About Hope Church
It all began in 1988 when Craig Strickland, a pastor at Second Presbyterian Church, felt the call to plant a church “out east” in the suburbs of Memphis – little did he know the plans God had for a little place called Hope! Along with 25 other charter members, Craig began Hope in the living room of a Germantown home in September of 1988. Nine months after Hope’s conception, Eli Morris came to Hope bringing a strong passion and big heart for inner city missions. Still to this day, Hope’s Urban Ministry is thriving in the North Memphis communities with many opportunities of offering a better life for the families we work with. From that Germantown living room, Hope moved to rented space at Shelby Place Restaurant (currently The Butcher Shop), then to Evangelical Christian School’s gymnasium where they spent the next seven years.
In 1992, Hope purchased their first piece of land, 22 acres, at 8500 Walnut Grove Road in Cordova and moved into their first permanent worship space, which is now home to Hope’s Student Ministry. Since that day in January 1996, Hope’s continued growth over the next 10 years made way for multiple building expansions to accommodate our children’s, recreation and kitchen ministries, and a recording studio, just to name a few. Now providing over 30 different ministries, serving thousands of people from Memphis to the Bronx to Belize, Hope Church has expanded beyond the wildest dreams from a meager upstart over 25 years ago.
Craig and Eli’s prayers were met when Rev. Rufus Smith agreed to leave his hometown of Houston, Texas, to join the preaching/teaching team in 2010. Over the next three years, Craig, Eli and Rufus worked through a transition of positions. Hope celebrated 25 years in September 2013, and in November, Rufus was voted in to take the position of Senior Pastor. Craig moved to Founding Pastor role, where he still maintains an active and visible position within our leadership. No one fills the Senior Associate Pastor shoes better than Eli, and this is truly where God has continued to call him to serve.
The next chapter for Hope is in the continued writing of all of our stories. It is still a place that accepts us where we are, as we are and provides a meaningful and significant worship experience that is not left at the door when you head to your car in the parking lot. It is an experience that continues to have application in everyday life with everyday issues, with struggles as well as celebrations. There is something here for everyone, from cradle to grave. Through our four "pillars" of Community, Worship, Service and Generosity - Hope’s mission is to engage our un-churched neighbors of every age and ethnicity to experience Jesus.
We hope you join us for a service, a class, a Bible study, a soccer game, or a Wednesday night dinner!