A Long Partnership Between First Alliance And Hilger Higher Learning

Saturday, February 15, 2014 - by Phil Wade

Some people have formed a habit of working together. The Christian Missionary Alliance has made a long tradition of it, and at First Alliance on Hickory Valley Road in East Brainerd, Pastor Lee Peters has a 15-year tradition of working with a growing homeschool organization, Hilger Higher Learning.

“When I first came here,” Rev. Peters said, “Carlee Hilger came to me and said, ‘Pastor, I have a vision. I really feel that homeschoolers need help. I’m wondering if you would allow us to start meeting here in your church.’”

Her vision was to offer homeschool students excellent classes within a Christian worldview.   “When she laid it out, it was quite interesting,” Rev. Peters said, “so we started together, and it has grown way beyond what Carlee could imagine.”

Eddy and Carlee Hilger are the founders of Hilger Higher Learning, Inc., which supports Chattanooga-area homeschooling families with academic and creative classes. Both graduated from Covenant College in 1995. She teaches biology, anatomy and physiology; he serves as the school’s administrator.

“We’ve had a great relationship with [First Alliance],” Mr. Hilger said. “We started with a couple rooms, and now we’re in almost every room. They’ve been really generous.”

“I’ve been delighted that our church has adopted them,” Rev. Peters said.  “They have seen the vision of Hilger Higher Learning.”

When carpets have needed replacing, the church will ask the Hilgers how their people can help. When storage became an issue during a separate remodeling project, the church built closet space to accommodate classroom needs.

“One of the neatest things the Hilger Higher Learning community did was make-over their nursery,” Mr. Hilger said. Parents and students donated money, helped do the work, and drew murals on the walls. “It’s a give and take. [Rev. Peters] has been a great man to work with, a very godly man.”

“You’re seeing a bit more of it these days with things like Classical Conversations,” he said, “but for the most part you’ll see a church running their own program, keeping it in house. I’ve appreciated how they have trusted us to hire teachers and staff. We’re hopeful we’ll be one of those places in Chattanooga where parents are confident they can send their children for one or more classes and get excellent, godly role models and a great education, whether it’s choir, art, or an academic class.”

The Christian Missionary Alliance has two churches in the Chattanooga area, one in Hixson, one in East Brainerd.  Rev. Peters came to First Alliance after 30 years as a missionary in The Philippines. He said his denomination is primarily a mission work.

“We are serving in 80 different countries,” he said, “300,000 members in The Philippines, one million in Vietnam. The Alliance is well known overseas, but not well known here.

“When I was a field director in The Philippines, I would have several people say to me, ‘We’ve just been on a trip through Asia. Everywhere we go, the Alliance church is bigger than any other evangelical church.’ We’re bigger than the Southern Baptists in The Philippines. I like to tell them that.

“This little church gives about half of its money to overseas work,” he said, speaking of his congregation. “When I was growing up that was not unusual, but it is today.”

Rev. Peters thinks his move from The Philippines to Chattanooga is a little ironic. In The Philippines, his teams could talk openly about Christ with people who were receptive to a new message. In Chattanooga, people think they have already heard it.

“My wife said, ‘You couldn’t find a better city to live in than Chattanooga, but you couldn’t find a harder city to work in.’ Because 90 percent of the citizens of Chattanooga are members of a church or synagogue, which means most people are members of a church, but they don’t attend. We are Christianized.”

Outreach efforts by many churches, he said, are akin to moving fish from one aquarium to another. “It’s mostly promoting better programs. We are neither capable of doing that nor have any desire to do that. It’s heartbreaking to see a city that knows about Jesus have so many who do not walk with him.”

By working with others in the community, whether it’s opening their doors to Hilger Higher Learning, supporting the work of Shepherd’s Arms Rescue Mission, or opening their field to East Hamilton Football, First Alliance hopes to build the relationships needed to help people follow Jesus Christ.

----

Phil Wade is a local writer and editor. Find him on Twitter: @Brandywinebooks or LinkedIn. He blogs regularly at Brandywinebooks.net



Jay Craig To Sing At Brainerd Presbyterian March 22

Jay Craig, one of America's outstanding gospel singers, will join forces with the Brainerd Presbyterian Church Choir on March 22 for the 10:45 a.m. service.  He will sing three of his trademark songs, "Give God the Glory," "I Bowed On My Knees and Cried Holy," and "His Unseen Hand."  Mr. Craig is equally at home performing a Broadway musical, singing classical music ... (click for more)

March Monarch Madness Is Coming To Grace Episcopal On March 22

On Sunday, March 22, Grace Episcopal Church will host “March Monarch Madness,” an all-day, free workshop for the community focused on the endangered monarch butterflies and strategies to protect their diminished habitats. Event coordinator Lisa Lemza invites all to “come and learn about the monarchs and why they, and all our pollinators, are in such trouble,” emphasizing that “it ... (click for more)

County Under Winter Weather Advisory; Hamilton County Schools On 2-Hour Delay

Temperatures were mild on Wednesday, reaching 74 degrees, but they began dropping as the day went on - leading to a winter weather advisory. The advisory goes into effect at 4 a.m. on Thursday and is to continue until 4 p.m. The forecast is for freezing rain and sleet. Hamilton County Schools will be on a two-hour delay on Thursday . School officials said, "Based on the ... (click for more)

Grand Jury Indicts Mark Kaylor In Alleged Beating Case; He Resigns From Red Bank Police; His Attorney Asks For Trial

A Red Bank officer was indicted on Wednesday by the Hamilton County Grand Jury on charges related to an alleged assault against a detainee. At the same time, Red Bank Police Chief Tim Christol said he had accepted the resignation of Officer Mark Kaylor. The Hamilton County District Attorney General’s Office earlier said it had reviewed the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation ... (click for more)

Women Don't Ask For Rape, They Ask For Justice

The stereotypical irrationality that women typically lie about rape has brought an enormous amount of social stigma to this population. Many like to think that rape is not a huge issue in the United States, and that the media blows it out of proportion. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported that approximately 17.7 million females in America have been raped, with 108,612 ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Happy Birthday, Mr. Berg

This past Monday we should have closed the Post Office, let kids out of school, and lowered our flags to half-mast. March 2 is the anniversary of Moe Berg’s birthday and the legendary Casey Stengel once said Moe was “the strangest man ever to play baseball.” Moe played major league baseball for 16 years, finishing with the Boston Red Sox in 1939 and a lifetime batting average of ... (click for more)