Planting Hill City Church has not always been an easy journey. In fact there have been moments when it’s been seriously painful and emotionally hard!
However, Sunday morning made it all worth while! We had an immense time at our weekly service – our biggest gathering to date with around 40 in attendance and a real sense of freedom in God’s presence as we worshipped. I strongly felt God’s help as I preached the second part of our 2-part series on Holiness and many expressed how moved/challenged they had been by it. Praise God! We had two new families off the estate who came, who seemed to love it and have expressed a real interest in getting involved, so we’re buzzin’ about that too! On cue our local gang of teenagers came in right at the end for their weekly fix of drinks and biscuits and as usual they sat quite comfortably amongst all the Hill City regulars, chatting away as if they kind of belonged there too (which they do – the Cold Barn is first and foremost a youth and community centre!) However, as I mingled after the service, enjoying the usual post-service, coffee-fuelled banter and greeting some vistors, there were 2 things that I noticed that just blessed me deep!
Firstly, some of our visitors had been clearly moved by the message preached and wanted to chat further about it. It was great to see other members of the church spontaneously befriending them, sitting with them, laughing with them and chatting the gospel through with them. Totally sincere, perfectly natural and confident in handling the truth – that’s church!
Secondly, there’s a family that joined us at Christmas who we have grown to love and care for deeply. After a very long and painful journey they have just been given a home on the estate by the council and now have the joy of kitting it out and starting over. The church has already been able to help out a bit, but as I helped one of our other families to carry three crates of toys from their car boot, to give as a gift to this other family, I remembered that one of the hallmarks of the early church as it grew in grace was that the believers shared their possessions, stepping up to the plate and helping each other out when needs arose (Acts 2v42-47). That’s what I saw happen at Hill City and it was beautiful! Again it was spontaneous, sincere and joyful – that’s church!
(On a side-note, there’s still a few things that we’re looking for on behalf of this family, so if any of you out there reading this are in South Wales and have the followimg, please let me know: 2 x Single Beds, 2 x Single Duvets, Washing Machine, Ironing Board, Pillows, Towels, Curtains and Bedding…)
In conclusion, Hill City is not a polished church – not by a long stretch! We’re small (but growing by God’s grace!), our services are simple, our resources are limited, we haven’t got a band, we’re not famous and probably (hopefully) never will be! But we are raw and we are real, we love the Saviour, we love the Scriptures, we love each other and we love this community. We are committed to being a church that’s true to its roots – a rawganic church! And if church is about passionate people, not polished performances then I have strong confidence in what God’s going to do through us, because the people who make up Hill City are simply awesome and I love them!