Hope Community Church was formed in 1994 when three pastors decided to do something different when it came to worshipping Jesus. The result was a non-denominational church that began meeting at Boyertown Junior High West and parishioners were urged to “come as they were.” Pastor Ryan Kiefer was asked to explain this “new” approach to Sunday worship.
“We believe church is not about religious rules or conformity to a denomination but about Jesus Christ and our heart’s response to love him and others. Sometimes, we make church way more difficult than it needs to be and we miss what it’s all about. We end up focusing on programs and buildings, missing people and the truth of the gospel. We are not being the church unless we are about Jesus alone! If you take out Jesus and the truth, we cease being the church and become another social club.”
By 2003, Hope Community Church’s congregation had outgrown the use of Boyertown Junior High West and they relocated to their new facility at 2732 N. Charlotte Street, Gilbertsville to help serve those parishioners from the Boyertown/Gilbertsville area.
Being non-denominational is not without its challenges. On the plus side, Pastor Kiefer says “We have the freedom to form our own identity without hindrance; on the downside, there can be a lack of support from an overarching board if concerns arise. It forces you to work well with the other churches in the area and support one another.”
The pastors at Hope Community Church explained that the gospel is why we exist. “People need to hear about Jesus Christ and it can’t take place just within the walls of a building. The gospel needs to go out in the community and the world. It is our desire to expose people to the love of Jesus, connect them in healthy relationships, encourage them to serve others (within and outside of the church) and multiply by making disciples.”
For the adult worshippers, Hope Community Church provides Sunday worship services, Life Groups which meet in various locations throughout the week for fellowship and worship, men and women ministries, mission trips, retreats, bible studies, Sunday school, Discipleship classes, Fall bonfire, Picnic & Baptism and other family events throughout the year. Though it is good & right for children, youth and adults to have separate times, it is great to be one big family. One generation discipling the next.”
For youth worshippers, hope Community Church offers programs aimed for them as well as keeping involvement with the church fun. They offer two camps. One is Camp Orchard Hill located in Dallas, PA which is the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. Besides the normal activities associated with a church camp such as singing praise songs with bands, talking and worshipping as a youth group and listening to speakers; the kids also enjoy winter outdoor activities like snow tubing, ice-skating, basketball and paintball. During the summer, kids head off to Harvey Cedars Bible Conference on Long Beach Island, NJ. Along with the youth church activities, kids enjoy the day at the beach, basketball, dodge ball and hanging out with friends on the dock…all without the luxury of technology. It is a time to bond and become one with the Lord Jesus Christ.
The pastors at Hope Community Church “truly desire to be a place that boasts in Jesus and not ourselves. A group partnering together to bring the gospel to life in the church, community and world.” For more information on Hope Community Church, please visit their website at http://www.hopegilbertsville.org/.