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



Steve Ellison: The God Of Peace

Someone unknown to me several years ago wrote the following, “In describing one of the new movies of the day, a critic wrote, ‘The plot moves rapidly down the sewer.’ It would not be so damaging to those who watch such trash if the mind could be equipped, like your kitchen sink, with a garbage disposal. Then you could flush away all the filth and be done with it, but the mind does ... (click for more)

Brainerd Presbyterian Church Hosts Its First Annual CommUNITY Block Party

Saturday, August 15 from 11:00 A.M. until 2:00 P.M. Brainerd Presbyterian Church invites the community members from all over Chattanooga and East Brainerd to their first annual CommUNITY Block Party, Saturday, Aug 15 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.   There will be inflatables for kids, free lunch (hot dogs, chips, cookie and drink), live music, games, free giveaway drawings (Chrome ... (click for more)

$40 Million Traffic Improvement Set To Connect Hamilton Place More Directly With I-75 And Ease Congestion On Shallowford Road

The city, state and CBL & Associates are cooperating on a $40 million plan to make the Hamilton Place section more accessible to Interstate 75. The upcoming project will provide a direct connection for southbound I-75 traffic with Hamilton Place Boulevard. The project will also provide a new connection for those on Hamilton Place Boulevard to enter I-75 northbound. ... (click for more)

Owners Of Trucking Firm Involved In Tragic Wreck At Ooltewah Exit Ask That Cases Be Moved To Federal Court

The owners of a Kentucky trucking firm involved in a wreck in which six people were killed at the Ooltewah exit of I-75 on June 25 are asking that lawsuits in the matter be handled in Federal Court. Cool Runnings Express owners Billy and Cretty Sizemore are asking that the initial suit brought by Ryan Humphries of Cleveland, Tn., be moved from Hamilton County Circuit Court. ... (click for more)

How To Be #ChattanoogaStrong

Chattanooga is my home; I was born here 35 years ago. Without a doubt, this has been one of the most challenging times in our city's history. The #ChattanoogaStrong hashtag will remain for quite some time, but it means so much more than 18 characters on social media. It represents the sorrow and mourning, as well as the resilience and compassion, of our exceptional community.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Hero Is Coming Home

In late September, a very special funeral will be held in Bearden, Tenn., when 1 st Lt. Alexander “Sandy” Bonnyman Jr., will finally come home to lie in peace with his family. Sandy’s been dead for 72 years now, ever since he was killed in combat on the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands on Nov. 22, 1943. He and a number of other Marine heroes were buried back then in a shallow ... (click for more)