History of Higher Ground
Higher ground is a very unique college. When you see its history you will see why.
During his childhood, Founder and Chancellor Pastor D. G. Massad, Jr., grew up as a Catholic. Raised in a middle class family in Massachusetts there was an early calling on his life. Through a series of “divine interventions” he met Jesus Christ in a very personal way. After growing through the early steps of Christianity in an independent, on fire, full gospel church, Pastor had his first introduction to “dead Christians” in bible college. Having seen the power of the Holy Spirit and the miracles of God first hand he could not understand how those appointed to train the warriors of the army of God could be so cold, distant and clueless. It was clear to him that the bible colleges of today had not kept up with what God was doing in this day.
Leaving after the first year, Pastor worked as an Assistant Pastor at an Independent Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania for two years. After that he traveled the United States working as an Evangelist.
Then God gave him a vision for a school that would train students in things that were relevant to the ministry today. It was clear to him that we needed a new generation of leadership, a group of modern apostles, led by the spirit, innovators, fearless Men and Women who place the well-being of their congregations and disciples ahead of their personal careers, big ministries, and outdated institutions. The current system clearly is a train moving at a 100 miles per hour heading toward the proverbial brick wall.
While contemplating that vision God, called him to establish an Inner-City Church back in Massachusetts, which was called Fortress of Prayer. There was also a large involvement with prison ministry, which grew out of that church. The prison ministry was very successful. The Sheriff of the County, Sheriff John M. Flynn was so blessed by the results of the ministry that he gave an appreciation breakfast to show his gratitude.
Many inmates lives were so mightily touched by God that they began attending church at Fortress of Prayer upon their release. This was more miraculous then you may realize because, “Jailhouse Conversions” are well noted for being short-lived. Most born-again inmates simply do not “walk the walk” on the outside. These men were quite serious though. Yet, despite their genuine commitment to the Lord, many fell back into drugs.
Pastor realized that traditional, typical church methods simply did not work with these hard-core men. After much prayer a partnership was forged with the prison to establish a superior plan for inmate after-care. Sheriff Flynn offered the services of Ms. Mary Jane Saksa, Relapse Prevention Therapist. As the author of the leading relapse prevention text book of our time, Ms. Saksa was the perfect official to help launch a comprehensive effort, uniting a faith based organization and County Law-Enforcement Personnel to attack outrageous recidivism rates. Fortress Of Prayer donated its facilities and provided spiritual training and counseling. Ms. Saksa and her team donated their time to work with all former inmates, to give them the tools they needed to stay clean, free of charge. The awesome result of that one program, was that recidivism rates fell so drastically that in the next three years the County saved $18,000,000 from prisoners not returning to jail after they were released. That program continues to this day and has spread throughout the state. The savings to the tax payers exceeds $50,000,000 annually. This proves that God is relevant to solving today’s problems.
Why does the church not impact society like this on a regular basis? What happened to the powerful people of faith of today? How did we end up at a point where we have so few? A decline in courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in our nation and the church in our days. Many have lost their courage, both individually and as a whole – in each denomination, each church and of course in the hearts of so many of God’s servants. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the leadership and the spiritual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by all of Christendom. They base church policies and doctrine on weakness and cowardice. So very many get tongue tied when they deal with powerful special interests in the church or in society.
From ancient times a decline in courage has been considered the beginning of the end. There are meaningful warnings which history gives a threatened or perishing society. Some of them are, for example, the decadence of art, the lack of great statesmen. Yes the fight for our nation, physical and spiritual, is a fight of cosmic proportions and it is well under way. The forces of evil have begun their decisive offensive.