Grace Hills started in the summer of 2011 with a distinct vision of gathering a community of broken people who are coming to know Jesus and serving others for God’s glory. We’ve fought hard, from the beginning, against doing church-as-usual. And what we mean by that is, we are determined to keep on being a church full of broken people that welcomes other broken people.
- We invite the big questions people have about faith.
- We show love to people of every background.
- We smile and welcome attenders with every kind of hurt, habit, and hang-up.
Part of our passion stems from the culture from which our Pastor came when Saddleback Church sent him home to Northwest Arkansas to plant Grace Hills. Saddleback is led by Pastor Rick Warren, author of the best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life. And Saddleback is the birthplace of Celebrate Recovery, now used in over 25,000 churches to help people heal and recover from every kind of addiction and brokenness.
Recently, Pastor Rick had this to say about how Our Churches Should Be No-Shame Zones:
Our world is broken; everything and everyone in this world is broken. In fact, there are only two kinds of people in the world: those who know they’re broken and those who are broken but don’t know it. God wants us to know that we’re broken.
That’s why our churches should be no-shame zones, places for broken people to come when they hurt.
Colossians 3:12 says, “As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (NIV). Because we know how much God loves us, we can demonstrate compassion, kindness, humility and patience with others. And that’s exactly what the church has been called to do. It’s the place for the broken, the place for those whose lives don’t work out as they should.
The truth is that the church shouldn’t just “accept” hurting people. We should want hurting people in our midst. We’ve got to realize that every sinner has a future and every saint has a past…
When we realize how much grace God showed to us when He saved us, sharing that kind of grace with others will only be natural. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as God forgave you through Christ.”
Second chances aren’t just for addicts and convicts; second chances are for all of us. No matter how squeaky-clean our lives have looked on the outside, the Bible is clear that we’ve all needed a second chance at some point in our lives.
In fact, it’s when we realize how much God loves us and has forgiven us that we’re able to properly take that love to others. The people who are best able to show God’s love to others are the ones who feel God’s love the most fully.
Shame is a terribly powerful motivator. It can instigate positive changes in us for mere moments before crushing us under it’s weight. There is certainly power in owning the responsibility for our sins, which is a biblical and foundational principle of any effective recovery ministry. But carrying guilt after we’ve received the amazing grace of God can stunt our spiritual growth and development.
At Grace Hills, we’re strongly committed to…
- Acknowledging our imperfections and our brokenness, including among our Pastors and staff members.
- Welcoming people into our church family, into the care of small groups, anyone, from any background and lifestyle.
- Empowering people in recovery to volunteer and to lead ministries who have broken and shattered pasts.
- Doing everything we can to heal the wounds of the souls of Northwest Arkansans, with truth, grace, and love.
Grace Hills is a no-shame zone. We aren’t shocked by your story. You’re definitely not alone in what you’ve done, what you’ve been through, and in your struggle to figure out how to heal. On the basis of Jesus’ life and words, we see ourselves as forgiven sinners hoping to hang out with more forgiven sinners, gathering to worship together on Sunday and scattering in groups all week long.
If you don’t go to church because you’re afraid of the shame and the judgment, you’ve now found a place where you’ll be welcomed regardless of your story. So join us on a Sunday soon in a safe place, a no-shame zone, where God wants to draw you into his family and do amazing and miraculous works of healing deep within your soul!
Note that this does not mean we’re going to single you out or ask you to share your story. We know quite well the need to slip in anonymously at first to observe. And as you come, bring your baggage with you and perhaps, as you are convinced we’re a safe place, we can unpack it together.