Meet Essential Church in Seattle, WA
Name of all members on your church planting team: Staff: Brock Bass, Sarah Schuster, Brendan Cole, Tyler Edwards and Kristan McCaskey
Name of your church plant: Essential Church
Location of church plant: Bellevue, WA
Date church was planted: We launched on March 16th, 2014.
Name of partnering church(es): Cornerstone Baptist Church is our Sending Church. We have a number of partner churches including- Rush Creek, Open Door, FBC Georgetown, Cross Church, Montgomery Memorial, Fusion Church, Southside Baptist and Hope Church.
What are the reasons you decided to plant a church in your city? Bellevue is one of the most influential cities in the world because it is the epicenter of Microsoft, Amazon, Expedia, T-Mobile, and Nintendo (to name a few). It is also one of the most unchurched cities in the US and from a denominational standpoint, there was only one SBC church in this city of 140,00 people. It is also a diverse community in which the entire world is represented in the schools, businesses and the community. In the Bellevue school district, there are 86 languages spoken and 109 countries represented! We believe that we have been strategically placed in the heart of this city for the purpose of impacting the nations through our mission to “Magnify Christ, Multiply His Kingdom.”
What have you seen the Lord do in and through your church plant so far? We are truly a Kingdom-Driven church and all of our efforts have centered on Magnifying Christ and Multiply His Kingdom as opposed to simply growing a church. As a student pastor/pastor of over 20 years now, I can honestly say that I have seen the power and presence of God more in the last 3 years of planting this church than at any other time in my ministry. Our church has grown from two families to around 85 people who call Essential their home with an average weekly attendance of 50-60 adults and children. Through the Kingdom ministry approach that we call “Love Bellevue” we have touched over 10,000 people in our community with the love of Christ- Served thousands of meals, provided free camps, events and activities for thousands of children and families, inspired and led over 500 volunteers from all over the city and nation to give over 20,000 hours in service to the Bellevue community. We have been able to invest over $40,000 into Kingdom focused ministries solely through the faithful and generous giving of our local members. We have seen over a dozen people pray to receive Christ with several being baptized (or going to be baptized this summer). We have developed an Elder training group using the ASPIRE curriculum as well as taken 6 people through Faith Coaching, two of whom have come to faith in Christ through the process. We have established healthy and growing partnerships with both secular and Christian organizations throughout the city that have helped us to develop a strong reputation in the community as a church who cares. I am personally invested in growing and developing our leaders and staff and we are seeing them take big steps in their personal and spiritual growth. Additionally, I volunteer with Youth For Christ every week to lead a Bible study for High School boys.
What do you hope to see the Lord do in and through your church plant in the future? We are hoping to identify our next church planter by 2016 and plant our first church in 2017. We would like to grow to the point we have two full services every Sunday morning. We are working toward adding a part time Student Ministry Director and Mission ministry director as well.
What advice do you have for future church planters? John 15 must become an ever present reality in your life. Dream big, but prepare yourself for the reality that you might have to recalibrate your expectations. Work hard, but keep in mind that this is a marathon, so pace yourself accordingly. Remember that church planting is all about relationships, so give yourself margin to build relationships into your life. What else would you like to share with the readers of our blog? Church planting is the most difficult and most rewarding experience I have ever had in my 20+ years of ministry. Stay humble or it will humble you. Fight every tendency you have to place your identity and self worth in your church plant’s success because if you don’t you will be crushed under the weight of it.