Sometimes, You Just Want to Share!

Camano Island State Park in the fall.

One of the things that I love about new technology is the ability to snap a good quality photo with my phone at any time and share it instantly via text, instagram, Facebook, etc. Sometimes, you just want to share what you are seeing, and even though you can’t capture it fully in an image, it somehow becomes more rich when others can enjoy a piece of it too. I took the above picture during a walk and prayer time. My intention was to be alone, but as I walked upon this scene on a still day with the birds singing I desperately wanted others to experience it too!

I had a similar experience that I wished I could share with everyone last Sunday night.  It was our missional community meeting. We packed into our little home to have dinner together, connect, share stories, and then share the “Story of God.” We had a lot of kids there, and at moments it was pure chaos! Oh, but what a beautiful chaos it was! Even though we are only in our second week in the “Story of God,” we can tell that this has the potential to shape us as a community in new ways that line up with God’s mission. How absolutely wonderful to have young children helping their adult parents retell the story and remind us of what we forgot! I can’t wait to see where this all goes and I do hope that more of you reading this will have the opportunity to join us someday and experience it for yourself!

Moving Forward and Gaining Momentum!

I feel like every day we just keep taking small steps forward and they seem to come faster as time goes on. Here are a few updates from this week:

  • Grant approved! We received a $25,000 Mission Program Grant. What an answer to prayer (and a lot of hard week by our discernment team). Details here.
  • Website, Facebook Page, Email (Brandon@stanwoodtidelands.org) up and running!
  • Mountain View PC’s Session approved a bunch of proposals by our core team including setting up a bank account, approving Core Team members, and setting the date for our first worship gathering on Sunday, October 28 (time/place TBA)
  • We had our first informational meeting last Saturday, and we have another one coming up on Thursday, October 25, 6:00 PM at the Stanwood Library
  • There are some solid leads on possible spaces in the community for offices and worship gatherings. Already I’m dreaming about ways to incorporate these spaces as part of our mission in the community.

Website & Informational Meetings

We now have a website! www.stanwoodtidelands.org

I will continue to make posts to this blog – especially ideas and reflections as we move through the church development process. However, I will begin to move more of the news and announcements to the church website.

Meetings Coming Soon!

We are going to have two informational meetings open to the community and anyone interested in knowing more about what we are trying to start with Tidelands.

  • Saturday, October 13, 6:00 pm  (Stanwood Library)
  • Thursday, October 25, 6:00 pm (Stanwood Library)

Both meetings will be in the library meeting room. We will have some snacks, share a brief overview of the plans for the new church, and have a time for questions. We will cover the same information in both meetings. Even if you are not interested in being a part of the new church you are welcome to come to find out what we are doing. If you have questions please email Brandon@stanwoodtidelands.org.

100%

One of many places I like to use for a temporary work space.

I’ve officially transferred over to my new position as “organizing pastor” of Tidelands. It is nice to finally be dedicating 100% of my work time to setting up this new ministry. I’m beginning to realize just how much of my office resides in boxes at the moment! I feel a bit homeless after having an office to go to every morning for the past 14 years, but that is not necessary a bad thing. I’m also experiencing a bit of the same overwhelmed feeling I had when I first experienced the freedom of my youth ministry position at Mountain View (“here is the job: now go for it!”). I had built up a bit of a routine and schedule in my life of ministry that became quite comfortable and now I’m starting from scratch again.

So far I’ve been able to spend a lot of time getting to know the Stanwood/Camano community better. I’ve been searching for a good place to hold our informational meeting and I’ve discovered that there aren’t many (any?) restaurants with meeting rooms around the area. Kristina and I are beginning to wonder where sports teams go when they have their end of season parties! I’ll have to ask my soccer team parents that questions this week. Right now it looks like the library meeting room may well be the way to go.

Today as I was driving around and dropping in at different places I realized just how much I am already falling in love with this community and these people! It has a lot of small-town friendliness mixed with tourism, commuter life, island life, and quirkiness. This is a good place to land and raise our kids. I am so grateful to God for leading us here and I can’t wait to begin blessing this community with the love of Christ! In the meantime, I need to try to get some floorspace cleared out in our shop bedroom so that I can set up a desk and unpack some boxes!

Tidelands – What’s Next?

Many people have been wondering what the next steps are for Tidelands now that I am ordained and will be moving into the “organizing pastor” role full time. Right away I will begin setting up a temporary office at our Camano Island home since many of the early steps in the church planting process will involve administrative work (setting up financial accounts, contact information, advertising, meeting times, website, etc). I realize this isn’t the glamorous stuff of church planting, but it will need to be done! I will also be trying to set up meetings with the many leads that I have with people in the Stanwood/Camano Island community. I’m very excited to be able to spend my days entirely in the community and to get to know people better! This is the exciting part of church planting! We delayed the “informational meeting” in the community until my job transitioned, so I will also be helping to set a date and location for that meeting.

Packing up the office

Packing up my office at Mountain View

Our discernment team has begun the transition into a missional community and we will also be setting up our “core leadership team.” Our primary focus will be on getting one missional community up and running. Already we are meeting people from the community that are interested in being a part of this group, but it will need to remain small to start. I will be working on learning more about what it means to lead a missional community and trying to set the foundation with this first group so that we can multiply quickly and train new leaders. Because we have sensed God leading us in the direction of missional communities the process may appear slow from the perspective of traditional new church development. We will only be having worship gatherings once a month at the beginning so that we can put most of our effort into building the missional communities. This will take time; there is no way to shortcut the process of building relationships and reaching out to those that do not yet know Jesus.

For those of you that are just dying to locate our new church community in a place, you will be thrilled to know that in the coming weeks we will also be looking for a building to lease for our worship gatherings. It may be a school, a storefront, or other suitable semi-large space. As funding from grant and other funding begins to come in we will also start looking for a suitable office space to lease.

Of course, now that I have written all of this, I expect that the Holy Spirit will shake things up a bit. For me, there is no greater joy than anticipating the next wave of the Spirit and feeling the push and pull in new directions. Please continue to pray for us as we get started.

Ordination Arrives!

I’ve been a bit behind in keeping things updated on this blog lately. Life is hopping with the start of school for our boys (new school on Camano Island), soccer (I’m coaching in Stanwood), the ordination process, and the ramp-up of fall programs at Mountain View. I will do my best to get more frequent updates here, but I am also beginning the process of looking for a permanent web presence for Tidelands other than this blog. I’ll keep you posted.

Last week I was examined at the North Puget Sound Presbytery meeting and they voted to approve my ordination! At times it felt like this day would never arrive, but I certainly never expected it to arrive in this way. I aways assumed I would be moving to a distant community. What a blessing to remain in proximity to the friends we have made in the past 14 years and to be launching this new adventure! The ordination service will be at Mountain View Presbyterian Church this Sunday,  September 23, at 3:00 PM. Everyone is invited!

On another note, we have already begun talking and meeting with others in the community that have recently moved to the Stanwood area and are looking for a new church home. It seems that God is answering our prayers to connect us with those who will be future leaders in our missional communities!

Tidelands

It’s official! The session of Mountain View and the Executive Board of North Puget Sound Presbytery have both approved our discernment team’s plan to start a “daughter church!” (if you want the plan details, check out the links below the picture at the top of this blog). We are calling this new faith community “Tidelands,” and it will be located in the Stanwood/Camano Island area.

This is the result of a lot of hard work and prayer by many people! It is going to be exciting to see how God uses Tidelands to advance the work of Jesus Christ in the world. The next step in the process will be to have an informational meeting in the Stanwood area on September 17 (location TBA). Also, I will be examined for ordination at the September 12 meeting of the Presbytery of North Puget Sound in order to become the “organizing pastor” of the new church. You are all invited to join us for the ordination service here at Mountain View on September 23, at 3:00 PM. Please continue to lift us up in prayer as we move forward.

Give Us a Name!

How often do you get to have the chance to name a new church? For a long time now we have been referring to this new faith community in many different ways: Mountain View’s daughter Church, Mountain View’s sister church, Stanwood New Church Development, etc. Now we have arrived at that point where we need to find a name. Our discernment team has begun brainstorming, but we would love to hear your ideas as well. Below is a word picture from the documents that we have created so far with the most often used words in bigger type (as a way to spark ideas). What do you think?

From “Where?” to “When?”

I feel like we are approaching an exciting and critical time in our process of starting a new church. In the beginning, when we talked to people about our vision for a new faith community in Stanwood/Camano we generally were asked “where will it be?” I interpret this question as people searching to understand and grab hold of what we are trying to start. But now, when we talk with people about the new church, we often get asked “when will you start meeting?” That is usually followed up by a person indicating that they are interested in being a part of it, or that they know someone who is. These conversations are increasing in frequency – I usually have three to four a week. There is an anticipation building! Hopefully, some of this anticipation is because we have been doing a better job of communicating and clarifying our vision. However, I believe that some of it is also because God is stirring the hearts of those called to be a part of this new church and the time is drawing near!