After the year we’ve weathered together, it’s not surprising to hear of people wondering if God took a leave of absence — or at least fell asleep at the wheel. However, if you look around this church family, even in the midst of all the darkness, you will find undeniable evidence of a beautiful truth — His love remains.
Scroll down and take it all in. Watch the videos. Invest in the stories. Allow yourself to recall moments when Jesus was close to you too, refusing to leave you in the madness of it all. Even now, regardless of what you've lost, His love remains...and it's enough.
– Brian McCormack
“Despite all the pain and difficulty life has thrown at us the past couple years, God has been faithful. We got married this past September - our first ceremony being a small, private one at Joe’s family cabin - a cabin that has been a place of death and sorrow for Joe and his family. So we chose to be baptized there together as well as be married to declare it as a place of life and hope! It was one of the most special days of our lives and an overwhelming reminder of God’s faithfulness and His heart to bring beauty from ashes and make all things new.”
– Ariel & Joe
The day our relationship with Lake Washington High School began was marked by miracles. We showed up to the school without an appointment. The secretary (who was a Christian) and the theater manager were the only two people in the building. The space had become available the day before, and was offered to us on the spot. Before driving away, we asked God for confirmation, then five F-16 jets buzzed over the parking lot in formation.
Our first official gathering was on January 13th, 2013. God’s presence was obvious then and has been constant for all the years that have followed. In those eight years, someone attended a service over 200,000 times. A child was checked in and told how much God loves them over 52,000 times. 35,000+ volunteer hours were logged by faithful serve teams. Over a hundred people were baptized. Dozens and dozens of children were dedicated to the Lord. 850+ sermons were preached. 3500+ songs were sung. A safe home for nearly 100 women and children in India was funded, built, and then dedicated on our stage. And four church plants were sent out across the city and the country to do the same.
We had no idea February 23rd would be our final Sunday gathering together in this sacred space. We are excited for the new home God is preparing for us, but we will never forget where we came from, and what we learned there together — the church is not a building, a program, or an institution — we are the church.
We never would have chosen to celebrate Easter Sunday digitally this year, but God moved all the same. Three people were baptized over Zoom. We gave three different non-profits $10,000 each, and then because you went above and beyond, we were able to give another $20,000 to those organizations. Reach, your generosity is incredible.
“God impressed on me to start encouraging one person in my life every night. Since then God has very clearly shown me someone in my life and quite often has given me exactly what to say. The amount of times that I have woken up the following morning to texts like, "Oh my gosh! How did you know I was going through this and needed encouragement?" is absolutely ridiculous. God has been incredibly faithful.”
You have blown us away with your faithful giving in a year of uncertainty. As a result, we’ve never sent more dollars out the door for kingdom purposes. Your generosity has made a powerful impact on church plants, non-profits, and individuals all over the world — and it’s declaring our readiness for what lies ahead.
– Rob Garey
Sep '18 – Aug. '19
Sep '19 – Aug. '20
“When we came to Taiwan, God had given us a heart for the CCI (cross cultural interns). Little did we know that one of our CCI had been struggling with accepting the gospel for years. It wasn't easy, this last year, through many conversations, tears, hard moments, and good moments, Alyssa accepted Jesus Christ.
Last weekend Jake had the opportunity to baptize Alyssa in the Keelung Harbor. God made a beautiful intimate moment for the WOL Family as we rejoiced over her salvation and she proclaimed that Jesus is her king.”
- Jake & Emily SmithVideos from the Smiths
Coming into 2020 we committed to send 20% of all dollars received out the door for kingdom purposes. A pandemic hit. Economic uncertainty reigned. Many would have trimmed their intended generosity contributions. We went a different direction.
So far this year, 27% of all contributions to Reach have been given away.
We are proud of that, and we hope you are too.
“It was a monumental year for Reach Worship. March marked the release of our first EP of original music, Peace & Madness. These songs were written for those wrestling with anxiety, grief, and depression. I don’t think we knew how timely these songs would be, but the Lord did. We entered lockdown with a new batch of songs about Jesus being with us in the hard times.
In October, we released Blank, an instrumental album created as a resource for the spiritual practice of slowing down. We’ve received tons of kind and encouraging messages from within our church family and beyond. But more importantly, we’ve heard stories about how the music at Reach has been a conduit of Jesus’ hope, peace, and truth. Songs are the smoke of the Holy Spirit’s fire in the church, and I believe this is just the beginning.”
- Zach Hendricks
“Peace & Madness”, released March 2020.
“Blank”, released October 2020.
“Through all the ups and downs of 2020, God has provided in major ways for Reach Everett. Most notably, just a month before our church closed our doors and went digital, we were given a 40,000 square-foot building right in the heart of Downtown Everett. Despite the pandemic, we’ve already been able to open our doors to public gatherings, partner with organizations like Toys for Tots, and give office space to a seminary professor.
We're also seeing new people join our church both digitally and in-person, finding hope in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and people to journey on with. A LOT has changed this year, but God has been present through it all.”
– Sean Gasperetti
Lead Pastor, Reach Everett
What if all you had was your driveway to love and serve your neighbors? The Harvey’s decided that was all they needed to serve those who were financially affected by the pandemic. In partnering with local organizations, they created their own food bank right in their front yard. This passion project has provided food to dozens of families in need and has led to new relationships they never would have had. It's not how much you have that matters, it’s how faithful you are with what you’ve already been given.
Reach Kids has believed wholeheartedly that Jesus can use anything as a means to communicate His love, even a shenanigan filled weekly YouTube video. Everything changed for our practical ryththms of serving kids, and the team had to adapt.
What we thought would be challenging and bear little fruit, ended up being the most fruitful year of ministry to date. Kids began teaching kids about Jesus, entire families engaged together weekly, and joy was a constant theme through it all. Nothing can stop the love of Jesus from reaching the hearts of little children, not even a pandemic.
Each year, Reach Women anticipate a new in-person Bible study developed by a team of our creative leaders. This year, the pandemic threw us for a loop. What proved to be challenging at first, became a powerful expression of how God empowers us through the Holy Spirit to persevere. The result was a 7-week digital course with teaching videos and a beautifully designed e-book.
118 women registered to study the word from home, new DNAs were formed, and there have been 1,435 unique page views of the study online since we launched it in October. Through this study female leaders were developed, women went deeper with Jesus, and God was faithful to remind us that the stories He tells are always better than the ones we try to tell without him.
Reach received an incredible blessing when Dr. Gerry Breshears (Professor of Theology at Western Seminary since 1980) agreed to serve as an elder for the next year. His wisdom is not only being injected into occasional sermons and bi-weekly elder meetings, but is also invested into emerging leaders across the life of the church.
Our first training cohort for elder candidates and other gifted lay leaders recently walked through three different theology courses with Gerry. The impact has been immediate and obvious. Dr. Breshears will continue to be a valuable asset as Reach expands and strengthens its leadership tables, and doubles down on equipping the saints for the work of ministry.
Our first training cohort of elder candidates and other lay leaders gathers for one of their regular Zoom call trainings.
Though we grieved not being able to see one another in person, God showed us that His power isn’t bound to the walls of a physical meeting space. He did some of His best work over the internet. There is so much to celebrate:
“When we had church in-person it was easier to go through the motions and often show up to church out of performance and wanting others to see me there. Now, no one necessarily knows if I watch Reach’s weekly live stream.”
“No one knows if I’m lifting my hands in worship and singing loudly or not singing at all. It all feels so much more personal to me, which I think is how it should be.”
Back in January we started a sermon series dedicated to the intersection of the Gospel and race. There was no way we could have known just how timely this preparation would be — God was equipping us for some difficult, messy, but incredibly important conversations over the months that followed.
Since then we have fumbled forward, choosing to listen well, empathize more, and be constantly looking for opportunities to act on behalf of the God who loves all people with a transforming love.
In the face of an uncertain pandemic, the Reach family of churches responded by further establishing a culture of expectant prayer as part of our everyday lives. Throughout the summer, new expressions of prayer were launched, including Monday Night Prayer, Pre-Service Prayer, and daily prayer meetings on Zoom. We also released a collection of sixteen Guided Prayers set to original music to help our church talk to God no matter the circumstances we might find ourselves in.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
These prayers were written, scored, and recorded entirely in-house. (Thank you Zach & Megan!) Listen via the player provided here, or use the Reach App to access them any time.
“Our daughter was born the same day the stay-at-home order was put into place. We were sad, nervous, and upset that we were going to step into these things alone. There were days when we felt so grateful, but then many days when we felt really lonely and isolated.
But, even so, we’ve experienced endless blessings. My husband and I both get to work from home and spend hours with our daughter. We haven’t missed a moment. Also, I got a new job that allowed me to pick my hours—a job I never would have had without the pandemic!
We are more than confident and expectant that the Lord will provide beyond what we could ask, imagine, or pray for because He has never failed us and He promises He never will.”
- Blaine and Kendall
This has been an uprecedented year, and there are more hurting people among us then ever before. We are committed to being a place where all of us can find the kind of healing we need. This past summer, Josh Loy was brought on in a full-time capacity as Pastor of Care. Josh has been championing the growth of three care teams (Men’s, Women’s, and Marriage) that are providing counsel and support to dozens of people at Reach.
Some of those who have found care include:
Our team considers it a joy to care for the people of this church. We all need additional help from time to time.
Unlike the vast majority of churches across the country, Reach has not seen a signifcant drop in our giving this year. However, last December we saw nearly $500K come in before year’s end. Whether or not we meet this year’s financial goals will depend entirely on us being more generous than ever before.
Also, we are expectant that God will lead us to a building that will be our new home in early 2021. Our readiness then will largely be determined by our sacrificial giving now. We have been praying and fasting together for “building and breakthrough” — let’s joyfully give in that same spirit!