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crazy ride
Seattle church plant reaching homeless, marginalized
By Joe Conway

Crazy. Not the first description that comes to mind for church planting, but for Keith and Kristine Carpenter the word comes up often.

The couple, married 21 years, moved to Seattle four years ago and helped launch Epic Life Church. The church plant celebrated its two-year anniversary in September 2011. God used a still, small, yet extremely direct voice to move the Carpenters to their new home.

“I was sitting in church, minding my own business,” says Keith Carpenter. “I felt like God tapped us on the shoulder and said, ‘I want you to go start a church.’ And I was like, ‘What?’” One week later Kristine received a message.

“My wife had a pretty crazy dream. She’d never been to Seattle, but she said, ‘I saw this word, it was just the letters Aurora in Seattle.’ So we checked out Aurora in Seattle and found it was a main drag. That kinda got our attention,” says Carpenter.

A trip to explore Seattle and Aurora Avenue four months later confirmed their vision. They found the Aurora corridor to be a crazy place in need of extremely loud love.

“Most people, if you ask them about Aurora, they’ll say [it’s] bars and strip clubs and adult bookstores and all this stuff,” says Carpenter. “There’s just a lot of hurt along the street. And we started meeting people—walking up and down, talking with the homeless, spending time with them, knowing them by name—and people came in from those relationships.”

Epic Life Church meets in a movie theater. The congregation of 100 spans from the homeless to people with comfortable homes and incomes.

“We have a rocking good time,” says Carpenter, a North American Mission Board church planter missionary. “It’s not something we dreamed up. The only way I can explain it is that it’s truly God calling us to do this.

“We really have wanted to bring color to the city. This is a colorless city, spiritually colorless. Our vision at Epic Life is to see North Seattle transformed by finding an epic life in Christ.”

Another crazy occurrence came when a crack house burned down and the lot became a homeless hangout. More need? More love.

28 Summer 2012 •

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