Seattle, Wash., known as the “Emerald City” for its lush green surroundings, is also sometimes referred to as “The None Zone.”
That’s because researchers have discovered that more people in the Seattle area say “none” when asked for their religious affiliation than in any other region of the United States.
But new and established Christian Reformed churches in and near Seattle are working to change that. This growing ministry cluster has spawned churches that worship in such diverse places as theaters, coffeehouses, and living rooms.
“In the book of Acts, churches developed out of clusters,” comments Rev. Randy Rowland, pastor of Sanctuary CRC, a church born out of a partnership between Christian Reformed Home Missions and churches in Classis Pacific Northwest. “We see what we’re doing here as a biblical model for new church growth.”
“All of us, whether established Seattle churches or new ministries, are committed to pulling together all of our resources and working together as one to build the kingdom of Jesus Christ.”
This cluster began when Rowland started Sanctuary several years ago in a neighborhood theater. Eric Likkel, pastor of Emmaus Road, a Christian Reformed church formed in 1996, explains: “Randy came from outside the CRC initially, and he saw all this new church activity happening here through our denomination. He was very instrumental in getting all of us together to support one another in the mission.”
Currently, there are 11 pastors in the cluster. They meet on the second Friday of each month to pray, discuss resources, and seek new ways to collaborate.
“It’s really become a movement,” says Rowland, who also serves on the Home Missions Church Planting and Development Leadership Team.