By Sarah Shurge – “It’s been a long two and a half years but God’s faithfulness overwhelmed the people. There were lots of tears,” said Seth McDonald, lead pastor at Hill Crest Bible Church, in reference to Sunday service on May 16th.
Pastor McDonald claims that every Sunday goes good, but there was something special about this Sunday. It was the first service in the new sanctuary.
Hill Crest started as a new church in 2018 in a rented portion of the First United Methodist Church of Wayne. After renting and sharing the same building for two years, the First United Methodist Church decided to close its doors in January 2021.
Hill Crest decided to purchase the building from them. By doing so, they closed six months sooner than they originally planned.
“It really just showed if we trusted him [God] or trusted the bank account,” said Pastor McDonald.
After closing, the renovations began and they decided to get the biggest room they had to redo out of the way: the sanctuary. It was all hands on deck.
The congregation and members of Hill Crest did most of the work themselves and Pastor McDonald claims that “pretty much everyone had a part in remodeling the church.” Stating that everyone had their own specific jobs to do, older and younger people, every age group was there working.
There was lots to do. They gutted the sanctuary down to bones, added new carpet, repainted, built walls, did stage work, and added a new sound system. Just to name a few things.
“It brought the church closer and strengthened us,” said Pastor McDonald. “Even people that don’t go to church came and volunteered. They just wanted to be a part and help. So, even through a building project, God is still reaching people.”
The people of Hill Crest have already changed some rooms in the church but are looking to start redoing the bathrooms and the nursery next. They plan to continue going room by room until every room is redone, including the 1920 building that is attached to the church. Pastor McDonald said “they are calling it ‘beautifying.’” “The building is from the 50’s, so we don’t want to modernize the building because it has history. But we want to make it our building,” said Pastor McDonald.
Hill Crest Bible Church is located in 3 Towne Square in the heart of downtown Wayne.
Hill Crest has services on Sunday at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. On Wednesday nights there is a bible study at 6:30 p.m. They offer things for all ages, including children’s church that is geared towards that specific age group.
Hill Crest is non-denominational and opens its doors to anyone.
Their motto is: “Come as you are. Serve as you are. Love Whose you are.”
“We want everyone to come and we want the Holy Spirit to change them,” said Pastor McDonald.
And visitors continue to come to Hill Crest. Pastor McDonald shared that they have almost a new visitor a week, and they had five first time visitors on May 16th for the first service in the new sanctuary.
“When visitors show up we like to hug, shake hands, and go to their house and visit and show them that we appreciate them,” said Pastor McDonald. “So it’s been a challenge with COVID.”
During the first month of COVID, Hill Crest did service online. But Pastor McDonald is not a fan of online service because he likes being together. So, he decided to take things outside.
For two months, service was outside under tents they set up on the grounds. After every service they would have to tear everything down and set it back up again every week because they were still renting the building at the time.
Some people of the congregation that wanted to be more socially distanced, sat in their cars or sat on the street so they could still be a part of the service.
“I’ve loved seeing Christians get excited for church and God’s work. Even through the pandemic,” said Pastor McDonald.
Pastor McDonald has been in ministry for 10 years this August. He was a youth pastor for seven years before becoming lead pastor at Hill Crest when it started in 2018.
If you are looking for more information about Hill Crest or have any questions, you can go to their website, hillcrestbiblechurch.com. There is a form you can fill out, so they can get in contact with you. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also find them on social media by searching Hill Crest Bible Church on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, along with YouTube where they stream their services. Links to all social media accounts are on their website.