Archives For year seven

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.

Around our 2nd year anniversary, we made a call that changed the course of our church.  An old night club in Hazel Dell had shut it’s doors two years earlier and the landlord was struggling to rent one of the ugliest buildings on Hwy 99.  We wanted to get a look inside.

As our team walked through that building I think we all saw the reality.  There was filth, damage, and challenges everywhere.  We were a church of about 80 people with no money, but something about this very pathetic old bar was calling our name.  It was a mess, but then again, aren’t we all?  That run-down place just needed some love, attention, and time to be used once again for a greater purpose.  It echoed the smallness of our beginnings and we wanted in.  Through a series of miracles, we not only negotiated a rent we could afford, but we fixed it up to working order with a lot of volunteer effort and all of the meager $2700 we had to spend.  We moved in November 23, 2008.

The next five years would be a constant project to make that old building the best it could be.  It’s still what I call “Funky-Chic”, but when I look around all I see is one miracle after the other.  It seemed like the renovation of that building mirrored the renovation of the hearts within it.  I will forever see the face of the dad that we prayed for who walked in one day and never left.  I see every one of the baptisms in our portable tank.  I see the tears of the people we prayed with to know Jesus.  I see the hopeful faces of the people that we handed out first Bibles to.  I see teenagers flooding out of there on a Thursday night.  I see greatness where there once was devastation.

There is a bittersweet moment for me when I remember that this old night club is not our permanent home.  It’s just a stopping point on our journey and our time there will end.  Still, it will always be a season where we feel like God said, “I need you here for now.  Not because it makes sense, but because there are some people I need to reach.  People who look a lot like this building…abandoned, forgotten, left in disrepair…I’ve called you to look past that and see their potential.  Always remember…I am the God of renovation.  

That is all we ever want to do…Go where God leads and watch Him repair what is broken.  If you are feeling like your life is a mess, come on in.  We believe there is greatness in you.

 

I wrote a blog a long time ago that is the story of one of the greatest moments of my life that happened in this building.  You can read it HERE.

 

 

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.

The early months of a church are interesting at best when you have a small launch team. For the first 24 months, we only hit over 100 people in church twice…Opening Day and one Easter.  In 2007 we averaged 69 people every week, half of whom were children.  There were Sundays when we needed so many kid’s workers to accommodate those numbers that it left only a handful in the main service to hear the message.  There is something very humbling about starting worship with two people in the audience and three on stage.

On top of not having enough people to constitute a crowd, we were hemorrhaging money.  Not only were we growing slowly, but our year of extra support from our fundraising ended in June of 2007.  The summer of 2007 will go down in history as one of the most stressful of our lives.  I can remember the day we needed thousands of dollars to pay the bills, we prayed desperately for God’s provision, and Sundays offering was $58.  Five. Eight.  What were we going to do?

Mark and I had both spent all of our lives at large churches, so our new reality was difficult at best.  Discouragement began to set in.  Could we ever get beyond this point? We limped along for the next three months.  We sold everything we could to pay the next bill.  As other churches offered us used equipment (which happens a lot when you are a church plant!), we took it, refurbished what we could, and sold it to survive as a church.

It was at that critical moment that we decided to lead out of vision and not devastation.  As we preached the Word of God we never focused on our lack and chose purposefully not to make it a highlight in our church.  We never waved the flag of desperation, but tried to stand firm in our faith that God would take care of us if we kept the main thing the main thing.  I have to admit that we may have been standing, but our knees were knocking.

At the end of October we sat as a team and crunched the numbers.  We had two weeks left before we would close the doors if we didn’t get at least $10,000 above and beyond our regular giving.  Our average month was no where near that, so we figured we were going to close an otherwise perfectly healthy church because of finances.  We braced ourselves for impact.

The first week of November, just one week before we would be out of resources, New Life, a church in Renton, Washington, took an offering to bless North Creek. We had been junior high pastors there a decade earlier and still had lots of ties to their people.  The check came back at $11,200.  We were just given a miraculous lifeline.

We went to our congregation to let them know of New Life’s generosity and the most amazing thing happened before our eyes…Our people matched that amount over and above their regular giving.  It was as if a light bulb went off in the hearts of our congregation, “If someone else financially believes in our church, we should, too.”

We rounded the corner to our second year anniversary growing to about 80 people and no debt.

What we didn’t realize was that we were about to make a move that would double our congregation and set us on a new direction…

To Be Continued

We used to decorate our stages to match our sermon series.  Here is the first year of stages that we pulled off in our mobile church!