In 2014, my family moved from the Tacoma area to the Shoreline area. We knew at the time that God was calling us to put down roots in the north Puget Sound, so we wanted to buy a home. However, there were many challenges that prevented us from purchasing a home right away. Eventually, we made the decision to move into an apartment for several months until the time was right for us to find the right home in the right area and purchase it. It wasn't easy, but God was faithful to us, and now we have the *right* home, now just *a* home.
In many ways, our church faces a similar situation. We have known since November that we will need to move out of our current building. As a young church, we have faced many challenges that have prevented us from purchasing a long-term home right away. These challenges are not insurmountable, but they do take time. And so, after much prayer and hard work, we have made the decision to move into Lynnwood High School for the near future while we continue to work toward the purchase of a long-term home.
The Plan (or at Least the Basics)
Beginning May 1, here is the plan — at least in some broad strokes.
- We will roll into Lynnwood High early on Sunday mornings, and set up all of the necessary equipment to host our services.
- All of that equipment will be stored in a trailer during the week in a secure storage unit.
- Our morning service times will still be 9a and 11a (more on the 5p later).
- We are working to secure an office building that will have spaces for the employees to work, as well as a medium-sized meeting room for classes, student ministry, and band rehearsals.
- As needed, we will rent or borrow spaces from other churches or public venues for larger events like trainings, prayer nights, family gatherings, etc.
We are very excited about Lynnwood High for a couple of reasons. First, the auditorium is beautiful and will be a relatively easy set up each Sunday. Secondly, Lynnwood has already had a church meeting in their facility, so they are used to working with churches and are eager to help us out. The staff have been terrific to work with!
A People, Not a Building
A few weeks ago, I was talking with a friend of mine who planted a church in Honolulu. He told me that the majority of churches in Hawaii do setup & teardown because property is so expensive and hard to secure there. Their church has now been doing mobile setup for over ten years! While we certainly hope and pray that God provide us a long-term home sooner than that, we believe that mobile church is not some punishment on us, but a new opportunity to rally together around the mission that God has given us as a church. Besides, we all know that the church is not a building, it’s a people! This new scenario gives us a tangible opportunity to walk this conviction out.
What This Means
As we look at this new season, I believe that there are three really important things to keep in mind.
- We need lots of new volunteers. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.” In a year where politicians are seeking votes by promising to give people everything we want, let’s seek to be counter-cultural by not asking what the church can do for us, but what we can do for the health and well-being of the church family.
- We need to practice grace, patience, and flexibility. This new season will come with new challenges, many of which we simply won’t be able to anticipate. But if we approach one another with a spirit of grace and love, we will be able to honor Jesus even when challenges arise.
- We need to dream big. Perhaps most importantly, I do not believe that this is a season for us to retreat, to “hunker down,” or to shrink back. As the elders have talked and prayed, we believe that God wants to do a great work in and through this church in the months ahead. Do we believe that God can’t save people in a high school auditorium? Do we believe that God won’t hear prayers that come from a temporary office space? Do we think that leaders can’t be trained in other venues besides a permanent church building? By no means! God is changing lives, and there is much to be excited about as we go forward in this new season of thriving.
So What About the 5pm Service?
As the elders have weighed this new season, we determined that we would not be able to do the 5pm service at Lynnwood High for two reasons. First, a 5pm service at Lynnwood means that we would be asking our smallest group of volunteers to pack up all of the equipment at the end of each Sunday. And second, staying in the school for a 5pm service means that our rental costs would literally double since we pay by the hour. During this season, we want to save as much money as possible for the purchase and renovation of a long-term home.
However, as we have met and talked with many of those who come to the 5pm service, we recognize that many people can only come to the 5pm due to work schedules, etc. Rather than see those individuals displace, we are looking to do something more outside-of-the-box. We are in conversation with a few different restaurants in the area who have a side or back private room, and we will host the 5pm service outside of the proverbial "four walls of the church." This service will be similar in some ways (same sermon text, communion every week) and different in others (acoustic/stripped back, more informal).
We believe that this gives us the opportunity to love our 5pm people, keep costs down, steward our volunteer time well, while simultaneously giving us a new and unique opportunity to reach people who might go to “church in a restaurant” just out of curiosity.
As we get the specific location nailed down, we will let all of you know.
Join Us on April 3
On April 3, immediately after the 11am service, we will host a potluck lunch (bring lots of main dishes!) followed by a family gathering. At this family gathering, we will be explaining in greater detail the setup plan as well as the volunteer needs. Please join us, and be praying for this new season as a church. We truly believe that God wants to do great things in this new endeavor. May we experience much joy as we follow him through into this new season!