Celebrate With Us: 2021 WMO

I’m so proud of the people of Awakening Church. We were challenged once again last December to give joyfully and sacrificially to our World Mission Offering. There’s no better picture than to see our collective hearts being renewed as we risk and sacrifice to advance God’s Kingdom! Every year through our World Mission Offering, we have the opportunity to bring help and hope to a hurting world. This past December, your generosity will transform lives with the gospel. 100% of these gifts to the WMO directly support ministries and missionaries in Seattle, The West, and The World.

SEATTLE – 20% supports our local ministry partners (Jubilee REACH, Liberty Road Foundation & Light of Love)

THE WEST – 15% supports church planting in the western part of the United States. (Remedy City Church, Portland, OR & Bread of Life International Fellowship, Kent, WA)

THE WORLD – 65% supports international mission efforts through individual partnerships and the International Mission Board.

We believe the Bible is true, and Jesus is Lord! Because of that, our lives have significant implications for living open-handed, realizing that all we have belongs to God. Jesus and our intimacy with Him is now the center and driving force of our lives as we bring Jesus to the world. As a living sacrifice, we are driven to obey God and leave the consequences to Him.

I believe the most significant limitation of the conquering march of Jesus today is not secularism, materialism, commercialism, or Atheism. I think it’s comfortable Christians that play it safe because they don’t want to take the radical claims of Jesus Christ upon our lives seriously.

This life is short, and the eternity of people in our homes, schools, businesses, city, and world need the transforming hope of Jesus. Let’s risk it all for the gospel!

Thank you for joining us for the journey as we strive to reach Seattle, The West, and The World. With every step of faith, we are in desperate need of God’s redeeming grace, and he is deepening our love and passion for His Kingdom.Please continue to pray, give and encourage us on the battlefield! We need you and are grateful to God for you.

Please pray for:
1. A permanent home for Awakening Church.
2. Boldness as we share the hope of Jesus with apathetic people.
3. Faithfulness and patience to make disciples, not just converts.
4. Deepening dependence on God to meet our needs and open the eyes of the blind.

Jesus Loves Sex Workers

We aren’t just called to easy and convenient ministry; we are called to the marginalized, broken, and often neglected areas and sects of society with the message of Jesus Christ that has the power to redeem and transform lives. In 2021, we felt convicted and compelled to bring the gospel into the sex industry in Seattle. Through this weekly ministry, we were invited to have a booth at the annual Exxxotica Expo in Miami, D.C., and Chicago. This expo is a 3-day adult-themed event with vendors, performers, and consumers.

Each of these opportunities brings incredible spiritual warfare. Awakening Church and partners have committed to giving, going, and praying desperate, bold, and persistent prayers as we enter the battlefield. Read below a short testimony from this past expo.

“I spent the majority of this trip focusing on building relationships with the performers and other vendors at the convention. I did this by walking through the expo to visit each booth and see if there were any needs we could meet. I brought dinner to some performers, snacks, and hydration to others, and often I would bring a bag of candy with a note that said how loved they are by Jesus and by us. Most people were amazed when I told them what we were there and why we were serving them in this way. One vendor looked up after receiving the candy and the note with tears in his eyes and said, “Wow, we never get this. We never hear this from your people.” These words utterly broke my heart. This man was saying that the people in the sex industry never hear a message of love from the Church but rather a message of hate and condemnation. Needles to say, this opened the door for deeper conversation and broke down the wall of deception of what the gospel is and what it isn’t. The man continued to seek me out throughout the convention to ask questions about Jesus and His love for people. This is what it’s about. The root of everything we do has to be love, just as the Father sent the Son because of LOVE. If we aren’t starting from love, we are doing it wrong. He draws us in and accepts us right where we are. This is the seed that we plant at these shows because we know that His kindness draws us to repentance, and when people know they are loved, they want to learn more.”

Casey Flagg – Awakening Church, Light of Love

Quotes from Exxxotica staff:
“…if no one tells you often, you should know that you are doing a tremendous job for everyone you are coming in contact with. Being around sex workers for the years I’ve been around them, not all feel loved. It’s important to know we are all loved, and I’m a relatively religious person, and I know Jesus loves you, me, and all of us regardless of the lives we choose to lead. Letting a sex worker know that it’s crucial.”

“Thank you for all you and [your team] do for us. We love having you at all the shows, and it makes such a big difference when you’re around. Hope to see you at the Chicago show.”

Thank you for partnering with us as we strive to reach Seattle and beyond by living the life of a Jesus follower. With every step of faith, we are in desperate need of God’s redeeming grace, and he is deepening our love and passion for His Kingdom in Seattle, The West, and The World.

Would you please continue to pray, give and encourage us on the battlefield? We need you and are grateful to God for you.

Please take a moment to pray for:

  1. Our endurance through daily spiritual warfare
  2. New doors of opportunity during the Christmas season
  3. Deepening community/personal relationships

Celebrating Gospel Engagement

Our Backyard Bible Clubs were a huge success!
Thank you for praying for our 3 Backyard Bible Clubs! Each day, our mission team from Tennessee helped facilitate the clubs with Bible teaching, games, crafts, and of course…snacks! We were faithful to share the good news of Jesus each day with the 52 kids and families that participated. Please join us in praying for these families as we follow up with them. We are incredibly grateful for Louise and Gary and their hard work and faithfulness to Jesus. They are such a blessing to Awakening Church and this city!

Partners are so much more than monthly support checks. They are fellow soldiers on the battlefront of expanding the kingdom of God around the world! I’m so grateful for this team that made sacrifices to serve with us this past week. For many people, Seattle is just a weird place in the Pacific Northwest. But for those that come and serve, it’s a place where God is on the move! In their coming, partners see, taste, smell and experience the city in ways that news articles and update emails never can. In addition, our hearts are mended together as we serve and experience God’s activity firsthand. If you haven’t come yet, you should! We would be honored to have you.

This is our third year to participate in Worship in the Park! This year, 14 churches closed their individual doors as we collectively worshiped together! There is ONE church in Bellevue and we thank God for the unity among our churches. We strive to partner and work together for the saturation of the gospel across our city that is less than 5% reached with the gospel.

We are on mission together! We may have a choice about the neighborhood or affinity group we serve, but we don’t typically get to choose the particular people we will encounter, which means we actually have to learn to love our neighbors. To love our neighbors, we have to trust the grace of God to empower us to do what we cannot do in our own strength and believe the truth that these people are image-bearers of God, loved by Him, and worthy of our time and attention. 

We are the sent people of God! Ultimately, it is by His grace and not our works that brings about the Kingdom of God…and any good works we do are accomplished through the grace He showered on us before the foundation of the world. 

Thank you for praying and partnering with us as we serve Jesus in the Seattle area and beyond!

Church Planting, Spiritual Apathy and Autism

Show Notes

Jonah Easley was living as a missionary in China when he and his wife had their first child. They noticed developmental delays and brought him to America where he was diagnosed with autism. Amid having more children — each diagnosed with autism as well — they planted Awakening Church in Seattle, Washington. In this episode, Jonah vulnerably shares about how God has used his family to help him grow emotionally and spiritually, the church planting experience and the spiritual apathy of Washington state.

To find out more about church planting with Send Network, text “Send Network” to 888-123, or visit us online at SendNetwork.com.

Summer Expansion

Since our launch in 2018, the focus of Awakening Church has been to engage the diverse people of the Seattle area with the love and hope of Jesus, make disciples, and plant churches. In many ways, it’s seemed like running an uphill marathon in knee-deep mud….while pushing a boulder. It’s slow, challenging, discouraging, and oftentimes lonely. In spite of the challenges, the seemingly small victories have not been overlooked and we continue to see God transform lives through genuine and authentic relationships.

The diversity of Bellevue, WA was one of the primary attractors that drew us to this area. In fact, over 50% of our population was born outside of the United States. With our ethnic diversity comes cultural and religious diversity that translates into this being one of the most unreached cities in our nation. On any given Sunday morning, less than 4% of our population will be in a church of any kind. Those numbers represent a similar percentage to what we experienced in China. But as a gospel presence in this city, we are faithfully bringing the greatest message in history to a people oftentimes unaware of their need of it.

As we have sought to build relational bridges to connect with different ethnicities in our city, the Lord has brought several people into our lives that share a similar passion for Kingdom work. Through these bridges, we begun to experience a gradual build of momentum. Most recently, God has brought a Chinese pastor named Levi to our area. As a NAMB (North American Mission Board) church planter, he has joined the Awakening Church family to take the lead on our Mandarin speaking population. I believe that under his leadership, the Mandarin speaking arm of Awakening Church will expand in unprecedented ways. He is currently working to raise financial support from individuals and churches. Please pray for his family and their needs as we launch into this next season.

In early July, I was contacted by a Slavic pastor named Ivan. Ivan has been serving in student ministry for the past 18 years in Lynnwood, WA. Over the past few years, Ivan has sensed a call to plant a Slavic NAMB church in our area. He has been meeting in his home with more than 30 people each week and was exploring other options in our city. With limited availability and affordable spaces, we were able to help meet this need for their Russian speaking group. And through that, God has unified our hearts and expanded our vision of working together for God’s glory. We are currently praying about their assimilation into the Awakening Church family. This is another large population of people in our area that is largely unreached. Please pray for Pastor Ivan and his family as we explore how to best unify for the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

One more… Earlier this year, I received a message from a young man named Ben Sparks. I’ve known Ben since he was 6 years old and have watched him grow into a man of God that has been wrestling with a call to ministry. In his message, Ben let me know that he was getting married and would be coming through Seattle on their honeymoon. He was excited to worship with Awakening Church while in town. Well, sure enough, they came. After the service, we spent a few minutes catching up, and Ben shared what God was doing in his life. He told me he had plans to begin seminary next semester and wanted to begin exploring God’s specific calling on his life. In the coming weeks, we had several conversations on the phone as I sought to encourage Ben, and pour as much into him as had been poured into me. In those conversations and prayers, Ben accepted my invitation to attend the M3 Church Planting Intensive in Las Vegas this coming September. In addition, I asked him to pray with his wife, Abby, and consider coming to Seattle to serve with us as an apprentice in ministry/church planting. After another weekend trip to Seattle, Ben and Abby feel led to join the Awakening Church family and are currently making preparations to do so. Please pray for Ben and Abby as they relocate from Utah within the next month. They will be looking for jobs, financial partners, and an apartment.

With all of these exciting and momentum-building additions come needs that we alone are incapable of meeting. But I’m a firm believer that with the call of God comes the provision, power, and promises of God. Please join us in praying for Pastor Levi, Pastor Ivan, and Ben and Abby as they join the Awakening Church family and partner with us to engage the greater Seattle area with the gospel. Your support and partnership is a great blessing. Thank you for your ongoing support. To God be the glory!

Strip Club Outreach – Reclaiming Hearts

Awakening Church was planted in metro Seattle to enter into the dark places of our city with the hope of Jesus. A new dimension to this city engagement is to serve women who work in the adult entertainment industry. We are ministering to these women right where they are, in the strip club. Each Wednesday, our Outreach Team gives hope by going into strip clubs displaying the love of Jesus and declaring the gospel. 

Through actions and words, we proclaim Jesus to strippers because He alone is their hope to be free from all bondage. Our ultimate goal is to demonstrate and introduce their Redeemer to them. 

This ministry can make people feel uncomfortable. But as we model the life of Jesus, we desire to meet, eat with, love, give favor and extend grace to sinners of every kind. He spent time with those whom society overlooked and cast aside. Jesus didn’t leave anyone as worthless, but instead made them worthy with his very own blood. 

May we always remember that it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance (Rom 2:4). That only the blood of Jesus makes us holy. Jesus was never afraid of walking towards those society had the least regard for (Jn 4:4-42). 

Each week, relationships are being built and trust is being established. We pray these relationships lead to social interactions and deeper relationships to display and declare the good news of Jesus. We pray they will come to personally know the love of Jesus and the extent he went to bring them back. Jesus alone can bring heart transformation.

Please partner with us by praying for our outreach team, those they are engaging, and divine appointments. We need you, prayer warriors, to uplift our arms as we engage in this spiritual battle.
We have been called and equipped to engage our city so they will see that God is FOR them! We are branding our local GO TIME and city engagement  “FOR BELLEVUE.”

DONUTS IN THE PARK: Each Saturday we gather at DOWNTOWN BELLEVUE PARK to engage people with a FREE DONUT. This is an intentional missional opportunity to show our city that we are FOR them.

This has been a valuable opportunity as we gather to connect with people in our city. Pray that this would continue to open doors for new relationships in the days and months to come.
For 72+ weeks, we have partnered with other local churches to help meet the needs of people in our community. The people of Awakening Church have faithfully continued to help supply much need food and hygiene items to over 700 families in our local area. We pray that these families physical and spiritual need will be met through this challenging time.
Many kids in our area live in extreme poverty
Some schools in our community report 70% of students receive free lunch. And that number has increased over the past year. Many people work multiple jobs to provide for their families. In our area of continually rising cost of living, the $65 – $100 for a new backpack and school supplies is more than difficult, as many families have to spend increasing more than ever before on just housing and food. Receiving a backpack filled with school supplies makes a world of difference to each child and their parents. Each filled backpack costs just $25. As a church, we are sponsoring 50 backpacks.

Decisions For Christ as COVID Cases Rise

The challenging and uncertain days remain consistently unpredictable. I am proud of the resiliency and faithfulness of the Awakening Church family as we navigate this season. The official announcement hasn’t been made yet, but based on the current increase in Covid-19 cases, we anticipate tighter restrictions in the near future. In spite of this lingering news, we remain encouraged about what God is doing in and through this church family. God’s grace and your ongoing support for our church and family are keeping us engaged on the front battlefield lines. Your prayer and financial support are helping us not only survive, but thrive in following Jesus and living out the calling of our lives. 

This past month we had many gospel conversations and saw 3 people surrender their lives to Jesus. And this past Sunday, we celebrated one baptism! Praise God for drawing people to Himself! Your prayers are meaningful and impacting us each day. Thank you!

Pastor Jonah Easley

Over the past couple months, Sister 谢 (Xie), has been joining us for worship and engaging in deeper relationships with Awakening Church. 

She said, ” From the first time I heard I believed, but I didn’t know how to come near to God. I couldn’t find a place where people could help me. Ryan has been in my life for a while and always told me to come to church. I just wanted to maybe read a little in my home and do good things. But, he continued to encourage me to go to church. Because we don’t speak the same language, I didn’t understand very well. But, I always felt like God was telling me to come to him. But, when Britton told me believing in God means I am a child of God. So, I confess Jesus with my mouth. I believe him in my heart. I believe him with everything. I don’t have any problem with this confession. I feel very happy and grateful. God has allowed me to return to him. This is His grace.”

We have been called and equipped to engage our city so they will see that God is FOR them! We are branding our local GO TIME and city engagement  “FOR BELLEVUE.”

  • DONUTS IN THE PARK: Each Saturday we gather at DOWNTOWN BELLEVUE PARK to engage people with a FREE DONUT. This is an intentional missional opportunity to show our city that we are FOR them.

This has been a valuable opportunity as we gather to connect with people in our city. Pray that this would continue to open doors for new relationships in the days and months to come.

This past month, we have been using this card as a simple way to bless people in our city that we don’t yet know. We are reminded that we are the presence of God in this generation. He has called us right here…right now to live the life of a Jesus follower. This means selfless and relentless love, desperate for the souls of men, women, and children in our city and around the world.

Pray with us as we continue to engage people without the hope of Jesus, with the hopes of declaring the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ.

Donuts & Jesus

Dear Partner,

This past month has been a continuation of the challenges surrounding the pandemic. Schools, restaurants, and other indoor gathering areas are still closed or extremely limited in their capacity. Awakening Church continues meeting online each week to encourage one another with the hope found only in Jesus. We thank you for your continued support and prayers as we face a steep uphill climb. Your partnership means more than we could ever possibly put into words. 

In spite of our current realities, we see God’s hand at work in and through us. People often ask how we stay engaged during a time of shut-down and digital gatherings. My answer is always, “through intentionality.” We work hard to daily spend time with God, each other, and look for ways to engage our city in new ways. This season is hard, but it’s been good as we’ve been challenged to think outside the box and keep our urgency with the gospel burning HOT!

Please continue praying for our wisdom in making disciples, in our looking for a local venue large enough to accommodate a socially distanced Awakening Church gathering, and for our unity in prioritizing the gospel above all.

Pastor Jonah Easley

For several Saturdays this month, we have been setting up a free donut stand in Downtown Bellevue Park. The weather has been nice and the park has been packed with people. For an hour and a half, we give out donuts and engage new friends in conversation. During this season, personal connection and interaction has been sparse. We’ve missed the day-to-day moments to naturally engage with our community. Almost everyone that we have met wants to know why we are passing out donuts! The donuts are a simple tool to open the door to an introduction, relationships, and opportunities to share the gospel.
These days, displaying Jesus through a donut affords us an opportunity to declare the gospel! What are you doing to engage people where you live?
We are celebrating 2 new church partnerships with West Lake Church in Kingwood, TX and The Brook in Madison, Alabama. Partnership is not simply working together. It is collaborating on something both sides care about and do more efficiently together. We view our partners as collaborators who will advance the call from Matthew 28:18-20. We thank God for partners who have God’s perspective on His church and children.
This week we are beginning our series through the book of Romans called, Not Ashamed! Some of the greatest Christian leaders in the last 2000 years have maintained that Romans is the most important theological book ever written. Augustine said that in Romans “all the shadows of (his) doubt were dispelled.”
In Romans, Paul works through the most important and most pressing questions ever considered by the human race with meticulous logic—showing us that the gospel is the only answer to our questions and only real solution to our problems. Pray that this would be a transformative year in Romans!
Two years ago one of our church members (who lives half the year in Shanghai) wanted to join us on one of our yearly mission trips to SE Asia. She and 5 of her closest friends traveled to our destination and served along side us as we hosted a retreat for church leaders and missionaries. During this trip, we grew close to these 5 and became good friends. None of them were believers, but though our new relationships, they were exposed to our depending on Jesus, displaying and declaring the gospel, and our deploying on mission for Him.

For the past 2 years these 5 have participated in our weekly ESL Bible Class that we host online. Until our meeting, they had not had any exposure to the gospel. Over the course of 2 years, they have asked hard questions, wrestled with, and even challenged what the Bible says. And this month, two of these precious friends surrendered their lives to Jesus. Go God!

We are often reminded that we don’t work for Awakening Church…building our brand. We work for God and the building of His kingdom. And we are called to go the journey with people. Rejoice with us over these that have been transformed from death to life!

AC Update from Pastor Jonah

The global need for missions is more urgent than ever. Every day there are 154,937 dying without the gospel. Today, there are over 7000 unreached people groups consisting of over 4.5 billion people around the world. Every December, we partner with more than 47,000 Southern Baptist churches with a common vision for every language, people, tribe and nation knowing and worshiping our Lord Jesus!

Awakening church has a role to play in reaching every nation. Our generosity through praying and giving will help create momentum as we realize the great commission is not optional for believers.

Throughout the month of December, we will be collecting our annual World Mission offering. With a goal of $12,000, we will be able to support our local, national and international partners that are working around the world for the advancement of the Kingdom of God! 100% of these gifts will go directly to the mission field.

Yes, We’re Open! (you are the church)

Last week Kathy and I celebrated our 17 year wedding anniversary. We made plans to be kid-free for a few hours so we could have lunch together without asking for kid menus or arguing about why, “you can’t just eat ice cream.” After we dropped off the kids, we sat in the car for about 15 minutes trying to find a restaurant that was open with dine-in seating. How obnoxious! We finally found one, but it got me thinking about the church. We haven’t met in person since March. Some have disengaged and others have just felt distant and disconnected. But for many, it just seems like the church is closed.

If this pandemic has done anything, it’s reminded me of what….or who, the church is. When the word “church” comes up in conversation, the first thing we think of is a building. We have this mindset that church is a place we go to on Sundays. The spiritual gas station where we get to see other familiar faces. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that we don’t “go” to church; we are the church.

In 1 Timothy 5, Paul describes the church as people dedicated to doing whatever it takes to reach out and help others. We have a responsibility to serve and help others in need as the church. Caring for each other (inside & outside the church) is the quickest way to see Jesus change lives. Too often, we see a need and wait for the pastor to take responsibility. But that’s not the way church works. But I believe that’s why many in the church have had such a hard time. Those “things” that they’ve been accustomed to others doing for them (i.e. creating relational and serve opportunities), have suddenly shifted to their personal responsibility.

Caring for each other (inside & outside the church) is the quickest way to see Jesus change lives.

Each of us has been given skills, abilities and opportunities to serve, both inside and outside the church (not the building!). In Timothy’s church, for example, the women ran a widows ministry (1 Timothy 5:16), and elders directed church affairs while others were devoted just to teaching and preaching (1 Timothy 5:17).

In the Bible, church is always a reference to people, not a place. The church is a body of believers that live out the Gospel in their displaying and declaring. The church is at its best when people inside the building take Jesus’ message outside the building and serve those they meet. Be encouraged as you live out this perspective of YOU being the church. Yes, we’re open! We’re always open because YOU are the church.