I pull off West 32nd Street in Little Rock and into the parking lot of His Way Ministries at close to 1:00. At the front of the church, waiting on me and holding the door, is Pastor Louis Hill. “Is this the Pastor Louis Hill?” I ask jokingly, trying to ingratiate myself with a new friend. “You can just call me Brother Louis,” he says with a chuckle. As we exit from the bright midday sun and into the church building, Louis gives me the dime tour of the place. The building is older, and the sanctuary style is more traditional – rows of pews, communion table in front of the altar, baptismal behind the podium, and bright red carpet adorning the entire room.
Eventually, we make our way to Louis’ office, a simple wood-paneled room with a large L-shaped couch in the corner near his desk. Louis is sporting a salt and pepper scruff, which betrays his age, but the vibrancy and passion with which he speaks make you believe he’s much younger than he is. He has kindly eyes and speaks with a firm yet gentle voice.
THE NIGHT THAT CHANGED LOUIS’ LIFE
How this man ended up the pastor of His Way Ministries is a story worthy of its own dedicated article. “I come from a rough past. I met my wife when we were teenagers, and we’ve been together for 51 years. When we were in our 30s, we were rolling along, doing what we wanted to do. We were just enjoying the world, but the world can throw you a curve. Things began to fall apart for me. At 34, my wife was seeking a divorce, and I couldn’t find a job. Things just weren’t happening. I was raised in the church, so the seed had been planted.” Louis stops midstory, thinks momentarily, and says, “They say you get the best fragrance from a rose when it’s squeezed. Believe me, in my life, God was applying the pressure for a reason because everything had been stripped away. I had nowhere to look but to God. After two years of trying to make things happen my way, I cried out to God. I was through with the drugs, the clubbing, and everything else.”
“Was there a significant moment when you realized that?” I ask, captivated. “When the reality hit that I was about to lose my family and could not find a job. It was hard, Chris. I’ll be honest with you. It brought me to tears. I told God, ‘Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it because I’m tired of this.'” Then Louis shares the fateful night when God made His message clear. “I was in bed one night. As I was lying there, I saw something strange. The ceiling started opening up, and water, like a big tub of water, washed over me. It covered me like a blanket, but I wasn’t wet when I looked down at my shirt. If that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will! That happened three times through the night. After the third time, I heard the voice of God. ‘See, I have anointed you to preach the gospel, to heal the sick, to cast out demons, and be transformed into the image of my Son.’ From that day on, my goal has been to follow where God leads and trust that if He tells us to do something, He will provide.”
A SPIRIT OF ADOPTION
That night Louis became a son, and God became his Father. “Right now, God has hit me with the spirit of adoption. In all my years, it never dawned on me until recently the depth of what it means that we are children of God. Why did He choose me? Why did He choose any of us? It was because of His goodness and kindness.” Louis can’t help but think of the young people in His community growing up in fatherless homes. His voice raises in volume out of compassion for those young people deep down. “There are children in this neighborhood. I want them to know the Father so bad. Our church wants to help get them out of their environment and teach them the ways of God.”
In a community where there are more fatherless homes than father-filled ones, the good news that we can be adopted into God’s family is powerful. God doesn’t simply take care of our sins, justify us, and let us into heaven. He calls us His own and calls us into a deeper relationship as a son or daughter. Instead of waiting on people to come hear this good news, believers at His Way are going out from the church building and into their community to spread the word. “Right now, we’re getting ready to partner with Forest Heights, a local school in our community. I know Amy Cooper, the principal there. I called her a while back and asked, ‘What can we do to help?’ So our plan is to go in and mentor who we can just to be a positive role model in children’s lives where they are. We can’t sit back and say, ‘We’ll talk to them about that when they get to church.’ We can’t wait on them to come to us. We have to go to them.”
WHY DON’T WE WORK TOGETHER?
Anthony Hampton, a CityChurch Network team member who focuses on helping churches rebuild flourishing families, is heavily involved at His Way. Whether it’s through a church-school partnership or the Believer’s Closet the church started to meet the real needs of those in the community, believers at His Way see the opportunity for their church to be a light in the darkness. “There is a spirit of violence plaguing Little Rock, and there’s a spirit of territorial arrogance, even in our churches,” Louis tells me to help me understand the rocky soil of the mission field there. “I don’t understand it. Why don’t we work together, because we’re trying to solve the same problems?”
Fortunately, glimmers of hope flash from time to time that give you motivation and reassurance that God is working. Not long ago, Louis spoke with Danny Cargill at Crystal Hill Baptist Church about an idea. What if His Way came to Crystal Hill to simply worship together? Some loved the idea. Others had their reservations. “What color is this church?” one person asked Louis. “What do you mean?! Red brick!” Louis replied. Despite some initial pushback, many made the trek over to Crystal Hill. A revival didn’t break out at the service, but the God who unites us all in Christ was glorified. That day everyone got a taste of what heaven will be like. All of us surrounding the throne of God, worshiping Him together.
“There are a lot of things we have to fight through to make an impact in this community, in Little Rock,” Louis tells me. “I like how Jesus did it. I call it the Three Is. He came, and He (1) impressed, (2) impacted, and (3) imparted. We have to do a lot more impressing here at His Way. You know, we are saved for a purpose. Why are we still here if it were just about being saved? Salvation brought us in so we could be ambassadors of the kingdom we’ve been brought into. We have a lot of work – and a lot of impressing – to do right here, right now.”
FOLLOWING HIS WAY
I ask Louis about the name of the church. “His Way Ministries has to be His way. The way God wants things done. He’s given us instructions. He’s shown us what to do. By the life of Christ, He’s teaching us how to follow the will of the Father. It’s not complicated. We are the ones who make things complicated. I want to see us reach the next generation. We need to get some radical praisers up in here who say, ‘We are ambassadors of the kingdom to our community. The mission field is right in our backyard. So let’s go and follow His way!’”
We are thankful for the exceptional work of His Way Ministries and for all the churches in our city working toward a genuine unity that displays the love and beauty of Christ. They’re helping the whole Church grow.
Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Chris Loux – Communications Director, CityChurch Network