SEATTLE, Wash. (BP) -- 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 three years ago to help launch Epic Life Church. The church plant celebrated its two-year anniversary in September 2011, with God having used a still, small, yet extremely direct voice to call the Carpenters to the Pacific Northwest.
"I was sitting in church, minding my own business," said Keith Carpenter, who was a church's college pastor in Winona, Minn. "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 had "a pretty crazy dream," Carpenter continued. "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."
A trip to explore Seattle and Aurora Avenue four months later confirmed their vision, though they found the Aurora corridor to be a crazy place.
"Most people, if you ask them about Aurora, they'll say bars and strip clubs and adult bookstores and all this stuff," Carpenter said. "There's just a lot of hurt along the street." The couple started meeting people -- "walking up and down [the avenue], talking with the homeless, spending time with them, knowing them by name."
"And people came in from those relationships," Carpenter said.
Epic Life Church, which meets in a movie theater, has grown to a congregation of 100, encompassing the homeless as well as people with comfortable homes and incomes. Read More