There’s a new church in Sequim, but with familiar faces in charge.
Pastors Dave Westman of the Sequim Worship Center and David Lyke of the New Life church brought their congregations together in an almost year-long process, officially reopening as the Thrive Church for their first full sermon on Sept. 15.
The name, Westman says, is a reflection of the reasons to bring the two groups together.
“Neither group was really in trouble, neither was going to go away,” Westman says.
“But neither was really growing or stepping forward. We saw that both groups could, if they come together, could actually thrive together.”
According to Lyke and Westman, the older congregation at the Sequim Worship Center and the younger families and individuals from New Life have meshed together very well as a new Assembly of God church.
“Both groups were already doing a lot of the same things,” Lyke said. “So when we were talking about how to make our churches better, it just made sense to bring them together.”
“One of the things we saw as the merger was progressing was a growing excitement in both groups for the other; it’s brought an energy into things that wasn’t there before,” Westman said.
“Especially with the world getting more and more divisive, being able to bring together two groups and unite like this is a strong symbol,” Lyke said.
According to Lyke, members of the new united congregation has welcomed the new diversity, in terms of age and interests and everything else that goes along with bringing together two groups like this.
While the two churches had been meeting together since June 2, their official opening on Sept. 15 brought a much larger crowd than they had been seeing.
“Over the summer, we had around 90 people most weeks. On Sunday (for the first sermon), we had more than 180,” Lyke said.
Both pastors were thrilled with the turnout and reception for their new church, and are very hopeful for the future of Thrive. When it comes to what’s next, they said that much of what Thrive will be doing will be driven by the people in the congregation.
“We want this to be people-driven, not pastor or program-driven,” Westman said. “We want people to be doing things that they’re passionate about, not that they feel like they have to do.”
There are plans in place to modernize the former Sequim Worship Center building somewhat in order to better accomodate their new congregation.
“It’s a great building, but it’s 40 years old,” Westman said.
“There are things we do in worship these days that just weren’t considered back then,” Lyke added. “We want the building to reflect our group, not control it.”
Plans are also being formed to put together an “amazing” children’s worship program, including a “Jingle Jam” event this winter.