I was converted at a Baptist church located just down the street from my parents home in Olympia, WA. I was 15 and at that time my single pursuit in life was success — I really didn’t care the medium by which the success came just wanted it more than anything else. But something changed after my conversion…no longer was money or fame the driving passion of my life. I wanted to help people realize the transforming power of the gospel the way this Baptist youth pastor had helped me. This desire has never waned.
Not long after our conversion my parents started attending another church — I continued attending the Baptist church because of my close relationship with the youth pastor. But most of the adults in this congregation were twice my parents age and they didn’t quite fit in. Their new church was Calvary Chapel Olympia – a church that at that time was about 5 years old and had about 150 adult members. I attended CCO with my parents on a fairly regular basis throughout High School; even had the opportunity to go to Russia with them in 1993. I appreciated their simplicity…I enjoyed their excitement about Jesus…their style seemed to resonate with this aspiring pastor.
During my Senior year I began seriously contemplating where I was going to attend college. My plan was to attend Multnomah Bible College in Portland and then pursue a seminary degree at Western. Then I heard about this small Bible college that was affiliated with my parents church, Calvary Chapel Bible College in Southern California. It was much cheaper than Multnomah and with my meager budget this was good news.
I headed to CCBC in the fall of ’94. My time there was life changing. The Bible was opened to me in fresh and powerful ways, but something else happened. I got the itch. The church planting itch.
I took a class on church planting where various CC pastors would come in and teach about different aspects of pastoring and church planting — I was hooked. This is what I wanted to do with my life. Like the Apostle Paul I wanted to dedicate my life to establishing and pastoring healthy Jesus focused churches.
It was there that I met my amazing wife Andrea and in 1997 the two of us set out on an adventure that has taken us to Washington, Oregon and Colorado. We’ve helped plant two churches and we’ve planted two others along the way.
In 2009 my family and I moved to Fort Collins to plant a church that would be very different from anything we’d ever done. It was outside my experience and training. In fact this new plant would be outside the movement that we’d both called home for 15 years.
I had grown a bit frustrated with some of the overall direction of the movement (Calvary Chapel) that I loved. In my estimation there had been a subtle drifting away from attacking the gates of hell with the gospel toward attacking other streams of Christianity. It seemed we were beginning to define ourselves by what we were against instead of those amazing things we were for.
This frustration caused me to start looking elsewhere for inspiration and encouragement. I landed on this up and coming network of churches called Acts 29. They were young…they were confident…they knew what they were for…and they wanted the whole world to hear about Jesus. I began to feast upon their resources, like the Resurgence , with renewed vigor and excitement.
This epiphany occurred in conjunction with a stirring I felt to plant again — as I mentioned earlier we made the transition in 2009. At the time I was the lead pastor of a Calvary Chapel in Prineville, OR. As we headed to Colorado to plant a new church from the ground up my plan was to affiliate with both Calvary Chapel and Acts 29. After a few months on the ground we gathered a solid core of people who were interested in what we’re doing, but it became obvious that being a member of both CC and A29 may have been more of a pipe dream than something I could actually pull off. I chose Acts 29.
My three years in Acts 29 have been fantastic, nothing short of revolutionary. I have rediscovered my passion for the gospel, the church, and Jesus’ mission. But I’ve never felt quite at home. It’s been like a foreign exchange program. I have learned a new language, experienced a new culture, and been a part of a wonderful new family. But it’s time to come home. Calvary Chapel is my family, and like any family we aren’t perfect. We have crazy uncles and annoying cousins but it’s a family and as much as I tried to fully integrate into a new family it was never the right fit.
My family and I are in the process of another transition. It’s a season where we have no idea what’s ahead. I’ve been broken and humbled in ways that I’ve never experienced. It seems I’ve learned more in the last 3 years than in all my other years combined. Our time in Colorado has been one of much difficulty and yet tremendous fruit, both in the lives of those we’ve had the privilege of leading and in our own personal lives. I’m not the same man that moved to Fort Collins — I feel like Jacob after he wrestled with God, He’s put a limp in my step, a constant reminder of my brokenness and helplessness.
I don’t know what this next season holds but I know that I want my next venture to be done alongside my family. I love Calvary Chapel and while I’ve learned much in my travels abroad it’s time to come home and share my photos.