Matt Karlson

Pastor & Worship Leader

I grew up in San Diego most of my childhood, moved to Florida my sophomore year of high school, and spent a year in east Texas attending the Honor Academy internship program. Needless to say, I never expected my life to lead me to the winter wonderland known as northern Michigan. 

I met my wife, Katie, while attending the Honor Academy in Garden Valley, TX. For one year I moved back to Florida while she went home to Indian River. Over the course of a year we kept in touch and fell in love; when we were engaged I headed north to Indian River in May 2009. I’ve grown to love everything about this area—the four seasons (something I had never experienced before), the small town community, the beauty of the lakes, and of course pasties. Over the course of the past ten years that I’ve called Indian River home, my heart has grown for this community and burns to reach it with the love of Jesus Christ. 

Along with an amazing wife, the Lord has blessed me with three wonderful, energetic boys.  Dull moments are hard to find, and for that I'm extremely grateful! They bring a whole new level of life, laughter, and love to our family.

About 7 years ago I felt God’s call to start a church in the area. That filled me with excitement and also fear. I began to understand the story of Jonah from his side of things—being called to something so big, I can understand his desire to run from it; I felt like that too. But I had faith that when God calls us to something He doesn’t leave us on our own; and it’s through his direction and faithfulness that City on a Hill Community Church was started in the heart of Indian River.

As I continue to grow into my role as a pastor, I am attending Moody Bible Institute. I am so grateful and thankful for God's grace and providence as our church continues to expand and grow in the Indian River community.


3228 Gatewood Ave, Indian River, MI 49749, USA

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Show a three-year-old a rainbow and his eyes pop open, he laughs and murmurs something that sounds semi close to English; that's wonder. Show a third grader how pleasing God connects to honoring her parents and she will most likely look at you funny and continue eating her pizza; that's discovery. As a teacher, church leader, or parent you want a curriculum that will help you connect the love and worship of God to good decision-making for your elementary school students. You want something that will help them see the value of respecting authority and treating their friends like they are human, not SpongeBob®. You need it to be simple. You would love it to be flexible. You want it to suit your individual needs. Time to go to the basics. What if by the time your child reaches 6th grade they will know these five core truths:

God is the Holy Creator.
I can trust God's Word (Bible).
I can trust Jesus with everything.
I should try to live like Jesus lived (make wise choices by His Word).
The world/culture does not usually agree with God's Word.


Most kids form their entire idea of who God is, and choose whether nor not they'll have a relationship with Him before leaving 5th grade!

Sunday at a Glance

The nursery and classrooms will open at 10:15 for check in. 


Each week the kids (ages 0-9) join us for worship in the sanctuary. After worship, the kids head to their respective classrooms to learn more about God and how to apply His word to our lives. 


We are happy to answer your questions in person at any of our locations or you can contact us by email