We are a gospel-centered people seeking Christ's formation in us and the flourishing of our neighbor.
We are a people who center their lives around the gospel of Jesus Christ as described in ancient creeds like the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. This means we strive for the gospel to work itself out in every area of our lives. We are motivated by the unconditional love of God because we know we are saved by grace through faith in Christ. It also means we seek to be a diverse people who share a common faith in Christ and allow our differences to show the beauty of Christ. We believe the gospel, revealed in the Holy Scriptures, promises that Jesus Christ is bringing in the Kingdom of God "on earth as it is in heaven." We live for and long for that day.
"Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth..." - Colossians 1:5b-6
We are a people who desire to seek first Jesus Christ in our lives. We cooperate with the Holy Spirit in us to become more like Jesus every day. We want our faith to shape us holistically so that we can love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbor as we would love ourselves. We seek to die to the ways we hurt God and others, and grow in ways that bring joy to God and life to others. Our whole-life worship is informed by a Reformed liturgical tradition that brings gospel rhythms to our lives. We believe that as we explore our own stories that the gospel story will form us more and more.
"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. - Ephesians 5:1-2
We are a people who seek the flourishing of our neighbor. This means we seek the well-being of all people around us and in our city. We love others because Christ first loved us. We love others by seeking the flourishing of their lives, their work, their families, and their communities. We love others by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with them through our words and our actions. For us, living out the gospel means connecting our faith to our vocations and caring for the broken and the vulnerable. We believe that God has been at work from the beginning to bring about the flourishing of this world. The hope of this flourishing is grounded in the biblical truth that God created all things good, that sin and brokenness entered into this world, that sin and death were defeated through Christ's death and resurrection, and that the Triune God is redeeming and re-creating this world.
"But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare." - Jeremiah 29:7
Iowa City is an International City of Literature. That means, we know ‘story’! But in our post-modern, post-Christian society, we have disconnected story and meaning, and, as a result, are left with the huge task of providing our own meaning and value to our lives. But that reality is not so new. As Ecclesiastes famously states,
“There is nothing new under the sun.” Perhaps.
During an exchange in ‘the greatest story ever told’, in the midst of the interrogation of Jesus by Roman Governor Pontius Pilate, the following occurred,
Jesus said, “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” And so it goes.
At One Ancient Hope, we believe that one of the reasons that Iowa City loves story is that God loves story, because as people created in his image we are created to be creative creatures.
We believe that we are all a part of God’s unfolding gospel story of his process of redeeming his creation and of renewing all things. Our story includes our rebellion against God that flows out of our desire to replace God with ourselves. Our story includes God’s continued seeking after each of us to bring us into a relationship with him: a relationship for which we were made, a relationship that is not one of drudgery but of joy, a relationship that does not stifle our existence or creativity, but gives it meaning and encourages it to flourish.
Rather than list some 4-step process on “how to come to Jesus” we would encourage you to examine what it means to be a part of God’s story by joining us at One Ancient Hope. It is a place where seekers and skeptics are welcome, and where they can bring your doubts and questions and wrestle though them in the midst of people who have done and are doing the same.
The Apostle Paul wrote,
“That they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for,
“ ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “ ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.”
God’s story is a wonderful story, because it is primarily about his love for us!
“For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life.”
We would welcome an opportunity to talk about story and meaning with you!
Here is how One Ancient Hope is seeking the welfare of Iowa City as we follow Christ.
Project Stay Warm Each year One Ancient Hope distributes military surplus, arctic sleep-system sleeping bags to Iowa City’s homeless. These bags are capable of providing warmth at temperatures as low as -30F. While Shelter House does a fantastic job of providing needed services and shelter to the homeless population, including a 75-bed facility, for various reasons, some individuals refuse to take advantage of those services (often because of social phobia and other mental illnesses). Our prayer is that no one freezes to death just because they are homeless. The homeless of this community were created in the image of God and deserve the mercy of God’s people.
Community Thanksgiving Meal Each year, our church opens our doors to our city’s homeless and underprivileged as we invite them to join us for our annual Community Thanksgiving Meal. While the food is a significant part of what is offered, what OAH really seeks is to see those who come would experience love and the offer of relational connection.
Shelter House The Iowa City Shelter House is a great organization serving the homeless and displaced in Iowa City. OAH seeks to come alongside the work that Shelter House is already doing.
Hope for Johnson County One Ancient Hope is working in conjunction with other area churches to start this non-profit organization, centered on the Gospel and motivated by the glory of God, that will seek to channel the volunteers and financial resources of the church, to meet the needs of our local social services, schools, and other organizations seeking the common good.
We are currently exploring other new ways to seek the flourishing of our neighbor and would love to hear your ideas, and even better, have your participation!
For more information about any of these initiatives, please contact the church office or call 319-512-7264
Though our church’s work is focused on Iowa City, we desire to cultivate a community that promotes the work of sharing the good news of the Kingdom of God around our nation and the world. Here are the local and overseas partners we currently support.
Our church body has a long history with Geneva Campus Ministry. Many of our people have been involved in different capacities. Geneva’s vision is to help guide a Christian educational exploration at the University of Iowa, engaging learning and life with the good news of Jesus Christ. Geneva has been known on campus for the Geneva Lecture Series that has been bringing accomplished Christian scholars to speak on a variety of topics since 1976. Two of Geneva’s regular gatherings are it’s “Exploring the Bible” groups for seekers (many visiting international scholars) and it’s “Core Fellowship Program” for students who are interested in exploring what Christian vocation looks like for their chosen career paths.
Arklie Hooten (MNA Disaster Response) works with Mission to North America, coordinating the PCA’s Disaster Relief efforts. MNA Disaster Response recruits and mobilizes volunteers, receives and distributes supplies and equipment, brings awareness of specific needs, channels recovery funds, focuses prayer and provides spiritual encouragement to our PCA churches and their communities impacted by disasters. Arklie worked with Pastor Michael during the early days of One Ancient Hope when we hosted disaster relief teams during the flood of 2008. Natural disasters in 2017 within the US caused significant damage and Arklie’s ministry helped lead our denomination in meeting very tangible needs and bringing spiritual comfort.
Jason & Liz Polk (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) serve with the AIDS Care and Treatment(ACT) project. The ACT project cares for the profound physical spiritual and social needs of the HIV-positive urban poor, while laying groundwork for a church-planting movement. Jason works with Ethiopian leadership to develop gospel-centered urban house churches and Liz works with the project’s social workers to develop mental health services.