Friday, March 05, 2010

Radical Changes


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. EFC2

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. Family Photo


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.


Anonymous said...

We are thrilled for you and Heidi. Blessings on this most monumental accomplishment. I will love to stay connected via FB. I enjoy your continued move of the Holy Spirit, and know you will be perfect for this new endeavor. Hug you wife for me, you will be missed! Jeri and Roy Pleticha

Aaron said...

Matt, have a blast on your trip! I am excited that oand Heidi will be our new pastors. I am looking forward to what God will do through you.

Aaron said...

Matt, i am excited that you and Heidi will be our new senior pastors! I look forward to what God will do though you both! I am also greatful that we meet on the missions trips! I will be praying for the move.

Matt said...

Thanks Aaron, Jeri & Roy. We are definitely entering into a new chapter in our lives and it is very exciting. It's great having people like you in our lives. We are looking forward to what the Lord has in store.

Brian said...

are very excited about your decision to lead our church. We appreciate the huge step you and Heidi are taking and are convinced it is God's will. If there is anything we can do to help in any way please contact me at We are excited about the prospect of spending time with you and Heidi. We will, sadly, be out of town for your first service. We are going to be out of town (Kauai for a week) and returning late Sunday the 28th.

Truly, all the the best to you and Heidi, Brian and Cindi Hunt

Anonymous said...

Gosh-olly we are going to miss you. You are my all time favorite teacher. Your sermons speak to my soul. Now others get a turn. My your new season be blessed.


wsd1 said...

Sent this in email, but it was bounced. We are looking forward to meeting you in Eureka and so thankful that the Lord is gifting us with you to equip us for serving.
A group of us have been (and will continue to) pray for you and your family - and now we can pray with your names.
My last name is Darnall and I sent a friend request on Facebook.
Wm. "Steve" Darnall

Empart is transforming communities in Northern India by training local
people to start churches in the local community. The members of these churches then go on to minister to the people living in their towns and villages, sharing the love of Jesus while helping to meet their physical needs in practical ways. What's more, every new church is passionately committed to planting other hurches in unreached communities as well.

We believe that real & lasting community transformation is achieved through starting authentic local churches. - Jossy Chacko

Robby said...

Congratulations Matt, what a great opportunity! I am thankful to have been in your last crop of Fuller Northwest mentees!
Grace and peace,

Dawn said...

Matt, What a wonderful blessing to have your family join us in Eureka. We are new to the community ourselves, having moved here with my job. We were very very involved in our church in Lake County, Jim, in the men's ministry, I in the music program, praise & worship, youth group and facilitation of a cross- community email prayer chain (yes, God's preparation of your heart was on there!). Being so involved in our home church we felt a bit lost when we moved here. After a couple of other visits, we decided to check out Faith Center. We knew we were "home" when we hit the parking lot. We just sensed the leading and peace of the Holy Spirit. We are excitedly awaiting your arrival. Welcome and God Bless your move and new life. Dawn Hodge