is wise (Proverbs 1:7), and loving (1 John 4:8-10). God, while one, exists in three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:16-20; John 1:1, 14; Acts 5:3-4; Philippians 1:2)

  • Jesus Christ

    Scripture affirms both the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ. Being man, Jesus had a body and mind (Luke 2:52; 1 John 1:1-3), and experienced emotions (Matthew 26:38); John 11:35; 13:21). He was tempted in all ways (Hebrews 7:26), and victoriously triumphed over temptation (Luke 4:1-12). Jesus’ divinity is seen in his being called God (John 1:1-3; Romans 9:5; Philippians 2:5-6; Colossians 1:15-20; Titus 2:13) and Lord (Luke 2:11; Romans 10:9-13; 1 Peter 3:15). He forgave sin (Mark 2:6-10), demonstrated his omniscience (Mark 2:8; John 1:48; John 4:17-18), and omnipotence (Matthew 8:23-34; 14:14-21; John 11:43-44)

    Jesus lived a sinless, perfect life, fulfilling the law (Matthew 3:15; 5:17-18; Galatians 4:4-5). He earned righteousness (Romans 5:18-19; 8:3-4; Philippians 3:9; Hebrews 5:9). Through his crucifixion, Jesus became a propitiation (Isaiah 53:10; Romans 3:25-26; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10). His perfect righteousness is credited to those who repent and trust in him, and their sins were placed upon him (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22-24). In his resurrection, Jesus triumphed over death and the grave and he now presently rules from heaven (Daniel 7:13-14), serving as man’s advocate (1 John 2:1).

  • The Holy Spirit

    The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal spiritual force. Being the third person of the Trinity, he speaks (Acts 1:16;8:29;10:19 11:12; 13:2; 28:5); can be lied to (Acts 5:3), can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30), teaches (John 14:26) and witnesses (John 15:26). He regenerates people (Ezekiel 36:26-27, John 3:5-8), points believers towards and glorifies Christ (John 16:7-15), indwells them (Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 6:19) conforms them to Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 5:16-18), leads in holiness (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:16-18), gives assurance (Romans 8:16) and gifts them to build up one another (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4:11).

  • Mankind and Sin

    Of all creation, humanity alone bears God’s image (Genesis 1:26-28; 5:3; 9:6). As such, he is his unique, highest creation. Man can reason, feel, and rules the created world as God’s co-regent (Genesis 1:28; 2:19-20; Psalm 8:6-8). Because of the Fall of Man (Genesis 3:1-19; Romans 5:12-21), every person is born with a sin nature (Psalm 14:3; 51:5; 58:3; Ephesians 2:3). Sin has distorted every aspect of man: his heart (Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21-23), mind (Romans 1:21; 2 Corinthians 4:4), conscience (Romans 1:17- 18), will (John 8:34; Romans 8:7) and loves (Isaiah 30:9-10; John 3:19). Every person sins (Psalm 14:3; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10). Because of his sin, man is separated from God (Romans 5:10; 8:7; Ephesians 4:18) and is under his wrath (Romans 1:18; 2:5). He is in need of a savior.

  • Salvation

    Before the foundation of the world, based upon his foreknowledge (Romans 8:29; 1 Peter 1:2) God elected individuals to salvation (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-7). Because men are dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1-3), God initiates and guarantees salvation. He draws individuals to himself (John 6:44; 6:63) and gives them life (Ephesians 2:4-10). Regeneration, being born again (John 3:4-8), is his washing of an individual (1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5) and giving them a new heart (Ezekiel 36:25-27). Those who are truly regenerate, persevere in their faith. Salvation cannot be lost (John 6:39; 10:7-28; Romans 8:29- 30, 38-39).

  • The Gospel

    Mere belief in the facts of Christ’s work, saves no one (Matthew 7:21-23; 13:1-30, 47-50; John 6:1-71; James 2:14-26). The Gospel call to follow Christ is a call to die to self (Luke 9:23; Galatians 2:20). Genuine salvation requires both faith and repentance (Mark 1:14-15; Acts 20:21). Saving faith means to to be convinced of or to trust in Christ alone for salvation (Acts 16:31). Repentance means to change one’s mind—acknowledging that one is a sinner, and is rightly condemned before a holy God. True repentance is validated in a changed life (Luke 3:8-14). To become a Christian is to submit to the lordship of Christ (Romans 10:9), and to become a slave of Christ (Ephesians 6:6; 1 Peter 2:16).

  • The Church

    Jesus Christ founded the church and promised to build it (Matthew 16:13-20; Acts 4:11-12; 1 Corinthians 3:11; 1 Peter 2:6-7). The church officially began at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-41). The purposes of the church are to glorify God (Ephesians 1:5-6; 3:10-11, 20-21), to edify his people (Ephesians 4:12-16; 1 Corinthians 14:26; 1 Thessalonians 5:11), and to testify his Gospel (Matthew 28:18-20). The marks of a true church are the right preaching of the Gospel (1 Timothy 4:13-16; 2 Timothy 4:1-4;) and the proper administration of the ordinances: Baptism (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:28; Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12) and the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 10:17; 11:25-41). The church is led by a plurality of male (1 Corinthians 14:33-35; 1 Timothy 2:11-15) elders (Acts 14:23; 20:17; Titus 1:5).

  • Sanctification

    The goal for every believer is to become more like Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 John 2:6). Increased holiness flows from union with Christ. (Romans 6:1-14). Genuine Christians will become more like Christ (Romans 8:29). God’s grace trains Christians in holiness (1 Timothy 4:7-8; Titus 2:11-13). Sanctification, the progressive growth of becoming like Christ, is accomplished by looking at Christ (Romans 13:14; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Colossians 3:10). Sanctification is accomplished by the work of the Christian and the Holy Spirit who gives both the desire and means to holiness (Philippians 2:12-13).

    Ungodliness, in its essence, is prizing and exchanging pleasure in God for lesser things (Jeremiah 2:12-13; Romans 1:18-23). Because Christians are new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), they experience true joy in renewed affections. Life with God is immensely satisfying (Psalm 16:11; 37:4; 42:1-2). God invites Christians to find their satisfaction—pleasure, enjoyment, fulfillment—in him (Psalm 34:8; 37:4; Isaiah 55:1-3).

  • The Family

    Marriage is the complimentary union between one man and one woman (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:23-24; Matthew 19:4-6). Husbands are to self sacrificially love their wives (Ephesians 5:25) and gently meet their needs (Colossians 3:19; 1 Peter 3:7). Fathers are responsible to lead (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:23), provide for (2 Corinthians 12:14; 1 Timothy 5:8), and shepherd their families (Ephesians 6:4). Wives submit to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22-24), and manage the home (Proverbs 31; 1 Timothy 5:14; Titus 2:14). Children are to obey and honor their parents (Ephesians 6:1-2).


  • Reformed

    Our identity as a church finds its roots in the Protestant Reformation. Being Baptist, we trace our church lineage back to the Puritans and the English Reformation. The historic confession which we most associate with is the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith.

    Being Reformed, we believe in the primacy of Christ above all. We believe that God initiates (John 6:44; Eph. 1:4) and guarantees salvation (Rom. 8:29-30). We rest whole heartedly upon the sufficiency of Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16-17).  We affirm the lordship of Christ in the salvation of the believer (Rom. 10:9-10, 2 Cor. 5:15).

    We hold to the Five Solas of the Reformation: The final authority for the Christian is Scripture alone. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. The Christian life is lived to God’s glory alone.

  • Complementarian

    Men and women are equal in dignity as both are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-28). While equal in personhood, God has designed man and woman to have complementary roles in the home and in the church. In the home, men are tasked with leading,  providing for, and shepherding the family (Eph. 5:23-26; 6:4; 1 Tim. 5:8), while women are especially entrusted with supporting and helping (Gen. 2:18; 2:20-23; 1 Pet. 3:1-6).

    Both are tasked with modeling and instructing their children in godliness (Deut. 6:5-7; Prov. 13:24; 2 Cor. 12:14) In the church, both men and women are tasked with teaching. Men, exclusively, are permitted to preach and teach to the entire congregation (1 Cor. 14:34), and hold the office of pastor (1 Tim. 2:12). Women have a vital role instructing and modeling godliness for other women (Titus 2:3-4) and serving as deaconesses (1 Tim. 3:8-13).

  • Elder-Led

    Elders are men (1 Cor. 14:33-35; 1 Tim. 2:11-15) who shepherd God’s people (1 Pet. 5:1-2),  and lead his church (Acts 20:28; 1 Tim. 5:17). The biblical norm for church leadership is a plurality of elders who are equal in authority (Acts 20:17; 1 Pet. 5:1; 1 Tim. 4:14). They model godliness (1 Pet. 5:1-2; 1 Tim. 4:12), preach and teach God’s word (1 Tim. 4:2; 5:17).

    They care for the church by protecting it from doctrinal error (Acts 20:28-30), confronting false teaching and teachers (Titus 1:9; 13), and by praying over the sick (James 5:14). The qualifications for an elder are laid out in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-5.

  • Church Membership and Discipline

    Biblical church membership is the submission a Christian to the eldership (1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:17) and to other Christians at a specific local church (Eph. 5:20-21). Along with church membership, church discipline is largely not practiced in many churches. Yet, the Bible commands it (1 Cor. 5:1-11) and instructs how to practice it (Matt. 18:15-17).

  • Expository Preaching

    At Higher Ground, we are firmly committed to expository preaching. To exposit means to explain. The preacher’s job is to explain the biblical passage. If the point of the sermon is not the point of the passage, the preacher has failed. At Higher Ground, we work through entire books verse by verse. We are currently going verse by verse through the Gospel of John.

  • Semi-Regulative Worship

    We strive to magnify Christ in not only our theology, but also our practice. Our guiding worship philosophy is semi-regulative. Regulative worship means that everything done in the Christian gathering must have Biblical precedent. Because we have kids classes, and sing more than just the psalter, we consider ourselves to be semi-regulative.

    When selecting songs we intentionally pass them through three filters: is this song biblical, congregationally singable, and beautiful? Additionally, we strive to match the songs with the Biblical text being preached that Sunday.  We sing a beautiful diversity of the best of hymns and the best of worship songs.