Bless Hastings and Why We Can Partner
God has always been drawing His Church together to love one another and work in concert to accomplish His will in every city. We believe that when God looks at Hastings he sees several congregations and ONE CHURCH!
Bless Hastings pastors believe Christian churches of unique styles of worship and theological emphasis can join together and truly be in unity if we first determine what essentials or absolutes distinguish us from the rest of the religious world. Below are the absolutes that the Bless Hastings churches have determined to lay as our foundation for everything else to be built upon.
The Bible is God’s word to humanity and is the standard we use to evaluate spiritual experiences and teachings.
God eternally exists as the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit who is one.
Salvation from eternal separation from God is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and not by man’s works.
The Church of Jesus Christ is the hope of a world separated from God.
The many other important biblical issues that we apply to our Christianity are not bedrock but are considered interpretations. We can proclaim them from our pulpits as revelation, doctrinal observations or perceptions of faith but we are committed not to use them in a divisive fashion.
Since the early nineties a group of Pastors have been purposefully asking God to bless the people of Hastings. We meet weekly for prayer and relationship building between our unique traditions. We have formed a cooperative effort to help city leaders and other church members see the church as a source of help and support. The name of this effort is “Bless Hastings.”
In John 17:21-23 we read, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
We believe God cares about our city and wants to improve our community health. We believe prayer can help our law enforcement officers reduce crime, give sound wisdom to civic leaders and guide educational leaders with compassion for their role in the lives of children. These outcomes will directly affect the overall climate in Hastings, making it a more positive place to raise families with God being glorified.
Bless Hastings History
In 1995 three local pastors committed to pray for the city of Hastings and the influence of the kingdom of God to come near. In 1999 several local pastors carried out a survey that revealed that 2/3rds of our community found church unnecessary in their weekend. God shifted us that day, from serving just our respective flocks, to reaching outside the walls of our churches. From that time on, God has systematically brought leaders to Hastings congregations who have a vision for reaching people who have yet to know Him. In 2001 God introduced us to the term "City Church" and we began to see multiple congregations as one church, which is now identified as “Bless Hastings”.
In Hastings, we enjoy something many communities dream of: a common vision and a common mission to impact our city for Christ. Unity comes at great sacrifice to all of us but the rewards outweigh the burdens. The enemy of God has waged war on the local church and has attempted to divide, undermine its authority and render it powerless through internal struggle but God will prevail if we don't quit.
The Bless Hastings pastors have publicly repented at our joint services for our complicit role in the divisive church of the past. We've given ourselves in prayer and obedience to be a blessing to our neighbors, coworkers and city leaders. Pastors and congregations have purposed to live in harmony with each other, even when the enemy of God emphasizes how we are different in style or method from one another.
Our heart comes from God, who wants to see this city and surrounding cities transformed by His power. Our motive is loving God, loving our brother and sister in Christ and loving the world around us until they find Jesus Christ. Our method is first of all prayer and then corresponding action. The Bless Hastings pastoral leadership proclaims these truths from our pulpits and we ask our congregations to join with us as we obey the King of Kings.
Ephesians 4:3,13 says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.... until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
We must not grow weary or impatient, as God is the one leading the call to unity. We must search our hearts and ask what God would ask of us individually and corporately in order for people to choose Christ over their own plans and purposes. Join us as we move together.
BLESS HASTINGS Multiple Congregations - 1 Church
The participating Churches so far include:
The Harbor Church (Pastor Jim Anderson)
New Life Evangelical Free Church (Pastor Randy Strode)
River Of Life Church (Pastor Steve Schoenwald)
Christ’s Family Church (Pastor Paris Pasch and Pastor Joe Hannah)
Hastings United Methodist Church (Pastor Chris Kneen and Pastor John Mitchem)
Calvary Christian Church (Pastor Randy Berg)
Community of Hope Hastings (Pastor Ryan Kowlessar)