Archives For seven years

We are in the midst of celebrating our 7th year anniversary as North Creek Church!  Over the last week, I have been sharing highlights from this incredible journey.  Here’s the next chapter in our story…

After we moved into the old nightclub, we had a fairly calm next three years.  We worked on our systems, continued to grow, and established ourselves as a church.  At about the four year mark, we noticed that God was bringing more quality leaders into our midst, but we didn’t necessarily NEED them at the time.  Because we don’t fill our staff table out of need, we just began to listen to God and ask certain people to come to our staff meetings without a job or a title.  It seemed strange at first, but a year later, it all became very clear when we had a divine opportunity to add another campus to North Creek Church.

IBattle Ground launchn January 2012 we began the process of merging with a declining church in Battle Ground to create that second campus.  We were about to become a church plant-multisite-turnaround-merger church.  If you are wondering who to ask for advice in that particular situation, let me tell you that it’s complicated.  Once again, we were setting off into a new realm of ministry with a whole lot of faith, very little experience, and as much advice as we could get.

Over the next year we would learn a lot about things like a multisite church structure, about what makes a church decline in the first place, and about how to divide a very tight team in half but maintain unity.  We would wrestle with systems, mentalities, and our own leadership limitations.  We would have one difficult conversation after another and resolve to fight for the culture we believed in.  We would watch our team stretch past their own weaknesses and we would navigate through all of their (and our) insecurities.  In the midst of that we would watch the people from the merger church acclimate to a new leadership team, a new direction, and we would watch helplessly knowing that we were intentionally creating a completely different church.  I will admit that there were the darkest days of North Creek mixed in that year for us.  We were torn at every turn with a deep love for all of our people, but a deeper love for the mission of God.  There were so many moments when we wondered what to do next.

WIMG1401hat do you do when you don’t know what to do?  Simple…do the last thing God told you and don’t waver.  So, that’s what we did.  We held to the vision that God had given us to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus by creating a church that unchurched people want to go to.  We poured ourselves into getting Battle Ground molded into the vision that God had given us for North Creek.  And then we watched as God flooded the doors with families, stories, and changed lives.  We watched as our team began to thrive and our people began to LOVE their church.  We watched as the volunteer schedule began to fill up and ministries began to have solidarity.  We watched it work.

Even as I type this, we are still writing this story.  We still have a youth ministry to launch, more volunteers to train, and a deeper leadership structure to establish.  All that being true, I am so amazed at North Creek Battle Ground.  It is a constant reminder in my life that this thing that God has asked us to do is bigger than me.  It’s bigger than Mark.  It’s bigger than the sum of all it’s people.

It is God’s holy, amazing Bride and His one and only plan to reach the world.

 

To Be Continued

 

We are days away from celebrating our 7th year anniversary as North Creek Church!  For the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing highlights from this incredible journey.

So, let me take you back to this day in 2006…

 

I can remember sitting in the dark, quiet house just six days prior to our Sunday morning launch of North Creek Church.   It was about 2:00 am and I was in a rocking chair cradling my three month old baby.  I could feel her breathe heavily against me in her deep sleep and I remember looking down at her little hands in the dim light that was pouring through the window.  The creak of the chair against the hardwood floors was the only other sound in the house.

A panic shot through me…What were we doing?  The flood of fear that I could easily hold back during the day seemed to be relentless in the dark.  We were living on a faith that seemed to lack any practicality whatsoever.  Everything we had learned about what we needed to start a church in conferences, books, and mentoring was not our reality.  Were we about to fail?

We didn’t have enough people to start with…just 39 and 20 of those were little children.  The infant in my arms was included in that count.  Granted, the 39 we launched with are some of the most passionate, hard working people I’ve ever met, but the numbers were against us.

We hadn’t raised anywhere near enough money.  We had $10,000 for all the sound equipment, rent, advertising, and children’s stuff we needed and we had an additional $1600 in monthly support for one year.  Anybody who has started a church would be shocked by those numbers.  Experts would have told us to wait another year…they might have been right, but the advertisements were out, the bell had been rung, and we were going forward no matter what at this point.

I pleaded with Jesus to make this work.  A flash of people’s faces that believed in North Creek was constantly running through my mind.  I saw the Yonkos and the Grays and knew what was riding on this.  Jeremy, Jeff, and Angela had given up paying jobs to move to Vancouver for this.  The Christie family had given up their friends at their former church and their kids’ youth group….and on and on the faces scrolled.  The weight of it all came crashing down on my very frail and very tired shoulders that night.  It seemed that people had bought into a vision that made no earthly sense and the ONLY way that it was going to work was if Jesus Himself showed up….

What if he didn’t?

The breath of my daughter in the night shocked me back to reality and actually reminded me that I needed to breathe, too.  I inhaled and exhaled a few times and looked back at that child.

IMG_6138He had crafted her against all odds.  He was ultimately responsible for her well-being, and although I was given the privilege of taking care of her, so much was out of my hands.  I was just asked to lead her to the best of my ability for as many days as I was given.

Hmmm…just like this little baby church.  It was HIM crafting it all along, against all odds.  He was responsible for growing it, and our job was just to take care of it to the best of our ability.  Just love it, just feed it, just nurture it…don’t worry about how meager it looks right now.  It is His Mighty Church and it cannot be stopped.  What looks as helpless as a baby may turn into greatness if you give it time… 

To Be Continued
 

Just a few of our “Church Plant Kids

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