This last Sunday we had a chance to worship for the first time as Bethany Community Church North in Shoreline, WA. Our main church, Bethany Community Church had been working for about a year on the idea of going “multi-site”, which would allow us to become one church in several different parts of the city at once. The advantages of this new church growth model are many, but instead of boring you with church growth dogma or my theology of evangelism, let me just show you some pictures of what worshipping in a local community looks like. Instead of worshipping with thousands of others, we gathered as a small group. There was 140 adults and over 65 kids which created a TON of great energy in the Richmond Highlands Rec. Center where we meet. At 8 am we arrived in trailers and the set up team of almost 25 volunteers got busy making coffee, setting out breakfast, rolling out A/V carts, unpacking children’s ministry materials, etc. Literally everything we needed to do church was rolled out of 2 trailers. At 10:00 we sat back as the launch team core group of volunteers took a deep breath and we prayed: “God, be the CENTER of this church. Bring new people to a deeper relationship with You because of this church’s existence.”
And then the cars came. People flocked in. Soon Pastor Richard gave a welcome speech, the worship team started on some songs, and a beautiful thing happened. This small recreation center located just off Hwy 99 in north Shoreline became a SANCTUARY as people were worshipping God. As people sang and children made noise and others in the back refilled on coffee and muffins I just looked around in awe. “God you did THIS. You took a gymnasium and turned it into a church.” It was incredible.
Why do we need church? Can’t we just stay home and podcast some good teaching? Listen to some worship music and call it good? Climb a peak and watch the sunrise and worship God that way? Yes, yes, and yes. And yet…we were created to be in community. It just simply is how God designed us- to worship Him as a gathered community. Paul calls the church the bride of Christ. Maybe calling yourself a Christian without attending church is like calling yourself married but having no spouse? We exist to be in relationship with one another.
Of everything that happened Sunday at our first service of Bethany Community Church North, I was most honored, touched, and inspired by people coming together to gather as the community of God. The church is brand new, and yet I saw people connecting with each other in deep and meaningful ways. It was like looking upon a mountain meadow in early spring just before the explosion of color that happens when everything blooms- you could just tell that God has something big in store. I’m priviledged to be the campus pastor here to watch what is going to unfold!
Here are some photos- enjoy!
Want to see for yourself? Join us for the ride….Sundays at 10:30 every week at Richmond Highlands Rec Center in north Shoreline. We’d love to see you there!