An All-Nations Kind of Church
Hikes Point Christian Church is a 22-year-old congregation on the southeastern edge of Louisville. The church meets in a building that originally was home to Southeast Christian Church. Located just outside of downtown Louisville, the Hikes Point neighborhood has changed significantly since Southeast Christian built its first home there decades ago. Today, a growing number of residents in the immediate vicinity are Latino or Hispanic. Many of them speak only Spanish.
Ten years ago, Hikes Point began offering a free back-to-school clinic that provided basic medical care, haircuts, certain other services, and academic supplies. Every year, roughly 60 percent of the attendees at those events were Spanish speakers. Until recently, however, the church did not offer a specific, long-term ministry for their low-income neighbors, or for non-English speakers.
Not long ago, Hikes Point hired a Spanish-speaking pastor to start a Spanish-language service on Sunday mornings, and the response from the community was swift. The church’s location is so ideal that many people who attended the Spanish service on Sundays walked there. The group quickly outgrew its space and moved to a larger room on campus.
The success of the new service was a victory for the congregation and for the neighborhood, but it quickly became clear God was leading the church to be united despite the language barrier. In December, Hikes Point launched a combined English/Spanish worship service with a full-time translator.
By worshipping together, English- and Spanish-speaking believers at Hikes Point are experiencing a new kind of Christian unity on Sunday mornings. Not only are they worshipping together, but they’re also serving side-by-side as ushers, greeters, and more. The leadership of the church is starting to change, too. Hikes Point recently added a Spanish-speaking deacon who will soon become part of the church staff.
Lead pastor Jeff Wallace said he expects to see even greater things in the future. The church is investigating the possibility of adding an Arabic translator for its multi-language worship service. Eventually, Wallace said, “Our greater hope is to create an all-nations kind of service.”
In addition to ministering to people who speak different languages, Hikes Point Christian Church is also facilitating reconciliation among people of different races—including Black and White residents of the community. The racial reconciliation is desperately needed in Louisville, which was deeply divided after the killing of Breonna Taylor in March 2020.
Wallace is forthright about the difficulties of ministering to multiple races in multiple languages.
“We’re not really working off a lot of guidance, other than a lot of prayer,” he said. “We’ve had to talk with our people through the challenges.”
But Hikes Point Christian Church is not alone. Churches in and around Louisville have responded to the conflict and tension in the city with a message of hope and reconciliation and grace.
“People want to find peace, and they’re finding it through the local churches in Louisville,” Wallace said.