The “Macedonian Call” (Acts 16:6-10)
“Seattle is a church planting grave yard." “Why in the world are you moving from the pastorate of a growing church on the beautiful island of Kauai to Seattle?”
These are just a few of the comments Cyndi and I received from well intentioned people as we packed up our two young boys (Elijah & Aden) and moved to plant a New Hope Church in Seattle. We knew Seattle was the most “unchurched” city in the United States and that was one of the reasons we were happy God was calling us there. There was a clear need for the new hope that only Christ can offer. Though everything about the islands and the people made us want to stay there forever, God used the lone voice of a friend (Jay Kanishege) to convince us to at least pray about the possibility that God might want to use us to plant a New Hope in Seattle. While on the island of Molokai God spoke clearly to my heart that the very things I loved about the islands (family, laughter, music, sincerity of heart, and of course food) were the very things Seattle was longing to see lived out as a proof of God’s reality. It turned out God was speaking the same thing to my wife on the island of Oahu. Through the training of Pastor Wayne Cordeiro and the embrace of our New Hope ‘Ohana we felt we might actually be successful in this venture.
God continued to confirm His desire for a New Hope in Seattle when Jay took us for a prayer journey to look and see where God might have us start the church. We didn’t want to just plant anywhere, we wanted clear guidance, we wanted a sign. On our second to the last day before flying back we still didn’t have a clue, then I saw it! As we drove through Shoreline I saw a billboard advertisement for Hawaiian airlines. It had a picture of Seattle and the Hawaiian islands with arrows going back and forth. The caption read “Hawaii Starts Here!" I almost caused a car accident when I yelled out with excitement. This was where God wanted us to start. The next day Cyndi and I walked Richmond Beach and remembered that in Life Bible College we had written a paper describing a fictitious church plant and we entitled it “Shoreline Foursquare” without even knowing such a place existed. It was clear this was where it would all begin!
With a tearful and supportive send-off from our Mother Church, New Hope Kapa’a, and our Grandmother Church, New Hope Oahu, our family and one other couple (Craig & Kay Zimmel) landed in Seattle with little more than a dream and a promise from God. With the support of our local Foursquare churches in the area God began to build our church planting team one by one. We held six weeks of Preview Services in the Shoreline Community College Canteen and on September 26th, 2004 we launched our first celebration service and held our first luau for the community.
We’ve Only Just Begun!
You can check our weekly video podcast through our web site. This will give you a peek into the weekly gathering where we come together to celebrate what God has been doing in New Hope Seattle throughout the week. New Hope Seattle is making an impact in terms of discipleship through Life Groups and Interest Groups. We are joining up with other local churches to serve the local schools through Embracing Shoreline to show the love of the Lord in practical ways. The most impact, though, happens daily through the baristas, contractors, stay-at-home Moms, computer experts, graphics designers, musicians, business owners, retired teachers, and students on the many college campuses throughout the city. One by one we will turn back the tide of hopelessness in Seattle and show the "Reality of Christ in everyday life." It’s a beautiful city made all the more glorious as God’s people show up to show Him! Join in the adventure of a lifetime by giving Christ your life today! Contact me if you have questions as to how you might get involved.
In His Adventure,
Jon & Cyndi Burgess
New Hope Seattle