A handful of kids, a church, and Crazy8

By Izah Broadus 

We are just getting a youth after-school program going that is connected with New Faith. It’s been on my heart for over a year, and these kids really do need it. The kids are just running around after school because there is nothing for them to do.  

I just felt the need to reach out because there is no program where our church is. My heart is yes, for the education—they’re going to need it. My hope, too, is to touch the hearts of the kids and that they will want to be a part of the church, and they’ll touch their parents’ hearts to want to be a part of it.

Tuesday, February 21, was our first day. Eight kids showed up; four were kids of members at New Faith, but then other parents found out that we had 30 slots available. Right now there are 13 kids in the program. I knew many of the parents who called to ask about their kid being in the program, but before this I hadn’t had a real connection with them. We have mostly advertised the program on Facebook and during Sunday morning services, so this was the first time really talking to them.

The after school program is open on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. We are using the upstairs facility of the church where the computer rooms are, but we are praying about a new life center and gymnasium.

When the kids first walk in the door, they sign-in and we give them a snack (another organization provides the snacks). We open the program with a prayer and the Bible, and each day I give them an overview of the Bible for about 10 minutes.

After this they divide into classes by their ages, and we help them with their homework. Later we do this program called Crazy8. It’s for reading, English, math, and science. For the last 30 minutes of the day we go to a game room for learning games, but we like to give the kids a chance to play basketball, video games, and table hockey.

{ My hope, too, is to touch the hearts of the kids and that they will want to be a part of the church, and they’ll touch their parents’ hearts to want to be a part of it. }

We are planning to take them on an outing at least one Saturday each month. We are not just taking them somewhere for the sake of taking them out to have fun but doing it so they can learn.

We want the youth to move a step up by being in this program. We’re even going to send a letter back to school for their teachers and ask about what they’re struggling in. The smaller kids will probably tell us the truth, but the older kids will probably beat around the bush.

A deacon and our church secretary are running New Faith’s program, and some of our high school seniors have been trained to teach using Crazy8. Another lady is one of New Faith’s ushers, and she helps in the computer room and with the snacks.

Right now parents are dropping off kids at the church, but our goal is for us to pick them up from school and then their parents pick them up from the program. This is something we are planning to work out with the school system.

The program is working out and I think it will truly make an impact on the community, as well. Please pray that we might know how to really grow this program!

And really, there are so many awesome things that are going on at New Faith. Just this past Sunday in worship service we had more men in service than ever before. I couldn’t past up the opportunity to ask you to pray for all the men there! It was truly an awesome experience. It is something that I’ve been praying for at New Faith: for more men who truly com seeking God.


Stepping out

By Izah Broadus 

At New Faith we teach “come to Jesus right where you are, and let Jesus change your life around.” People who were alcoholics, drug addicts, homeless—we have loved them and introduced them to Jesus. But most of them didn’t just walk in the front door.  

We do outreach events like community dinners, block parties, medical and dental clinics, and other things to have a chance to talk to people. After some events, people want to know when we’re going to do something else. I tell them that if it weren’t for Jesus Christ, we wouldn’t be able to do it. We don’t get caught up in the stuff. We do this for free to reach lost souls.

Actually, for a lot of people the first thing they say is, “How much does this cost?” and they’re surprised when we tell them, “It’s free, just come.” We see a lot of people at outreach events and then invite them to New Faith. And they come.

Regardless of where they’re at—spiritually or financially—we don’t treat them no different. We treat everybody the same if they drop a quarter or $50 in the offering plate. They fall in love and keep coming back and end up joining.

{ People who were alcoholics, drug addicts, homeless—we have loved them and introduced them to Jesus. But most of them didn’t just walk in the front door. } 

When I preach, I just compare the Bible and real-life issues that the congregation might be dealing with, and they understand what the problem is about. Like the three Hebrew boys the king put in the fire, I tell them that the fire didn’t destroy the Hebrews. The heat might be turned up in their life, but things that have us bound won’t bind us forever.

West Helena is one of the highest poverty level areas in Arkansas. Within a 20-block radius of the church, there is no gymnasium, no park, no public library. There is nothing for the teenagers. There are no jobs.

Our focus at New Faith right now is to provide things for the community. We live in a community where you can throw a basketball out in the parking lot and kids come out of nowhere because they don’t have anything to do. We want to provide a gymnasium, and we are praying about a park.

There isn’t a local shelter, either. Someone is always at the door of the church when I get out of the car. They want to talk, or they are hungry.

There was a guy eating out of the dumpster over the last few months, and I wanted to share Jesus with him. His name is Arthur, and I just wanted him to know that God still loves him. We invited him into the church a lot because it was cold. This fall, he joined New Faith, and he wants to be baptized!

We’ve made a room upstairs for a library. We are working on opening the room on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays so people in the community can look for jobs.

We are also looking into starting an after-school program, and it will start on February 21, 2017. We are praying for God to provide because we have needs—for more computers, for space, for materials to do things outside with the kids. But what we do have right now are people who love the vision for this. 

The new church van!

We had a need for transportation, and God answered prayer! We were picking up 20-30 people for our church services on Sundays and Wednesdays but didn’t have a church van. We were picking them up in cars and trucks. Me and two more who would pick them up and take them home after service.

By the grace of God, Brother Dave McClung text me one morning and told me he found us a van! He connected me with Pastor Wyman Richardson of Central Baptist Church in North Little Rock, Ark. It was a blessing that we had been praying for, and I cried tears of joy.

God is showing us that He is with us at New Faith if we stay obedient to Him. The name New Faith speak for itself—a new group of people in positions that we’ve never been in before. People stepping out on faith and trusting that God will provide.


Paving the way for the Gospel

By Andrew Munneke

We loved our first location as a church. It was visible, next to a hip coffee shop that everyone knew, and we made that space our own. There was one major problem with it.

We wanted to love and serve our neighbors, but there were no neighbors to love. A church in a shopping center might have increased our visibility, but it prevented Gospel intentionality. We wanted to be in a community that needed our presence, not just our occasional service. That’s because relationships can only be developed in proximity.

So when we moved to our new facility in a neighborhood, it was a very intentional move. The Hill Church has the desire to live incarnationally (read more about our identity here), and we felt that by moving to the neighborhood we were saying, “Here are our neighbors, and we are going to love on them.”

Right next door to us was a community outreach center. They do a lot of serving, but they are rarely served. We wanted to be the ones who served them and without asking anything in return. So we partnered with them and picked a day—a Sunday—for our church to come over, clean their facilities, and serve them.

That day we met a guy who was an atheist. He worked for the center, and he was really taken back and shocked that a church would actually serve them. There were probably 30 of us running around doing chores, and he was like, “Who are all of you? Why are you doing this?” It was such a revolutionary idea to him that we would give up our Sunday to serve them.

{ The community outreach center…does a lot of serving, but they are rarely served. We wanted to be the ones who served them and without asking anything in return. }

Interacting with him, that was the craziest thing for me: He can’t comprehend that a church could love their neighbors? This is something Jesus said that gets stringed and stretched and everyone knows it, but people are surprised when they see it lived out. There’s an issue and a problem there.

I mean, really, who wants to go pick up some trash? Transfer some data? But the impact it had on this man—it was a soul-penetrating.

Our actions broke through some hardness within him. Our actions led to him wanting to meet with us and talk. He had previously had a negative view of the church, but that encounter let him see Christians in a different light than what he had seen before.

If the neighbors around a church don’t know that the church is there for them and loves them, then I would make the argument of Matthew 5:13—the church has lost its saltiness. The whole salt analogy, the whole thing is overplayed, but if there is no preservative from decay in your community then you’re not fulfilling your role.

We balance between Gospel declaration and Gospel demonstration. Yes, we do need to declare the Gospel with our words. How can others believe if they do not hear? The right to be able to speak is awesome, but so is the ability to demonstrate the power of the Gospel.

I think when we go into it intentionally, not to serve for the sake of serving but to demonstrate the Gospel, we are taking part in what the Gospel will ultimately accomplish.


If you went around and asked anyone in the world what the perfect world would be, most people are going to describe Genesis 1 and Revelation 21-22. They will tell you, “No more pain, poverty, widows, orphans, death.” There is an ache there.

If the Gospel tells us Christ is coming and that we will have no more pain, suffering, injustice, sadness, sickness, or death, then one of the most Christian things we can do is to live it—with our words and our actions.

We have this tension. We are called to serve, but not just make people comfortable on their way to hell. We can give them the Good News!

It would not be kind for me to simply give someone bread and feed their hunger. People like this usually have low self-esteem. They have been stripped of their dignity because they can’t provide for their kids or themselves.

If I gave them bread, I might make them comfortable for the next six to twelve hours. But what if I say to someone with a low self-esteem, “Let me give you something that is good for your soul. What if you are filled with so much dignity as a son or daughter of God that you will be filled with more than bread?”

I know I want to serve so that a Gospel conversation can occur. If I don’t, then I’m losing my focus. It’s a pull and push. The conversation with this man, who happened to be an atheist, would not have occurred if it wasn’t for the action.

If we really want to declare the Gospel, then we can by demonstrating it.


If my church shut down, would the community wonder where we went?

By Andrew Munneke

Three people—me, my wife, and a friend from seminary—moved from Dallas to Fayetteville in 2013 with the purpose of planting a church. I didn’t know Fayetteville very well. I had never lived there, nor did I know a lot of people in the city, but we sold possessions and packed up what we had and moved to Arkansas.

Why? Because there were lost people there and the Gospel compelled us to go.

Most people don’t know this, but 18 percent of Fayetteville’s population are church-goers, which means 82 percent are unchurched. This also means 1) there is an obvious disconnect between believers engaging with the unchurched, and 2) there are large pockets of people here who don’t have a relationship with a Christian. That was something I couldn’t ignore.

Fayetteville is also a very global area with Walmart Corp. and the University of Arkansas. People and students come from all over the world, stay here for a short season, and then go back home. the-hill-church-logo

Let the missional opportunity of that sink in. We can impact the nations in our own backyard!

Another major reason we were drawn to Fayetteville is the projected growth of the area. By 2040, Northwest Arkansas is supposed to grow by 58.3 percent, meaning the population of Northwest Arkansas and Little Rock will be the same. Who will win? I don’t know, but that’s the projection. It’s an interesting reality.

Here’s the thing. You can always run stats until the cows come home because, yeah, we can find out percentages about the unchurched. But what’s more important is what is keeping the other 82 percent of people from setting their foot in the church.

{ What are people’s emotional, spiritual, etc. reasons for not setting foot in the church? Those questions can only be answered through conversations. }

What is their reason? Sure, why are the churches there not reaching them, but what are these people’s emotional, spiritual, etc. reasons? Those questions can only be answered through conversations. That was big for us.

So our initial model for a church was building around this question: What would our church look like if we understood that we are sent missionaries to the lost people of our city?

The Vision of Presence

We knew going in that making an impact in Fayetteville was something only God could do. It wouldn’t be my fancy vision, not my zeal for this or that, not my gifts or talents, but only the Spirit of God working.

Step one in reaching Fayetteville was prayer. My wife and I, our friend, and another couple all gathered in my living room to pray just the five of us. This prayer gathering was us literally saying that we believed this church was going to make Kingdom impact, and to do it we needed His Spirit. (And that wasn’t just a one-time prayer; we continue to have these prayer meetings on the first Wednesday of every month.)

The next step was casting a compelling vision for why Fayetteville needed our church. Not that established churches weren’t doing their jobs, but we considered the bandwidths where we could meet needs that other churches’ bandwidths didn’t.

One way we did this was by asking, “What is the brokenness in the city? What are some of the areas that need the Gospel and need Gospel work done?”

{ Step one in reaching Fayetteville was prayer… us literally saying that we believed this church was going to make Kingdom impact, and to do it we needed His Spirit. }

We saw certain areas of Fayetteville that were poor and impoverished and didn’t have a church presence. Churches were going in, serving these people, and coming out, but they were not an incarnational presence. These churches were doing a good job making a needs-transaction, but we wanted to meet a self-worth need. We thought having an incarnational presence could really be a big factor in reaching these people.

From the beginning, our church has had the desire to be incarnational. In our early gatherings, we met in our house. Later, in our first location, we met in a shopping center, but we felt this angst. We were in a very visible spot, but here’s the reality: it was hard to build intentional relationships with people who needed us. This need outweighed our desire to be seen, so we sacrificed visibility to live incarnationally and moved to an old church building in a neighborhood.

So all of that to say, we started what we call Gospel-Communities. We did this first because the Gospel community gathers people and then sends people out. We started in June 2013, and by January 2014 our first Gospel-Community multiplied into three Gospel-Communities and we were ready to launch our services. 

Our shopping center location at the time of the launch. 

A City on a Hill

This month we are celebrating three years at The Hill Church! We have changed things that we wrote on the whiteboard three years ago, and we might change things in the future. But we know our city, our neighborhood, and who we are called to serve better.

Church planting isn’t what I thought it was—pastors who know more about what they are against than what they are for, or youth pastors who couldn’t be promoted any higher in their church. There is a necessity for it, and the book of Acts explains that clearly.


Church plants are 60 to 80 percent more likely to reach the unchurched. In other words, church planting is the best way to reach unreached people. Knowing that church planting is the best tool we have to reach the unchurched is a pretty strong conviction for me.

The number one purpose of a church plant should be to reach the lost.

Something we have said since the beginning is this: If our church shut down, who would knock on our doors wondering where we went? That is the city on the hill that vanishes, like a light that goes out in a dark place. This truth has led us to not only build relationships with people across the street but also at the community center next door to us.

I don’t think we shine as bright as a huge light, but the neighborhood feels our presence. I hope that we are being enough of a light for the people around us so that if we were to shut down, the lack of a Gospel presence would be felt.