Kim Hitt’s path to ministry has not been an easy one. It includes drugs and addiction, incarceration and rehab, divorce and single parenting. It also includes a whole lot of grace and a radical God encounter in a motel room at rock bottom that she says changed the trajectory of her life’s purpose. That purpose now includes serving as lead pastor for Revolution Church, a new Free Methodist Church plant in Orange County.
“It’s not what I think the religious would consider church or even Bible study by that definition,” Kim explains about her reasons for setting up Revolution Church the way she has. “But in every way, I have seen more fruit come out of this – personal fruit where I have seen lives transformed.” So what does ministry look like at Revolution Church each week? Currently, it is Sunday morning services along with Friday night Bible studies at Kim’s home, targeted to those who would not normally walk into a church building, and it also includes a big home-cooked meal for all who attend. A typical 10:30am Sunday service has an average of around 30 in attendance, while the 7:00pm Friday Bible study has been currently averaging quite a few more. Revolution Church leadership has been putting systems in place to start bringing in even more people to both services, including a 15 passenger van to pick people up in surrounding neighborhoods for church as well as a weekly bonfire as part of the Friday night Bible study. The dinner and bonfire combination creates the perfect environment for gathering, sharing, and receiving prayer and encouragement.
Kim has seen first-hand the benefit of creating intimate spaces for congregants to worship in a family-like environment. “No matter how big we get, we will have a bonfire in every house for small groups,” she says. “And that’s exactly how we’ll keep it until the Lord tells us otherwise because I think that it’s so critical to fellowship like family.” But intimacy is not the only thing that makes Revolution Church successful. Kim also stresses the importance of vulnerability and transparency in her leadership team. “I think for me, with my particular demographic of people that I’m trying to reach…I’m from the streets. I’ve been incarcerated in and out since I was 13 years old. People like me, they have discernment on a whole other level. They have it in their flesh, they have it in their spirit. They can read right through you. So vulnerability and transparency has never been an option for me. It has always been mandatory in what I’m about to step into.”
Kim started her ministry career at Chapel of Change, a Free Methodist church under the leadership of Brian Warth with several locations throughout Los Angeles County. She realized the diversity and sense of belonging she and her children felt there filled a void in her life. After several years of encouragement from Brian and the leadership team, Kim felt God’s call to lead worship at Chapel of Change Dallas, and she moved her supportive family across the country to begin a new chapter. But after only a year in Texas and with conviction from church leaders, Kim returned to the Southern California community where she grew up with a passion in her heart to work with former drug addicts, prisoners, and gang members who are rebuilding their lives. “My community is here,” says Kim. “I was born and raised here, and so I wanted to be able to give back to the community that I came out of.” Her family—including her children Damien, Eric, and Anabella—has made that possible every step of the way, supporting her in her calling and uprooting their lives without complaint to move back to California.
Under the leadership and guidance of Mike Chong Perkinson, Senior Developer of The Praxis Center and Lead Pastor of Lamb’s Fellowship in Lake Elsinore, Kim has been able to go through the steps of the Free Methodist church planting process. Kim cites Mike’s book, The Organic Reformation: A New Hope for the Church in the West, as a catalyst for the big faith leap she took as lead pastor of a church plant in a community in need of revival. “I just sat there and wept for days reading his book because I finally thought, I am not alone,” Kim says. “And I felt like the Lord saying, ‘Kim, what you’re building, it’s of Me. It’s for Me. And I’m sending this man of God to you to confirm those things inside of you.’”
Kim’s vision from the beginning has been to be a part of a pastoral team that leads Revolution Church. “I do not want anybody being the center of attention except our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” explains Kim. To that end, she is building toward the goal of a ministry team that consists of seven leaders and two worship teams, including Claudia and Darrell Silverthorn who have been partnering with her in ministry for the past five years and are currently working through the Free Methodist Way to become pastors. Her team also includes Mehki Key, who leads worship on Friday nights; Robin Meza, who keeps the team organized and has created a discipleship program for the new church; and Kim’s mom, Theresa Hitt, who has a heart for beginning a homeless ministry once the church is in a more permanent building.
The leadership team at Revolution Church has a unique calling to addiction ministry and the brokenhearted. “I think that’s what makes Revolution Church very unique,” explains Kim. “We have solid leaders that have been walking with the Lord. Some of them have never had a history of addiction, but we all feel very called to addiction ministry and to just severe brokenness.” She adds, “I think that the Lord has given me such a unique anointing to deal with this particular demographic of people. And I say, ‘God, thank you for entrusting me with such brokenness because that’s a holy responsibility.’”
Kim feels strongly that God has called her to help deliver others from what she has been saved from, and the act of simply showing up in this way is where revival starts. “I have a unique perspective because I was an addict,” she says, offering her own point of view on why she believes Christians are better together. “I’m able to minister to that person and bring that person back into the light and say, ‘Look, it’s okay. We’re going to be all right. Let’s walk together.’”
You can find out more about church planting at The Praxis Center for Church Development and the Trivium Institute of Leader Development or contact Pastor Mike Chong Perkison.