The Secret of How I Found Hope

Every Sunday at Hope during the service announcements happen. Seth, Cor, or Natty come up front, and for a moment, we are a captive audience. There’s always a question asked, and we’re told to turn to our neighbor, discuss said question, and get to know each other just a little bit more.

During the discussion time there’s a question that, at least for me, arises often. I am asked how I found Hope Community Church. I normally say that a friend from my old church brought me, and leave it at that. I have a confession to make. That’s a lie. Not a blatant lie, but a lie of omission. The truth? I tried Hope, like I’ve tried so many other things in life, because of a girl.

In an attempt to clear the air between us, I am seeking forgiveness from my lie. I want you and me to be friends, with no secrets between us. Here’s the real story of how I found Hope.

There was a girl. I thought she was pretty awesome. We had known each other since middle school, going to the same church and growing up in Youth Group together. I had a huge crush on her. I was pretty sure that she knew this. I was also pretty sure that she did not feel the same way about me. I knew this because she had told me. However, as a man, I live in a magical land called denial. Even though I had no chance, I was not below stalking …erm… I mean wanting to be her friend.

Her sister went to The U, and after finding Hope, she had invited my girl along. This girl had found a place at Hope. I was still going to my old church, so I didn’t really see her anymore. It made me sad.

Anyways, this girl decided to invite our old youth group to Hope. She probably only invited me because she was inviting my friends; this didn’t detour me any. Because I’m clearing the air here, I’ll admit this: the only reason I came to Hope on that first Sunday was because of that girl. Yeah, I know, I’m shallow.

I came for a girl, yet I stayed because there was something about Hope that caught my heart. Was it the music? Was it the refreshing preaching style of the pastors? Was it the coffee? Was it all of the other cute, single girls? The answer to all of these questions would be a resounding “yes!”

It was selfish reasons that brought me to Hope, but it was an honest search for God that kept me. Life is like that, isn’t it? God has a habit of taking our desires, and using them for His glory. Big spoiler alert: I did not end up with the girl, but I’m okay with that, as I ended up with a fabulous lady named Hope Community Church.

I’ve come clean. Now it’s your turn. What’s the real story about how you found Hope?

-Derek Hanisch

5 thoughts on “The Secret of How I Found Hope

  1. My CA invited me freshman year – back in Fall 2000. The pastor greeted me by name the second week! It really felt like a community to me, so I stuck around…mostly. Although, like you Derek, I left for awhile to go to another church, because of a girl…and that also didn’t work out!

    But that ended up being a good thing (and not just because I met my wife at Hope in a theology class a few years later). Later I learned more about why Hope is so good at community: that community is based on the fellowship of the body of Christ. What other place can we go and celebrate our weaknesses – because through them God’s power is made perfect? What other place can we be sent from to go out into the world and trash the kingdom of darkness?

    It’s true that Hope has changed a lot over the years, but the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ is as solid as ever…for this I am tremendously thankful.


  2. My wife Jeanie and I actually attended Central Free Church for a while (which used to own Hope’s current building.) We were still looking around at other churches, which is always a tough process, and some of our friends told us to try out Hope after they moved into the building.

    We tried it, and I remember the first Sunday thinking: “Holy crap! It is awesome that so many young people are singing their hearts out to God here!”

    We invited ourselves over to Trike’s house for dinner (which actually worked) and the rest is history.

    I echo Andy’s thoughts that while Hope has grown, the DNA is still the same. And that is awesome!


  3. I came because I was struggling with depression and wanted to find some Christian friends to encourage me. My oldest sister told me to check out Hope b/c she thought I’d like it and there were a lot of people my age.
    She was right! To God be the glory!
    – David


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