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Archive for January, 2011

A Year in Review | Part 4

28 Jan

To Our Friends and Family,

Our God is so very good and we thank Him for your continued support and interest in the transformation which is occurring here in North Seattle. For this update, you will be hearing from our College Pastor, Paul Bronleewe and our Incanrational Ministry Directors, Casey Ties and Shelli Daniels.

College Ministry – Paul Bronleewe

This fall we began a new ministry at North Seattle Community College, The Epic Life College Ministry.   We are trusting God to bring transformation to the campus by building a movement of students who have experienced transformation in their own lives and want to see others find an epic life of transformation as well.  

Please pray that we could effectively communicate the gospel to them through words and deeds.  Also, please pray that God would grant us favor with the administration of the school and that doors would open for us to share Christ with them as well. 

Incarnational Ministry – Shelli Daniels and Casey Ties

The Lord has been so good, providing multiple opportunities for Epic Life Church to share in Jesus’ call to minister among the broken, the poor, the hurting – and even to be intentional in the community among friends and neighbors.

We hosted a North Seattle block party – with over 400 people from the community throughout the day.  Businesses came with booths, a live musician played, kids jumped on bounce houses, a local news station filmed the day, and the Seattle Fire Department even came out to play with the kids.  The greatest success of the block party in my eyes has been seeing the continued business friendships that have developed as a result of the initial interaction for the block party.  We have been blessed to meet a local grocery store owner, who has literally allowed God to use her work to bring a family back to Jesus through Epic Life Church.  She also gave us the go on a beautiful community mural project this fall – with the chance for us to partner with some neighborhood and sustainability organizations.  Nothing like art to cover a gray and dreary street like Aurora.  

We have had other opportunities to meet business owners along the street – one whom we have been able to do some work projects for, and another who has allowed us to establish a Community Garden on the nearby property he manages.  The Aurora Community Garden has been a work in progress – but our hope for this coming year is for it to be a place where weekly barbecues, live music, house churches, and community gatherings can happen.  We hope that it will be a sustainable source of fruit and vegetables for our neighbors.  Our house churches have been busy doing amazing things in the city – like cleaning trash off the streets, visiting people in the motels who are down and out, spending time with the elderly and shut-ins, and serving each other within the Body of Christ.  We have had four ministry groups and two summer ‘interns’ visit us from around the country to serve and learn the vision and heart of Incarnational Ministry here at Epic Life Church.  The way these teams have encouraged and established us in the city is phenomenal.  We are so thankful.

As followers of Christ, we are called to love others and to serve them as brothers and sisters.  Without the partnership and support of our family and friends all across the country, we would not be able to do nearly as much as God has allowed us to.  My prayer is that every life that is touched by the ministry here would know the true hope that Jesus offers.  It is the best thing we can give.

 

A Year in Review | Part 3

21 Jan

To Our Partners,

For our third update we will be featuring our House Churches directed by Jeff Campbell and our recovery ministry lead by Nathan Vrentas. These are both ministries where we’ve seen incredible growth and blessing. As we begin this new year we anxiously await the next things God has in store.

House Churches – Jeff Campbell

I can hardly believe 2010 is over and Epic has been in business for the Lord over a year now! Our House Church Ministry, or what is becoming known as the ‘House Church Movement,’ has not ceased to amaze and inspire us over this past year…here are a few highlights:
 
– First Annual House Church Pastor “LOCK-IN” was a HUGE success! All of the operational HC Pastors and their Co-leaders gathered for 36 hours of straight training! We had four very fruitful working sessions where we thoroughly explored concepts like shepherding, theology, and discipleship within our body- both our perceived successes, and what we feel still needs work. I have never experienced a group of leaders communicating and unifying in mind and spirit so fluidly and passionately!
– Six operational House Churches, some that have been ‘open for business’ since before the public launch of Epic, some that are only a few weeks old. Our last year has produced three pairs of new HC Pastors, as we launched on 10/4/09 with only three HC’s. We have been blessed to see this sustained growth, in people willing and committed to leadership as well as attending a HC, and believe it is only a matter of time until six becomes 12!
– The HC Life Cycle (Study, Play, Study, Serve) has taken many new and old believers out of their comfort zone, into a place of true ministry. Serving, teaching, praying and leading is not reserved for the Pastor(s) here-this rotational cycle of events allows every member to experience God in new and different ways! Sustainable relationships, both with other ministries and businesses as well as with each other, have been recurring fruit of the challenge/blessing of having our House Churches live on this Life Cycle.
 
Our body of believers is experiencing more and more what it feels like to be cared for. To have someone intimately concerned about you; it’s something many will never experience. “[Our] responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work, and to build up the church, the body of Christ, until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12, 13) I am pleased to report that House Church is doing just that.

Recovery Ministry – Nathan Vrentas

Dear Brothers and Sisters of Faith, it gives me great pleasure to report to you the outstanding progress the recovery ministry is experiencing. I don’t want to waste any time testifying to you the good news. We have a sister who was addicted to heroin in needle use who is now clean and sober, but above that has given her life to Christ and now mentoring other girls and praying for them in their struggle. We have a brother who smoked crack for twenty years, now one year sober and co-pastoring in the recovery ministry, leading people to christ and allowing his deep understanding of addiction to bring light into the freedom a relationship with Jesus can bring. We have a sister who was using cocaine, sober and singing heavenly sounds from her throat praising God in all honor, and some days blessing us as she joins the praise and worship team to lift up Jesus’ name.

This has been a successful start to a spirit-led recovery group that stands on the belief that Jesus will and can transform us inside and out, and free us from all chains that bind our flesh inside of some sort of addiction. We at Altar Call and the complete recovery ministry team want to thank you for your financial  support and consistent prayers.

May the Lord bless your path and keep you as you enjoy the blessing of all the freedom and truth that walking with Jesus brings.

 

A Year in Review | Part 2

14 Jan

Hello friends,

This is update number two. We hope that you enjoyed reading about the worship and youth ministry last week. This week our spotlight will be on the children within our community. Between the adoption of the former Northgate Christian Academy and the incredible growth of the Epic children’s ministry, we are blessed to see our children learn and grow in relationship with Christ.

Dale Cluck – Epic Life Academy

It has been such a blessing to continue the work with the academy.  Every year I am amazed at what the Lord has done in the lives of the students.  It has been a special blessing this year to partner with Epic Life Church.  This has been an opportunity to identify the work of the Academy with the life of the church.  The students have traditionally done well in academics and growth in maturity, but with the influence of the Epic Life leadership, the students have learned to give back to the community – to get out and be visible for the body of Christ.  The music program has been a particular delight with the children 4 – 17 sharing their talents.  They have been well received at the state fair, rotary club, new business openings and community parks.  It has been exciting to see them learn to use their talents,right now, for the Lord.

Kari Campbell – Grow

The Children’s Ministry, Grow, has literally grown!! Within the last year we have doubled the volunteers and within the next couple of months we will be doubling the children. (Our Hispanic Ministry will be joining us in the theater and their children will join our ministry!)  As the Children’s Pastor, I have seen half my volunteers phase to new ministries and watched God bless me with even more people who desire to serve the children and families.
 
Our children have learned and continue to learn the importance of living like Jesus everyday and not just on Sundays. They have a four-day devotion available to them and if they complete it, they receive stickers, which depending on how long the can save their stickers, they are allowed to pick out prizes. The Grow Goodie Garage is a huge blessing and a physical incentive to encourage the children to memorize Scripture, work on devotions with their family, and listen in on the lessons at Sunday school.
 
Many events have taken place within the last year – Teacher Appreciation, Family Picnic, Fall Festival, and more to come. One of our 3rd graders decided to get baptized this past month, which was so amazing to see!! We Pray more children will make that decision, as they continue to learn about God and who He is in their life. 

 

A Year in Review | Part 1

07 Jan

To kick off the new year, we wanted to take this opportunity to share with you how each area of ministry within Epic is doing. David our Worship Pastor and Samantha our Youth director have written for you their ministry highlights from 2010. We praise God for the ways he is stretching and growing this church body in North Seattle. Our prayer is that this week’s snippet, and those to come in the following weeks, touches your heart and inspires you!

David Vicchiollo – Corporate Worship

The foundation of what is to come for corporate worship in Epic Life Church is continually in the process of being laid.  I am so thankful the Lord has allowed 2010 to be a year that has taken us to the next level of a Christ-centered establishment.  Here are some of the ways God has allowed this establishment to grow in 2010:

     –  The Epic Life Choir:  Members of Epic Life have stepped up to a role in not only singing on stage as a group with unity, but also learning to be confident in knowing they are leaders as they walk onto the stage, with their bodies AND with what comes out of their mouth. 

     –  A new Worship Music Leader:  Darren Mills has become someone I have gained much trust in and the Lord continues to show me that Darren is someone who has been gifted musically, who has great humility and who has a servant heart which points to an even greater leadership.  

     –  New and established musicians:  For over a year now, we have maintained our core musicians who have now become the leaders of several new musicians who have stepped up to serve.  

     –  The development of Worship Nights:  These have been a bi-monthly happening that have allowed us to baptize many new believers and celebrate their new life and the ways Christ is working via the arts.  

     –  The first ever Epic Life Worship CD:  This is an EP (“extended play” meaning too long for a single hit, but too short for a full album) that is made up of all Epic Life originals.  The Lord has given us some incredible connections and has allowed us to create something that pushes our creativity as musicians and is very professional.  It has been created by Epic Life Musicians with the help of our producer and one other outside musician. 

The Lord continues to allow us to grow stronger every week.  The vision and our hope for the art that is created and the way we work and serve together via corporate worship is that it would be an advocate that allows the Holy Spirit to free people to step into worshiping Him in full.  We are continually seeing that unfold before our eyes.  

Samantha Ahmad – Reach Youth Ministry

This year has flown by and it is incredible what has happen within Epic Life’s Youth Ministry, REACH. We combined our youth ministry with a local Eritrian church. This has been an incredible partnership. Not only have we gained 6 new students in our ministry but its been such a blessing to watch these two groups of students accept each other and get to know one another.
 
This school year we are focusing on our identity in Christ and learning who we are. It has been lead to a lot of great discussion and wondering about some big questions. I know many of the students have been challenged in the way that they currently view themselves and are beginning to become more aware of who God created them to be.
 
For our final event of 2010, we hosted a Lock-In. The kids were stoked about getting to stay up all night at our AXIS building and loved the opportunity to see how God will used the time to continue to unite us as a group and community within this body.

God has been doing so much within the youth ministry and I’m thankful that I can trust that He is at work in our students’ lives.