The genesis of First City Church began just over ten years ago, with around a dozen people gathering in the home of Paul and Michelle Gardner as the first Bellevue missional community of Coram Deo Church. Over the next ten years, as this missional community committed themselves to sharing the gospel and making disciples, one group of twelve in Bellevue grew to seven groups, totaling over 100 people. With people coming to know Christ, people being baptized, people being discipled, and leaders being raised up, the pastors and members of Coram Deo began seeking the Lord as to whether a new church should be planted in Bellevue.

While there was great momentum and desire to see a church planted in Bellevue, there was still a question of leadership - who was God calling to lead this new plant?

In January 2015, Chris and Mindy Hemmelman moved to Omaha after spending eight years in Arlington, Virginia, where Chris served as an elder at Redeemer Church of Arlington. That previous Fall, Chris and Mindy began to sense the Holy Spirit directing them to return to the Midwest (where they were both born and raised) and plant a gospel-centered, missional church. Originally, Chris and Mindy were interested in planting in Des Moines, but the Lord had other plans. As the elders of Coram Deo got to know the Hemmelmans, and as Chris and Mindy got to know the culture and people of Coram Deo, there was a sense of fit and chemistry and camaraderie that seemed to be a work of the Holy Spirit. In March 2015, after Chris had been assessed and approved by Acts 29 as a church planter, Bob Thune and Justin Curtis pulled Chris aside and asked him to pray about planting a new congregation in Bellevue. After spending a season in prayer and processing, Chris and Mindy believed that God was indeed calling them to lead a new gospel-centered, missional church in Bellevue.

On January 24, 2016, Coram Deo Church commissioned just over 100 adults and nearly 80 kids as the Core Team of First City Church. On January 31, First City held its first public worship service in Bellevue.

The collective story of First City Church is made up of many individual stories of God’s grace. Hear the story of First City Church as told by four couples who were called by God to plant a new church in Bellevue.


As the oldest city in Nebraska, Bellevue is literally the first city in the state. The name First City Church reflects our desire to bring gospel renewal to Bellevue and the surrounding region. We are for Bellevue. We want to see the city flourish and thrive because of the gospel. We believe that if Bellevue is impacted by the gospel it will spill over into the larger regions of Sarpy County, Cass County, and parts of Omaha. So our name reflects our commitment to take the gospel to a particular city and region.