Epic Life Church opened its doors at the Oak Tree Cinema on October 4th, 2009. But the story began almost three years before that with an unexpected, God-sized vision and an important first step of faith.
The night everything began for Keith Carpenter (now lead pastor for Epic), it started with a dream. In the dream, he went through a town with a team of people dedicated to sharing the message of Christ. Keith was able to speak with elderly, homeless, and a young woman, explaining how Jesus forfeited His Deity by entering this world in human flesh to become like humans. He spoke of how Christ gave His life as a sacrifice to forgive sin in order that men and women could experience the beauty of a reconciled relationship with God. As this message spread, the entire town was transformed as Jesus Christ came to into people's lives, healing them of sin, brokenness, and hopelessness.
Keith was already involved in full-time ministry for a church in Minnesota, and loving every minute of it. After that dream though, he sensed that God might be calling him into a new place, a new city, a new form of ministry, the starting of a church.
As God provided confirmation through circumstances and people around Keith, the next step was to invite others into this journey and calling. After much prayer, preparation and study about what starting a church could look like, a team packed up two huge moving vans and headed across the country for the Emerald City.
Once in Seattle, Keith and the team began to seek God’s more specific calling, and our hearts were drawn to North Seattle. With a specific location set, we began to recruit a core group of people who were also on board with God’s work to transform North Seattle. Throughout this year-long process, we received confirmation of this calling time and again as we first added one additional member to our meetings in the Carpenter’s living room and eventually grew to a group of over forty meeting in an old Baptist church building only a block off Aurora Avenue.
Since the launch we’ve had the wonderful opportunity to intersect the lives of countless individuals. We’ve striven to be a church who moves beyond a Sunday morning consumer mentality who weaves a culture of intentional living into everything we do. In addition to a regular Sunday Corporate Worship gathering, three additional Environments were established to make up the tapestry of Epic Life culture: House Church, Incarnational Ministry and Purposed Ministry. For more information on those, please read our Environments (Ministries) page.
Our staffing has transitioned over the years and while most of the original plant team still lives in Seattle and is involved at Epic Life, we’ve enjoyed brining on several other staff members from outside of the original crew and even had the privilege of paying staff who were once full-time volunteers. Part of our journey thus far was also spent on navigating more “everyday” church matters like appointing elders, establishing a membership class, paying bills, conducting church discipline, counseling and so much more.
So many church plants are not able to reach this point and we are so thankful for God’s favor. Keith, the lead team and Epic Life as a whole, has witnessed God's provision and miracles in countless ways. We celebrate the story of God's power, provision, hope, and the abundant life God has been and is continuing to create along the Aurora Corridor and look to the future He leads us into.
Epic Life Church is made up of four separate, but interlocking, Environments, creating the tapestry of our church. We believe that these all allow for different ways to know God, other people and ourselves, and that all of them are integral to our church body.
The environments are: House Church, Incarnational Ministry, Purposed Ministry and Corporate Worship.
Some churches call these small groups, community groups or Bible studies. House church is Epic’s smaller, more intimate weekly gatherings. By meeting in smaller groups outside of Sunday Corporate Worship, people can ask questions, pray for one another, encourage each other and grow in an understanding of how to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Each House Church not only studies the Bible, but also serves the community and takes time just getting to know each other socially.
Another area of emphasis in the fabric of Epic Life which is our “hands and feet of Jesus” ministry known as Incarnational Ministries (IM). This branch of the church encompasses everything that models the love of Christ right in our own families, backyards, sidewalks and streets. The focus areas within IM include, the Aurora Avenue business community, church partnerships, our local neighborhoods and equipping our immediate church body to serve one another.
This Environment created a one-of-a-kind block party called Celebrate North Seattle. The summer of 2014 marked the 5th year of the event and featured live music, a kids’ carnival, big-name and local business sponsorships, food trucks and had over 1,800 attendees.
Another large “win” for IM was the creation of a community garden space in 2009, and its subsequent maintenance. A desolate lot along Aurora was transformed into a beautiful garden and community space which now hosts BBQs, worship nights, art projects and continues to be the setting for many life-changing conversations.
Since Epic’s public launch, we’ve hosted 25 ministry teams with over 700 students, facilitated countless trash clean-ups, went on a ministry trip to Haiti, started a food bank, and walked alongside so, SO many people through joys and trials.
Purposed ministry includes the more specific life-stage focused touch-points of our church such as childrens’ programming, youth activities, and college ministry. This area has been a bit fluid over the years as we’ve looked for the best ways to engage children and youth from the neighborhood as well as teach our children about God’s love. At the start of 2014, we moved into our very own church building, called the AXIS. Several years previous the AXIS was given to us and primarily used as our offices and rented by other international churches. With this new season, the building has been better utilized within our purposed ministries. Our children have classrooms for Sunday School, there is meeting space for college ministry planning, and neighborhood youth are constantly in the building or on the property.
The fourth and final Environment of our Epic Life culture is Corporate Worship. This is what most think of first when considering a church! Our Sunday gathering began in the movie theater, and as mentioned above, has since been given the privilege of meeting in our own AXIS space each week. As you’d expect, Corporate Worship includes music and a sermon. This is the Environment where the diverse participants in all of our other Environments have a chance to be together in the same space and see the larger picture of Epic.