The picture of Hill City Church is best painted through the image of the food. The most common meal of a college student is ramen noodles. It’s fast, convenient, and requires very little of us. Ramen sustained most of us during college but I am assuming the long-term health benefits are quite limited. The older we get the more our bodies need clean holistic foods.
In the fall of 2010, a small group of friends got together and realized that our faith habits were quite similar to our college eating habits. For many of us, our church experiences had become fast, convenient, and required very little of us. For others of us, our experience required much more from us. It was tedious, stressful, and way too time consuming. By time consuming, we meant that we spent so much time hosting and supporting church functions that we rarely, if ever, got the chance to spend time with our neighbors or coworkers. And the results were a comfortable place for others to experience fast and convenient faith. Going back to the food analogy, it was kind of like working in a fast food kitchen. We were constantly moving, stressed, and working overtime; and the food we were producing was resulting in unhealthy and obese consumers.
It was time for us to experience slow cooked clean holistic faith! We met our friend Rob in Jeff’s neighborhood. This guy is a real chef! He takes his time, knows his ingredients, and cooks every meal to perfection! Our small group began to wonder what slow cooked faith would look like. We began to ask questions like, “If Jesus were to live in my neighborhood, what would he do?” “If Jesus were to work in my office, whom would he hang out with?” And, “If Jesus were leading this community of faith, what would he have us do?”
John 1:14 of The Message translation say’s, “The word God became flesh and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son. Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.” Our small group committed to living this out in Jeff’s neighborhood, and then later in an apartment complex in South Arlington. We also are committed to regular rhythms of happy hours and community service, and inviting our coworkers to these activities. Our hope was to model the one-of-a-kind glory and Way of Jesus, and to invite people into Jesus apprenticeship relationships, following the Great Commandment “to train everyone [we] meet…in [his] Way of life.” And to “instruct them in the practice of all [he] commanded.” (Matt 28:19-20, The MSG)
The result has been a minor experience to that found in Acts 2:42-47. God has not added thousands but he has added many to our community. And in the spring of 2013 the Lord encouraged us to launch a public worship experience for our two communities and invite others into our journey. As we began to pray and study the Sermon on the Mount, the vision of Hill City Church developed. Jesus called us to be a city on a hill. In the time of Jesus, a city on a hill would be good news to those who were traveling. It would mean rest, relief, and resources. The Father, Son, and Spirit are the ultimate place of rest, relief, and resource for this journey of life. Hill City Church lives to be his city on a hill, for those in the DC Metro area to find Sabbath rest from a busy and stressful culture, communal relief from an individualist ethos, and resources to join in the Mission of God.