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Yesterday marked the 14th year of Mark and I being pastors in Vancouver, WA.  We came from the Seattle area after serving as youth pastors at two previous churches.  When we loaded up the moving van, I honestly thought it was a very temporary move for our little family.  Now, fourteen years later, both of my children were born here, we’ve grown roots, and beautiful Clark County is our home.

Along with it being the start of a new year, our “anniversary” brought many reflections to my heart about our tenure here:

1.  I love the Church.  Capital C.  The Bride of Christ is Jesus’ first love and I am so thankful for the variety of churches that our community offers to believers.  They all look slightly unique, but every week they gather to honor our Savior Jesus.  We are blessed to pastor alongside some amazing men and women who valiantly give their lives, do their best everyday, and fight the fight!  Thank you to all of you pastors who love our city.

2.  We’ve seen the best in ministry.  We’ve seen lives transformed, families rescued, addictions broken, healing happen, and hope set free in people’s hearts.  Every prayer, every baptism, and every life is valuable to my heart.  I am humbled and honored to be a part of it all.  Pastoring is a difficult and trying job, but the rewards are rich.  The Bible is clear that many will fall away, which is difficult to process, but those who hold tight to Biblical principles are a treasure.

3.  We’ve seen the worst in ministry.  Our first church experience in our city was racked with lawsuits, division, and horror.  I’ve never seen anything like it and I pray to God I never see anything like it again.  I realized that we, as Christians, have the ability to do far more damage to the Church of Jesus than any non-believer out there.  Guard your words, dear believer.  The Church is Jesus’ deepest treasure and we must treat it accordingly.  As a pastor, this would be the reason behind many sleepless nights as I pray for a unified church that gets behind the mission and vision.  If that happens…well, read the Bible.  We become an unstoppable force to be reckoned with.

4.  We have lifelong friends here.  The greatest jewel in our ministry experience has been the friends we have gained along the way.  We have been blessed, from day one, to be surrounded by people that we LOVE to work alongside.  We have pastored together, held each other’s brand new babies, scolded each other’s kids, and now are cheering on our teens.  We have started a church together, failed together, succeeded together, and worked out a thousand struggles along the way.  We’ve eaten too much pizza in youth ministry and drank countless cups of coffee in church planting.  It has been a joy!

So, we continue on in pastoring and in doing our best to reach this county with love.  We continue on in building His Church and in dreaming for a bright future.  We continue on in looking for new friends to add to our hearts and lives.  The best is yet to come!

Happy New Year!

 

Ministry is so much fun!  I love Jesus, I love serving in His Church, I love watching life-change…

We have grown a lot this summer and in some really interesting ways!  As usual we’ve gotten some great families, but even more exciting for me is an influx of elderly people at our 11:00 am Hazel Dell service.  Church plants are not usually known for multi-generational strength, so to see this area flourish is exciting!  I love the wisdom, prayerfulness, and warmth that the elderly add to a church.  I want my kids having a lot of older people telling them how to live life and honor Jesus!  If you are over 70, the Coffee Church is for you, too!

Matt and Andrea Garner had baby Savannah yesterday!  She was supposed to be born next Sunday, but we were sure glad to meet her early!  They are doing well and looking forward to introducing you to their new daughter soon.  You can help with meals HERE.

Our youth ministry is NOT meeting on campus this Thursday.  They have their Back-to-School BBQ and Bridgetown Homeless Outreach.  If you need more info, email Kris at kris@coffeechurch.com.  Also email her if you’d like to impact a generation by volunteering at youth!

Mark your calendars for our Vision and Volunteers night on September 13.  It is going to be a night to HONOR all of the people who make North Creek Church happen every day!  If you are not yet volunteering, you can sign up right now and still be invited to the fun!  It’s a great segway into our volunteer team and an awesome opportunity to meet people as well.  You can sign up HERE.

Thank you to those of you who gave extra this month to help our summer budget.  It’s always tight over the summer months and we appreciate your tithes to help us do quality ministry every day of the week!  We are still short overall for the summer, but have made budget in August and can now do some catch up for the fall.  You can give online at www.coffeechurch.com if you’d like to help us this month!

FYI:  I will not be blogging about Miley Cyrus.  What I will say is that we have a great youth group that teaches sexual morality, abstinence, and honoring God with our bodies.  My daughters will be going there faithfully and hearing something far different than what the media has to say.  There is another voice and it is our job as parents to flood the Word of God into our children’s hearts and minds.  Don’t watch the VMA’s.  Read your Bible.  Get your kids to church.  Stop letting the world win our children.  Jesus changes everything.

We had a guest at our staff table and she Facebooked the best comment: “Ever sat in a room of people who are so creative it invokes a “fight or flight” reaction? I did today and it was terrifying and electrifying at the same time. Can’t wait for our church staff meeting next week.”  I keep telling our team not to be so overwhelming, but I don’t think they can hear me over all of the talking and laughing…. 😉  Love them all!

For those of you who have gone back to school, use your love for Jesus to change someone’s day.  For those of you who haven’t gone back yet, enjoy your last few days of summer!

Be blessed!

 

 

 

Being a mommy in ministry is not for the faint of heart!  For the last seven years I’ve been at church before 8:00 am every Sunday morning.  Having a 6 and 8 year old currently, that means that I have bundled up babies and toddlers for the majority of those years to come with me at the crack of dawn.

  • I will admit to pre-dressing my kids the night before in an attempt to make Sundays a bit easier.
  • I’ll also admit to stealing potato chips from the youth snack stash in order to feed my kids breakfast on occasion.
  • I’ve brushed their hair and teeth in the church bathroom on mornings when they just couldn’t handle it any earlier.
  • Once when Delaney had a fever, I brought a bean bag and let her sleep it off in the back room where nobody could bother her.
  • My kids have both attended TIny Town in their pajamas.

The best thing about my life is that I’m not alone.  There are MANY women in our church that I have rubbed shoulders with for years who have faithfully shaken their kids awake way too early to serve at God’s house.  By the time you see these moms, they are well dressed, makeup on, kids in order, and doing polished ministry.  I get to see the other side of their lives when they are doing their makeup after worship practice and putting on their kids clothes just before the front doors open for church.  Some of our musicians have admitted to having their child’s bodily fluids on their clothes, hidden discreetly behind their instruments.  We laugh together at the reality of moms in ministry and sometimes lament our difficult tasks.

But there’s another interesting facet that I am watching from the gift of longevity….these kids that have literally been drug into our church before the sun comes up are simply amazing.  We are about to have our first graduate from our group of church planter’s kids and we have every age of child from 18 on down…and the depth of their character is inspiring.

  • They competently manage and lead from a very young age.
  • The older kids help to take care of the younger as if they are siblings…and the young ones look up to the older ones with awe.
  • These kids know worship songs to the core of their being because they have been running and dancing through worship practice for years.
  • They LOVE ministry and are good at it.  It’s in their second nature to minister and to serve.
  • They are not afraid of risk and challenge.  They have lived lives of faith as long as they can remember.
  • They are not bitter about coming to church (although they all wish it started later!).

momIt is for all of these reasons and more that I don’t feel bad when I see a nursing mommy, with arms loaded, making her way into church early on a Sunday morning.  I just simply smile with understanding and make sure there’s a cup of coffee to put in her hands.  I also grab one of her kids and put them to work somewhere.  After all, I know that she’s not there for her own glory, but because she believes that God will use her example to mold and shape her child.

So, here’s to the Secret Tribe of Mommies in Ministry.  I have seen your tired eyes, disheveled hair, and rumpled clothes.  I’ve watched you balance too much and feel the stress of commitment.  I know you think you’re nuts sometimes for trying to do ministry with a toddler by your side.  But always remember, there’s a tribe of mommies on your side, too. 

A Promise Fulfilled

stacynewell —  March 28, 2013 — 2 Comments

IMG_3292Seven years ago we met Kim Goodrich.  She was helping with kids at the church we were at and got wind that we were starting North Creek just a block from where she lived.  She had expressed interest in being a part and we were pretty excited to add someone to our small band of brave people embarking on a crazy journey.

At first glance all those years ago, we weren’t even sure what to make of Kim.  She’s a relentless go-getter and as feisty as a trapped cat.  However, we quickly realized that she’s smart as can be, kind to her core, has an unwavering determination, and will never let the world get her down.  In other words, she was made to start a church.

Through a series of events that we would never have expected or foreseen, God made it clear that our first Children’s Pastor was this very unexpected surprise sitting in our midst.  So, with a bit of trepidation, we brought a Pepsi (her favorite drink) to the office and asked if she could come for a visit.  We slid the Pepsi across the desk and asked her to take the job with a paycheck of $100 a month.  She said yes.

Over the last seven years she has literally bled, sweated, and cried for the mission of this church.  She’s taught the Bible, baptized kids, and loved them through elementary school turmoil.  On top of it all, she took on the task of being our bookkeeper for the first six years of our existence.

We vowed that we would someday pay her full time.

Five years ago we all went on a devastating journey with her as her husband was suddenly diagnosed with MS.  Kim, mother of two elementary kids, was faced with the impossible task of a daunting medical situation, needing a full time job to support her family, and helping her children understand this new reality.  And to make matters worse, we were in no position to hire anyone full time.  So, we watched as she navigated her life outside of the walls of North Creek.  We cried with her on her first day of work.

But a promise is a promise…sometimes with a slightly different timeline than we could ever script.

With Wayne’s resignation last month we were faced with the fact that we needed someone to keep our finances afloat….and we had just the peg for that round hole!  So, it is with great joy that we are officially announcing that Kim has been hired full time as both our Children’s Pastor at Hazel Dell and our Financial/Administrative person for all three campuses and the Learning Center.  Yes, it’s a big job, but trust me, Kim will fill it well!

Kim – Thanks for sticking through this dream with us.  We are humbled by your heart and inspired by your perseverance.  We are grateful that you have loved our kids for seven years and look forward to many, many more.  Let’s change the world!

Praying for a Youth Pastor

stacynewell —  March 14, 2013 — 1 Comment

We are at such an amazing time as a church!  We are growing, seeing families begin to jump in and serve, and feeling like our footing is back after a very tricky season of ministry with the merge one year ago.  We have so many opportunities and so much excitement!  We just can’t wait for God to unfold the next part of His plan for North Creek.

One thing is for sure: Battle Ground needs a youth pastor.

We have spent the last year getting the Battle Ground teens plugged into our Hazel Dell youth group under the leadership of Kris Gray.  It has been a great win for all of the students and we have been amazed at the cohesiveness between the various groups of youth.  We have also loved marrying two sets of youth staff who are thriving together.  Kris and her team took an interesting circumstance and made it incredible.  That being said, the community of Battle Ground is starving for a local solution to helping teens navigate their lives from a Godly perspective surrounded by Jesus-filled adults.

Here’s what KILLS us…we really feel within our heart of hearts that our church is part of the answer.  We know that the steel rod that runs through the back of North Creek Church is our ability to invest in teenagers and connect them to our church as young adults.  We birthed a church set on pouring resources and attention into teenagers.  It has run through Mark and I’s blood for 20 years and becoming Lead Pastors never changed that.

So, here’s the deal.  We need you to pray for a miracle for Battle Ground and North Creek.  We have several things that you can pray specifically about:

1.  We need $50,000 for the various salaries and startup costs to run both youth ministries for a year.  We believe that a year from now we’ll be solid enough to carry the weight from that point forward.

2.  We also need a youth pastor.  We believe that there is a very specific person for this role.  We believe that God is appointing this person to fit perfectly into this task and we believe He is birthing a passion for Battle Ground in their hearts.  If you know of a youth pastor that fits into the DNA of North Creek, can work in tandem with Kris Gray, and is ready to take on the massive task of pastoring Battle Ground teens, send them the link to my blog or have them email me at stacy@coffeechurch.com

3.  We need you to continue to pray for Vancouver teenagers.  This is nothing new.  They are bursting at the seams and desperately need a bigger facility!  The financial ramifications of solving their ever-expanding issues is massive, but we’ll take those type of problems any day.  Let’s reach people for Jesus!

THANK YOU for your prayers!  We know that God is up to something and the miracle is just around the corner.  Hold on to your seats!  It’s going to be a good year!