A DINNER PARTY ON "HIGH ROCK" STREET
Highrock began in 1999 around a dinner table in the suburbs, at a home on "High Rock" street in Needham. A small group of believers shared a dream for a church where people of all backgrounds, ages, and ethnicities could encounter Jesus. In time, this small group became a congregation, outgrowing several spaces in Cambridge and Somerville. In the Spring of 2006, Highrock set down roots in Arlington.
Today, Highrock is a dynamic and diverse community with congregations worshipping in Arlington, Brookline, Quincy, Salem, Cambridge, and now Acton.
Our big dream is that through loving, intentional neighborhood churches, greater Boston would be transformed into a "city on a hill" that can be a blessing to the whole world.
A DREAM FOR GREATER BOSTON
In a way, there's nothing new about that dream. Nearly 400 years ago, John Winthrop left England and headed here, to become governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Aboard the ship the “Arbella” in the year 1630, sometime before landing in the harbor of Salem, Winthrop delivered a sermon, ending with these words: “For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us.”
Winthrop knew Boston would be a place of influence. The whole world would be watching what happens here. And even today, it continues to be a thriving, growing educational and technology center of the world. More international students come to the city of Boston than any other city in the world. People come here to become difference-makers.
The big question is: how can any of us make a difference?
Winthrop's answer was clear. It requires the Love of Jesus. Only that can transform a city and its people. And that love is no abstraction. It's the love of Jesus expressed in two specific ways: Christians living in authentic community AND Those communities caring for their city and its neighborhoods.
REDISCOVERING THE DREAM
The founders of Highrock came to recognize something. That many of their neighbors, friends, and co-workers here in greater Boston no longer trusted the church to do the very things Winthrop once envisioned. So many churches they had experienced were divided along ethnic, political, or theological lines – boundaries only exacerbated by America’s polarizing culture wars.
To many in our culture, the word "evangelical" - which simply means "good news!" - often invited distrust.
The first Highrockers desired a church here in Greater Boston capable of reaching a new generation, one that is multi-ethnic, non-polarizing, and a safe place to invite their friends and neighbors to encounter Jesus.
When Highrock first moved to Arlington, the church location did not just move. The community did! People sold their houses and relocated so that they could be living in the same community where they worshiped. They desired "compelling and Christ-like" community that was "locally-focused," a community where they could do life together, Sunday to Saturday, loving their actual neighbors as Christ does. So now in Arlington every year, Highrock puts on a Christmas Benefit Concert as a gift to the town - and we raise the entire salary for a part-time social worker who serves some of our most vulnerable neighbors. In 2014, Highrock North Shore was recognized by Salem's Community Development Coalition as the "volunteer of the year" for their service to the people of the city of Salem. That's the dream starting to become a reality - close-knit, loving communities blessing our neighbors, all around Boston.
PLANTING IN ACTON
All of our stories have a way of connecting us to a place and people. As Winthrop set out to cultivate community in the greater Boston area, he enlisted a builder named Job Lane to build some homes for his family. As payment, Winthrop gave Lane 1000 acres in the northwest suburbs of greater Boston. Lane became one of the founders and architects of community in the northwest suburbs, what are now the towns of Bedford and Billerica. And Job Lane is the great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather of Highrock Acton's co-lead pastor Will Barnett.
Will's story, as far back as he can trace it on this nation’s soil, goes back to Boston, specifically to the northwest suburbs, and to Winthrop’s vision. The roots of co-lead pastor Becky also go way back to the beginnings of the nearby greater Lowell area. Today their deepest passion is to cultivate "good news" communities in this area.
The Greater Acton area is a changing community. It has slowly emerged as a destination point in the northwest region, a place where more and more families of all different backgrounds are moving to put down roots, find a home, and cultivate community. Neighborhoods are in redevelopment. New neighborhoods are under construction. New people are putting down roots in this Boston suburb, asking that same question: how will I become a difference-maker? What is my life really going to be all about?
A number of Highrockers were starting to settle in the greater Acton area and began praying for community, a church that is centered in Christ's love, yet also relevant to the deep questions of their neighbors and friends. In summer 2014, Pastors Becky and Will and their family moved to Acton, along with several other couples and families. They discovered and partnered with a growing community of people out here in the Northwest suburbs with a similar prayer for a locally-focused church, one serious about Jesus and safe for all people.
Highrock Acton had its official Grand Opening on September 20th, 2015. Now we worship every week in the heart of West Acton. Come for a visit...