Fledgling Pillars Temple church returns to ‘Biblical basics’
May 1, 2012
By Tom Corrigan
After meeting with some friends, Issaquah’s Dave Patterson decided to do something that probably wouldn’t occur to many people.
He decided to start a Christian church.
The result of the efforts of Patterson and others is the Pillars Temple, a fledgling nondenominational, evangelical church that held its first services in October. The recent Easter holiday was somewhat of a coming out for the church, sort of a formal launch.
“Just to announce we are committed,” Patterson said.
For now, the smallish congregation meets for Sunday services in the Holiday Inn Issaquah. As one of the elders of the new church, Patterson has no problem with the congregation staying small and isn’t worried about a bricks-and-mortar church just yet.
“The fall of many churches is the focus on a building,” he said.
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For Patterson, the keys to a successful church community don’t include big attendance numbers and a mortgage. Instead, Patterson said the guidelines for the Pillars Temple came from a Bible study group of which he was part.
“We were learning new things about what churches are,” he said.
The name “Pillars Temple” comes straight out of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, Patterson added.
Those “pillars” are not surprising, ideals such as studying and following the Bible. The focus is supposed to be on the message, said another church elder, who identified himself only as “Paul” and declined to give his last name. He said church leaders had agreed in advance that Patterson would give his full name, but others would not to avoid putting any undue focus on individuals.
Even the church’s still-new website lists only “Paul” as a lead teacher for Pillars Temple.
Paul said he has been involved in beginning churches, or church plants, previously. Too many churches become institutions and don’t focus on what a church should be, which is an extended family, he said. Like Patterson, he’s not too worried about attendance at this point.
“It’s not about numbers,” he said.
While Patterson and Paul said they believe the Bible contains just about everything needed to operate a church, they have created by-laws and guidelines for Pillars Temple. Patterson mentioned that church does not have to be dry and in that spirit Pillars Temple threw a Christmas celebration complete with a big band. More than 100 attended. Patterson said prior to the recent Easter holiday that he just didn’t know how many people might show up for the Easter service. He predicted anywhere from 25 to 100.
“You just never know,” Patterson said.
They ended up with 24 people, roughly double their usual attendance, Patterson said, adding he was “absolutely satisfied” with how the service turned out. The expanded music offering even attracted attention from the hotel staff, he said.
For the future, Patterson talked about Bible study and discussion groups, as well as a community choir open to anyone whether or not they are church members.
The supposed 2012 apocalypse predicted by the ancient Mayans will be the topic of the first discussion session. The church will use both the Bible and science to show that end-of-the-world scenario isn’t going to happen, Patterson said.
The first discussion group will meet in May, though Patterson said some details still need to be worked out.
Also addressing the future, Paul talked about getting new members ready to become teachers and helping the church grow. He added a belief that, with the general public and with many churches, the surrounding culture dominates and dictates how people behave. Paul said, in his mind, the church is supposed to dictate the culture.
“That focus on the Bible is really crucial to us,” Patterson said.