Who We Are

Hillcrest United Methodist Church is a welcoming, caring church experiencing joyful, Christ-centered worship.  It is a community in which each member is encouraged to grow in faith and knowledge of God and is empowered to share God’s love and hope through service to others.


Our Mission Statement

We proclaim God’s love and invite all to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Leadership Team

Our leadership team recognizes the authority of God, and realizes that we are shepherds who serve under the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ. We desire to devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word. Our passion and goal is to equip the believers for the work of the ministry until we all attain maturity in the fullness of Christ.

Pastor Kerry Clear
Kerry has been a member of the Michiana community his whole life, with ties to the Elkhart, South Bend, and Niles areas. Prior to accepting his call to ministry, Kerry worked in various fields, including law enforcement, sales, and retail. Constants throughout the journey of life include entrepreneurship and music. Kerry’s first church job as a musician, while still in college, was at Bristol United Methodist Church as the choir director and worship leader. Kerry began a taxi company, Blue Ribbon Taxi, in 2007 with three cabs; at the pinnacle of the business, just prior to the surge of Uber and Lyft, he was operating as Yellow Cab and Blue Ribbon Taxi in four counties with over 40 cabs and 60 drivers.

Kerry graduated from Bethel College with honors and is currently nearing the completion of seminary at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. In addition to his role as the pastor at Hillcrest, Kerry also is the assistant pastor at Grace United Methodist Church in South Bend.

Kerry and his wife, Heidi, have a blended family of five children whom they homeschool. Their ages are 18, 17, 16, 15, and 11. They are all members of a family singing group, The Clear Family Singers, which include Kerry’s parents, grandparents, and eight brothers’ and sisters’ families. Kerry enjoys musical theater and combined musical events and, as a hobby, directs/organizes these whenever possible.
Julie Lininger
Julie has been the Administrative Assistant at Hillcrest since 2012. She and her husband have two fantastic adult sons, a wonderful daughter-in-law, and the cutest granddaughter ever! A grandson will be joining the family in November.
Many moons ago, Julie earned counseling and psychology degrees from    Ft. Wayne Bible College and Grace College. She homeschooled her sons and also tutored other homeschool students in addition to administering standardized school testing.
Julie enjoys spending time with her family, watching the Chicago Cubs and Ohio State Buckeyes, music, drama, reading, and writing short articles to encourage others.
Molly Kellner, Worship Leader
Molly grew up in Bartlett, Illinois, with her parents, Jay and Sue Kellner, and older brother Ryan. Her musical talents and interest, as well as her career in education, can be traced back to her musical family who have all been or are educators. Molly loves to go back and visit her family whenever she can.
Molly attended Butler University (2012-2016) pursuing a degree in Choral Music Education. During her time at Butler, she subbed in several different church choirs and held a position for two years at the Zionsville United Methodist Church. She was a member of the professional music fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota, represented fellow musicians in Student Government, sang in the Chamber Choir and University Chorale, of which she also served as the Music Librarian.
Molly is currently a choir director at Elkhart Memorial High School and  North Side Middle School. At Memorial, she works with several choirs. At North Side, she co-directs both the 7th and 8th grade choirs. Outside of school, she is a co-leader of the North Side Drama Club in the fall and the North Side Jazz Choir in the spring. In addition, Molly has a private voice student whom she coaches in voice, piano, and dance.
Molly currently lives in Elkhart. She and her fiancé, Richard, are looking forward to September 1, 2019, when they will be married! She is very thankful for her current position as Worship Leader at Hillcrest.
 Joel Lininger, Pianist
Joel graduated in 2018 with a degree in piano performance from Bethel College, where he studied with the published sacred music arranger Marilynn Ham. While at Bethel, he was involved in different music ensembles, including the Concert Choir, Voices of Triumph (an a capella ensemble), the percussion ensemble, and jazz ensemble. He served as assistant music director and accompanist for Bethel’s production of Godspell in September 2017, and was on stage in Fiddler on the Roof at Bethel in March 2018. In April 2018, Joel performed the first movement of Schumann’s piano concerto with the Bethel Chamber Orchestra. Most recently, Joel served as the assistant music director and pianist for the South Bend Civic Theatre’s performances of Jesus Christ Superstar. Before Bethel, he was on stage in a variety of productions for Elkhart Civic Theatre’s youth program, ECTeam.
In the future, Joel hopes to teach piano or conduct choral music at the college level. He is also an avid electronic dance music fan and wishes to take up DJing!