Aaron Carpenter - Church planting in Northeast Tacoma

7726 reads

There are 21 Comments

Don Johnson's picture

While Soundside Church will be affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, that connection will not be advertised.
“Southern anything doesn’t play well” in the Seattle area, Carpenter said. “We want to draw people to Christ. We don’t want to throw any cultural barriers between us and them.”
The second reason is the Baptist name. “The Pacific Northwest, being a very liberal, unchurched, even godless culture…Baptist has a very negative connotation,” he continued.

There's a Hebrew word for that... Baloney!

I will admit, though, that the words "church" and "Christian" carry a very negative connotation up here. So if escaping a negative connotation is his goal, he's not out of the woods yet.

 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Bert Perry's picture

Please keep SI posted on how things are going as you think appropriate, Aaron.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

A. Carpenter's picture

Thanks, Jim and Bert! Will do.

Hey, Don, with your experience in the area, how do you feel Baptists are generally perceived?

(For the record, I'm only interested in avoiding unnecessary negativity. I hope I never shy away from identifying with Christ and his church.)

Faith is obeying when you can't even imagine how things might turn out right.

Don Johnson's picture

I would say that most of the secular people in the area ignore Christians of all kinds. I don't think Baptists are perceived any more negatively than Lutherans, Methodists, what have you. When you contact someone, what they seem to hear is "mumble mumble Church..." That's the word that sets them off.

It is not that I think the word Baptist is a fundamental of the faith, it is just that I think it is no more negatively perceived than any other church label.

The biggest challenge with adults is overcoming their resistance to hearing any Christian witness over against their conscious rejection of the Church and all it stands for (in their minds, anyway). Usually any church experience they have is with a fairly anemic mainline version of Christianity and they see no relevance to it. A few have had actual exposure to the true gospel and have rejected it.

In my opinion, the best way to overcome the resistance is by persistent contacts and a faithful positive personal testimony. As people observe your way of life, they become more open to hearing the gospel. Also, if you can contact people who are very much aware of their neediness, then sometimes they will be open to hearing the gospel. By this I mean people in crisis (health, financial, life choices) where they are getting close to bottom and don't know where to turn. Sometimes they will listen.

Anyway, worrying about the label is pretty superficial. Personally I am in favor of accurate labels that describe what I am, regardless of negative perceptions, but I don't find that labels like "Baptist" are particularly off-putting on average. Usually when we add the words, "We aren't JW's" our credibility increases (slightly)!

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

TylerR's picture

Editor

I'm from Tacoma. That city needs some good churches, even if they don't have the word "Baptist" in the name. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

AndyE's picture

I graduated from high school in Tacoma and have many fond memories from my time in the Pacific Northwest. Even went to a Baptist church.  I seem to remember a pretty widespread GARBC presence in that area when I was there.

Ron Bean's picture

There's a Hebrew word for that... Baloney!

And some of us have an English word for your opinion.....Denial!

I have working in the "real world" on a daily basis for some time and have yet to hear anyone speak positively about "Baptists" other than a few Baptists.

I'm praying for Gospel success in your endeavors in the rainy Northwest.

 

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Don Johnson's picture

And you suppose I don't work in the real world?

 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

A. Carpenter's picture

AndyE wrote:

I graduated from high school in Tacoma and have many fond memories from my time in the Pacific Northwest. Even went to a Baptist church.  I seem to remember a pretty widespread GARBC presence in that area when I was there.

 

What church did you attend?

Faith is obeying when you can't even imagine how things might turn out right.

Ron Bean's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

And you suppose I don't work in the real world?

 

Nope. I never said or implied any such thing. I was just sharing my personal experience.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Bert Perry's picture

One can debate whether I work in the real world or in a fake world (I'm in tech), but count me as strongly Baptistic but cringing at what a lot of Baptists have done to the brand--KJVO, legalism, landmark, Hyles, etc..  

Now is it any worse than the rest of churches have done?   We can debate that, I guess, but I think there is a reason that the "default" setting of many seems to be to assume that any weirdness out there in religion land is "Baptist."  Probably not entirely fair, but again--KJVO, Hyles, landmark, legalism, rules--I think we've earned it.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

AndyE's picture

A. Carpenter wrote:

What church did you attend?

Mt. Tahoma Baptist Church -- back in the 80's.Looks like there have been lots of changes since when my family went there. 

Don Johnson's picture

to the squabbles and scandals that occur in the Baptist world? I guarantee you that unless they make national headlines, they are way under the radar.

I suspect that the religious scandals that lost people are aware of in the Northwest would be the Roman Catholic priests in the news in recent years and the Cussin Pastor (TM). Other than that, they aren't paying attention.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

TylerR's picture

Editor

That church is indeed still there. I drove by it last time I was home. I think it's near the new Mt. Tahoma High School on 72nd, if I remember right.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

AndyE's picture

I doubt I would recognize much of that area anymore.  We lived just down the road from the church, across the street from where the new high school has been built.  That land used to be strawberry fields and my brothers and I could make a little side money by picking strawberries over there.  The other thing I remember was the B&I store, in the other direction, that had a live gorilla caged at one of the entrances. Fun place!

For those who don't know. Mt.Tahoma is the Indian name for Mt. Rainier.

Andy

TylerR's picture

Editor

That gorilla is dead and gone. He always looked sad and depressed. Back to the topic, I can't think of a good Baptist Church in the Tacoma area that isn't at least mildly KJVO. This church plant is good news.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

josh p's picture

Praise God! I am so glad to hear this. I am only 30 min from Tacoma and regularly pray for pastors from solid schools to come to the area. I may even check it out.

josh p's picture

Also as a follow up to Tyler's post, I am not aware of any non-KJVonly IFB church in my county that has a seminary trained man. For this reason I have tried churches in Tacoma and elsewhere only to find the situation is similar there as well,