Today is our last day at River City Church here in Lewiston. I’ve been reflecting on all of the different churches that I’ve been a part of over the last 25 years, and I can see how God has purposely used all of the people in our lives to shape us into who we are today.
His Place Foursquare
This is the church that I grew up in and where I first met Jesus. It was the first church that I stepped foot in that I can vividly remember sensing a strong presence of God right from the get go. Larry Wersen was the senior pastor, and his son Bruce was the youth pastor. Both of these guys had an unbelievable impact on my life. Larry was such a down to earth guy, and an avid outdoorsman, which appealed to me. He was never afraid to tell all of the crazy stories from his past, and he always ended them with how God totally changed him. Bruce was about the funnest guy around, and genuinely cared about all of the kids around him. He would ask me every week, “So Brian, how are you doing?”. I would answer, “Fine”. Then he would say, “Really?” as if somehow he knew I wasn’t fine. In fact, I was starting to experiment with drinking and was slipping into the party life. I couldn’t figure out how he knew, but he did. Bruce is now the senior pastor of that church. Thank you Larry, Bruce, Ken, Kurt, and all of the other wonderful people at His Place! You taught me that church life is supposed to be fun!
I went through about 10 years where I didn’t serve the Lord, but rather served myself by partying constantly. That ended abruptly in 1994 when God intervened in my life. Andrea and I started attending Pullman Foursquare. Our first Sunday, we were mobbed by well meaning students inviting us to their small group. These people were obsessed by small groups! We held them off for about 3 Sundays, then we were tricked into bringing olives to one of their dinners. We had to show up. We learned the value of small groups at Pullman Foursquare under the leadership of Dan Smith and Steve Reames. I’m so grateful that those crazies kept inviting us to their group, even though we really didn’t want to come. Thank you Dan and Steve for your passion for people and small groups!
Desert Spring Foursquare
We moved to Oregon after college and began attending Desert Spring. Dave and Kelley Eshleman immediately began courting us (by Dave taking me fishing and Kelley hanging out with Andrea). We became part of the leadership team there and ultimately launched a small groups program. It was an exciting time for us and helped to anchor our passion and conviction for small groups. Dave’s unique way of teaching helped to ground me in the Word, and gave me a passion for teaching the Word. It was here that I received my calling to plant churches. I’ll never forget all of the people and experiences that helped us grow at Desert Spring. Thank you Dave and Kelley and all of the other people we love at Desert Spring!
River City Church
You would have thought we’d have found another Foursquare church when we moved to Lewiston, but the week we were visiting looking for a church, Foursquare was having a leadership convention in Oregon and none of the pastors would call us back. Go figure. Instead we found River City Church and Ron King. The minute I met Ron I knew he was our kind of guy, and the minute we stepped foot into RCC, we knew it would be our home for a while. One of the things that we weren’t prepared for was the grace that flowed in this church. It was so thick it was almost overwhelming! I didn’t realize that I had a fair bit of legalism in me, and God was going to use the people of RCC to beat it out of me. I’ve also learned the value of team here at RCC. Nothing is done here without a team, thus we are planting a church using the team approach. I wouldn’t do it any other way. Maybe that’s just me. There are so many people that have influenced our lives here at RCC and through Lifelinks, I couldn’t begin to list them all! Thank you Ron King and Kevin Beeson, and the rest of RCC and Lifelinks! I’m proud to say I’m a DORK (Disciple of Ron King)!!!
Of course this is just a small smattering of the people who have helped us get to where we are today. There have literally been hundreds of people who have mentored us, allowed us to mentor them, and just stood beside us as God has grown the vision for church planting in us. Thank you everyone!