HHBC involves every age and ability in practicing transformational love for our city, while partnering with national and global agencies to further God’s kingdom around the country and world.
Missions is a central part of the ministry of Highland Hills. You are invited to join us in our efforts to be the presence of Christ to our world.
Through Vision 20/20, we discerned that our congregation envisions a mission plan that is ready to take risks. We are:
Focusing on the Formation of a Missional Congregation;
Engaging in “Micah Projects” to minister to our Macon neighbors with community partners through five areas: housing, feeding, caring, empowering, and serving; and
Engaging our congregation in partnering with Global Missions.
Christmas in the Park
It started with a casual conversation over coffee. As we thought about what in the world “risk-taking missions” might mean for our church, we decided to ask some of the people who are already busy meeting needs in our community, and hear what they are doing. One conversation left us speechless and overcome with the ripples of poverty in our city. June O’Neal, from The Mentors Project, shared dozens of ways that a church like ours could care for families in need. From that day, June invited Ruth DuCharme and Erin Hall on a site visit to homes around Kings Park, where many students from The Mentors Project live. The things we saw gave us great concern. The intangible factors we understood but could not see - the many ways poverty affected families with children and teenagers - let us know that we had to reach out to these neighbors. When we were invited to host a Christmas event in this area, the goal was set. We planned to give 50 bikes at a Christmas party for neighbors we do not know.
One challenge about “risk-taking missions” is that we had to take risks even in the way we coordinated the event. We risked stepping on toes and listening to one another. We leaped into a Bike-a-thon fundraiser. We gathered everyone at the same table. In early fall, representatives from the missions committee, Women on Mission, Children on Mission, Global Women, the Connections Sunday school class, and others met to plan this unique party. We asked each other: How can we show kindness and care for the families in this neighborhood? We had approximately one thousand “unknowns” as we stepped into planning. Yet, Christmas in the Park was born.
Our children led the way. They raced bicycles around the church parking lot, doing laps to raise funds at our Bike-A-Thon. They showed us all how to have fun for a cause. The missions committee used missions funds to match the amount raised by the children and youth. Once that goal was exceeded, the rest of the event came together. The Friendship class and the Rodney Browne Sunday School class made sure the children would be safe and receive helmets with their bicycles. The entire congregation collected books for children and teenagers. Our Women on Mission group organized the collection of pantry items that we packed into “Blessing Bags.” The idea is that the peanut butter, pasta, fruit and snacks could support any food scarcity in these neighbor’s homes over the holiday school break.
Our own children and preschoolers worked on this event during Elf Workshop. They packed gift bags for the children of Kings Park, filled with little treats like play doh, jump ropes, and hacky sacks. Participants in the Women's Advent Luncheon made activity booklets for the gift bags. Several helpful "elves" gathered to sort and pack sixty Blessing Bags. Erin Hall, Jean and Tim Trotter shopped for the bicycles and loaded them into storage. Youth helped attach a tag on each bicycle with the words “This bike belongs to a Beloved child of God.”
We were thrilled to see the plans come together on December 19. The “Bike Elves,” Tim Trotter, Jeff Browne, and Jason Wohl, loaded and organized the bike trucks. Volunteers gathered and loaded our “sleighs” to ride to Kings Park. We provided a delicious meal for these neighbors. Everyone enjoyed the hot dog supper prepared by Kam Cook, Gloria Marshall, and Peggy Williams. Teddi Wolford decorated hundreds of Christmas cookies that the children loved.
When the party began in Kings Park, forty-three Highland Hills people stood ready to serve at their stations. More than that, our congregation was present. Through your participation in missions in so many ways, each of you brought joy and delight to Kings Park. As our volunteers stepped over broken glass in patches of grass in the park, the words of a favorite song, “Welcome to Our World,” came to mind.
Each family who arrived received their gifts with such a gracious spirit. Teenage boys waited patiently for their gifts, and then their faces lit up with gladness. Children delighted in new books, families thanked us for the blessing bags. Cass DuCharme led the children in singing Christmas songs. After just a few minutes, the park was filled with children riding around in new bicycles. The basketball court was the site for new friendships. We met several neighborhood association members, and we look forward to new “Micah Projects” and continuing to get to know our neighbors in Kings Park. Risk-taking missions was worth every risk.