The Grove | a campus of East Hills
The Grove is a campus of East Hills Alliance Church, meeting at Monticello Middle School in Longview. The Grove began meeting weekly on October 12, 2014! The Grove and East Hills have much in common- shared “DNA”, vision, mission, and values, the same staff, etc. At the same time, The Grove is a distinct congregation, and reaches out to the community around Monticello in unique and engaging ways.
The early days of East Hills Alliance involved a group of believers meeting in Longview. Due to building permits and land availability at the time, the group decided to construct a gathering place at the current East Hills location in Kelso. Even then, the heartbeat of the original group was to one day open another gathering point back across the river in Longview.
While that vision has ebbed and flowed over the last sixty years, it has never been forgotten. About four years ago, the leadership of East Hills began to ask a question: “Why do we have so much?” East Hills has no outstanding debt, we have seen consistent growth for over seven years, and we have an abundance of godly leaders. This is on top of the fact that the DNA of the Christian and Missionary Alliance for 150 years has been to plant new congregations in communities that deeply need the hope of Jesus. With all of that understood, the next question was logical. “What, then, is next for us?”
As East Hills listened to God and the congregation, the church became convinced that it should grow, not vertically with a bigger building, but horizontally with a second campus. We believe that the impact East Hills has for God’s Kingdom will be greater in multiple locations, placing the Gospel message in the neighborhoods of more and more people, while also giving us an opportunity to serve more people over a wider area. With The Grove now meeting as the first campus expansion, this vision has become a reality.
We are meeting and serving at Monticello Middle School, located at 1225 28th Avenue in the heart of Longview, right next door to RA Long High School. It is an ideal location as a meeting place, as well as a place to plug in and serve the students, teachers, and families throughout the week. The needs of the school and community are great, and we are excited to be able to serve and give in impacting, practical ways while bringing hope into people’s lives.
“Campus” v. “Plant”
Maybe you’re asking, why do we keep using the word “campus” instead of “church plant”? That’s a great question, and really it’s at the core of our vision. A church plant typically consists of a small but dedicated group of individuals who “incubate” or gear up for a launch within an already established church. Once they launch, the plant is mostly independent. The sending church will usually provide some oversight and financial assistance, but the pressure to sink or swim is squarely on the shoulders of the small team that heads out. Nationally, eight out of ten churches planted in this way fail to survive past the five-year mark. The pressures of establishing all of the systems that make for a viable, long-term church don’t develop quickly enough to support the vision and passion of the plant. Dreams die for lack of structure.
We have dreamed in a different way. What if we could take all of the positive DNA that East Hills has developed over the years and replicate it- not in order to produce a photocopy, but to reproduce the essence of what makes us who we are? What if we could take the skills and knowledge of our staff and apply it across two campuses? What if we could take all the systems- boards and bulletins and budgets- and use them to benefit two groups? A multi-campus approach does just this. We multiply a family-likeness into a new location. We share big-picture vision and values while encouraging uniqueness in ministry style and approach. This way the gatherings are kept small enough to be relationally-centered, yet the campus has the shared resources of a larger church.
What will be shared?
Vision, mission, and values, administrative and HR functions, staff, website and media presence, governance and 501c3’s.
What will be unique?
Worship service times, location, and formats, ministry strategy, spiritual leadership teams, preaching and teaching.
“Impact the School, Impact the Community”
One of the critical strategies The Grove is implementing is to serve the students, staff, and families of Monticello Middle School. Through serving the school, we hope to simply bless the school, but also we hope to build bridges that bring hope and light to the broader community as well. Jesus taught in the Gospels to let our light shine before people, and at the same time he set the example to serve and give of ourselves in order to do this. As we serve and give in order to meet needs, God will naturally be glorified as His people simply reflect his love in the world. This is the Church in action, and this is the way Jesus always intended for the Church to operate…by loving others as we would desire for others to love us.
This could include giving of resources and supplies like coats, shoes, and school gear. It could mean serving as volunteer tutors in classrooms or during lunch breaks. It could mean helping coach a sports team, or clean up the school on a service day, or helping out in the office. There are any number of ways we can plug in and serve at Monticello that will make a positive impact for Jesus in the school, and because of that in the community.
You’ve probably heard that the family that plays together stays together. That concept can cross a broad range of circumstances. We believe that people grow in Christ and community the best when they themselves are a part of a small group community. At both East Hills and The Grove, we strongly promote that everyone plugs into a small group of some sort. From small groups like Connection Groups, which are groups of 8-16 people who meet in homes, to Change Groups, which focus on overcoming negative patterns, bad habits, or an addiction of some sort, small group life is a key way to grow as followers of Jesus and to grow in relationship with one another in order to provide blessing and encouragement throughout all the seasons of life.
- Pray: Please pray for God’s leading, provision, and power to go before us as we gather, scatter, and serve week to week.
- Come: Be a part of The Grove and join us on Sunday mornings at 10:30 AM and as we serve / connect throughout the week.
- Serve: Consider how you could serve either at The Grove or at Monticello Middle School in order to positively impact the school and community.
If you have questions, please contact Pastor Jon at 360-423-0521 or firstname.lastname@example.org.