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.
In 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.
What 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