Middle Schoolers Find Connection at Quest 2018

Most Christians come to know Jesus as young people - and the middle school years are so crucial! Quest is an Alliance Northwest conference for 6th through 8th graders, held at scenic Black Lake Bible Camp each October.

“Connection” was the theme for Quest 2018, using John 15 as the core text. The conference content focused on who Jesus is, who we are, and the relationship we can have with him. “Connection” speaks to the love Jesus has for us and also how we can love him back.

Below, you can find the highlight video from the weekend, as well as a selection of the session talks. Thanks to Claire Faucher and Jason Simmonds, our Quest 2018 speakers!

School Principal to Madison Community Church pastor: "You make Jesus look real good."

Madison Community Church (Everett, Washington) pastor Peter Vincent knows that effecting neighborhood change takes time and perseverance. Six years ago, Peter started a relationship at an area school by meeting with the Principal and saying that his church would like to help out, in whatever ways they could. The school seemed baffled and hesitant at first, but agreed.

So Madison got to work. The church popped popcorn in the cafeteria, helped keep up the school grounds, and even read to students during class time. Years passed, students got older, a new Principal came, and Madison became a familiar presence on campus.

Recently, Peter was contacted by the new Principal, and they had a different sort of conversation than when Madison first began there. The Principal told him: “You make Jesus look real good.” Madison’s years of steady involvement demonstrated that they cared, and the school wanted to know more. After this conversation, a busload of teachers from the school came to the church, toured the facility, and met Madison’s staff. The church’s faithful service is making a difference in their community, and through it, others can see the love of Christ.

Church of Thorne Bay buys adjacent property without the need for any loans

When God moves, we follow; even if it’s next door. Ron Youderian, Lead Pastor at Church of Thorne Bay (Thorne Bay, Alaska) shares this happy news: the church is expanding! The Church of Thorne Bay has been working on purchasing the vacant Catholic Church next to their property, and had been praying for God’s provision so they wouldn’t have to take out an ADF loan.

God provided them with the necessary funds! No loan required. The additional property is slated to be a community center for the church as well as the wider Thorne Bay community.

150 Women from 17 Churches Attend 1st Venture Conference

On September 22, women from around the Northwest came to Anchor Church in Tacoma to explore and respond to their calling in the world. The conference, called Venture, was co-sponsored by Great Commission Women and Alliance Northwest.

In all, over 150 women representing 17 Northwest churches attended. Based on the response, it’s likely that another Venture conference will be in our future. Stay tuned for more…

If you attended Venture, and have stories about your experiences there, please let us know!

7 Solutions to 7 Small Group Struggles

Healthy churches are sustained and expanded through small groups.
— Ed Stetzer, author of Transformational Change

Here are 7 common struggles that small groups face, and 7 real-world solutions for them.

Problem #1: Church leaders are often disconnected from small groups.

Pastors often want groups to focus on too many areas, while the groups themselves prefer focused objectives. 80% of group members say Bible study is important, and 64% of group members say they prefer to prioritize prayer.

Solution: Pastors and group leaders should work together to develop a strategic plan and set focused objectives that are realistic and achievable.

Problem #2: Small group timings do not work for most people.

51% of group members drop out mostly to do general busyness. 33% of group members prioritize personal responsibilities over group meetings. 22% of group members don’t join a group as it meets at an inconvenient time.

Solution: Churches should start new groups that meet at times and locations that are convenient for new people to attend.

Problem #3: Small group leaders tend to focus more on lesson plans rather than discipleship.

"Making disciples isn’t about gathering pupils to listen to your teaching. The real focus is not on teaching people at all—the focus is on loving them.

- Francis Chan

Solution: Life change happens through relationships. Small group leaders need to intentionally build relationships with members and encourage a culture of transparency and vulnerability.

Problem #4: Small groups have a tendency to become insider-focused.

Reaching out to the community takes a backseat to small group interests—45% of groups had done zero outreach projects in the previous 12 months, while only 14% had done 5 or more, according to a smallgroups.com study.

Solution: Care and outreach go together. Ask members to reach out to new people and invite them to your small group. They can start by inviting their neighbors and co-workers.

Problem #5: Many small groups are unclear about their purpose.

They’re not sure what the mandate of the group is, what the group specifically hopes to accomplish, if they’re fulfilling their purpose at all, or whether to invite the unchurched or not.

Solution: Align the group’s purpose with the church’s mission statement. Identify some key biblical principles to guide your group. Keep reminding the group members about the purpose.

Problem #6: Small groups don’t often fulfill all of the church’s purposes.

While small groups often address Fellowship and Discipleship, many do not integrate Worship, Ministry, or Evangelism.

Solution: Small groups need to adopt a holistic outlook by focusing on all the 5 purposes mentioned above. Balanced growth in each of these areas needs to be gauged at an individual and group level for accountability and effectiveness.

Problem #7: Small groups tend to jump from one model to the next.

Solution: Understand the DNA of your church first. “Base the model of your small group on the vision of your church,” suggests Chris Surratt.

[Content adapted from Leadership Network Implementation LAB materials]

How to Pastor Small Churches Well [NAE Podcast]

A majority of Alliance Northwest churches would fall into the “small church” category, so we can say with conviction: “Small churches don’t mean small pastors, or small ideas.” Pastoring a small church is not for the faint of heart.

Karl Vaters has been a small church pastor for 30 years. He’s written about pastoring small churches in books (“The Grasshopper Myth” and “Small Church Essentials”) and on Pivot, a Christianity Today blog. And, he’s the founder of NewSmallChurch.com, a blog that encourages, connects, and equips innovative small church pastors. In this podcast from the National Association of Evangelicals, he joins Leith Anderson to share his experience and offer insight into how to pastor small churches well.

In this podcast, Karl and Leith discuss:

  • How small churches should think about growth and success

  • The particular challenges, including finances, that pastors of small churches face

  • What resources are available to pastors of small churches

  • Why we need more — not fewer — small churches in the United States

Listen here.

Christ Our Healer in the Northwest

Some amazing stories coming out of Alliance Northwest churches about the healing power of Christ. These concrete examples of God working in our midst are always so fun to celebrate:

A young elder at Christ's Community Church in Granite Falls, Washington, experienced healing this summer when, after multiple car accidents and surgeries, he had been basically bed-ridden from pain. When his doctors decided not to go forward with a surgery that promised to relieve some of that pain, Dale paradoxically felt a deep contentment from the Lord. Days later, he was fully healed and working out at the gym!

Salem Alliance Church has seen a significant number of healings since December of last year. Every Sunday, many of those in attendance stand for healing prayer (physical, emotional, etc.), and every week they have a story or two to share. Praise God!

Nine Church Workers Receive Ordained/Consecrated Status

Congratulations to the following pastors and planters across the Northwest for their hard work in completing their ordination/consecration requirements:

Otis Brown (8/21 Ordained)
Ryan Doughty (8/21 Ordained-Sustained)
Isabel Miller (June Consecrated)
Cary Wood (June Consecrated)
Yuriy Murashko (June Ordained)
Evan Fowler (June Ordained)
Duane Guisinger (June Ordained)
John Blosser (June Ordained)
Colby Holloway (June Ordained)

New Faces (and Familiar Faces in New Places) around the Field

Alliance Northwest leaders and churches certainly didn't lay dormant during the summer. Multiple churches extended calls to new lead pastors, and one church in Oregon (New Hope Church) decided to become part of our tribe. Let's welcome them!

David & Kati Prantner moved from Alaska to take the Lead Pastor position at the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church in Bly, Oregon.

Dr. Stephen & Esther Chien accepted the call to the pastorate at Tri-Cities Chinese C&MA Church this summer and Stephen has jumped into the developing Columbia River Network with vigor.

Pastor Endre Norem and New Hope Church in Lebanon, Oregon became affiliated with Alliance Northwest over the summer.

Joe & Susan Donohue transitioned from East Hills in Kelso, Washington to Lead Pastor at Alliance Bible Church in Anchorage, Alaska.

Welcome to Bob & Sharon Setzer, new pastors at Sojourn Church in Lacey, Washington. Bob was formerly Worship Pastor at Arbor Heights in Seattle.

Steve & Malana Ganz are the new interims at Clover Pass Community Church in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Sylvester Jones (Bubba) has now become the new pastor at Naknek Community Bible Chapel in Alaska. Bubba was mentored by former Naknek pastor Hugh Griffiths in a very cool transition story.

East Hills Baptizes 18 at Worship Service

When East Hills (Kelso, Washington) brought their three services (spread across two separate campuses) together at Rister Stadium in late August, they knew it would be a special time of corporate worship. What they got was something they're calling "Bapstravaganza."

Lead Pastor Steve Diehl writes, "Our three services at two campuses all met together at Rister Stadium and celebrated together as 18 people confessed their faith in Jesus Christ and were baptized.  There were some powerful testimonies shared.  God is good."

A Summer Full of Good News from Our Field

East Hills Baptizes 18 at Worship Service

When East Hills (Kelso, Washington) brought their three services (spread across two separate campuses) together at Rister Stadium in late August, they knew it would be a special time of corporate worship. What they got was something they're calling "Bapstravaganza."

Lead Pastor Steve Diehl writes, "Our three services at two campuses all met together at Rister Stadium and celebrated together as 18 people confessed their faith in Jesus Christ and were baptized.  There were some powerful testimonies shared.  God is good."

Two Young Adults from Mosaic and Salem Alliance Go to the Nations

We're celebrating the work that God is doing with young people in our Field, as they are called into ministry within their neighborhoods or to the nations.

A young adult attending Mosaic North in Portland took a step in faith and has left to join the Long Beach team, which is the global partner of the Southern Oregon Network within a closed-access country (CAC). He doesn't know exactly what his role will be, but is eager to serve Jesus in the midst of the least and the lost. He has received a lot of support from the Southern Oregon Network; the churches gave him money to head out and hosted him in their churches during Sunday gatherings.

Trevor Morgan, a student at Reach Training Institute (RTI) in Salem, is headed abroad for a practicum year as part of his studies. He will spend his time in Uruguay, and is one of the first RTI students to have a year abroad like this. Very exciting!

New Faces (and Familiar Faces in New Places) around the Field

David & Kati Prantner moved from Alaska to take the Lead Pastor position at the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church in Bly, Oregon.

Dr. Stephen & Esther Chien accepted the call to the pastorate at Tri-Cities Chinese C&MA Church this summer and Stephen has jumped into the developing Columbia River Network with vigor.

Pastor Endre Norem and New Hope Church in Lebanon, Oregon became affiliated with Alliance Northwest over the summer.

Joe & Susan Donohue transitioned from East Hills in Kelso, Washington to Lead Pastor at Alliance Bible Church in Anchorage, Alaska.

Welcome to Bob & Sharon Setzer, new pastors at Sojourn Church in Lacey, Washington. Bob was formerly Worship Pastor at Arbor Heights in Seattle.

Steve & Malana Ganz are the new interims at Clover Pass Community Church in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Sylvester Jones (Bubba) has now become the new pastor at Naknek Community Bible Chapel in Alaska. Bubba was mentored by former Naknek pastor Hugh Griffiths in a very cool transition story.

Nine Church Workers Receive Ordination/Consecration Status

Congratulations to pastors and planters across the Northwest for their hard work in completing their ordination/consecration requirements:

Otis Brown (8/21 Ordained)
Ryan Doughty (8/21 Ordained (Sustained))
Isabel Miller (June Consecrated)
Cary Wood (June Consecrated)
Yuriy Murashko (June Ordained)
Evan Fowler (June Ordained)
Duane Guisinger (June Ordained)
John Blosser (June Ordained)
Colby Holloway (June Ordained)

Christ our Healer in the Northwest

Some amazing stories coming out of Alliance Northwest churches about the healing power of Christ. These concrete examples of God working in our midst are always so fun to celebrate:

Dale Tanis, an elder at Christ's Community Church in Granite Falls, Washington, experienced healing this summer when, after multiple car accidents and surgeries, he had been basically bed-ridden from pain. When his doctors decided not to go forward with a surgery that promised to relieve some of that pain, Dale paradoxically felt a deep contentment from the Lord. Days later, he was fully healed and working out at the gym!

Salem Alliance Church has seen a significant number of healings since December of last year. Every Sunday, many of those in attendance stand for healing prayer (physical, emotional, etc.), and every week they have a story or two to share. Praise God!

Good News from the Field - June 2018

North Puget Network Takes Church Planting Vision Trip

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North Puget Network took a vision trip to the church plant they partner with, Hope Church in Oak Harbor (Lead Planter Matthew Erikson). The Network pastors had their vision expanded and paradigm challenged; they also toured the Naval Air Station in Oak Harbor.

As one pastor remarked: "[It was] the most memorable time we've ever had as a group."

Restore Church Begins Restoring New Facility

Restore Church (formerly known as Cornerstone) in Poulsbo, Washington, courageously led by Jim Walter, finally has a facility that they are renovating to begin holding weekly Sunday services. This is a big answer to prayer, as it comes almost a year after their search for a facility began.

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Update: Restore Church is now in their new building! This photo shows their cool-looking logo and welcome area:

 

 

23 Attend Alliance Northwest Foundations

23 Alliance Northwest church workers and pastors came to Canby, Oregon in May to learn more about Alliance mission, history, and polity. Good conversations and connections were had.

Thanks to all of the speakers and LOC team, and a big thanks to Canby Alliance for the use of their space for Foundations.

The Alliance Offers Financial Health Training to Pastors

The Alliance has been chosen to receive grant-funded Financial Health online courses to better serve our pastors, leaders and congregations in the area of personal finances and church generosity. We have also been given grant funds to provide a limited number of honorarium eGift cards to pastors who complete these courses and financial assistance grants to a number of pastors in need.

Visit https://naefinancialhealth.org/cma/ for more information on how to participate.