Everyone’s story is important, and here at Hill City we want to celebrate people, where they’ve come from, and what they’ve been through.
As a church, we challenge our team to share their stories because it helps us relate to and empower others. Our stories represent how a life with Jesus has changed our own passion, purpose, and hope.
These are the stories of our staff.
Josh is the Director of Small Groups and Community Life here at Hill City. Born in Eastern Pennsylvania 29 years ago, Josh graduated from VCU and has been married for nine months to his wife, KK. You’ve probably seen him, he’s the really tall guy giving announcements (and dad jokes) at the beginning of service.
Q: In terms of a relationship with Jesus, how did it all begin? Has this always been in your life, or is there a time you weren’t interested?
A: I came to faith at a young age in a Conservative Christian congregation, called the Brethren movement. It didn’t have a pastor, we met in a house instead of a church, and it was understood that everyone could hear from God. In my household, it was easy for me to have faith.
However, the way I came to faith was through fear. When I was six years old, I ran into my parents bedroom after my Dad taught me about Hell screaming, “I don’t want to go to Hell!” It was at that time that I prayed and decided my purpose in life was to follow Jesus. Fear has always been with me, I carry it with me when I feel like I’m not doing a good job, when I’m told to be quiet, or when I hide behind my extroverted personality.
In the past six or seven years I’ve begun to experience non-fear based faith. I have learned that doubt and fear are not the enemy of faith, instead they operate inside of faith. Most people will have doubts and fears, but it’s how you turn to Jesus in those moments that changes your perspective.
Until I got plugged into Hill City, I never felt comfortable inviting people to church or inviting people into my spiritual life -other than close friends I grew up with or who were already attending my church. Hill City is the first place I’ve felt I can openly share what’s going on with my life. Everything changed after that – I met my now wife, I became involved in a small group and now I’m working for Hill City, bringing people together in community.
Q: So you’ve just been offered a job here at Hill City, a two year old church plant at the time. Had you been considering this role for a while?
A: I’ve wanted to be in ministry since I was a kid. I used to give sermons to my mom and grandma while wearing a suit. I’d never been asked to be on a team in a church before Hill City. I’ve been sharing my ideas with John over the past couple of years and was stoked to be asked to be involved. What I’ve gained are the closest deepest friendships I’ve ever had. My role now is to bring that feeling to the rest of Richmond.
Q: What’s been the biggest challenge to your faith?
A: My parents getting divorced in 2013.
My faith used to be built on fear, qualifications and good works. My parents loved that I was super involved with our church and my Dad always seemed to have the answers. Everything changed when my parents split. I started to feel embarrassed and shameful in the things I had done and in my parents decision.
Their decision made me push into mentorship and into community to find my faith again. It shook away the weak parts of my foundation and I was built back up on the strength of Christ and knowing that he accepts you and you are 100% forgiven. This made me realize that I was responsible TO my family, but not FOR my family. I started focusing on what it meant to be a good son, brother, and friend and I just did that. I didn’t need to take on my entire family’s needs – that was God’s responsibility. My faith was not and is not dependent on my parents.
At the end of the day, I want people to see me and know that no one has tried harder to serve God and no one has failed more than me. I have doubts and fears and I have to work on my relationships, but I do that in the community of others.
Q: So, you’ve just stepped into this role. What’s your vision? How do you see your job impacting Hill City?
A: My vision is for everyone to have a tight group of friends that are continually pushing each other forward in their faith and taking next steps. Most people are craving that closeness, but haven’t been taught how to find it, haven’t been given opportunity, or they feel they’ve messed things up so much that they feel like they can’t find a healthy community.
I’m interested in training people who will never get burned out and are able to lead forever. We’re great at attracting people who don’t know Jesus because of our amazing group of volunteers. I want to capitalize on the momentum of great healthy friendships and teach people how to make other great friends.
I’m only in this role today because other people wouldn’t let me go. I want that for others, too.