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Jan '05

Wallingford, Here We Come

For some people “Once in a life time” opportunities happen…well…more than once. Sometimes I feel like one of those people that has had multiple “Once in a life time” opportunities. From my amazing relationship with my wife, to my kids to the places in the world that I have had the chance to visit, I feel like God has smiled on me most of my life.

A Recent Smile
Recently God has again given me a “once in a lifetime” opportunity. For the past two years God has been calling me…Wooing me…Drawing me into a dream. It was a dream that I could never have come up with on my own. It was a dream

born out of a frustration with the health of the modern church. I feel that modern American churches are in the single most unhealthy state they have ever been in. Ironically I also feel that we are about to enter a time of spiritual renaissance. The problem as I see it is that the church as we know it is illequipped to handle the “new church.” I think people are more open to the Gospel than at any other time in my thirty years on earth. So out of a desire to see things done “differently” God placed in my heart the desire to plant a new church. I don’t even know if I would call it a church but more of a community. More on that later.

When and Where?
The first two questions that come to me as I prayed were when and where? I truly believe that if this dream is from God then the timing would be one that would be good for my current church as well (http://westsidechurch.com)For the last 5 years Westside has been our home. But if God was calling us to go I have always been the kind of person that “jumped” without hesitation. But timing was an issue. I felt like God was increasingly stirring in me this desire, so I sought the counsel of my pastor and in talking to him we decided that on or around Easter 2006 would be the first “service.” Where though? That was something that God really had to speak about to my wife Heidi and I because we have known we are called to Seattle but Seattle is a big place. After some prayer we have decided that God is calling us to plant in Wallingford.

Doing Church Differently?
How will this Wallingford community of believers be any different than any other church? Good question. Here is what I know now: God has called us to start a community of Genuine People, Genuinely Seeking God, in a Genuine Community. Maybe we should just call it “Genuine.” We’ll see. This “community” will be made up of people interested in not going to church, but becoming the church. A community that spreads “virally” (Thanks Wes). A community that can honestly acknowledge that we are all “in transition” spiritually but are not content to stay there. Growth is not an option.

Who Ya Gonna Call?
So who would want to join in this exciting adventure? Well the first person I called was Nick Smoot. Nick is my best friend and the best pastor I know. Nick has a heart for people in the same vein as Jesus did. His genuine (there’s that word again) compassion and love for people challenge me on a daily basis. Who else? I don’t know. Maybe God is calling you. There is one thing I can guarantee: For the churched it will be a tough transition. We can no longer “do church as usual.” But if you are up for the challenge let’s see where God leads us!

Here we come
So Wallingford here we come. But not in a we’re coming to get you sort of way. Or in a wait until you see how cool we are. Or in a come let us bend your ear sort of way. We’re coming saying, “Wallingford, how may we serve you?”
Mark 10:45 For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.”

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