Archives For Anniversary

Nine Years for North Creek!

stacynewell —  September 24, 2015 — 1 Comment

Today is our 9th anniversary since the day we launched North Creek Church.

I can remember sitting in a conference in my early 20’s feeling so sorry for pastors who “had to” start churches. It looked like an awful lot of toiling and sweat.  It is, by the way.  Now, here I sit, nine years in to a startup church and I feel so blessed to have been a part of something so spectacular!  Strange how the tables so often turn in our lives.

In honor of year nine, here are nine things I’m grateful for along the journey:

  1. I’m grateful for changed  lives.  I love the stories of Jesus changing people and if you have the time, I can tell them to you through laughs and tears.  I love to tell them because each life is living proof that God is still working in our world.  As I walk through the halls on Sunday, the stories flood through me like a river as I lay eyes on each beautiful face.
  2. I’m grateful for the people who have committed for the long haul.  There is so much richness in my life due to the fact that we have chosen to plant our feet in one church with other people who choose to do the same.  You’ll never find the perfect church.  You’ll never find one that is easy to be at all the time.  You’ll never find one that is free of ups and downs.  But if you will commit to people for the journey, you will find satisfaction that you never knew existed.
  3. I’m grateful for the growth in my own life.  I’m a better person because God has used this church plant to refine me in some excruciatingly humble ways as well as some moments of His glory that were even more humbling to be a part of.  I am so different now than nine years ago, it is difficult to comprehend.
  4. I’m grateful for our “Church Plant Kids”.  We had the privilege of starting this church on the backs of a small fleet of children.  Now those same toddlers and kids are teenagers and adults.  They are incredible….really incredible kids with solid morals and good heads on their shoulders.  I give the credit to Jesus and to the partnership in ministry they have had with us.  Church and Jesus have always been a wild adventure for them to partake in…not a boring spectator sport to stop in at.  Honestly, going mobile at this season is an opportunity for some of you.  If I had young kids, I’d seriously sign up for the set up team, drag their cute diapered butts to church at the crack of dawn, and let them serve alongside some great men and women.
  5. I’m grateful for a flexible church.  North Creek gets some award for riding this roller coaster with grace and joy.  We’ve been in a school, we moved to a bar, we bought a building, we merged with a church, we’ve been multisite, we adopted a  [rocking awesome] Deaf Church, our youth ministry meets in another church, and now we are selling everything and moving back into a school….next adventure is yet to be determined!  But each step was with great purpose to pursue what God has birthed in our hearts.  A church that sees only the mission of Christ and not the address is a church that is unstoppable.
  6. I’m grateful for faithful givers.  It takes guts to give away 10%+ of your income every month to a church plant.  After all, most church plants don’t make it past the first couple of years.  Yet, we have a multitude of people who faithfully trust God with their resources every month and it allows us to keep moving forward.  I am grateful for the faithful who believed in us early on and still believe today.
  7. I’m grateful for prayer warriors.  Mountains move when the righteous pray.  We lean heavily into the prayer warriors and they have our ears.  Listening to the critics will birth in you confusion, but listening to the intercessors will confirm in your heart what God is speaking to you.  The maturity of our church is dependent on how many people will commit to seeking God in prayer.
  8. I’m grateful for our Leadership Team.  We have said often that we would not do this alone.  Our team is our greatest joy as we link arm in arm and face the challenges that go with leading a church.  What a fun journey to take with such a talented and strong-willed team!  I frequently say that my job is to chase cats as they all dream and go forth in a beautiful mixture of independence and unity.  We are blessed.  So blessed.
  9. I’m grateful for the Holy Spirit.  The gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives is a mighty one.  I am so thankful for His power in our weakness and His wisdom in our humanity.  There is no way to charge forward into the future without His presence.

Here’s to another nine years.  It’s impossible to imagine all that God can do through the next season of North Creek.  Greater things are yet to come!  Thanks for coming with us!

Pictures from nine years ago.  I’m sure I missed some people, but hopefully you’ll recognize some familiar faces!

 

 

 

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!