Monthly Archives: August 2012

Yesterday we had the privilege of going up to the Peninsula to visit with the team of Newlife Church in Kitsap County.  They currently have 5 campuses, all with live speakers (no video at this point), and have a goal of 14 campuses in the future.  The ironic part of this story is that we heard their Lead Pastor, Wes Davis, speak at a church planter’s conference 7 years ago.  We decided his model was not “us” and didn’t think much about it again.  However, over the last seven years, we have become more and more similar in our structure and now I can completely see us mimicing a lot of their systems and strategies.  I guess it just goes to show you that you can never rule anything out because God might just surprise you as you get a little further down the journey and define yourself more clearly.

Here are some things we took away from the day:

  • 4:30 am is way too early to get up.
  • We have visited a lot of churches over the last seven years and talked to a lot of pastors about their systems.  If you are a church leader who doesn’t ask a lot of other church leaders thousands of questions, I’m not sure what you are thinking.
  • We need to redefine our pipeline of communication and structure.  With one campus it worked to have every leader in every meeting and communicate on a broad basis.  As we move forward in our multisite system, we will need to redefine and move people to the right meetings to get the most out of people’s time and talents.
  • Wes is a master at getting young leaders doing top level ministry in a way that creates boundaries.  Two things are true: young leaders need to be used in amazing ways and young leaders do not have the maturity and wisdom that comes with decades of ministry experience.  I think Wes may have found a way to have the best of both realities by creating leadership roles that are significant within a framework where he still provides spiritual leadership and training.
  • Newlife Church is riding on the backs of a small team of staff that most people don’t ever see on stage.  That was particularily interesting to me.  Sarah, their “get crap done” person, literally runs that church behind the scenes.  She’s not a pastor, a pastor’s wife, or called to preach.  She is, however, a powerhouse of organization and a sharp thinker.  She is empowered to make ridiculously important decisions in conjunction with Dan, who is basically in charge of making sure the big picture is in alignment.  Together they carry the weight of the systems of running the church while Wes carries the spritual weight.
  • Dan constantly asks questions.  You can get a lot of clarity when you have to explain your thinking out loud to someone.  If you sound like an idiot, you might want to work on your thinking in that area.  Thanks, Dan, kind of.

Many thanks to Newlife for just letting us be flies on the wall yesterday.  We learned a lot and plan to be better leaders tomorrow than yesterday!  That’s always the goal!


Man alive we have MEGA-preachers at our church!  Every week I so enjoy whomever is up there!  This week Mark and I split the difference and each attended a different campus.  I heard his sermon went great and I had the pleasure of watching Chris Harold move his arms a lot…and preach an amazing sermon!

If you were wondering who the beautiful new singer was at Battle Ground, that is Jordan Schmidts new WIFE, Rachel!  They got married last week and brought his incredible new bride back to the Coffee Church.  She jumped in with both feet to the youth ministry and worship team.  We are so excited for this newly wedded couple!

In January we prayed that this year would be one of miracles and it’s holding true…I met Sandy’s two new daughters and Will and Sarah felt their baby kick “on the outside” for the first time in church yesterday.  Both of those conversations were answers to prayer and I can barely contain my joy for both of them!

We need massive amounts of volunteers for the fall.  Our number usually go up by 1/3 in all kids classes come September!  If you are ready, willing, and able to help in a kid’s class, email me at today!

Yesterday, somone thought I was married to Chris Harold and someone else thought Alissa was married to Mark!  Just to clarify, Mark and I are happily married to each other!  In fact, Friday was our 15th anniversary.  If you missed the picture on Facebook, here it is:


I know, we look young.  I heard that a couple of times yesterday…

We are gearing up for small groups in a couple of weeks!  If you are interested in leading a 10 week small group, just email Amy at and she will begin stalking you.  If you just want to attend a group, you’ll get all the info in a few weeks.  It will be a truly amazing fall!

Next Sunday is the LAST Sunday that our Kindergartners will be in Tiny Town.  If you have a Kindergartener, could you email Kim at for Hazel Dell or Vanessa at for Battle Ground and let them know that you have a child transitioning.  We don’t want to miss anybody and all of our information is by age, which can vary depending on the child!  Kim and Vanessa will help ease your child into a new class and small group.

It was the last Sunday of August, which is both good and sad!  As pastors, we love the fall because everybody comes back from summer vacation, small groups kick off, and we have our “normal” community again.  That being said, it was a nice summer and we’ll miss it, too!

Before you log off, click HERE and like our Facebook page!  Have a great week!


Five months ago we embarked on our current multisite church strategy with campuses in Battle Ground and Hazel Dell via a merge situation with Maple Grove Church.  It has been an incredible journey of literally re-learning how to function, lead, and thrive in a new scenario.  After being a single campus for five years, we are very much enjoying the challenge of trying new ways of doing ministry.  That being said, it is no small task to be a church plant-merge-turnaround-multisite organization.  The skill set needed to manage this is astounding!  Without the staff and volunteer force we have behind us, we would be struggling.

The Leadership Network did research on multisite and came up with the following benefits, many of which encouraged us to stay the course and get this organization on steady ground:

– Multisite churches reach more people than single site churches.

– Multisite tends to spread healthy churches to more diverse communities.

– Multisite churches have more volunteers in service as a percentage than single site.

– Multisite churches baptize more people than single site.

– Multisite churches tend to activate more people into ministry than single site.

We have definitely found that the list above reflects the benefits of where we are at.  At first, we faced the challenge of finding enough volunteers to have two high-functioning churches.  We needed two complete worship teams, two Kid’s teams, two Host Teams, etc…it was spreading our leaders and volunteers thin on all fronts.  Now we are beefing up the volunteer base and finding joy in watching a fleet of people engaged in ministry on Sundays and throughout the week.

We are also redefining how and why we do church at our merged location.  Obviously we do and don’t do things for different reasons than they were previously done.  It’s not about being right or wrong, but it is about getting everyone on the same page.  Culture is defined by all the things an organization gets behind, as well as what they choose not to get behind.  If we want the North Creek culture in both campuses, we need the whole team focused on the same goal.  On a basketball team, there are many plays, but once the coach calls which play is to be used, all the members of the team must execute the same play in order to make the basket.  If one person on the team decides to go with a different play, the whole team loses…even if the other play would have accomplished making a basket as well.  In this case, we needed a lot of people to adapt to change extremely quickly, drop their “play” and go with what the new coach was asking.  And it was a lot to ask!  I feel like just now we are beginning to hear the phrase “our church” more regularly than “your church”.  People are beginning to take the ownership in a new vision one step at a time and are starting to work toward the same play.  I have no doubt that we will “make the basket” as a church in due time!

Our staff has also had to stretch in unfamiliar ways in order to manage multisite.  It is a very interesting conundrum to find yourself in charge of people you rarely see.  How do you lead leaders that must then lead the people?  (Sounds Biblical, doesn’t it?)  Ironically this model is right out of the pages of the Bible, but not modeled wholistically in the church world.  We are asking lots of questions and dealing with our own limits in order to impact this community.

There’s so much more to talk about as we are learning!  I am most thankful for a church that has stood with us through the learning curve.  I know that God has great plans for us…both individiually and as a church body!  Blessings!


Such a fun weekend!  I love our churches and the communities we are seeing develop!

At Hazel Dell we had Summer Recap Sunday.  Lots of tears, laughs, and fun memories for people.  Jesus is in the business of changing lives and I am continually amazed at how much He can get done in one church.

At Battle Ground we kicked off our “House of Mirrors” series with Chris Harold.  It is a series about our role, mission, and agenda as a church.  Sometimes we get very confused on what is mandated in the Bible as a church.  It’s not about crosses on the walls and programs down the halls.  It’s about each of us living for Jesus 100% of the time and having lives that reflect that 24/7.

One of our worship team members at Hazel Dell might have set off the alarm on Sunday morning at 7:00 am.  The police might have showed up and questioned him on stage about what he was doing in our church.  I can’t confirm or deny this information because I wouldn’t want to incriminate Marcus Young.

Congrats to Heather and Tim on their upcoming nuptuals!!!!! Super excited for you two!  Heather was baptized this summer, went to the Dominican Republic on the missions trip and now she’s getting married.  Talk about a busy summer with Jesus!

Congrats to Rob and Sandy who are now the proud parents to two beautiful girls!  God grows our families in profound ways and we are excited with the Carpenter family!  More kids at the Coffee Church is always an awesome thing!

We took an offering over the last couple of weeks for our missionaries.  We are super excited that a couple thousand dollars have come in!  Thank you for your support of people that we love and believe in who are working far away from home in order to bring the world the message of Jesus.  It’s money WELL spent!

We had a board meeting Sunday night.  We love our board!  They care about our church, our pastors, and our future.  Thanks to that great team of North Creek protectors and encouragers!

You should take a moment and LIKE our church on Facebook.  It’s another way to stay connected to people and know what’ going on.  Just click HERE to go to our page.

Also, thank you for all of the school supplies!  We got lots of actual supplies as well as about $300 in cash to buy additional supplies.  We are also helping a single mother with her supplies as well.  If you are a single parent and need help with supplies, would you email me at  We can help out in that area!

Here are some more opportunities this week to help North County Schools this week:

Aug. 22 from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm – Hanging clothes donations in preparation for the Event Day where they distribute clothes and school supplies.  Help anytime for any amount of time!  Battle Ground High School *Previously I put the wrong address, so take note!!!

Aug. 23 – Evening help moving and setting up for Event Day.  Contact Ken & Peggy (contact info below) to help.

Aug. 24  from 1:30 – 7:00 pm – Event Day at Battle Ground High School – They need workers for 3 hour shifts.  Must have a background check, so please email/call Ken & Peggy Kirkman asap to get signed up.  360-687-9866 or


Have a great week and we’ll see you soon!  Be blessed!

My daughter has been begging me for a garage sale for weeks.  I finally gave in when she said she wanted to give all of the proceeds to missions.  How on earth am I supposed to deny my precious 8 year old the opportunity to sell her toys to give the money to a great cause?  We don’t even have enough for a worthy garage sale, but you better believe that I will proudly display our few tables of treasures for her sweet smile.

During the process of preparing for a garage sale, we’ve been going through the house collecting things that we no longer need.  It’s an emotional process to say the least as each item forces us to decide whether it’s serving the purpose it needs to serve, or it can better serve elsewhere.  Sometimes it’s because I really love that item, but it’s no longer practical or useful in my home.  Sometimes it’s because I don’t even appreciate the item, but there is a sentimental attachment to it that is unbreakable.

I see a similar trend that plays out in many pastors with whom we have crossed paths.  As a whole, lots of pastors try to hold on to people in their churches, for a variety of reasons, at any cost.  They look at people they love and cannot handle the idea of letting go.  As a shepherd of a flock, this is both a strength and a weakness.  Of course we should love each and every sheep, but sometimes love is holding on and sometimes love is letting go.

Sometimes pastors hold talented and called people too tightly and are gripped with fear by the idea that God may call them somewhere else.  How would I do my ministry without them?!?!  Rather than dreaming for the BEST for their team, they hope that they only become the best while serving within the context of their church.

Sometimes pastors put up with division, bad attitudes, and negativity because they so desperately want to avoid rocking the boat.  For attendance, financial, or relational reasons they allow the inappropriate voices to have a place in their church.

I think one of the most difficult and necessary steps to a healthy church is that we, as pastors, must love people enough to LET them go (and in some cases, help them on their way).  When they have a dream from God, we should swing wide the doors of our church and fill their pockets with financial blessings on the way out.  When they have a negative voice, we should rebuke and correct as the Bible instructs, without fear of whether they stay or go.  As a good friend of mine once said, “Their negativity is costing you more than their tithe is giving you.”

Bottom line: Pastoring takes guts.  Guts to throw 100% of your heart at people that are not yours to keep.  It is our job to understand releasing people with blessing and growing people without fear.  Good luck.