About the Last 9 Months…

Unexpected.

9 months ago today, we landed in Seattle trying to catch our breath from having 5 weeks to move our lives from New York to the West Coast. Our good friend Shu welcomed us at Sea Tac Airport with open arms, took us to pick up keys to the apartment we had rented, yet never seen in person, and then to pick up the car we had purchased via FaceTime. As jet lag began to set in we found ourselves sitting on the floor of our unfurnished apartment asking ourselves, “What just happened?”

We had left New York with the blessing of our Liberty Church pastors, friends, family and community. Originally we had thought we would move in the Summer when our lease was up and Rocco had finished school. Yet all things aligned for the transition to happen sooner. Kindness, generosity and prayers had been poured out as we left, giving us the confidence it was God and the dream in our heart drawing us to Seattle months earlier than originally planned. That dream was to plant a new church.

Our plan was to rest, find work and seek accountable spiritual formation as we prepared our hearts for planting. A few days later our plans changed. The church that my husband had grown up in, where we had met and been married, where I had been on staff for almost 9 years, announced that their executive pastor had a moral failure. Two weeks later, Justin was asked to consider joining their pastoral team.

We prayed, sought counsel and wrestled with laying down the dream in our heart for the need we saw in front of us. Years ago when struggling to know God’s will, a mentor told us – “The Kingdom of God is within you. You must go where you believe you can advance His kingdom the most.” We looked at what we had  – a dream,  a name and web domains. Then we looked at what we were being invited to be a part of – a megachurch that had served the Seattle area for almost 40 years. We felt we would make the biggest impact by returning to the church where our journey began with the hope of advancing God’s Kingdom and making a difference. In our minds we were just laying down a name and a logo as we decided to partner with CFC.

We began laying the foundation for one of two new CFC Seattle campuses that would launch in 2018. We had dinner parties, community groups, outreaches – and so much fun! We loved connecting and building relationships. We began having gatherings discussing how we could engage our neighborhoods and actively serve Seattle. Yet as the weeks passed, there was a sense that what was in our hearts to build was different than what was in our hands to steward. (Kingdom side note: We do believe being faithful to what is placed in your hand and stewarding that well is essential to character and leadership development. We have found in our 20 years ministry, what others have asked us to steward actually has prepared us for seasons to come and lead us to the dream in our heart. When heart and hand do not align, one should ask if this is a season or vision issue, and have honoring, honest conversations with pastors and leaders.) At first we both dismissed these feelings as still grieving the move and the loss of our Brooklyn community. We pressed in more and I came on staff part time. Yet that sense of full alignment and agreement never came to fruition.

There was a lot we did not know when saying yes. We did not know how much we had changed since leaving Seattle 11 years ago. We did not know how significantly our time in LA, Africa and New York had reshaped our view of what it means to be the local church. We did not realize how much it meant for us to minister together. We have stewarded the ministries, dreams and visions of other men and women of God, but our hearts desperately want to birth something new together. The more we tried to suppress this desire and see ourselves at CFC for life – the more our peace waned.

We prayed, sought counsel, and had many conversations with our pastors. We realized there was still a church in our heart to plant, and our choice to continue on staff at CFC was more than just laying down a church name or logo. It came at the cost of our peace and purpose. So two weeks ago, with the love and support of Casey and Wendy, Justin resigned.

We are grateful for the last 9 months, the relationships we developed and hope to continue to cultivate. CFC will always hold a special place in our hearts. It is where we met, got married and were given our first leadership opportunities. It is where we learned what it means to be part of God’s family and the power of transformation by believing and living out God’s Word.  We are grateful for Casey and Wendy – the kindness and generosity they have shown us since arriving in Seattle, all they have taught us about faith and how they have laid the groundwork for so many other churches and Christian movements in the Northwest – including the one in our heart.

So here we are. 9 months later, living out the unexpected, and back to our original plan. So we will take a few months to rest, work and seek spiritual formation and accountability as we prepare to plant a new church in Seattle in the year to come.

32 Comment

  1. Melissa says: Reply

    Awesome!! I️ am excited to check out your church when we visit Seattle next. You and Justin and such amazing people, I️ love how you chase after the heart of Christ!

    1. Kristen Tarsiuk says: Reply

      Thank you Melissa for your kind words. : )

  2. Angela R Meeks says: Reply

    Excited for you. I am glad that you are following your heart and the calling and not what is easy in material terms. I can feel your heart as you write and see that you have made a real foundation to grow from. I honor that so much when i see that. Excited to see what is coming.

    1. Kristen Tarsiuk says: Reply

      Thank you Angela. : )

  3. Jessica Clark says: Reply

    You guys have demonstrated such character through this decision. Situations like these demonstrate such a great grace and relationship with the Lord in being able to hear and adjust course. Know we (my husband, Isaac, and I) have been and will continue to be praying for you guys while you continue to follow the Lord and advance The Kingdom.

    1. Kristen Tarsiuk says: Reply

      Thank you Jessica for your words and prayers. Miss you friend and hope our paths cross again soon.

  4. Mary says: Reply

    You are living life correctly. Teaching us all as you live. I hope to live with such grace and openness.

    1. Kristen Tarsiuk says: Reply

      Thank you Mary. : )

  5. Jenny says: Reply

    How exciting for you and Justin! I love your heart to continue pressing in to what God has for you and your family! This is a beautifully written post and looking forward to hearing about the journey and all that God is going to do!

    1. Kristen Tarsiuk says: Reply

      Thank you Jenny!

  6. I love hearing about the great work the Tarsiuks are doing, no matter where it is. Justin was my first pastor at Oasis and I learned so much even in our brief time. Super grateful for all you do for the kingdom and excited to visit you all wherever your new church plant lands.

    1. Kristen Tarsiuk says: Reply

      Thank you Crystal! Grateful for you.

  7. Tiffany Bluhm says: Reply

    Praying for you, Kristen!

    1. Kristen Tarsiuk says: Reply

      Thank you Tiffany! Hope to make it to one of your gatherings soon.

  8. Lora says: Reply

    So much good theology in the post! Glad you are staying in tune to God’s leading and not wasting any moments. You are amazing people, great pastors and friends and Seattle is blessed to have you be there……can definitely say I’m a bit jealous :-). Love you both! Lora

    1. Kristen Tarsiuk says: Reply

      Thank you. Love you too!

  9. Lisa says: Reply

    I am so excited for you guys. I love you honest devotion to all God has for you. You have blessed so many in the short time back at CFC. I love you guys!!!! I cannot wait to hear what is next!!! Xoxoxoxo Lisa Garrison

    1. Kristen Tarsiuk says: Reply

      Thank you Lisa! XOXO.

  10. Steve and Sandie Beren says: Reply

    Justin and Kristin, we wish you the best. Take your time, be healthy inside and out, rest up, and follow your dream. God bless you.

    1. Kristen Tarsiuk says: Reply

      Thank you Steve and Sandie. Grateful for you and your friendship. God bless.

  11. Autumn says: Reply

    I will missing seeing you all at CFC but glad you’re here in PNW building God’s kingdom, ambassador’s for Christ. I’ll keep up with you on your blog.

    1. Kristen Tarsiuk says: Reply

      Thank you Autumn. : )

  12. Gordon Calmeyer says: Reply

    I have a friend returning from South Africa after 17 years of planting 3 Hillsong churches in this country I said he should consider starting a Hillsong aligned church in Seattle, that area needs help, I’ll put him in touch, he may be able to help you, blessings on you guys – don’t spend to much time thinking, focus on a date and work towards it, whoever the Lord sends to help you will help lift your arms, keep your vision before you, you spent enough time on other people’s vision

    1. Kristen Tarsiuk says: Reply

      Thank you Gordon. Would love to connect with your friend. My email is kristentarsiuk@gmail.com.

  13. Danielle says: Reply

    Awesome! I look forward to more wonderful testimonies of God’s faithfulness to you all as you are so faithful and obedient to His leadings and loving. Blessings, blessings to you and you family.

    1. Kristen Tarsiuk says: Reply

      Thank you Danielle.

  14. Sonia says: Reply

    Love y’all so much and as always, keeping you in our hearts, thoughts and prayers! Xo

    1. Kristen Tarsiuk says: Reply

      Love you too! Thank you for your prayers.

  15. Shuie says: Reply

    Love you both so much and your commitment to follow God’s lead. We have seen you first hand put yourself aside for God to move and work. 2018 will be a beautiful year of new things for the Tarsiuks and your community ❤️

    1. Kristen Tarsiuk says: Reply

      Love you so much friend!!!

  16. Andrew Brown & April Lord-Brown says: Reply

    Hi Kristen and Justin. It is so good to hear from you. I am sending you my best and my families best. Thank you so much for this update.

    1. Kristen Tarsiuk says: Reply

      Thank you Dru. We love and miss the Lord-Browns!

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