Eastridge Church, Seattle, Washington
For most of the almost four years we’ve been blogging about churches, we’ve been one-time visitors -- and visitors only. We’ve mostly gone to churches with no intention of returning on a regular basis. We started slowly in 2014 by visiting just a few local churches near our home in Sonoma County, California. In 2015, we visited churches throughout California (by theme, as some of you may recall). We spent 2016 traveling from state to state, visiting at least one church in each. When that trip was over, we moved to Fresno, California, early in 2017. We felt we already had a home church at The Bridge, though we still visited other churches most weeks.
Over the past month, life has changed for us. Last week, we moved to Seattle, Washington, and we’re looking for a new church home. When we visit churches now, we’ll usually be thinking, is this where we want to stay? Even if we find the perfect (for us) church in the next few weeks, we plan to keep visiting churches through the end of this year. But we need a home base. If you’re a praying person, please pray for our search for a church home.
Don’t expect these posts to change a lot, though. We don’t expect to announce either, “Eureka! We’ve found our church!” or “Yuck! We won’t be be coming back here!” This blog is about first visits, and we always want to be kind. If we don’t want to return to a church, it wouldn’t be kind to announce it to the world, and if we really like a church on a first visit, we’re unlikely to decide to stay until we’ve visited several times --- and we don’t plan to write about those visits.
Eastridge Church, a multi-site church. The much larger Eastridge campus is in Issaquah (about a half an hour’s drive away). The church’s third campus is in Addis, Ethiopia (yup, the one in Africa). We were delighted that we’d visited on a Sunday when we got to hear a lot about that third campus.
Doug and Tasha have served years in Africa. As missionaries with the Assemblies of God, at first they followed traditional methods of ministering in rural areas. The emphasis had been on training local pastors for ministry, all in native languages, but they had a vision for a different kind of ministry.
African Union, a 55-nation organization that deals with economic issues, treaties, health concerns, etc. Representatives from all over the world, from the Americas, Europe, and Asia, to work with the Union, and the official working language for the African Union is English. So Doug and Tasha have begun an English language international congregation in Addis. The ministry is growing, so Pastor Jamison challenged the two congregations to raise $50,000 for the congregation in Addis.
I met Andy and asked him why he attended this church. He said his wife wanted to go to a community church. I asked how long he’d been attending there, and he nodded at his daughter, who was 12, and said they’d been attending since she was little.
West Seattle, and yet feeling a part of the church a half hour and half a world away. That's how the Church Universal works.