What We Believe

Hillside is a member of a branch of protestant Christianity known as the Reformed tradition. We believe that nowhere is God more fully revealed than in the person of Jesus Christ, who is our Lord and Savior. While we put Scripture first, we also enjoy a rich tradition of teachings from some of the greatest theologians the world has ever known. Many of these teachings have been collected in our Book of Confessions, which helps us to interpret Scripture, understand who God is, and what that means for our lives. For an introduction to our beliefs, check out the video (right) and link below:
We really encourage you to check out the New City Catechism below, and take some time to learn about what our tradition has taught for hundreds of years. This dynamic resource has in-depth teachings about the faith in modern-day language. If you have any questions or would like to have a conversation about what you hear, we would love to talk with you.

New City Catechism

Presbyterian in Government


The Presbyterian Church is so named because it is governed by presbyters (coming from the Greek word meaning “elders”). So basically, we are called Presbyterians because we are governed by a group who are called by God and elected by the people to be elders. Our church government is set up so that these presbyters can come together in governing bodies in gradually widening circles. For instance, Hillside is governed by a group of elders called the session, whom our church has elected.  All of the churches and sessions in Lawrence & Mercer counties send elders and ministers to be representatives at the Presbytery, which governs and supports the churches under its care.  Likewise, a handful of Presbyteries are governed by a Synod, and all of the Synods and Presbyteries in our country are governed by the elders and ministers that are sent to the General Assembly, which meets every other year.  As an overarching principle of our government, presbyters are not simply to reflect the will of the people, but rather to seek together to find and represent the will of Christ, who we believe to be the head of the Church.

Reformed in Theology


Reformed theology was born during the 16th century as a response to a church that had gone astray by following human teachings instead of God’s Word. Consequently, we believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are God’s uniquely revealed and written Word, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and the Church’s first and final authority in all areas of faith and life, which God uses to correct us when we go astray. While we are first and foremost obedient to God’s will as He has revealed it in Scripture, we are also guided by the confessions of the Church which show us how the people of God have understood Scripture throughout the ages. This is why our motto is Ecclesia Reformata Semper Reformanda Secundum Verbum Dei (or the Church refomed – always being reformed according to the Word of God). Many of the principles articulated by John Calvin remain at the core of Presbyterian beliefs. Among these are the sovereignty of God, the authority of Scripture, justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and the priesthood of all believers. These beliefs are not uniquely Presbyterian, but they are particularly emphasized in churches that call themselves Presbyterian or Reformed. Check out the link to the New City Catechism above to learn more.