His Story Our Story Recap
Celebrating six years as a church and one year of its City Steps vision, City on a Hill's 'His Story Our Story' celebration was a very public declaration of God's movement in our lives, an opportunity for the church to make new memories, and a magnification of the name of Jesus Christ.
More than 1200 people gathered together in one of Melbourne's most iconic buildings, a building which had never seen a baptism before. Now, the Melbourne Town Hall has seen 17 baptisms – lives publically dedicated to God.
It was an early start for most of the dozens of volunteers, starting at 6am to get the ball rolling and everything set for what would turn out to be a magnificent display of God's people gathering together in His name. And despite an early hiccup – who really knew that filling up an inflatable baptismal-pool could set off a fire alarm, summoning fire trucks from around the city – the doors opened and soon after 10am, City on a Hill's sixth birthday celebration kicked off.
The morning was led by Kingdom Pastor Nick Coombs, who wove together the many and varied facets of the morning's service. Community Pastor Luke Nelson dove into the stories of how God has been working through the lives of over a half-dozen men and women who attend City on a Hill, before Executive Pastor Simon Angus took the stage to explain how God has financially blessed City on a Hill, above and beyond our wildest dreams, and to encourage us to give generously as the church moves forward.
"Move forward to where?" you might ask. Sunday morning also saw the commissioning of two new churches – City on a Hill Geelong and Redemption, located in Ringwood – and the announcement of an entirely new church plant – City on a Hill West. The Grills and Wright families were sent out by the City on a Hill pastors, to lead their respective church plants, with the support and prayers of the wider church, while Luke Nelson took to the video screen to share his vision for City on a Hill West as the new Lead Pastor.
Speaking of the video screen – the massive video screen that all-but hid the massive 10,000-pipe pipe-organ – one of the highlights of the morning were the beautiful videos linking the service together. From the annual report video – which featured a cavalcade of City on a Hill pastors and staff explaining life behind the scenes – to the dedications video – which allowed all of the 14 couples dedicating their babies to share their hopes and dreams for their children, promising to the whole church to raise their children in the Lord. The excellence of the video production team was evident in each video, and many thanks must be passed their way for their invaluable involvement, their time, and dedication to the visual medium.
Maybe the most obvious 'medium' of the entire day was the medium of music, lead most ably by the City on a Hill worship team and backed by the tireless media and sound crews. The Melbourne Town Hall didn't know what had sprung up from within, I suspect, when over a thousand people sung of 10,000 reasons why we will keep on singing, of all the beautiful things God has done in our lives – featuring the wonderful City on a Hill Kids Choir – and of all the ways in which we are now made alive in Christ.
Pastor Guy Mason presented the message, working from Matthew 16 and reminding us all that Jesus not only the promise maker, but He is the promise keeper as well. He not only promised that He must suffer, be killed, and be resurrected on the third day, but He did those things as well! As Pastor Guy said, "from the first century all the way into the 21st century – the story of Jesus continues to bring life and hope to all people."
"The gospel continues to be preached, churches continue to be planted, the poor continue to be served, cities continue to be reached, lives continue to be changed – because Jesus is alive, He is good to His promise and He's building His church."
How do you wrap up a morning like that? Simple. Uncover the inflatable pool sitting conspicuously in front of the stage and baptise people, of course! Underneath the worshipful sound of a church in love with God, Pastor Guy dunked over a dozen men and women of all ages, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
With dozens of volunteers bringing to bear a veritable army of skills and talents, it is clear that God has been good to City on a Hill, helping to bring the morning off with nary a hitch. In return, we strive to be a city on a hill, a promise to keep the words of Jesus at the forefront of our every action.
"You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven."
We went forth, into the heart of our city, and we will continue to do so to the suburbs, the boundaries, and over seas, until every ear has heard of Jesus Christ.