About Our Sunday Worship Service
Sunday School 9:30am
Fellowship & Refreshments 10:30am
Worship Service 10:45am - livestreaming on YouTube
How We Worship:
Have you ever missed the classic hymns of your youth? The simplicity of a worship service that puts the message above the production value? We invite you to enjoy the time-honored elements of our semi-traditional service, in a relaxed and welcoming environment.
Our worship service incorporates modern audio/visual capabilities and inspirational music to deliver a message that is relevant and real. There is no dress code at Hillcrest. Come as you are. All are welcome at the table each Sunday, and all are welcome to partake.
11411 Quivira Rd
Overland Park, KS
Rev. Dr. Lara Blackwood Pickrel
I was born in Huntsville, Alabama, but grew up all over the country (and in Germany for a bit) because of my dad’s career in the US Army. Ultimately, we landed in El Paso, TX, which is where I attended high school and where my dad retired from the military. After graduating from J.M Hanks High School (Go Knights!), I attended Texas Christian University (Go Frogs!) in Fort Worth, TX, where I majored in Religious Studies. After college, I attended seminary at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, TX and Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, OK. In May of 2019 I completed my Doctor of Ministry degree at PTS.
It’s such a blessing to serve at Hillcrest, and I’m excited about the ways we can step out in faith together. Before serving at Hillcrest, I served for 8 years at Smithville First Christian Church in Smithville, MO., 4.5 years as Senior Minister and 3.5 years as Associate Minister. Before serving in Smithville, I served for 4.5 years as the Minister for Youth and Young Adults at Hillside Christian Church in Kansas City, MO. I've also served as Minister to Youth at First Christian Church in Fayetteville, AR, as the Regional Youth Minister for the Great River Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), as Associate Minister at First Christian Church in Abilene, TX, and as Area Youth Minister for the Trinity Brazos Area in Fort Worth, TX. All told, I have served Disciples congregations and regions for more than 22 years. My first love in ministry is the work we do for and with young people, and I believe that youth ministry, young adult ministry and family ministry are central to our call to make disciples who serve God and strive for justice in the world. I am also passionate about preaching, writing (curriculum, articles and books), intergenerational ministry, mission, and creative worship.
My hobbies include yarncraft (knitting and crochet), writing, reading science fiction or fantasy literature, walking, listening to music, taking in an occasional movie, and spending time with my family. My husband, Chuck, is also a Disciples pastor who serves as Minister to Youth at Saint Andrew Christian Church in Olathe, KS. We currently have two “fur children”: a West Highland White Terrier named Shelby, and a black lab na med Faith. In September of 2017 we adopted our daughter, Violet, at the ripe age of two days old. She is the joy of our lives!
Neil is one of six children and is a native Kansan, having been born in Emporia and raised in Shawnee Mission. A graduate of Shawnee Mission East, Phillips University and Phillips Graduate Seminary, Neil was ordained at his home congregation, Countryside Christian, in 1981. Before beginning his ministry at Hillcrest, Neil served congregations in Sheridan, Wyoming; Kansas City, Missouri; McPherson, Kansas; and most recently, Manhattan, Kansas.
Neil and his wife Holly have been married since 1978. They have two children, Gretchen and Ben, a daughter-in-law, Michelle, two granddaughters, Brenna and Lanie and a grandson, Landon. The Engles also have an Old English sheepdog mix named Farley, and Barney, the dachshund. Neil enjoys traveling, movies, The Andy Griffith Show, The Twilight Zone, Marx Brothers, Monty Python's Flying Circus, shooting pool, and playing Nintendo Wii Golf.