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“When a group like that comes, it puts a lot of hands and feet on the ground to do ministry. They were able to help us put on a block party for several hundred people. People along Aurora are not just down and out, they are marginalized. Showing them they are loved and that people truly care has opened a lot of doors for us.”

Brandon Best, middle school pastor at Oakwood, said the benefits were mutual.

“We need to get away from our bubble, our place, to be able to experience and see things,” says Best. “We came up here to show some students and some adult leaders who we’re giving funds to. And not just be giving alone, but doing as well. And man, we’re excited about that.”

Epic Life is already looking to start its next church, this one in the south part of Seattle. OM

Joe Conway is managing editor of On Mission.


To view or download a video about Keith Carpenter and Epic Life Church, visit


The Old Motel Project
“Part of the problem along Aurora is the motels,” says Keith Carpenter. “There are half a dozen built

in the 1950s and ’60s that you would not take your family to now. Several are closed, locked up by the city and now serve as giant canvasses for graffiti artists. They harbor hidden homelessness, prostitution and sex trafficking.

“We are trying to learn to help people who are part of our church, but are still homeless. Many have given their lives to Christ, but they still struggle on the street. We have to get them off the street,” says Carpenter.

The Old Motel Project sprang from that desire. It is aimed at purchasing two of the old buildings and transforming them into centers of tangible aid.

“We take a woman off the street who sold herself for decades, put her through detox, and then what? It can take five or six days to get her into a long-term recovery program. In those five days she will fall back into it. We need a place to transition her. We’ve seen it happen several times. We have brought a few people into our home, but that is tough with a family,” says Carpenter.

A group from Epic Life Church committed to assist with the renovation of the old motels, but the purchase price is around $300,000.

“We have our business model and know that it will take $5,000 per unit to renovate the space. But we will be able to have a place for people to transition from the street to long-term care. We will have income generation to sustain the business and have short-term mission housing,” says Carpenter.

A volunteer team is producing a video to help promote the project. The first trailer is online and features the voice of Bruce McDaniel, an example of exactly who Carpenter and Epic Life are reaching.

“Bruce is one of our members who came off Aurora,” says Carpenter. “We had fliers for our launch. Bruce found one of the fliers in a mud puddle and showed up at worship. He was a crack addict for 30 years. He came to Christ and now he is helping us reach people on the street.”

City transformation is at the heart of Epic Life’s church planting model. Along with The Old Motel Project, the church is also developing a strategy, currently called Business for the Poor.

“It is a co-op model with transformational power at the heart,” says Carpenter. “We have an economic development team working out how we can help people start businesses along Aurora. We have people coming to Christ who live on the street behind the church. They come to worship and go back to the street. We need to help them find ways off the street.”

Visit to view The Old Motel Project trailer.

ON MISSION • Summer 2012 31

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