Meet Marissa Matheny:

"2.5 years ago, I uprooted my entire life from Sacramento, CA to Bremerton in the hopes of seeing God restore some broken relationships within my family. I didn’t want to even attend a church, let alone work at one.  I was angry, depressed, and felt unbelievably alone. I had recently lost a parent and was still struggling with some deep church wounds. I loved Jesus, but hated church.I knew that starting over in a new state would not be easy, and I knew I wouldn’t succeed on my own.I knew I needed community.I stumbled into the doors of Hillcrest LATE one Sunday morning (which is not surprising, if you know me at all).  I met Brian and Tammy and immediately felt the warmth and welcome we have all come to know and expect from them. I remember hiding in the bathroom during mingle (all you introverts out there... I know your tricks because I did them, too!)  I remember Andrea came and introduced herself to me as half a muffin was hanging out of my mouth. I was in awe of the worship and inspired by the sermon. I went home and stalked the church and staff on social media (oops). I even tithed for the first time in years.

I walked in the doors of Hillcrest just wanting to be a face in the crowd. What I found was a home and a place to belong.

It wasn’t long before I started volunteering on the worship team and with the youth and was eventually asked to take over as Youth Director! (I didn’t move up here to be the youth pastor at Hillcrest, but man... I won the jackpot!) I love my job. I love my team. I love our youth. However, my favorite part about Hillcrest is YOU.

Yes, YOU. The person reading this. YOU make all our jobs spectacular. We LOVE this church and we love you. Whether I get to witness you encounter God in worship from the stage, or we are just swapping stories (and tears) over a cup of coffee at your kitchen table at home, YOU are truly what makes Hillcrest... Hillcrest!I love that we open our arms and our families and our homes to each other because we know that we weren’t meant to go through life alone.  I love that I get to see people come to Christ for the first time every Sunday. I love that I get to see folks come back to Christ after being away for a while.  

I love that our pastor isn’t afraid to shoot NERF guns at us or eat Chow Mein on stage, as long as it helps us understand how much Jesus loves us.  I love that the staff and leaders around me are the same versions of themselves Sunday mornings as they are any other day of the week.

And truthfully, I love how much YOU have helped me grow so much in the last few years. When I was tired, hopeless and weary, YOU created a place where I felt safe to find myself again. Churches like ours are few and far between. I’d like to hold onto what we’ve got going on here for as long as God lets me.  I’m living proof that when we say “Yes” to the things that scare me the most, Jesus will always show up with more joy, provision, and wild adventure than we could ever dream up for ourselves."