City on a Hill began seven years ago with a wonderful sense of the possible – the excitement and energy of a bold vision to see our city transformed by the good news of Jesus. In these past seven years we’ve seen God do the impossible – far beyond all we could ask or imagine.
We’ve seen lives changed by God’s Spirit, working through His word preached every week. We’ve seen leaders emerge, eager to give their lives to the kingdom. We’ve seen communities formed and shaped by the gospel they study. And most wonderful of all, we’ve seen people respond to the life-giving news of Jesus Christ, coming to know Him and understand that His death brings eternal life.
We are many stories but we are in fact one story – the story of a generous God who loves this world and has invited us to be a part of His redemptive work in it. Every one of our seven years has been filled with God’s grace and the past 12 months has been particularly momentous, with the launch of two new sites in Geelong and West. It was wonderful, then, to see all three sites come together on Sunday October 26 and celebrate this – to celebrate His Story in Our Story. Meeting in the stately Melbourne Town Hall, we sang praises to God, we heard His word, and we rejoiced as people responded to it.
On a day of highlights, the founding Pastor of City on a Hill, Guy Mason, gave us a stirring reminder of our vision and mission. Sharing his memories from the past seven years and reflecting on the remarkable story of God’s grace in our lives, he directed us to the future, and our calling to ‘go and make disciples’ (Matthew 28). Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth, and He promises now to be with us to the end, as we fulfil the great commission that He has given us.
As part of that work, we heard for the first time of plans to extend our work further afield. Our newest Pastor, Dave Miers, shared his four loves – Jesus, his family, City on a Hill, and the city of Brisbane – and we heard of his plans to bring these loves together in the next City on a Hill church plant. Plans are still at a very early stage, but Dave invited us to pray, give, and join the team as he builds for an exciting future.
To that end, we were excited to launch the Church Planting Fund, giving all people a chance to resource the work of establishing gospel communities in urban centres. We hope to reach a target of $100k to help plant churches in Brisbane and elsewhere, and we are optimistic of doing so!
But as ever, the great highlight of the service was the baptism of believers. Baptism is a remarkable symbol of God’s cleansing, redemptive work, and, having heard something of their stories in a moving video, we celebrated God’s grace as seventeen people were baptised!
Benjy, Samantha, Nonnie, Chance, Tiffany, Jarrod, Christy, Beth, Sarah, Krystal, Lynette, Ryan, Adam, Mahmoud, Ellie, Lizzy, and Thato were baptised.
There are many people to be thanked for their part in putting the service together. Neil Castle crafted a worshipful service and oversaw the logistics of the day, while Dom Macaluso led our musicians, providing the soundtrack against which our loudest praises could ring. One of the highlights of the day was to see them joined on stage by the City Kids choir – a choir trained by the tireless Megan Macaluso and her team across the three sites. Much praise should go to our City Kids volunteers, who chose to sit out so parents could enjoy the service. Thanks, too, go to the smiling army of welcomers who created such a warm atmosphere, and to the Media team, who prepared such a great range of inspiring videos.
All our praises, though, go to the God whose story we celebrate. We are His workmanship, the church that He has built, the God who has equipped and empowered us for His work. We worship Him in love, thankful for His grace over these past years, and submit ourselves to His plans, eager to experience His power in the future.
"Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen." – Jude 1:24-25