Countdown to Year Seven: The Early Years

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!

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