Our Story

Mercy Hill began as a church plant in Highland, Indiana in 2009 from Living Word Church in Lansing, IL. Our roots go deep in that we are connected to a family of churches worldwide known as, "Lifelink: Churches working together". Since Mercy Hill's plant in 2009 we have moved into a permanent location in Munster, IN. God's grace and blessing has been with us throughout the years and we rejoice in this and for what the future holds.

our Focus

Worship Christ

Jesus is central and supreme. No lesser person, belief or thing deserves our highest passion. As followers of Jesus we strive to honor and make much of Him in every area of our lives. Worshipping Christ is the center of our lives. First and foremost, being part of our family means loving and worshipping Christ as our greatest treasure.

Live in Community

Living in community is the biblical model we see throughout Scripture, from the Trinity to the New Testament Church. God made us to live life together. Community is both one of the greatest tools God uses to make us more like Christ and one of the most effective ways to live out our mission together as the family of God.

Make Disciples

The word “disciple” literally means “learner.” Jesus actually commanded his followers in Matthew 28:18-20 to “go therefore, and make disciples of all nations…” All of us are meant to live on mission personally and corporately, locally and globally, for the sake of Christ’s name. Every disciple is meant to be a disciple-maker. Ultimately, Jesus deserves all worship from everyone on earth, and until this becomes a reality our work is incomplete. To that end, we all make disciples locally while strategically working together to see disciples made among all nations.

Get Trained

Regardless of how long we’ve been following Christ, each and every one of us must always be seeking to continuing growing in knowledge of Christ and obedience to Christ. Every believer is called to be a minister of the gospel, regardless of our location or vocation. In light of this, we pursue ongoing discipleship and training for ministry so that we can be fruitful and effective for the good of the world and the glory of God.


What We Believe >

Our leadership

Mercy Hill is led not by an individual but by a team of leaders who together make decisions and use their gifts to care for members of our church family and lead us in our mission.  The teamwork approach to leadership is modeled through all the various ministries and activities of Mercy Hill, with a team of elders carrying overall responsibility for overseeing the affairs of the church.

  • john leitzel | lead elder/pastor

    John Leitzel serves as the lead elder for Mercy Hill and is on the full-time pastoral staff for the church.  John earned a PhD in synthetic bio-organic chemistry from the University of Chicago and was a tenured professor at Chicago State University prior to joining the pastoral staff at Living Word Church in Lansing, IL in 2001.  John led the team that planted CrossPoint Church in Crown Point, Indiana in 2006, pastoring that church until moving to Zambia with his family in 2012.  John serves as part of the apostolic leadership team for our network of churches, Lifelink, in the USA and internationally (global-horizons.org), as he helps maintain our global partnerships and strengthen emerging leadership teams around the world.  John and his wife, Karen, have two daughters, Elizabeth and Sarah.  John can be reached at: JohnLeitzel@mercyhill.cc

  • john hamstra jr | elder

    John Hamstra, Jr. serves as an elder in the church, and was the founding pastor of Mercy Hill from its launch in 2009 until 2018.  John currently works full time for Leep’s Supply Co.

  • tim griffin | elder


  • bryan hoogerwerf | elder


  • john hamstra sr | elder


  • corey knudsen | youth/worship pastor

    In 2015, we welcomed Corey Knudsen to our staff as Worship Director/Youth Pastor.  Corey and his wife Brooke serve on the worship team and lead our youth group for students in Jr. High and High School, which meets on Sunday nights at Mercy Hill.  Their son, Oliver, was born in December 2017.  Corey can be reached at:  corey@mercyhill.cc

Our Church family

Mercy Hill is part of a broader family of churches called Lifelink/Global Horizons that consists of several churches across the midwest and around the world. We have three other churches in the Chicagoland area that make up Lifelink Chicago.


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