Pastor’s Report Rev Brook R McBride Lead Pastor, Bear Creek United Methodist Church November 1, 2018

According to the “Strengths finder” leadership survey, my number one gift in ministry is “ideation.”  I am an ideas guy!  Sit me down for an hour and I will throw you nine innings of fastballs for the church.  Send me to a retreat on leadership and I will come back super pumped…because I love ideas!  This is a great gift when people are stuck or just starting out, but it does have its drawbacks.  One of my favorite memes about Ideation is this one:  I’m the guy throwing out a million ideas, and everyone else is exhausted trying to make them all happen. This first two years of ministry at Bear Creek, I think you could say, were the “ideation” years of my ministry here.  I was all about trying something.  Throwing up whatever and seeing what would stick.  And you were all about trying to make some of it happen!   Thank you all for hanging in there with me!  You’ve been incredible sports!

Now, we are moving towards my second “Strengths finder” gift: strategy.  Developing a strategy that will begin to help us grow as a church.  Planning out how we can pitch a 9-inning complete game.  (I once had a leadership counselor tell me that you can’t pitch 99 mph fastballs your whole ministry, Brook, you need to strategize!)  This past year we gathered together in small listening groups, and then again as one large group, to begin to gather information about just what it is that is in the Bear Creek DNA and how we can help that DNA catch fire.   With the help of the Vision team we determined 6 areas of focus necessary for us to move on.  These areas are:

Diversity and Inclusion, Welcome and Engaging guests, Engaging Small Groups and Learning Experiences, Uplifting and Transformational Worship, Interactive Mission Opportunities, and Clear Communications.

This past 4 months, with the help of our amazing new staff, we have been strategizing and moving forward in these 6 areas.   Included in this report (at the end) are some accomplishments and growing edges in these 6 areas.    


As you can see we are indeed on the move!   But with a substantial move like this comes a risk: we need more volunteers, more money, and more concentrated focus in order to make all this happen.   We are staffed for the future, but to pay for that staff and ministry, we are going to need more money.  This next year we hope to continue to work on these 6 areas of emphasis.  Added to these areas are 3 additional goals:

  • The number one goal of Bear Creek UMC is to grow in numbers. 

  • The second goal is to grow in our understanding of stewardship and on how to tell our story.  

  • The third goal of Bear Creek is to put together a cohesive building plan for the next 3,6, and 9 years.

The first goal is one we are already moving on.  Look at the Welcome and Engaging ministries report and you can see we are moving in the right direction!

As to the second goal, we have put together a plan to develop a Strategic Giving taskforce.  As a part of that taskforce we will be reading “Not my Parent’s Offering Plate” and using the tactful advice in that book to help us gain some ground in the stewardship area.

As to the third goal, our Trustees have been working all this year putting together this plan and we will see the fruits of their labor by the end of the year.

I want to share with you that I have the incredible sense that God is working with us to turn that corner, Bear Creek.  These next two years will be critical in that movement.  Now is the time to invest your time, talents, and treasure in the Bear Creek UMC movement!

In my report, I do want to thank our “sister” Jewish congregation,  Congregation Kol Ami, for their continued ministry in our building and community.  Rabbi Kinberg is a true champion for peace and justice, and I so admire that.  Their presence in our building has meant so much to me in these first years of my ministry.  That is why it saddens me to hear that they are moving to the Kirkland area in late June.   They are doing this for missional reasons.  As they are trying to grow, they have found that the Kirkland area has much more potential for attracting and sustaining a growing congregation.    We will truly miss their presence physically and especially spiritually.   May we work hard to keep our relationship with them strong even as they move to Kirkland.

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I also want to share with you about our other “sister” congregation,  Camp Unity Eastside.  I continue to work with them in the area of finding viable places to host this homeless community.   Our goal is to develop a large enough group of churches and organizations so that we can have a 3-year regular rotation put together.  This way the congregations that host will know in advance when they are hosting and therefore better prepare for the experience.   We have made some headway with that.   For instance, the Cottage Lake UCC has agreed to house the community every summer!  Wow!   And we have expanded into the Kenmore/Bothell area as well.   Bear Creek is scheduled to host Bear Creek in October or November of 2019.  This is only a two-year gap, but the hope is that by the next rotation it will be a 3-year gap.   I believe with all my heart that our continued support of this ministry is crucial to who we are and what God is calling us to do.

My goal next year concerning Continuing Education is to participate in: Spark—Igniting Heart, Mind and Soul for Leadership is a year- long, three retreat journey in community, with gifted leaders. At the conclusion of the year long program, participants will be:  Less anxious & stressed; Clearer about current realities & challenges; Excited about possibilities and changes in your work and life; and Energized by practices that sustain a soul-centered life.

Three Residencies at: Alton Collins Retreat Center, Eagle Creek, OR NEW DATES: February 25-27, 2019, October 7-9, 2019  and  March 2-4, 2020 Private rooms. I think the congregation is going to be totally rewarded with my time at this retreat center.  I look forward to this opportunity for growth as we move into the 2nd phase of my ministry here at Bear Creek. I am looking for some help from the district to cover some of these expenses.


This year I have also stepped forward and taken the chair role for CLIP (Cottage Lake Interfaith Partnership).  This ministry group is a group of pastors from the area who meet monthly to find ways to support each other and to develop missional ministries that we can share with our brothers and sisters from other faith communities.   I’m very excited to take the lead in this group and hope to move it towards a more meaningful and effective group for change in our area.


Tim Schaaf