HILLSIDE COMMUNITY CHURCH
1440 68th Street SE Grand Rapids, MI 49508
Hillside Community Church takes God seriously – but not themselves.
They speak of themselves as fellow strugglers who are deeply grateful that God loves them despite their weaknesses. This sets them free to try new things, to reach out to their community, and to welcome people regardless of where they are in their faith journey.
Newer and questioning believers find an outlet in Alpha. Hillside has run this effective introduction to the faith series twice a year for over 10 years. It has even spawned a Beta program, perfect for follow-up discussions for those who want to continue exploring what faith in God means for their lives.
Fun events draw people into the building, like weekly Zumba classes and the indoor golf nights (with PGA pros) in February. But the church also goes out into the community, following the call to care for people’s practical needs. They founded Streams of Hope to take a community development approach to the variety of needs of people in the Townline neighborhood. Members are active in the Kids Hope tutoring program – one adult, one child, one hour a week – at Townline Elementary School.
All generations at Hillside work together to grow closer to God and to work out their faith in action. Although about one third of the congregation is under 18, a good community of older adults adds the perspective of their long lives of Christian service to the energy of youth. Teens and adults often work together on summer missions projects, both locally and abroad.
Investments & Connections
Streams of Hope & Kids Hope
Streams of Hope is a separate community development organization, started by Hillside, to address the needs of their neighbors in the Townline area. They operate a client-choice food center. Local students can receive academic tutoring at the community center. Middle schoolers can combine their homework help with a fun after school program, while there’s Homework and Hoops for high schoolers. Plans for a community garden are in the works as well. Kids Hope is a tutoring and relationship building ministry in which one adult commits to meet with one child for an hour a week for an entire school year; they are supported by a prayer partner.
Alpha & Beta
Hillside has led Alpha classes twice a year for over 10 years. Many people have shared a meal and worshiped together before hearing a presentation on the basics of the Christian faith, and then sharing their questions and doubts in a small group setting. It might be a ministry aimed at seekers, but it has deepened the faith of everyone involved. They started a Beta group that meets at the same time as Alpha to further the conversations started there.
Children & Students
Hillside has a significant youth population, and many adult volunteers to shepherd their growth in the faith. Very young children are introduced to God’s love for them in Stepping Stones and children’s worship during Sunday morning services. KidsRock (aka Sunday school) and GEMS and Cadets further those lessons for elementary-aged kids. Middle schoolers meet twice a month for big meetings with dinner, games, worship, and small group discussion. They also have a fun or service-oriented activity once a month. To help high schoolers deepen their faith and learn the joys of service, Hillside organizes twice-monthly large group gatherings, regular small groups and Bible studies, as well as twice-a-year retreats and frequent service projects.
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