Ekklesia Launch

Last night 240+ students and young adults experienced the beginning of a movement in Whatcom County that was unlike anything else I have participated in this year. Being a part of this wave of the Holy Spirit has stirred up in me a passion to connect with people, to be a peace maker and put my actions where my mouth is and SERVE. Here is how the day played out for me yesterday…

5:00am: Woke up. Smiling. Started praying for our team; for unity, authenticity and passion.

8:00-5:00pm: Worked.

5:01pm: Ran over to CTK to connect with Brian MacSwan, grab boxes of black table clothes, candles and Bibles.

6:15-8:00pm: Arrived at the Majestic. Grabbed my Ekklesia t-shirt from Korey. Colin arrived with the huge truck that held all of the gear we would be using. Our set-up team arrived ready to go. We headed into the building only to discover that the space that we are using is occupied from 7:00-8:00 by a ballroom dancing class (why we did not know this beforehand is beside the point...). This threw a monkey-wrench into our plans to get the sound system, stage, lighting, tables, chairs and everything else set up. The instructor agreed that we could roll all of our gear cases into the venue, but leave the main space open for the twirling dancers. Once everything was inside the building and we could not assemble anything else we sent our workers out on the streets to invite Western students and whomever else they encountered.

8:00-9:30pm: The chaos of setting up all of the gear ensued. Cables, speakers, lighting, projector, monitors, etc. Our team of volunteers TRANSFORMED that room. The band sound-checked and ran through their set. The food and coffee table was decked out with treats. The “hub” table was stacked with Bibles and sign-up sheets for people to get involved in what is happening. Our team of leaders met and prayed over the evening.

*I will say that at this point I glanced outside the front doors and saw about 50-70 people, a number that I had anticipated and a not-too-shabby start to this launch. I had NO idea how full the room would become once the doors opened*

9:30-9:45pm: Korey, RJ and I swung open the doors and a FLOOD of people spilled in. We quickly realized that we had not set up enough chairs. The team quickly and efficiently accommodated for the influx. I could literally not stop smiling. My heart was full as I began to realize how God’s vision for what we are doing is so much bigger than any of us had dreamed.

9:45pm: Worship began. The air was thick with the Holy Spirit. I don’t know how else to describe it. The leadership that Seth and his team brought to this area was powerful. Great song selections and band, but more then that was the posturing of the leaders up front. There was not a raised stage, the band led from the floor level, which created less of a “praising the leaders on stage” and more of a streamlined exhortation upwards; exactly where the worship should be directed.

10:05pm: Brian brought a word. A challenge to everyone to own what we are doing here. This ministry cannot be spoon-fed; it has to come from the passion and vision of the participants. No amount of hype from the leadership can really move this where God wants to take it. We want to be a movement of leaders in this city; Jesus-followers that know that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives inside of us. This is not about being the coolest, hippest ministry in town, it is about being authentic. 

10:30-11:00pm: We rolled out a huge banner that said “God, this year will you…” and everyone wrote out their prayers. Worship continued as people migrated over to write throughout the course of several songs. At the culmination of the evening the banner was brought to the front, those that could reach it laid their hands on it, and everyone behind took the shoulder of the person in front and we prayed over the requests, written and unwritten. It was a very sweet time of peer-led ministry, a core value of Ekklesia.

11:00-11:30pm: The evening wrapped up. People filled out every spot on our sign-up sheets of opportunities to serve (we have quite a bit of follow up work to do this week…). I personally met about 10 new ladies that are interested in having follow-ups to talk about how they can get involved. I will be drinking A LOT of Woods coffee in the coming weeks.

11:30-12:30am: Tear down. Thank you to those that stayed to the bitter end. Your service, though out of the limelight, is seen by God and is building personal character and integrity into your core. This ministry will rise and fall based on the willingness and devotion of our behind-the-scenes leaders.

1:05am: Crawled into my bed, smiling. WHAT AN AMAZING GOD I SERVE. I cannot wait to see where this whole thing goes. I will NEVER low-ball my estimate of what God has planned.


Moving Forward into Our Calling

A year ago at this time Colin and I were making some important decisions about our future together in ministry. The choice to move from Portland, Oregon to Bellingham, Washington was no small thing. Leaving behind family and friends and entering into a virtually unknown community would be daunting to many, but Colin and I were ready to take on a new challenge and dive in head first.
The first months were great, but as time goes on the novelty wears off and things become more mundane. Relationships here blossomed and flourished. We celebrated as two of my best friends (my sister Bethany and my lovely gal pal Stacy) celebrated their weddings back home. At church the leadership structure experienced changes. Colin just rode the wave, kept his head down, and worked his butt off. The transformation that he has made to the church facility, the standard of excellence he has brought, and mostly his spirit to champion volunteers has made him beloved by the staff, leadership and surrounding community. I could not be more proud as I have watched him become more of a man this year through some very refining life lessons.
During late spring and into this summer I have become heavily involved with a new college ministry movement here in Bellingham. Under the passionate, visionary and Godly leadership of my friend Brian MacSwan I have given this year fully to this cause: to reach the community of Bellingham for Jesus. Western Washington’s campus is in the heart of Bellingham and this community is home to some 30,000+ young people that do not yet know the freedom of a life sold out to Christ. Through much prayer and preparation this summer we are having our first gathering, Ekklesia, on Wednesday evening (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ekklesia/). This leadership role I am in was formed very organically through investing in young women in the community: meeting, praying, challenging and empowering them to know that with Christ in them they are fully equipped to live life as a disciple and also a leader; that church is not about consuming or creating an attractional ministry, it is about servanthood and loving people. There is no platform given to me based on talent or influence; this is a leadership position that has me behind the scenes championing and supporting others. I am exercising spiritual muscles that I never have before and it is tough, but extremely rewarding. I am so grateful for the community and connections Colin and I have found through this new ministry launch. The core leadership team that I am a part of has created a family for us here. It feels amazing to be a part of something so fresh, and the burden of being a person worthy of leading constantly points me back to Jesus. 
I have also become a full-time working class citizen... In July I started working for Windermere Real Estate as an assistant to the agents. What that means is, I list properties online, create flyers, and help maintain the office. This job has opened doors for me to have my foot in the “real” world, a place filled with normal people that do not know their need for Jesus. Another “perk” of the job is that Colin and I have found our first house. YES, you heard me right, we are purchasing our first home. :) The story is pretty amazing, things have happened very quickly, but God so has his hand in it. Both sets of our parents have visited, taken a look at the place, and fully support the purchase. Kind of hard to wrap my head around, but in a couple of weeks the deal will close and we will be home owners (that's our house pictured above).
So the consensus is that we are sticking around, even if things get tougher, with Christ in us and protecting our marriage we can wade through any mucky situation and come out stronger and even more seasoned for a life of ministry. Stay tuned, this story is only beginning....

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9