Category Archives: Church Planting

Hope Awakens

by Dustin Serns, Pastor of the Port Orchard Adventist Church

When Wanda was asked to serve as a virtual Bible worker for the Hope Awakens Online Bible Series, she felt a strong conviction God was calling her to do it. She had never done anything like it before. As a recently retired accountant, she felt far more comfortable working with numbers than people, but she felt God calling her out of her comfort zone to reach out to people. When it came time to call the people on her list, she was nervous. When she came to Star’s name, she thought she recognized it from many years ago. When they connected on the phone, Wanda asked, “Are you the same Star that used to attend the Bremerton Church many years ago?” She was. Then Star recognized Wanda as well.

Star joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church by profession of faith in 1996. After several years, she became disconnected from the church. Although she still believed in the Sabbath, she was spiritually drifting and isolated. When the COVID-19 pandemic came, she sensed a call from God to get more serious about her faith. She found the Hope Awakens series online and began watching. Then she got the phone call from Wanda.

Star and Wanda immediately became friends. Wanda invited Star to attend the worship gathering at Port Orchard Seventh-day Adventist Church when it reopened. Star came and found a few others she knew from before as well.

At her baptism celebration, Wanda and Star shared how God had led them together in a powerful way. God had reignited a fire in Star’s life for Him.  After years of being disconnected, Star had found a church family again.

Dylan first connected with the Port Orchard Seventh-day Adventist Church when he and his wife Helen had their new baby daughter dedicated. Helen had grown up Seventh-day Adventist in Kenya before moving to Washington several years ago and wanted to pass on her faith to her daughter. Dylan began attending worship gatherings with Helen and his daughter Leila, with no intention of joining the church. Although Dylan had little connection with any church growing up, he had been taught about God at home. For the past several years, Dylan had been struggling spiritually and now felt God was calling him back. When the church hosted a weekend seminar called Final Empire, Dylan came and started going deeper. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Everything shut down. When Port Orchard Church participated in a national online series by It Is Written called Hope Awakens, Dylan received a personal invitation and began watching the series.

One of the virtual Bible workers on the team at Port Orchard was Tatum. Tatum had recently finished studying engineering at Walla Walla University and had gotten a job at the Naval Shipyard in Bremerton. After their first visit to the church, the pastor took Tatum and his wife out to eat and discovered their heart for ministry. A few weeks later, when the pandemic hit, Tatum accepted an invitation to serve on the Hope Awakens team. As an introvert, he was nervous about reaching out to people he didn’t know, but prayed for strength and courage. When it came time to call the people on his list to see how they were connecting with the presentations, one of the first people he called was Dylan. They had a great conversation. As they continued connecting over the course of the seminar. Tatum and Dylan became friends. The Holy Spirit was working in Dylan’s life, and Dylan wanted to give his heart to Christ in baptism. Dylan wanted to overcome his addictions to alcohol and smoking before his celebration of new life, but he wasn’t sure if he could. He had tried to quit before but had fallen back into them. Tatum and the pastor encouraged Dylan. They prayed for him. Dylan claimed victory through Jesus’ promises. He began doing some practical things to fight against temptation through his lifestyle. Tatum committed to calling Dylan every day to check in and pray with him as he worked to overcome the addictions. It was a powerful experience for both of them as Jesus gave the victory.

At Dylan’s baptism a couple weeks later, both Dylan and Tatum shared powerful testimonies about how God had been working to bring victory and transformation. Both lives have been changed, and they continue a spiritual mentorship that will help both of them continue growing with Jesus.

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Momentum – Restart

tacoma baptismsBy Hiram Rester, Pastor of the South Tacoma Adventist Fellowship

The South Tacoma Adventist Fellowship celebrated 30 precious souls making decisions for baptism, rebaptism and profession of faith in 2015. A major part of that was a series this past fall. In the course of that series and immediately following it, 24 people made decisions. People have a personal Restart at baptism. Churches can have Restarts too.

About two years ago, South Tacoma Adventist Fellowship (formerly the Tacoma Southside church) entered a pilot program for the Washington Conference called Restart. The church had been in decline for several years. The churches attendance and financial resources had dwindled to only a fraction of what they had been in the “glory years” of the past.

The Tacoma Southside church was among the 80% of churches in America that are either plateaued or declining.

Church growth experts inside and outside of Adventism tell us that it takes 8 -10 years for a pastor to lead a church in a turn-a-round. The visionary administration of the Washington Conference believed that if a church was ready, and if a pastor had a unique set of spiritual gifts, that the Lord could lead a church to return to revival and vibrancy much quicker. They began to develop the “Restart” program.

It is like a “church plant” in an existing location with the same group of people. The church returns to a church structure much like Continue reading

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Church Planting – Vivid Adventist Church

12208415_1624469294470880_8759674922958205002_nA new church plant has begun in the Salem-Keizer-Woodburn, Oregon area. The Vivid Adventist Church initiative hopes to reach millennials and young adults through a multi-ethnic church plant. There are no other English-speaking Adventist congregations in Keizer, and with several universities and colleges nearby, Vivid looks to be an ideal centrally located plant. Together with lead pastor, Samuel Moreno, a core leadership team of church members from all three cities have been meeting since August of 2015, planning, praying and preparing for a launch date in the spring of 2016. The first open house was on Feb. 6 at the Woodburn Spanish Church which welcomed 115 guests and offered the opportunity for anyone looking for a church family to attend and sample what Vivid is all about. They hope to officially launch on Easter weekend in March 2016.

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Church Planting – SEEDS Conference

vancouver seeds

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Church Planting – U of O Ministry

u of oWe now have an active ministry on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, Oregon,  complete with an inspiring Sabbath morning worship service designed especially for them.  If you know of any students at UO, you can direct them to contact Pastor Randy Ban (info below), or contact Randy yourself with the student’s information and the church will be happy to follow up on the names.

209-206-0915 (Website is still under construction, but it will show times and location.)

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Church Planting – Exponential Says; Share Our Stuff

exponentialAt Exponential, we recognize the unique needs of church planters. Whether you are leading a church, recruiting and training church planters or creating church planting movements, it seems you always need more time, better content, more expertise and the support of a team. So we’ve done the hard “stuff” — offering excellent events, learning experiences, cool tools and tons of free resources for teams, planters and church planting networks. On the next few pages, you’ll find some details on Exponential’s resources and ideas about how you can start using them. So go ahead, we give you permission. Share our stuff!

Click Here to Download the Exponential VIP Portfolio

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Church Planting – What I learned in a Church Plant

Edwin Vargas, pastor and church planter, Portland, OR482280_647082361975869_413366136_n
Source – Best Practices for Adventist Ministry

I am pastoring a church plant in under-churched Portland, Oregon. Here are three things I learned in my first year.

1.    We bring assumptions, DNA and personal definitions.
“Pastor, I had never experienced our mission till I saw my co-worker responding to a baptism call.”  It had been 7 months since this 27 year old, 2nd generation PK Adventist, had been a part of the church plant’s core and she was finally understanding the mission. I’m learning that pastors and members bring to church plants 3 things: assumptions, DNA and personal definitions. Being aware of our assumptions can help us understand each other better and facilitate mission. Each one of us brings to the church plant a portion of our previous church DNA. Some of that DNA may be good to perpetuate while some can be harmful to keep around. It is important to identify what to keep and what to get rid of right now. Success, sacrifice, and excellence can be described in very personal, different ways. I’m learning that the more specific we are about our definitions the more accurate we are in setting goals.

2.    Collaboration leads to multiplication  
Instead of looking at the church we rent from as landlords or rivals, we see them as partners in ministry. The Discovery Church and their pastor Dan Snavely have been instrumental in helping our church plant grow.  They believe that by helping our church plant they’re investing in God’s Kingdom. In the last few months we’ve had 10 baptisms-most of them young adults committing their lives to Christ. Our collaboration has led to multiplication from averaging 30 in attendance to almost 100 in the last few weeks.

3.    Excellence is a good core value – for most
As I visited this 25 year old guy I noticed his tattoos. There was also a big smile on his face as he told me, “I have been overwhelmed with the desire to raise my voice and praise Jesus. I’m counting the days to next Sabbath”. But I heard another view from an Adventist brother: “The service is a show.” It almost seemed that the excellence in music, lights and graphics made it a show. Clearly, two people can participate of the same service and experience different things. Yet excellence was a core value in the Old Testament sanctuary and the temple. If everything exalts Christ and presents the Gospel, it should be excellent. Even if some don’t think so.

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Church Planting – New Field

“Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said” (Joshua 14:12, NIV). With these words, Caleb asked Joshua the opportunity to possess a new territory, even though, it was a difficult one. In the same way, a group of believers from the Spanish Churches of Kennewick and Pasco decided to possess a new territory. That Territory is the city of Richland with its neighbor cities, in the State of Washington.

This year, the new company planned to have three evangelistic campaigns. Two of these three evangelistic campaigns were held in a conference room in the Red Lion Hotel in the city of Richland. As a result of these evangelistic cycles, we had baptized 3 people. After the first cycle of evangelistic effort, we started having some difficulties with the place of meeting. The conference room in the Red Lion Hotel was not always available, so, the new company began their journey from place to place.

During the last campaign, the company put emphasis on prayer. So, every day the company prayed to find a comfortable place to worship, to serve to children, teenagers, and adults, was an everyday motive of prayer.

Interestingly enough, after the Continue reading

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Church Planting – Seeds Northwest

The North Pacific Union is hosting the SEEDS Northwest in Auburn, WA, May 9-12, 2012. Bill McClendon, the new Vice President for Evangelism of the Washington Conference is organizing this thrilling event. This is going to be a special opportunity for church planters to hone their skills, learn and network with likeminded church planters. Please look at the brochure attached and promote this event with your pastors. For more information please contact Bill directly at 253-681-6008 or email

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Church Planting – A Church Plant Success

Sunday evening Shane and Amy’s small group laid hands on Shane and pleaded with God to give him a different job. He worked as a sales representative for Pepsi, but delivering those cases of pop was killing his already-bad shoulders. He was their top salesperson, winning yearly awards for sales, etc. But Shane just couldn’t continue—and yet he didn’t know what else to do.

He had a family to support and couldn’t afford to be off work. For Shane, the love and support of his small group that evening were a gift.

The next day when Shane arrived at work at 5:00 a.m., his boss called him into the office and fired him. Although a bit confused as to why the company would fire a longtime, model employee, he walked out with a smile on his face, thinking, I wonder what God is up to? Getting Shane to that place of comfort in the midst of the storm was quite a journey.


It all started in the spring of 1998. I received a call from the Rocky Mountain Conference to do something I was very passionate about for nearly six years: to plant a church in northern Colorado with an evangelistic approach. It was an opportunity to see if what I said either worked or didn’t work. 

I had been on the development team of two other church plants, and as a kid was baptized in a church plant. But I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Church planting turned out to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done READ MORE

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