SMALL CHURCH, BIG MISSION

big mission

In this early season of Awakening Church, we may be small…but our mission isn’t. Our resources and leaders are limited and often stretched thin, but that doesn’t mean our mission is different than the mega-churches across the world. Since the launch of Awakening Church our focus has been in “making disciples of all nations.” Missions is engrained in our DNA and we have learned that being on Mission is not a program of the Church, it is the purpose of the Church. It is not my mission… it is God’s mission. And He has commanded us to join in.

Through our 4(D) vision (A multi-ethnic church Depending on Jesus, Displaying His love, Declaring the gospel, and Deploying for His Glory) we are living as a family on mission. We have a “culture of discipleship,” where every person is living out our vision every day. Awakening Church takes discipleship seriously, not just so we can grow, but so we can live out our mission as we deploy in our community and around the world.

On the surface, we may look like any other small church plant, but we have a big mission and serve a big God! We are seeing and celebrating this movement of the Holy Spirit. Personally, I celebrate the humility and boldness of these people called Awakening Church to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Is this journey easy? Nope! Is the budget tight? Yes! Has God been faithful and has the journey been fruitful? 100% YES!

As we discover our church’s spiritual gifts, passions, and personalities, we have identified where those intersect with what God is doing in the world. This missional discernment has been critical for finding our missional niche. Here in Bellevue, WA, opportunities for displaying the love of Jesus and declaring the gospel are often more evident, but we actively participate in global mission as well.

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This July 31-Aug 10 our mission team will be headed to SE Asia to host our annual Awakening Conference. The focus of this conference will be to build up and pour into persecuted underground house church leaders. This 5-day conference will center on the theme “Walking with Jesus in Hard Places.” Our brothers and sisters are risking their lives everyday to carry the message of the gospel to the people of their country. We will also have over 20 ministry and missionary children that our team will lead in a Backyard Bible Club. We feel so honored that God allows us a continued partnership in a part of the world where it’s very difficult to follow Jesus. 

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God Reigns.’” Isaiah 52:7

I have found that short-term mission trips not only bless the missionaries we serve, but they also ignite a missional bonfire in the hearts of the people who go. Our focus on global missions doesn’t take away the difficulties of our young church, but it does give us a better Kingdom perspective and reason to exist beyond keeping our lights on.

Thank you for your partnership that affords us the opportunity to live out our 4(D) mission in Bellevue, WA and around the world. Please join us in praying for our local and global work to make disciples.


SE Asia Mission Prayer Guide

  • God would be glorified by EVERY aspect of our trip 
  • Each of us, as well as the nationals with whom we work and share
    with would have a personal and powerful encounter with God 
  • The unconditional love of God would radiate in and through each of our lives 
  • God would put a hedge of protection around the entire trip 
  • Satan would be bound from anything that distracts anyone from hearing the voice of God in the area where we’ll be sharing 
  • All participating on this trip would be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit 
  • God’s Word would be proclaimed with power and produce life change
  • God would give us strength and good health through the trip 
  • God would protect and provide for family members back home 
  • God would give wisdom to those speaking and teaching and listening ears to the people we come in contact with during the trip 
  • Divine appointments, both with those we share with as well as other
    we might encounter while traveling 
  • All team members and translators would be bold and creative in
    sharing our faith 
  • We would make quick adjustments to time and cultural changes 
  • That revival would break out with people to whom we minister

GOSPEL INTENTIONALITY

Awakening Church Update – May 20, 2019 from Jonah Easley on Vimeo.

When the Lord first called our family to the Seattle area to plant a church, we knew that the task set before us was going to require an amount of faithfulness and patience like we’d never experienced before. After being on the ground for almost 2 years, we can see why. We are constantly asking…How do we take the gospel to people that are far from God in a culture that seems opposed or apathetic?

Although we are swimming upstream, we are committed to reaching our multi-ethnic community with the gospel. Over the past 8 months, God has been transforming the hearts of people within our church and across our city. Each week we are engaging multiple people groups in Bible study, a childrens Bible club, city groups and Sunday worship. Just this past week, we saw 11 people give their lives to Jesus! We have committed to pray for, invest in, and intentionally help people discover how great the love of Jesus truly is.

We have found that Living on mission is not about doing MORE, it’s about doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality.

God’s plan for the church is not that we would invite people to a program at a building. It’s far more personal and relational than that. God’s plan is that we would enter into people’s everyday lives, show them what a life changed by the gospel looks like, invite them to come and see, and share the gospel of Jesus that has changed us.

Doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality is costly and risky. It costs time and comfort. It would be much easier to go about our day never engaging people with the gospel…never inviting them into our homes for meals…never listening to their stories and ideas…never being vulnerable about our own weaknesses as followers of Jesus.

But… as we commit to helping others grow in their relationship with God, we are reminded of our calling to be good stewards of the gospel. Your prayers, support, and equipping have no doubt played an invaluable role in our desire to show and share the gospel of grace in our city… so that every man, woman, and child would have a daily encounter with Jesus. That’s no small vision, but we serve a great God!

Thank you for your passion to equip church planters and for being faithful to the Biblical mandate of planting churches! We’re excited to continue to serve alongside you as we join Christ in the renewal of all things.

  1. Please join us in praying for those that we are engaging each week. We are asking God to open their hearts to Him.
  2. Pray for those that we have led to Jesus as they begin to grow in Christ.
  3. Pray for our faithfulness as we lovingly fight against an apathetic culture.
  4. Pray for more partnering church to come along side us for sustainability in the years to come.

The Endless Love of God

CRAFTING a goodApril was an incredible month for Awakening Church. As we celebrated the resurrection, we’ve had countless conversations with people who have never heard the glorious good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus. This is a natural time of year for gospel conversations to occur. Easter Sunday was a beautiful day filled with many relationships that God has been building over the past couple years. You can listen to the message here. By God’s grace, we were able to lead several people to faith in Jesus this month. 

After one of our ESL classes, one of our regular students from Iran approached Kathy after the class. With a smile on his face, he wanted to thank her for teaching the class and shared that he had been in America for about 5 years. However, today he finally understood what Easter was all about. What an encouragement to see people grasping the truth of Jesus. For faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

A few months ago, God brought a young lady named Amanda Into our lives. The week that we met, I had just begun reading a new book by Paul Tripp entitled, Suffering. I had not been in a season of suffering personally, but still I felt compelled to read the book. Not three days after beginning this book, I received a phone call telling me that Amanda was just diagnosed with stage four cancer. Things didn’t look good. We knew that Amanda didn’t have a relationship with Jesus so we began to pray for her physical healing as well as her spiritual healing. I bought the book for Amanda and had one of her friends read it to her in her hospital room. At times, she was angry with God, and didn’t want to hear it…but she began to become more open to the conversations about Jesus. Through the countless prayers, fasting, conversations, late nights in the hospital, and the roller coaster that suffering brings she said YES to Jesus. Our hearts are rejoicing. That same week we saw two other young ladies that have faced tremendous hardship say yes to Jesus! Thank you for your support that allows us the opportunity to bring the gospel to people that need Jesus.

 

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This summer we will have an opportunity once again to serve our partners in China. Our partnership in China involves equipping and encouraging those on the ground that face increasing challenges of persecution. It’s my passion to help others that are not mobilized for the great commission. As we prayerfully build this team, YOU may feel led to partner with us or be able to connect other people that may be interested in partnering together for this amazing opportunity.

A quick contextual scope…Since 2013, The Chinese Communist Party reversed course and embarked on a 3-phase, 14-year plan to “suffocate” Three Self churches and “annihilate” underground churches. During the first 2-year phase, it further eased persecution of the underground church, enticing more of them to surface and be identified. During the second 2-year phase, it invited and then pressured the identified underground churches to register and become Three Self churches.

In the current third, 10-year phase, the gloves have come off as both the remaining underground churches and even Three Self churches are being persecuted using Mao-era brute-force, as well as mass surveillance, artificial intelligence, and big data.

The greatest need of the underground church in China today isn’t free Bibles or even protection from persecution, which tends to purify, spread and grow the church, but Biblical teachers, including missionaries, who can exegete the Bible and share the True Gospel.

The foundation of our partnership is just that…better equipping those that serve on the front lines every day. I hope that you will pray about joining us as we deploy across the world in the name of Jesus.

Click HERE for more information. This could be a great way for us to join hands and serve together. The applications need to be submitted by May 5. The application can be found at here.

How can we pray?

One of the questions I often get from partners is, “how can we be praying for Awakening Church?”  The response is typically three-fold.  One, pray for partnerships.  Without partnerships, this work is not possible. We are continually asking God to bless our partners so that we can continue to be blessed and empowered through them.

Secondly, we are always asking for prayer for new believers. It is why we are here!  We are praying for death-to-life stories. Many days, the only thing that keeps us going is that Jesus told us His fields were white and ready for harvest. We believe there is a harvest in the Northwest.  We long to see more baptisms in 2019.

Thirdly, we pray for laborers.  We need people to come be a part of Awakening Church both locally and others to relocate to serve alongside us.  Whatever it takes for God to build His church and multiply disciple-making churches, we say yes!

Alongside that third prayer request, we always praying for the unity of our team and the endurance it takes to fight the spiritual attacks we so often experience.

Thank you again for your partnership and commitment to going the journey with us. That support is the wind in our sails!

The WHY

THE WHY

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.” Acts 17:26

It’s pretty amazing to think about life. We have no control over when or where we were born. There is so much we have no control over. However, somethings we do control are our passions, our friends, and many other daily choices. There are things in our life that only Jesus can fix. It’s been said that the two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you figure out WHY you were born. We didn’t have control over the circumstances surrounding the day we were physically born, but through our second birth, salvation in Jesus, we then discover why we were born!

God, in his sovereignty, has placed us right here, right now, with our abilities and gifts to bring glory to Him and show the joy of the gospel to those around us. In his book Start With Why, Simon Sinek shares how successful leaders don’t focus on HOW to do something… Instead they focus on WHY they are doing it. Sharing Christ with those around us begins with our understanding God’s grand story that centers on Christ. That is our WHY.

In Philippians chapter 3, we see Paul’s WHY was to know Christ and to make him known. His why was big enough to endure overwhelming persecution with glorious joy. If you are alive today (you are if you are reading this) and you have a relationship with Jesus… He has given us the responsibility of a missionary.

“Where you live doesn’t make you a missionary; the mission you are on does, regardless of your vocation or location.” Alvin Reid

As a church, we have been focusing on living out the gospel in our daily lives as missionaries. We are praying daily that God will give us opportunities to share the good news of Jesus, wisdom to know how to approach those around us, and boldness to speak up. We have to remember that we are not selling something people may or may not need. Instead, we are offering the gift of grace that is the most vital news a person could ever know.

We continually look for ways to serve our community and bring joy to those around us. We are beginning to see the fruit of displaying the love of Jesus to our community. Through our displaying and joy bringing, we are able to declare the gospel message of salvation in Jesus. I’m excited about two new opportunities that God has opened up for us this past month.

The first opportunity is a Bible Club for an after school kids program. This club is focused on learning the Word of God. We incorporate prayer, crafts, games as well as memorizing a weekly Bible Verse. We’ve added a prayer mailbox where kids can write a prayer request that we pray over (which can be entertaining). Each week children from many cultural backgrounds attend the Bible Club. They are hearing the truth of scripture and asking amazing questions as their worldviews are being challenged and enlightened. A muslim boy asked, “What does it mean to be a Christian?” We shared what it meant to be a follower of Jesus and studied Romans 10:9 that says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” The hearts of these children are being stirred! 

The second opportunity God has given us is a weekly ESL Bible study. Over the past several months, God has continually brought us new relationships with the multi-ethnic people groups of our city. While this class focuses primarily on the basics of the faith, we are able to incorporate the basics of English at the same time. We are teaching basic Bible studies in everyday English in an easy-to-understand discipleship course. This class is specifically designed for people who are exploring the fundamentals of the faith. Each week has been filled with incredible discussion and a stronger craving for God’s word. We’ve been able to give out many dual language Bibles and develop new relationships. On top of that, a couple of the students have begun attending our Sunday worship service. They are being enraptured by the truth of the gospel and their hearts are being transformed by God’s grace.

Thank you for continuing to partner with us. We pray that you are encouraged just as we are. We also pray that through our journey, you will be stirred and challenged in your faith. 

Please join us in praying for…

  • …these two new ministry opportunities that God has given us. Pray for the salvation of those without Christ and that they would realize their WHY.
  • … our calling as missionaries. This calling can be challenging with unexpected circumstances…but Jesus is worth it. God is continuing to bring families and individuals into our lives that need to experience the grace that Christ is offering them.
  • … a handful of mature believers to come alongside of us to partner in growing new disciples and developing leaders.

Incapable of the Task

copy of copy of daily habit with love

This is hard! 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 reminds us that weak, low, and despised are qualities God looks for, and he chooses these qualities on purpose…for a purpose.

After reading this passage we might know, in a sense, that God loves to use the weak and broken. We may find encouragement when we read about underdog victories in a Bible story or missionary biography. As a pastor, I often teach others about it. But when this becomes personal, it’s almost always unpleasant and uncomfortable when God wants to highlight our weaknesses. Which is why I have occasionally wished that God would have chosen someone else for this assignment. I’m just incapable of the task.

However, in growing dependance on Him, I fully trust that He has a strategic purpose for this assignment of planting and pastoring Awakening Church. One that, if embraced, will transform my weaknesses into a source of joy, instead of shame.

As I reflect on my past assignments, I’m reminded that the greatest thing that God is continually teaching me is to trust Him more. Which means that God would never call me (or you) to any kingdom duty I am capable of pulling off on my own. When it comes to doing anything that is intended to display God’s glory, declare his word to a resistant culture, deploy on mission to see others discover Jesus, “Who [in the world] is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:16).

Weaknesses are necessary qualifications for God’s servants to reiterate the fact that we are not sufficient. Our weaknesses…the very things we struggle with and are embarrassed about…are a critical part of the mission He gave us. They are part of God’s strategy to reveal himself to the world. It’s through our weaknesses (more than our strengths) that God demonstrates that he exists and rewards those who trust and seek him (Hebrews 11:6).

My weaknesses urge me to press deeper in my faith. The times in my life when I’ve asked the hardest questions, when I struggled the most, and doubted God’s presence and abilities was when my faith grew the most. 

The depths of God’s love can often be known best in the depths of despair.

Our weaknesses are a significant way in which God’s strength is continually revealed to the world. Because in our weaknesses, people can see that the only strength we have comes from God.

As God teaches me to depend on Him, nothing helps me grow in dependence like the desperation that comes from an assignment that can’t be done without Him. The faith of Awakening Church is being strengthened as we grow closer to Jesus and live deployed on mission in Seattle. 

2019 is off to a great start as we engage our community with The Good News of Jesus. The relationships that are developing and the opportunities for serving, teaching, and expanding our reach are encouraging. We have engaged more through volunteering in ESL classes, starting a new women’s bible study, expanding our existing City Groups, and serving the homeless community.

This past week my Chinese friend, Jin Lin, stopped me after an ESL bible class that I was teaching. Jin Lin is not a believer, but about a year ago I encouraged him to begin reading a chapter of the bible each day and to pray for God to reveal himself to him. Much to my surprise, he had been reading and asking God to reveal himself! He mentioned that he often has a difficult time understanding parts of the bible and wondered if he could come by my office each week after class to talk about what he had read. “YES!,” I replied, “of course you can.” He was hesitant to ask because he knows I have a busy schedule. But I explained to him that I would cancel just about anything on my calendar to spend that time with him. 

organic festival

My favorite day of the week is Sunday…but not for the obvious pastoral reasons (and not football). Each week we have a core team prayer/praise time 30 minutes before our worship service. During this time I share what God has been up to in and through my life over the past week. We go around the room and others share about the activity of God in their lives and ways we can pray for one another. It’s the most encouraging and motivating time of the week to see how God is using Awakening Church in our city. Each one of us is incapable of the task that God has given us as ambassadors for Christ. We all have weaknesses that are driving us to a greater dependence on Jesus. It’s through these weaknesses that God is demonstrating that he exists and rewards those who trust and seek him!

Thank you for your partnership with Awakening Church. The gospel breakthroughs and transformed lives are a direct result of your faithfulness in praying and financial giving. We are reminded often as we pray for our partners that we are here because of the call of God on our lives and the faithfulness of His people.

Please continue to pray for these specific things…

  • Our family as we search for a Sunday morning helper for our daughter that would allow Kathy to engage in greater ways.
  • Feb. 3-13 we have a team headed to India to teach at a pastors retreat, preach in several Indian churches, and host multiple prayer meetings in 3 difference cities with our ministry partners.
  • Faithfulness in equipping people for ministry and growing Awakening Church in a healthy & God-honoring way.

‘Tis The Season For Awakening

partner's presentation-2

Seasonal outreach events are incredible opportunities for churches to minister to both their church body and the surrounding community. One of the most effective ways to reach people with the message of Jesus is through meeting real and relevant physical needs in their lives. Opportunities are everywhere to share God’s grace in the midst of real need. When we play a part, people see and hear God’s grace at work in their world. 

This year we partnered with others in our community to give Thanksgiving meal boxes to families in need. Those we served were connected though our local elementary schools. Through the generosity of many, we assembled around 1,000 uncooked, complete Thanksgiving Meal Boxes for local families. Jimmy Johns & Maggiano’s also partnered to provide meals throughout the day as families came to pick up their boxes. As we pool resources and work with partnering businesses, the blessing is multiplied – together we can make the maximum impact!

Service to others is one of the best ways I know to help us live with a thankful heart. It keeps things in perspective and truly helps us understand what’s really important. When we’re able to get outside of our bubble and see outside of ourselves, entitlement is decreased and gratefulness is increased.

Through our Thanksgiving Serve Day, we were able to meet many new families and have many gospel conversations! At our core we strive to not only display Christ to our community, but to declare that it is He who ultimately loves them like no other.

Fall is my favorite season.

In this Christmas season, we will continue looking for ways to establish relationships in our community and tell the true story of the meaning of the season. On December 9, we will host a Community Christmas Party for our neighborhood. This party will have food, games, Christmas crafts, and live music geared toward building relationships with our community families.

We ask you to join us in praying for our city and these great opportunities we have in this season. We don’t take your prayers and partnership lightly. Your commitment to this work is opening doors for Awakening Church to plant the gospel in the lives of many as we live to multiply disciples. We are incredibly thankful!

THINGS THAT GO TOGETHER

things that go together

Some things just naturally go together, like peanut butter & jelly, thunder & lightning, fish & chips, or pork & beans. Trying to imagine the one without the other would be like losing part of the identity. Making disciples & building community go together as well—in fact, they are inseparably linked. Without other believers to grow with, the process of multiplying disciples and churches is impossible.

As we live under God’s direction, our faith will be affected by how we relate to the people around us. And because we are family with other believers, we are seeking out others we can learn with. Being a Christian involves a relationship with God, yes, but it also involves a relationship with others. The goal of Christ-centered community is to develop the ultimate atmosphere by which the Church can speed toward its destination—multiplying disciples.

This past weekend we wrapped up our first month as Awakening Church in Bellevue, Washington. Building community and deeper relationships are some of the key building blocks we are using to introduce the gospel to our city.

Through our gathering, praying, serving, and studying, we are growing in strength and number each week. We are committed to this journey of faith, courage, and sacrifice that is creating a multi-ethnic and economically diverse church. In response the the prayer of Jesus for unity and our desire to pattern ourselves after the New Testament Church at Antioch (Acts 11)—we are a church or others, for all people, we are Awakening Church.

Acts 2:42–47 gives us a snapshot of community in the early church. It is a great passage, full of people spending time together…praying, talking, eating and worshipping. This passage shows a group of people wanting to be faithful to Christ and a desire to grow in their faith together.

Zach &Sarah Melvin

It’s with great joy that I get to announce that God has blessed us with new worship leaders! Zach and Sarah Melvin transitioned from Lynchburg, VA this past week. Please join us as we pray for their transition to their new home and life in Seattle. We celebrate their obedience and rejoice that God has opened the door for them to join the Awakening Church family!

2018 worldmission offering

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Acts 1:8

Over 2.8 Billion people have little to no access to the gospel. Together, we’re changing that. This December we will have our first World Mission Offering in which 100% of our gifts support missionaries who are making disciples and multiplying churches among unreached people and places around the world. Click the link to see in detail how we will disperse our 2018 World Mission Offering. At Awakening Church, missions is the mission. We are committed to being on mission in our city and around the world to make, grow, and send disciples so that our neighborhoods and nations are transformed.

Check out this video below to see how our approach to our calling can transform our world.

Limitless from IMB on Vimeo.

For continuous updates on what is happening in the life of Awakening Church, I encourage you to follow us on social media.

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Thank you for your continued support and prayers! God is at work!