Saturday, July 30, 2011


I love what God has called me to in life. Being a pastor and a church planter is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. But in the midst of all the struggles, fears and trials there is also a joy that is unspeakable.

It's 11:17pm pacific time on Saturday night July 30th and I have been laying in bed watching an episode of House (thanks mom) and reading over my sermon for tomorrow's worship service (not at the same time). God brought to mind a sense of gratitude and amazement that there is a youth retreat going on right now... and I'm not there!

I don't mean that as horrible as it sounds. To be honest, Kelli and I were able to be there for a little while last night and it was amazing. But there was a time not too long ago that anything The Pathway did as a church required my direct involement. Not only was I there, but I had to organize it, plan it and invite people. While that is a joy, it can't last. The point of planting a church is to see it become a multiplying church. The only way this happens is if people start to take ownership of the vision and do the things on their own that were initially done only by me.

Well, shortly after God brought this sense of amazement and gratitude to my mind and my heart I received a text from Laura Stevenson, our amazing youth leader who organized and planned this entire retreat with the help of our guys youth leader Levi and our 4 amazing interns. Again I became filled with awe as I read the text that said 4 of our students had given their lives to Jesus. Ponce, Kiana, Michael and Manuel. 4 souls changed forever. 4 lives committed and surrendered to Jesus!!! Praise the Lord!

While all these are amazing I want to specifically point out Michael and Kiana. Michael is the oldest of 4 brothers... the McQuerter brothers. Over the last month or two we've seen 3 of the brothers become a part of our church. One of the brothers was already a believer but the other two have recently given their lives to Jesus. Last month the boys were evicted, along with their dad, from their apartment. We were able to store their stuff for them and several people in our church have given the boys a place to stay. Michael has been wrestling with God... knowing that he wants to believe but not being willing to surrender. To see the 4th and final McQuerter give his life to Jesus leads me to instantaneous worship!!! Thank you Jesus for bringing life change to the next generation of McQuerters!

Kiana is also very special to me because her mother Maria is a part of our Community Group. Maria is new to following Jesus and has been talking to me about baptism and many other deeper issues of discipleship. One of the things we've been focusing on as a church and in our Community Group is making disciples of our kids. What does that look like and how do we accomplish it? To hear stories of Maria reading Scripture to her kids has been awesome. Then she decided to bring Kiana to worship... then to youth group. Finally Maria began volunteering with our youth and now Kiana has followed her mom in giving her life to Jesus. Again, only two words come to mind...

Awe and Amazement.

Thank you Jesus. Thank you for bringing life change in Tacoma. Thank you for your grace!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Where's Waldo?

Remember the "Where's Waldo" books? I sure do. I could stare at the pages for a long time but eventually, I would always find Waldo.

Right now we have several Waldo's in our church but the most pressing and testing of faith is our worship leader Waldo. We have been blessed over the course of the summer to have two phenomenally gifted interns who can sing, play guitar, play d'jembe and probably other things that I haven't even seen yet. The reality we're facing though is that in a couple of weeks they will be gone and we have no one to take their place.

I can honestly say that this isn't a lack of people stepping up. It's honestly not even directly connected to our newness as a church. I grew up in Texas. I went to a small private Baptist college. I could literally close my eyes and throw a pebble and 9 times out of 10 I would hit a worship leader. Not a mediocre worship leader... a talented worship leader. Of course, in a worship leader you need more than talent. God wants a heart that is pursuing him, a heart that loves him, a heart that is passionate about worship and leading others to worship.

In our church, unless someone is hiding it very well, we have no musicians. None. We have 1 singer and she is willing to use that gift praise Jesus. So, my question is "Where's Waldo the worship leader?" My prayer is that the Lord would not just provide a musician but a leader of worshippers. A person passionate about the gospel, passionate about the church, passionate about disciple making and passionate about leading worship. I appreciate anyone willing to join with me on praying for this person to show up!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

3 Amazing Weeks

We just finished 3 amazing weeks here in Tacoma. God is moving and it is obvious. We started our three week stretch with the arrival of a mission team from FBC Universal City, TX. There heart for missions is unbelievable an their willingness to be used how Tacoma and The Pathway needs them, instead of how they are most comfortable, is amazing. As outstanding as that group was, after a 4 day break a team with the same heart and the same selfless, servant-hearted approach arrived from Trinity Baptist in Ada, OK. The last team left on Friday and we are excited to follow up on all the contacts they made and see what God has in store.

Our main approach while both teams were here is what we called Community Gospel Saturation. Tommy Abbott, a member of our Leadership Team who will be heading to Seattle's U-district Friday to begin planting a new church, also just graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington (Go Dawgs!). Tommy, along with the help of our amazing interns, mapped out our community of Hilltop and divided into 9 sectors or zones. Over the course of 3 weeks and with the help of 2 teams we were able to cover 7 of these zones in prayer and begin saturating them with the gospel. Not "just" with love, prayer and serving, but with the gospel that salvation can be found by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus alone. It was amazing to see the teams knock on doors, walk up to strangers and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. We are praying for 20 salvation's and even more changed lives as a result of the obedient and missional work that was done.

We ended both mission team weeks with a community block party. The goal of these parties was to introduce the contacts that had been made with the people who are a part of our church in Tacoma. It was also a very practical way to get to know our neighbors and love on and serve the community. The block parties were an overwhelming success. Relationships were sparked, people came to visit both our worship service and our Community Groups in the weeks that have followed and our community is beginning to feel the presence of Jesus through our church in our community.

We are exhausted, humbled and overwhelmed by what God is doing. We are praying for those 20 salvation's and as a result we are believing God to begin 5 new Community Groups. I have no idea how that will happen but I know God can do it and I believe he will. Please continue to pray for the harvest in Hilltop and in Tacoma.