Many of the people associated with 1st Hillsville UMC – Out of the Box Worship Center today have never really heard the history of how we came to be One church in Two Locations. In some ways we are in three locations. We now have 1st Hillsville UMC located at 225 Fulcher Street in Hillsville Virginia, Out of the Box Youth is located Downtown Hillsville on Main Street, and Out of the Box Worship Center is also located on Main Street in Downtown Hillsville Virginia.
It all started many years ago with people praying and seeking God in serving the people of this area and providing a place to introduce the most people possible to our Lord Jesus Christ. In the summer of 2007 we took a group of teens to Macon Georgia on an inner city mission trip and our lives were changed forever. It really had nothing to do with the mission work we accomplished while in Macon but it had everything to do with God working through the church that housed us while we were there. That church is Christ Chapel “SportsTwone.” Christ Chapel
Christ Chapel and the people there taught us so many things but none more than “Radical Hospitality.” They were so welcoming to us and several times their associate pastor Beth White said to us, “we’re not sure exactly why you all are here but God has a reason, lets see what He shows you while you are in Macon.” Show us He certainly did, on the trip back home from Macon, the youth leaders and I started to dream with the youth about a place where we could open for all youth to come and find Christ.
That place became “Out of the Box” just a couple of months later and literally hundreds of teens have heard the message of Christ in this place. It is just a one room storefront, it is the hospitality that makes the difference. For 4 years now, we have been providing a safe place where the youth can come and hang out with their friends, a place where they can hear about Christ, and a place where they know they are loved. I am inserting 2 videos for you to watch. The first one is the experience we had in Macon at Christ Chapel. You will see the facility, wow what a facility. It is unlike any other church building I have ever been to. However, again it wasn’t the building that made the difference, it was the hospitality. We were treated as royalty and it sparked a revival in our hearts to do that for others.
The second video is the story of how Out of the Box Developed. You will see where on the Wednesday we returned home, we took the youth to the Main Street storefront and we prayed over the site. We prayed if it was God’s Will that He would allow us to have it for His glory, and He did. It shows how we went into a vacant and empty building and it was transformed. Everything you see was donated by those who were excited about what God was getting ready to do. You will see the place full of people and one thing we hear over and over is this, “everybody at OOTB always has a smile on their face.” See if you notice that.
Literally hundreds of students have come through the doors of Out of the Box. Many of them have chosen to stick around for their high school years and call it their home. Many have found Christ here. Today, four years later we find ourselves with an entirely new group of students at OOTB. This group of students is ready to go into the mission field and win their friends to Christ. But first they want to have the experience the first group had and make it a place that youth of today will be drawn to as they were just four years ago. We are now in the dreaming stage with the youth, we want to help them personalize OOTB with their mark.
If you feel the nudge to help the youth accomplish this, let’s talk. You can give time, energy, resources, and financial help. Whatever the Lord speaks to your heart about could be a help to us. We are planning a day retreat with the youth in the next couple of weeks where we will talk about things we can do with a small amount of money. It has been 4 years, the furniture has been Great but it is getting worn and some has been broken. Remember hundreds of teens, lots of Bible Study, lots of games, tons of soda, pizza, and even Monster Energy Drink night. After a time these things need to be replaced. We are looking to do some painting, flooring, lighting, artwork, and whatever else the teens have a vision for. Pray about how God would have you to help. By the way, if you are a member of one of our two locations and God is speaking to your heart about becoming a servant in the OOTB Youth ministry, see me, ASAP.
We are getting ready to start 5th Quarters on Friday night September 2nd from 9 to Midnight. We need pizzas, sodas, snacks of all kinds, and lots of water and Gatorade. We can also use you if you desire to come and interact with the teens. God is doing a great work and we will not be discouraged. Join us.
By the way, God has since added Out of the Box Worship Center and miracles are happening here. OOTBWC is not just for teens, it is for everyone, no matter your age. Check us out at http://www.fumcoutofthebox.com
I am working on the story of the Worship Center and will post it as soon as it is ready. A special thanks goes to Dave and Beth White of Christ Chapel who helped plant a dream and a huge vision in our hearts, we love you guys. A huge thanks also to the numerous people who have donated food, snacks, equipment, and financially to the Youth center through the past 4 years. You are our hero’s.