For the past 13+ years, it has been our joy to live in Bothell and serve at Eastside Foursquare Church. I have no regrets – it has been a wonderful season for Heidi, myself & the kids. They have grown up there and we have lived here longer then we have lived anywhere else. Alicia is now in college and Levi is wrapping up his Junior year at Bothell High.
We have always sensed a “call” to serve a church as Senior Pastors. We have set this calling aside and found great fulfillment and fruitfulness in other roles of service within the Church. At the same time we have expanded our missions involvement, gained valuable education and indescribably experience. We have done this with the intention of becoming the next Senior Pastors of Eastside Foursquare Church.
Our timing and plans do not always match God’s plans and timing. Fast forward to this year. Heidi and I shared a strong sense that it was time for us to “step up” and “step out” in pursuit of new challenges and new expressions of leadership. We are not sure what that specifically would look like, but we knew that it would not be “doing what we’ve always done.” It was time for risk. It was time for change. It was time.
Consequently, at the end of 2009, I informed Pastor Jim that for the first time, Heidi and I would be “looking” and seeking out opportunities in order to discover what that “next step” was going to be. Anything was possible: from missions work, to teaching, to pastoring, to planting a church.
Just a month ago we were startled to stumble across the place that we believe God has been preparing us for.
It is a church much like Eastside in many ways: multiple services, a regional influence, a strong institute, missions focus, good history in the community, etc. As we began investigating this church we were faced with this question: “Has God in fact been preparing for this opportunity?” The more we prayed about it, the more we felt a “yes” to that question.
Discerning God’s will is often a very subjective process – at least it has been in my life and in my experience. I have looked at opportunities that looked great on paper, but in my heart I felt/heard a loud and clear “no”. Then at other times, when considering opportunities that were full of challenges, costs and inconveniences, I have felt a strong peace and excitement. I have found a peace and confidence by “going with my gut” prayerfully, carefully and with the input of wise council.
In case you hadn't heard already, we are going to a church called Faith Center and it is in Eureka, California. It is a great church with a tremendous influence. Faith Center has three services on their weekends (one on Saturday and two on Sundays). They have a satelite campus in the town of Willow Creek. They have an accredited ministry institute. They have a Spanish speaking service. They are very involved in missions. It is a church of approximately 1000 people and is the largest church in that area. It is a Foursquare Church. Ironically, Heidi grew up at "Faith Center" in Eugene, Oregon -- and that also is where we were married. The church in Eureka has past ties to the church in Eugene, thus the same name. Also, 3 1/2 years ago Heidi and I led a team to Tijuana, Mexico for Foursquare, and this church sent a big group on that team. Consequently, we know some of the people already.
Here is our “crazy timeline” for now: This weekend we are at Eastside. I leave for Manila on Monday morning, very early. We celebrate Alicia’s 19th birthday on Sunday.
I return from Manila on March 19th.
I preach at Eastside and “celebrate” our final weekend here on March 20/21.
I figure out how to get our entire family to the new church on March 27/28 for our “installation” as the Senior Pastors.
My first “regular weekend” there will be Easter.
Pray for us as we begin to get our house ready for sale and deal with all the logistical challenges that lay ahead.
Questions or thoughts? I welcome your comments.