Hope Community Church
Sunday, February 25, 2024

Our Story

“If you ever see a turtle on a fence post, you’ll know it did not get there by itself!”

I can’t remember where I heard that quote, but it continues to characterize our short history. All of us at Hope know that we are not the product of human effort and ingenuity, but rather a gracious work of God.
God began to stir my own heart in calling my wife and me to plant a church in the Lindenhurst, Lake Villa, Antioch area. At the time, I was the Executive Pastor at the Village Church of Gurnee (VCG). When I sensed God calling me to this work, my first response was, “Sorry, God, I think you have the wrong man!” But God did not give up on me. Finally, I approached the leaders of VCG with the idea of planting a new church.
In the spring of 2003, plans were set in motion to begin a new work. However, during the very week that this new venture was announced, my wife, Ollie, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Hundreds of people rallied to pray for us. They prayed for healing and for this new church. Ollie went through surgery, chemo, radiation, and immune therapy. By God’s grace, she is now healed! As we look back, this was just another way God wanted to show Himself faithful and powerful, as He reminded us of how desperately we need Him in all things. Ollie’s health, just like this church, is a turtle on a fence post.

This dream for a new church became a reality when VCG officially commissioned an initial nucleus on February 29, 2004. On March 7, we held our first worship service. Hope Community Church was born!

God continues to flesh out His dream for this church-- a church that would…

…passionately pursue Jesus Christ

…faithfully live out the truth of God’s Word

…believe the Holy Spirit for His leading and supernatural power

…value close community through connecting people in small groups

… purposefully help others to develop their relationship with Jesus Christ

…sensitively reach out to others who do not know Christ.

These and other dreams are what fuel us today. They are spelled out more clearly in our “Mission & Values” section.


Our desire is that Hope Community Church will always be known as a turtle on a fence post!

Come check us out!
From one of the turtles,
Wayne Okamoto