Mission | Vision | Values | Beliefs
Everything we do at Hillcrest Church
flows out of our mission statement:
love God | grow together | care for the world
We submit this rich but simplified statement as an expression of God’s professed mission to heal the relationships between God and humans, humans and their own hearts, as well as human relation with each other and creation.
- Continuous: We see an increasingly healthy and missional community of Jesus followers.
- 3-Year: To be a Hub of Hope as we INVITE, INCLUDE, and INSPIRE.
- We strive to be HONEST – As the Pacific Northwest becomes an increasingly post-church culture we think people deeply desire genuine honesty. So, we work to stay clear of religious pretension or artificial emotions. Together we simply commit to honesty about the world, our own lives, and the journey with Jesus.
- We strive to be both INTELLECTUALLY and SPIRITUALLY DEEP – These two streams have always run intermingled at Hillcrest. We are privileged to be located one mile from Western Washington University and have more than 45 years of committed engagement among the students and thinkers of Whatcom County. This mission field complements our more than 70 years as a passionate, Holy Spirit-empowered missionary movement in the Pacific Northwest. As these two historic commitments intertwine we remain committed to loving God with our whole mind, heart and spirit.
- We strive to be a DIVERSE and HIGHLY RELATIONAL COMMUNITY – We get to live in Bellingham Washington, a delightfully eclectic and growing community. We seek to be a healthy reflection of our city and the broader worldwide community of Jesus followers. This is why we work hard at building genuine relationships at every level of our community, among all kinds of people, to create more opportunities for actual face-to-face friendships.
- We strive to be CREATIVE and FUN – We have a long commitment to the arts and creative expression at Hillcrest. Our history involves the making of worship albums, art shows, dance, poetry and more. We think Jesus style community should be one of the most imaginative places on earth. And while we take our mission seriously, we still love to laugh, play games, take adventures and enjoy life together!
- We strive to be INVITATIONAL and HOSPITABLE – In an increasingly lonely society, we take our model from Jesus who took on flesh and moved into our neighborhood. In the same way, we want to engage the “neighborhoods” of our lives, looking for ways to invite others in to know Jesus and to enjoy authentic community. Therefore we will go out of our way to make guests feel welcome in our homes, in our neighborhoods, at work, and at our church.
- We strive to be COMPASSIONATE – We are surrounded by a variety of needs in Whatcom County. Among which Hillcrest has an especially long history of caring for foster and adopted kids. We increasingly endeavor to address needs around the world, but keep our hearts especially tender toward the broken, and hurting right here at home.
- We strive to be GENEROUS – We want to be generous with our thoughts towards one another, with our time, our homes, our abilities, and our finances. Furthermore we aim to be a church that courageously sends our people and resources around the world with the Good News about Jesus.
Introduction to the Statement of Faith
Our beliefs are written up in a Statement of Faith that represents our theology.
Theology is one of those religious terms that gets thrown around and may be unfamiliar to some people. When we talk about theology we are talking about who God is and what God has said about people and this world. Below we have written down the core beliefs to which our community commits. They are not totally unique to us, we stand in a long line of Jesus followers through the ages who trusted in the God of Scripture. Yet we know that each generation takes the faith that has been passed on and needs to be able to articulate it in their time and place.
We’ve written out our beliefs following the story from Scripture. A story invites us to explore, imagine, identify with characters, and hopefully even find ourselves swept up into our place in God’s story. We hope you will take some time to slow down and read our short summary capturing the true story of God, people, and the whole world. As you read, we encourage you to let your imagination roll; engage your mind to search out truth and create questions; and allow your heart to connect to the Author, the people and the soaring truths of the Great Big Story of the Bible.
Statement of Faith
- God has communicated to humanity throughout history; the written record is his words intended for all people at all times and in every place. This book, known as the Bible, is God’s story of who he is, what the world is, who we are, and the ultimate purposes of history. It is the true and reliable story we trust with our lives.This is that story. . .
- In the beginning God created the cosmos and called it good. God placed humans in his good creation as his Image Bearers, to reflect his character to all the cosmos. Humans were in right relationship with God as their king, with their own hearts, with one another, and with all creation. God called all of this very good.Man and woman however, chose to rebel against God and make themselves the center of their lives. This caused a spiritual fracture between them and God, shame invading their hearts, blame contaminating relationships between one another, and creation groaning. The Scriptures call this rebellion against God ‘sin’. It is in every one of us and distorts our relationships with our own hearts, with one another, and with all creation.
God, out of his love for his Image Bearers and his creation, did not leave them in this state but commenced his rescue mission and began revealing his Rescue Hero.
- After many years God called one man, Abraham, and promised that through his descendants the effects of sin would be undone and blessing would take the place of suffering. Through Abraham and Sarah, the people of Israel was born, out of which his Rescue Hero called the Messiah would come.
- Israel became entrapped and oppressed as slaves in Egypt. God heard the cry of the oppressed Israelites and acted to rescue them. This rescue, called the Exodus, defined the people as holistically rescued by God. Through Moses God brought the people out of slavery. God formed a relationship with them, dwelt among them, taught them to follow his Way, and brought them into a homeland. God did this so that they could be his Rescue Mission People for the world.
- Over the next millennia, God gave kings to lead and prophets to speak his voice. Israel, while at times faithful to God’s Way and mission, ultimately failed. Ten of the tribes were taken into exile by Assyria, two of the tribes later by Babylon. While some of these exiles eventually returned to their homeland, by the time of the first century there was an acute sense that a spiritual exile continued and the task of rescue was incomplete. Yet, in spite of the failure, those same prophets spoke of a day when God would act to rescue his people and the world through the long awaited Messiah.
- At just the right time a virgin named Mary from Israel gave birth to Jesus, both the promised Messiah and divine Son of God. Through his life, teachings, conduct and miracles, Jesus modeled dependence on the Holy Spirit and a life wholly reflecting the character of God.
- Through his God-reflecting life, suffering, and death Jesus willingly took on both the exile of Israel and the exile of all humanity. Through his resurrection, Jesus defeated all the powers that oppose humanity: sin, death, and Satan, confirming his promised victory. For any who surrender from their rebellion against God and trust in Jesus as their rescuer and king, Jesus is the way to a restored relationship with the Creator of all things, with our own hearts, each other, and all creation.
- After his resurrection, Jesus joined God the Father as the King of the Cosmos. At which time, they gave the Holy Spirit, God’s presence, to dwell within any who trust in Jesus. God’s Rescue Mission People, which began in Abraham, now continues as the global multi-ethnic, Spirit-empowered community of all Jesus followers called the Church. This is where we find our place in God’s story. Together we center our lives on the love of God, grow to reflect God’s character, share life, and care for the world by announcing his good news and healing broken places. As the church, we keep our identity centered on God through worship and teaching, baptism and communion.
- At the end, Jesus will return to make all things well. There will be the final promised resurrection, the judgment of evil, the end of the human rebellion, and the renewed heavens and earth. All those whom Jesus calls his own will spend eternity with him in this restored future. God will heal the relationship between himself and humanity, as well as restore human relationships with each other and with all creation. We actively anticipate this reality with our lives today. Yet, even in this, the end of this story is not the end of the story. For then the hope that was from the beginning will be fully realized: God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit will dwell with, celebrate, explore and go on creating with this healed people, world without end.Amen
This next portion of the document corresponds numerically to the nine sections in The Big Story of the Bible above. Each section contains five (5) elements arranged under the Section Title. The systematic theology statements included in this area are finished. All the other areas are still in development, and many could be expanded and refined indefinitely. For example, we hope “Further Questions and Conversations” grows into an ever more massive online library of theological conversations.
The five (5) elements of each section are:
- Scripture References
- Systematic Theology Statements
- Going Deeper
- Further Questions and Conversations