The Hillcrest congregation met at the Graham Street Church of Christ until the Hillcrest building was constructed in 1959. The Graham Street building is now the home of the Iglesia de Cristo. Graham Street Church of Christ members met on May 29, 1957, to appoint a committee to plan a new congregation. Appointed as trustees to handle legal matters were R. S. Powell, Forbes McInroe, Harold Lobley, Bill Hilton and Ray McGlothlin.
The next task was raising the $154,000 through bond sales for the construction of a building on property previously selected in the Hillcrest addition of Abilene. Forbes McInroe, an elder of the Graham Street congregation, served as contractor for the building.
As the building progressed, those who had indicated a desire to worship with the new congregation held a business meeting to chart initial work and objectives for the membership. At the first meeting on March 15, 1959, Overton Faubus and R. S. Powell were selected as elders. Carl Spain and Overton Faubus were selected as ministers. Bill Hilton was asked to serve as director of the Bible school and Ray McGlothlin as song director.
The church met for the first time on April, 12, 1959, with 258 present for Bible classes that morning.
The congregation has continued to seek out those qualified to serve as elders and deacons. During the summer of 1959, Earl Fine, J. C. McCurdy and Forbes McInroe were chosen as elders.
In September 1961, Gene Hancock and Roy Palmer were added as elders; in April 1964, Bill Hillton and Owen Mitchell; in March 1968, James Bailey and J. D. Holland; in March 1970, W. H. Kennon and Ralph Nelson; in November 1972, Gene Hancock and Ray McGlothlin; in February 1979, Alvin Kelly; in September 1981, Everett Ferguson; in December 1985 Bruce Campbell, Joe Hodges and Perry Reeves; in February 1990, Roger Gee and John Little; in October 1995, Jarrell Edwards and Chris Willerton; in October 1997, Joe Andrews, Milton Fletcher, Joe Hodges, Keith McCormick, Foy Mills, Mike Singleton, Glenn Tuttle and Jim Watts; in April 2002, Malcolm Coco, Howard Hodgson, Cam Hurst and Charles Perkins; in April 2006, John Barton, Joe Bell, Robert Marion, Don Pope, Jack Stewart, Cleddy Varner and John Williams; and in May 2010, Dave Copeland, Ray Ferguson and John Tyson.
Beginning in 1959, Carl Spain served as Hillcrest’s first pulpit minister. He came with the group from Graham Street. The following men have served as full-time preachers: Jimmy Jividen, 1967-1981, Terry Bell, 1981-1989; Dwight Robarts, 1990-2000; Chris Workman, 2001-2003; Terry Brown, 2003-2011; and Matt Haynes, 2013 to present.
In September 1963, Roy Merritt of Canada became the first full-time associate minister in preparation for the work Hillcrest planned in Thunder Bay, Canada. Bill Luttrell came in August 1964 as the first full-time minister of evangelism. Although officially retired in 2001, he continued until 2007 in a part-time capacity as congregation minister, making visits and serving as a hospice chaplain.
In September 1971, Don Russell became Hillcrest’s first youth minister. He was followed in 1974 by Bobby Wood and, in February 1981, by David Mahan. Steve Joiner served from 1984 until 1995. Dalvin Hampton, who had been an intern for four years, became full-time youth minister in 1995 and served until 1999. Jack Hardcastle served from March 2000 until August 2004, when he transitioned to family ministry. Adrian Woods served from 2004 to 2006. Evan Simmons was hired in May 2007. Marshall Wade joined the team to work with middle-school youth in 2011.
In September 1978, Norman Archibald became the first university minister. He was succeeded by Allen Tappe in June 1981. Tappe was followed by Bruce Clayton who was here from 1984 to 1986. Bill Luttrell served as university minister until 1992. Ken Holsberry began in the summer of 1992. Sonny Guild succeeded Ken in 1994 and served until 1996. Duane Adams served from 1998 to 2000; Derrick Doyle in 2001; Charlton Taylor 2002-2004 and Danny Kittley 2004-2006. Jeremy Davis served as an intern until 2008. In 2009, Justin Hatfield became the full-time university minister.
Rusty McLen served as a full-time counseling minister from 1989 to 2002. Alan Clute was hired as a ministry assistant in May 1999 and transitioned into involvement ministry in 2003. He is now involvement/seniors minister. Terry Brown began working with education and involvement in 2001 and then began preaching full-time in August 2003. Terry retired in August 2011. Gail Brown began serving part-time as Children’s Education Coordinator in August 2004. Cynthia Coates assumed this position in August 2011 upon Gail’s retirement.
Hillcrest’s auditorium of over-1,200 capacity made it an integral part of the annual Abilene Christian University Bible Lectureship. In 1974, plans were made to build a new addition to include classrooms, an office complex, a conference room and a fellowship room and kitchen. Construction was completed and the building dedicated on April 27, 1975. During 1978, Hillcrest acquired a duplex next to the main building, then a small shopping center and parking area in an effort to provide enough classroom space. These new buildings and a portable annex building were put to immediate use.
The house on the northwest corner of the block was purchased in 1980 and served as a minister’s home. In 1981, a small apartment building south of the main building was purchased for additional classroom space. In 1986, a new education complex was added on to the present building. The office complex was remodeled in 2000. Phase 1 of a building-repair and renovation plan was completed in 2004. Phase 2 included plans for renovation of the auditorium and was completed in time for the Golden Jubilee in 2009.