It is impossible for one church to maintain any dynamic influence over such a geographic area and population.” These words, preserved from board meeting minutes at the Pomona church in 1972, marked the start of the North Pomona project—North Hills church today—to expand the ministry in the developing region of Pomona Valley.
For 50 years, the North Hills church has strived to be a dynamic influence for good—and for God—in its community. The theme, to “be bold” for Christ, was felt among all who commemorated this significant anniversary.
In his message concluding a series on Acts, Tim Cress, senior pastor, reflected on the bold influence of the early church and noted North Hills’ similar focus today. “What I love about the history of our church is that its focus has been on outsiders and not insiders,” he said. “North Hills has asked, ‘Who are we to our community?’ from day one.”
Cress emphasized that it takes everyone to steward their influence. What does this influence consist of? “Cross-conference week of prayer for schools, VBS programs, and small groups,” he said. “Working with community partners, other churches and religious groups, city council people, or nonprofit organizations in our city—this is what it takes to have influence in our community in the name of Jesus. Influence is not a ‘me’ thing; it’s a ‘we’ thing.”
North Hills has been led by seven pastors who all have committed to this vision of positive influence for the community in which they serve. These pastors were recognized for their leadership, and several were interviewed in a special video message shared during the service.
Tom Schroer (1995-2005) noted that during his time at North Hills, “the conference was pro sending pastors to the purpose-driven church. My eyes were open to a new way of doing ministry.” When Schroer interviewed, the board told him they didn’t want to continue doing church the way they’d done it in the past, that they wanted to be more involved and more relevant. “Doing things that would meet the needs of the community,” his wife, Kay Schroer, added. This attitude is especially relevant today as churches have had to adapt to new methods of ministry during the pandemic.
Terry Benson (2005-2018) talked about his hope for the church—then and now. “What shouldn’t change is having a heart for Christ and then having Christ’s heart for people and for the community,” he said. “If we aren’t making a positive difference in the community, then who are we? That’s not the church Jesus established.”
“My wish is that everyone decides to commit to be the church together,” added Cress. “The mission Jesus gave us isn’t only for paid pastors; it’s for everyone.”
By Araya Moss