Monthly Archives: April 2012

AWESOME Sunday! Everything is getting easier to navigate as we slowly rebuild teams and systems. I think the Battle Ground media computer is our next nemesis to conquer as it seems to be trying to complicate our lives…we will overcome!!!!

On another note, small groups signups should be online tomorrow! We are working out the last few details before we publish, but they are looking good! Whether you attend Battle Ground or Hazel Dell, you can be in any group. We have parenting groups, general groups, young marrieds, men’s bowling, women’s groups, Bible studies, etc. It’s going to be a lot of fun connecting with people! Our summer semester is a good time to jump in as they are shorter and rooted in building relationships.

We had multiple people talk to us yesterday about getting water baptized. That’s what we do this thing for! Our next baptism date is a fun one…On July 1 both campuses will meet at a park and celebrate water baptisms together over brunch. More details to come, but save the date! There is a form online HERE for you to fill out when you are ready to get baptized.

Hey Battle Ground! Did you know that you had 29 people in Children’s classes in one service yesterday? That’s a lot of little lives that we are molding and shaping! Make sure you tell a kid how important they are every Sunday!

Two of our worship leaders, Matt and Alissa, were both sick on Sunday…that’s not so funny! Thanks to Matt for singing as best as you could (which is still pretty awesome!) and to Jordan who jumped in at the last minute to lead for Alissa. We are blessed with lots of talent and willingness to do what it takes to make Jesus look good! And a shout out to Rachel Schultz – she’s one of our teens and Matt relied heavily on her to lead out on some songs. You knocked it out of the park!

Mark spoke on pride at Hazel Dell and Chris continued the Words series at Battle Ground. In other words, everybody at the Coffee Church got hit right where it hurts yesterday. If we could control our egos and our tongues, we’d be so much better off on this earth! Our pride and our words can both be our downfall! The good news is that God can very much help us with both of these issues and we need to surrender that part of our lives to Him.

Lots of new guests this month at both Hazel Dell and Battle Ground! Consider yourself a greeter every week and meet people!

Congrats to Lee, Helen, Alex, Mackenzie, and Ashleigh Malone on their fifth anniversary of being with us! They walked into church, met Jesus, got baptized, and now are a part of our staff team. We are constantly blessed by their presence in our lives! We love you!

I hope this week is full of amazing opportunities for your family!

We just got back from our annual pastor’s conference. It ended up being a great time and my only problem is there were just too many people that we would have liked to have talked to, but time ran short! Here are things I took away from the weekend:

1. In light of our recent leadership load adjustment, we went in with an agenda: Find great leaders and ask them what they would do in our situation. So we did, and boy, were we blessed! We had some amazing leaders pour into our lives and take moments away from their own stuff to make North Creek the best church it can be. Highlights: Wes Davis helping us understand having key leaders at multiple campuses, Terry Gurno helping us understand the pain we experience personally when we hit a leadership lid, and Troy & Jana Jones lending us nearly all of their staff expertise to nail out the various details we now face. It was a year’s worth of leadership development poured into a couple of days!

2. One of the speakers told about how they took a church in Florida that needed a turnaround. One of the leaders there was angry with the new changes and put out a hit list of people he was going to kill. Long story short, he decapitated one of the leaders in the church and put his head at the front door of the church. Gotta tell you…we’ve got small problems in our life compared to that! Thanks to everyone at Battle Ground for not decapitating us in this transition. We really appreciate it!

3. We went to a workshop with Don Ross. He took a church that was declining and turned it around. Honestly, that was some of the best information I’ve ever heard! It applied to every scenario of how to grow a church in the midst of anything that you may face along the way. The bottom line: work harder than you can imagine working and be willing to die for your church. OK.

4. Mark spoke at a workshop with 3 other church planters. It was great! They were all funny, gracious, and real about the life of a church planter. We were the oldest church in the bunch and living proof that this journey is a lot of fun and you can succeed!

5. A pastor came up to me at conference and told me his 15 year old son (who was there) has felt like he wanted to start a Coffee Church in Greece since he was 7 years old. There was a highlight video about our church in one of the sessions, so he asked about interning with us. Sure, come drink the coffee, but we want to visit the Greece campus regularly!

6. I am REALLY excited to watch how God molds and shapes our church over the next 10 years. I love this crazy journey and I’m not getting off this ride for anything! Let’s change our community!

We are at a Pastor’s Conference today in Renton, Washington. Mark is speaking at a workshop this morning on launching churches. We put together a bullet list of some of the things we’ve learned along the way. Thought I would share with you!

Launching Lessons…some learned by doing it right and some learned the other way…

1. Stay true to your vision with conviction and courage.

It is easy for leaders to get sidetracked form their original vision when they don’t see immediate results. No strategy is perfect; so you have to stick with your strategy! We’ve stuck with our strategy as much as we possibly could and we keep getting better at what God has called us to do. We don’t change our direction based on the latest great idea, trend, or complaint. That being said, we constantly evaluate what isn’t working and make course corrections along the way.

2. Be ridiculously optimistic in the face of every challenge.

There have been many discouraging bumps along the road, but you must remain fiercely optimistic to your team and congregation. Leading out of frustration or discouragement will not get the job done. If you want to say something pessimistic, do the exact opposite and watch your church turn around.

3. Get as many people as you can invested in leadership.

We’ve always had a great team at North Creek Church. In fact, most of our launch team is not only still with us, but they are all in key leadership positions. We also have a very broad base of leadership and have a large weekly staff meeting on Sunday nights so that people with full time jobs can be a part. Getting a paycheck is not a prerequisite for sitting at the table. When we recently added a second campus, we had an entire second staff sitting at the table that shifted into new positions literally overnight.

4. Put down your insecurities and pick up your authority.

We have people on our team who are more talented in various areas than us, so we let them lead to their strengths. As lead pastors, we don’t have to be the best at anything. What we do have to carry is the mantle of authority that God has placed on our shoulders. We may not be the most talented, but we are in charge. We need to protect the vision, deal with problems, and manage quality leaders with boldness.

5. Never get comfortable.

People in our community don’t know Jesus. That means that every decision we make as leaders needs to come in alignment with benefiting the mission of God. Nothing else matters.

What a gorgeous weekend we got in the Pacific Northwest! My soggy, mossy lawn slightly dried out before the next onslaught of rain. I saw pictures of sunburns all over Facebook, just to prove we don’t know how to handle the sun!

Church was great this morning! Battle Ground is doing a series on the words we speak. It’s the hardest lesson in the Bible, in my opinion. If we could just control our tongue, can you imagine what our world would be like? Meanwhile, Hazel Dell is doing Mind Games with a sermon on guilt. Talk about two hard hitting topics! If you are wondering, sometimes the campuses will be doing different series and sometimes the same. All series will always end up being at both campuses eventually, so just pick your campus and you’ll get all of the good stuff in time.

I’ve been praying for a friend of mine about some big things in their life and she came to church yesterday to update me on their journey of faith. It’s always cool when you are praying for people and they just unexpectedly pop up!

Mark and I have a conference we’re going to and when I was talking to Kennedy about staying with Grandma, she said, “How am I going to survive without your coffee this week?” Did I mention that the Coffee Church and Kennedy were born the same month? She didn’t have a chance…

Our team is pretty remarkable. They have really gone above and beyond the call of duty lately and we are so impressed with their leadership. Everybody is pulling weight corporately and it’s why this is going so smoothly! I say it alot, but use your words to encourage our team. If your kids are being impacted by a children’s pastor or a youth pastor, tell them that! If you were touched during worship, tell someone on the worship team that! If the sermon impacted you, get on Facebook and do a shout out!

The other thing that we need you to do is to meet someone new every Sunday! If you don’t know someone, just pretend you’re a greeter and shake their hand.

Mark and I went to the youth ministry last week to celebrate their 3rd Birthday! What an awesome HUGE group of kids! We are topping out at over 100 teenagers and they are truly exceptional teenagers. If you are looking for a ministry that will grow your life while you are growing others, join the youth staff. You’ll never be the same again!

Small groups are coming like a freight train! We are feverishly working to get all the groups lined up and ready to go ASAP! This is the BEST time to jump in a group for relationship. Our summer session is shorter, more relationally based, and yet still Biblically founded. It is only a seven week commitment, so it’s an easy run at getting to know some people. If you are still interested in hosting or leading a group, email Amy at

Go change the world this week! God has something planned for you!

I’m not naive enough to think that we are even a stone’s throw into this process of merging, but I like to use my blog as a point of history, so I’ll tell you some thoughts in the middle of it!

1. From North Creek’s perspective, our organization got exponentially more challenging. We now facilitate a preschool, have four full time pastoral staff (we used to have one), we have a partnership with our Deaf Church, we acquired a mortgage, and let’s not forget that we have a softball team in the Lutheran League…random, I know! While all of those are positives, it also adds a weight that is unbelievable. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the blessing of all of it, but it’s a new reality that we are adjusting to.

2. In this scenario, one of those full time employees is the former pastor of Maple Grove. Hi Wayne! Wayne is actually our boss as the presbyter of our area and now Mark is his boss as the pastor of our merged church. I wish I could jump into the heads of all of the pastors reading this…you are probably wondering if this is nuts! Well, so far, so good. It has been a blessing through this process because Wayne has been able to facilitate most of the merge, so that we can focus on the pastoral and renovation stuff. He has also been overseeing the preschool for 15 years, so we haven’t been forced to figure that out in the midst of all the chaos. And he is currently in the process of developing and learning the systems to be North Creek’s Business Pastor, which we now desperately need in order to manage all of the components.

3. My greatest strength and my greatest weakness is that I am an early adopter of new ideas. I hear some plan and I’m ready to go all guns ablazing! I have to admit that I am frequently shocked that a large portion of the world are not early adopters…people actually think about things and take time to process them! Crazy, I know. This process has forced me to allow people to come along at their own pace. Some people decided they loved us before they met us (bless you, early adopters!) and some are still looking at us with one eyebrow raised, waiting to see if our ideas actually produce results. And that’s OK. Time will tell and people will get to where God needs them to get when He needs them to get there.

4. We are surrounded by capable people and now we have to lean on them more than ever. I fondly refer to Mark and I as Delegating Micromanagers. We have had our hands in everything for 5 years all while delegating huge pieces to our ever-expanding team. Now we are forced to look at the micromanager role and kiss it goodbye because we CAN’T be in two places at the same time. We can either have control or growth…not a hard choice!

5. I consider this merge to be going exceptionally well at this juncture. Of course there are people here and there who are not adjusting well, but overall, both churches have risen to the occasion and are navigating this new season with grace and enthusiasm. Bottom line: we are wholly focused on the mission of God and together we will do what God has asked us to do!