God is on the move here in Bellevue. On January 11, the Seattle Times article, “Downtown Bellevue Gets Younger in a Hurry, With Much More Growth On the Way”*, cited that the average age in downtown Bellevue in 2000 was 57; in 2015, the average age is 34 years old. Chalk it up to all the new tech companies bringing in a younger population or the new karaoke bar that opened downtown. Whatever the reason, more young adults are flooding Bellevue and the Eastside. In keeping with that trend, Origin, the weekly gathering of young adults at BelPres, decided to think outside the box (quite literally).
For the last three months, Origin has been meeting for worship at Café Cesura in downtown Bellevue. Here at BelPres, we want to be a “go to the world” church, not just a “come to us” church. So what better way to do that than to be out in the community where young adults are? After all, you never know how God will work until you step aside and let him move.
One Tuesday night, Via, a young adult woman, was praying and telling God she really needed to worship. She felt God strongly tell her to go to Café Cesura. She argued with God, reasoning, “Why? It’s only open for another hour.” But she still felt the strong urge from God to go. When she showed up, she saw us setting up for Origin and heard the band start rehearsing. When the barista told her that Café Cesura was closing for a private event, Rev. Annie Duncan stepped in and invited her to stay. Via responded, “Are you serious?”, and then explained to Annie how God had answered her prayer. She stayed and participated throughout.
But don’t take our word for it. What are other young adults saying about the move?
Sarah Lackenbauer shares, “Being at Cesura has made us sit closer and in a smaller, more relaxing space. For me this has made it easier to feel like we are connecting more as friends seeking Christ and less like ‘people going to a church event together.’ I’ve loved seeing so many new faces since being at Cesura. Trying to make roots in the Seattle area has felt so much easier because of the friendships I’ve built at Origin.”
Keith Lemay appreciates the fact that it is easier to bring others to a coffee shop. “Meeting at Cafe Cesura feels less intimidating for me to invite new friends to than to the BelPres campus. God has used Origin to allow me to develop Christian community in a new area.” Eliot Stone agrees, “It’s great. I think the space is a lot more inviting (not that UC-106 isn’t), but everybody loves the coffee shop vibe. It also seems like a lot more people have been coming since we’ve moved.”
What about those who feel the worship experience might be compromised? “At Cafe Cesura I’ve really enjoyed the worship. When the speakers are used, the sound in Cesura is awesome. It’s been cool to see the transformation in my life as well as the lives of those around me through the message and worship at Origin. It’s been such an amazing place for me over the past two plus years,” says Paul Martin.
Origin has officially left the building, but it remains true to its vision!
*To read more: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/downtown-bellevue-gets-younger-in-a-hurry-with-much-more-growth-on-the-way/