Archives For Ministry

Dear Adam

stacynewell —  May 17, 2018 — 1 Comment

We started North Creek Church with 20 children and 19 adults almost 12 years ago.  As those children who are still at North Creek turn 18, I write a blog just to honor them.  Happy Birthday to Adam Gray!  Enjoy!


Dear Adam,

You are a wonderful man of God.  A man with great depth, great strength, and great perseverance.  Ironically, most people reading this letter would skim over those words quickly, but I wrote them with clear intention.  I wrote them because I understand that the depth was carved from grief, the strength was carved from lonely times, and the perseverance was carved from patience in the midst of trials.  Those traits should be held with great regard as they were bought with the highest price.

In Australian Aboriginal society, there is a thing called a walkabout that is a rite of passage for boys between the ages of 10 and 16.  At some point during that time, the adolescent goes to live in the wilderness for about six months to make the spiritual and traditional transition into manhood.  When I think back over your life, I feel like God allowed you to have a very defining time that was your walkabout.  A time when you set off into the wilderness completely alone to come face to face with who you want to be, what you will stand for and whom you will serve.  A time that you stepped into manhood both spiritually and traditionally.

Your mother and I spent many hours grieving over your wilderness journey…it wasn’t pretty!  We questioned God often about why He allowed you to experience some of the things you did and why He wasn’t rescuing you from the challenges.  It seemed from the outside looking in that God sent you to the wolves with a pocketknife.  It was almost unbearable to submit our trust to God and let you navigate each challenge as it came the best way you could.  We had dreamed a much different dream for our kids who helped start our church.  We hoped for mountain top highs, not realizing that a mountain is only majestic because of the valleys

But we were admittedly shortsighted in our worry.  What I see now is the profound value that those days in the wilderness gave to you. It was there that you found that depth, strength, and perseverance that will carry you well through the rest of your life.

Adam, God spoke to my heart about you a very long time ago.  As a boy, not even in elementary school, He told me you would set the church on fire.  Not a literal fire (which at the time was the more believable option amongst your Sunday School teachers), but the figurative one where your unwavering will is a catalyst to inspire others.  I have no doubt now that the very days we were most concerned for you will be the very days we look back on as the ones that molded and shaped you into an immovable force.  

I am very proud of you.  Not for being perfect or having it together through every challenge, but for going on a journey into the wilderness and making it out…not only alive, but as a man.  I have no doubt you will continue this trajectory through the rest of your life.  I also see now that you are armed with far more than a pocketknife.  You carry a mighty sword with you and you have what it takes to conquer whatever may come.

I love you.  It has been my highest honor to watch you grow up.









Lots of plates are spinning now, which is very exciting!  In case you are just jumping in, our church bought a 96 year old building with an awesome history and an even more awesome amount of neglect.  It’s been a crazy journey watching this mountain move!  We are still waiting for our big TI permit to be approved by the county, so there are still things we can’t do, but with the roof on Building A all sealed up, it allows us to begin to do so many of the more minor, but important projects on our list.

In the last month, we have taken advantage of the sunny days to get some of the landscaping hurdles out of the way.  Just removing the garbage and yard debris from the property seems like it has been a full time job.  It was a jungle out there with way too many places to hide!  We have made a good dent in the war against ivy and blackberries.  We also built a small retaining wall in front of the world’s largest waterfall (it’s the big blue monstrosity in the background).  We also started taming down the ugliness on the waterfall with some paint and TLC.  We have a few hundred more steps to conquer that madness, but trust me…it will eventually look great.  We continue to chop down bushes and shrubs around the building.  We will be putting more in, but everything had been neglected for so long that saving them was too difficult.


We also got the storage area roof all sealed up, which allowed us to pack our belongings there to open up the space for the upcoming construction and paint.  That was a huge thing out of the way which will make everything much smoother.  You can see in the first picture the piles of trash that turned into a beautiful roof!

We also stripped off the old rotten wood lining the roof around the front building.  The roof guys have a new cap to put on the top edges that will be done soon.  We are also currently figuring out a plan for the front awning, which is a large structure.  A contractor was out there to dig into it to see what our best options are going forward.  It was previously made of wood, which was significantly more rotten than we first thought, so it’s got to be repaired and sided with a more appealing look…at least that’s our current plan.  Contractors and engineers have to make sure that’s the best idea before we move forward!  Either way, we will be saying goodbye to the 70’s Mexican Restaurant feel and going with a clean, simple façade instead.

We sure appreciate each one of you who show up to help with whatever is on the list.  It looks really horrible right now, but we are close to pressure washing and painting the front building, which will help so much!  We literally have someone stop every time we are there to tell us how glad they are that we are fixing it up.  People are excited that we care about their community…first the aesthetics and then the rest of the needs around us!  Together we can redeem this corner and then watch Jesus redeem lives in His church!

Things we need:

  1. An old fence that someone is tearing down.  We have an art project we are doing and we need lots of reclaimed wood.  It can’t be rotted, but old is fine!
  2. A cat with a scoop that can dig out some stumps we have.  Anybody have access to one of those?

We will continue to keep you updated, but if you are interested in being a part of our volunteer crew, we post opportunities on our Going Home Facebook page.  Just click the link and we’ll get you added!  Good days are ahead!!!

We are in full swing with our renovations on our Hwy 99 building!  It’s pretty exciting to watch construction teams, trucks, and cranes begin to dissect the old and replace it with new, functioning material.  I often go to see the progress and dream about what is coming!  I love this building…I know it looks like a haunted house currently, but every time I am there, I see what it will become and I can’t wait!  I am often encouraged by the fact that Jesus sees us the same way…He sees our potential, our worth, and what we can become even when we look like a big, crazy mess.

So, right now we are focused on the roofs while we wait for our last permit to come through, which should be any day now.

The roof on Building A has been leaky for a long time, so our repaired roof with provide a dry environment for years to come.  They had to remove the heating units with a crane to do the roof and the crane will be back to return them.  We also had some work inside to do to remove some existing items to patch the roof appropriately.  All that is finished and the fresh beams are in place.  We also have some electrical and heating work that will be done in the future that will clean up our interior ceilings and make it a beautiful, warm environment.

Building B is by far the biggest challenge as it was empty for decades.  The roof was is very bad shape, which means much more of it will have to be ripped out and replaced.  That work will start in the next couple of weeks and by then we should be in GO mode as our permit will be in hand.

The parking lot will get done farther in the future, so our current plan is to clean every inch of the property and make it shine for our grand opening.  Eventually the parking lot will get additional spaces and really finish off the property, but in the meantime we will move in and enjoy our new home while those plans get finalized.

This Sunday, March 25 we will have a workday from 2 to 6 pm to do some major trash removal from the construction site, some minor demolition of some very rotten wood, and some work on a shed roof that needs some repairs.  If you would like to join us, we will take all of the help we can get.  If you go to another church or just live in the community, come on by!  We know a lot of people want to clean up Hwy 99 and we would love for you to be a part of taking on one of the worst looking buildings on the highway.  Just wait…it’s going to be SO beautiful!

Also, we have a lot of smaller building projects coming down the way, such as shelving, barn doors, etc.  Do you know of any retired woodworkers that would love to come and tinker with us?  We have a very long list and a jobs with a variety of skill sets.  Let me know!

SUPER exciting days ahead as North Creek changes a corner in order to have a place to watch Jesus change lives.

Here’s some photos of the roof repairs:


I’m a little late in the week, but we had a great Sunday and I wanted to be sure to highlight that!

Most excitedly we had a young man in our audience decide to make Jesus his Lord and Savior.  That’s why we do what we do!  To tell people about how awesome it is to walk hand and hand with Jesus through this turbulent life.

It’s CHRISTMAS season!  My hope for you is that you are able to be fully present with your family and friends this holiday.  Your kids will probably not remember the Christmas presents 30 years from now, but they will remember family dinners together, reading the Christmas story by the tree, and showing up to deliver gifts to needy families.

On Sunday we moved a semi full of flooring into our buildings.  THANK YOU to everybody who showed up and to Valentin for letting us use the semi.  When we realized that 20,000+ lbs of flooring were coming our way, we were a bit overwhelmed to say the least!  But our church stepped up and it was such a smooth and quick process, we now feel like we can accomplish anything!  Which is good because this building is an awesome task!!!

Many of you responded to my last blog about helping needy families.  So far we have been able to deliver blessings to five different families!  Jesus was generous and we truly reflect Him best when we are generous as well.

We will be sending out a link to a new Facebook page where we will be putting our building needs and work days.  We realize that we will have ALOT of needs over the next several months, so we wanted a page designed to allow us to alert you of both the BIG work days as well as “Hey, we’re working for a couple hours today, come on over if you can.”  Also, we can use donations like a washer and dryer, so those needs will go out in case you have extras in your garage that you would like to donate.  We’ll let you know when that Facebook is ready!

Our Christmas service will be on Sunday, December 24 at 10:00 am this year.  It will be a family service with some great things planned to make it special!  Childcare will be provided for the younger kids.  Invite a friend to celebrate with you!

Well, I can’t wait to see you on next weekend.  We love North Creek and it is a privilege to be your pastors!



Happy Thanksgiving week!  I am MOST thankful for Jesus who walks with us through thick and thin.  We serve a good God!

I’m jumping back into blogging because there are just too many great things happening at North Creek and this is an excellent way to keep you updated on daily life as well as our building progress.  It’s been a slow start on the building as it just takes time to work with architects, engineers, and the county to make sure the building plans are headed in the best direction.  The great news is that you will begin to see things happening any day as the back roof gets rebuilt.  Currently it is raining inside the building, so we are pretty excited about that!

For those of you jumping into the story, we are presently doing church at Prairie High School as we renovate one of the ugliest buildings in Vancouver into a really great venue for our church.  The building is just shy of 100 years old and has a few too many layers of previous renovations on it.  The bones of our building are excellent, so we are basically stripping back the layers and keeping it simple on the layout.  The two buildings together will provide 15,000 square feet of space that perfectly house our hearing service, our deaf service, the kids ministry and OFFICE SPACE!!!! We are very excited about office space as it’s always the thing we denied ourselves in order to accommodate kids.  We’ve got our priorities in line, however this time around we get BOTH!

We are working on a website right now that will house the plans, any updates, and a giving site where you can help us purchase items we will need for ministry inside the building.  We will also be letting you know how to be involved in everything from construction to painting to moving in!  We are making a play to be in by Easter 2018, which will be incredible!

In other news, our small groups are wrapping up for the year and have been finding ways to bless people.  If you are not in a small group, but would like to take groceries to people as a way to give back this holiday season, I always have a list of those who may need a boost right now.  Email me at and I’ll let you know who you can bless!  I almost always have a family that may be facing a crisis, so this offer applies throughout the year!

Interested in being on the worship team?  Matt would love to begin the process to get you in on the rotation, so go to and fill out the volunteer sign up to get started.

Thank you to all of you who volunteer!  We have the BEST people at North Creek who serve faithfully in so many areas.  I am constantly astounded at the heart of our volunteers.

Also, it’s not too late to sign up to go to Puerto Rico in July for a missions trip…but it’s almost too late, so email me asap to let me know you are thinking about it.  This will be a very important trip for a community that desperately needs help!

Mark and I are also going on a trip to Israel in January.  On this trip we will be learning how to facilitate and lead a group of our own, so begin planning now for an upcoming trip to the Holy Lands!  I have no doubt this will be life changing and I look forward to the possibility of taking a team in the future.

Well, I hope this week is filled with good food and good friends!  I am thankful for each of you in my life and the joy that being part of this church is to my family.  Happy Thanksgiving!