By Lou Walleck
It was the summer of 2007 and we found ourselves in a season of transition. We were visiting family in Albuquerque about the same time our college friends, Josh Martin and Drew Worsham, happened to be hanging out in nearby Glorieta, New Mexico. Josh and Drew had recently moved to Pullman, Washington with the dream of starting a church. They had invited us several times to come and visit this ‘sweet little college town’ that they were so enamored with in a place called the Palouse. We had never heard of Pullman before they moved there, and honestly we didn’t know much about the church plant except that they wanted to focus on college students. But as it so happened, we were free- so we met up at College Week in Glorieta and followed them 1,200 miles up to the northwest. It was on this trip we got to know the rest of the team- Keith and Paige Wieser, Amy, Kim, and Gers.
Phil wanted to ride with the boys, so I rode with Josh's girlfriend, Amy Rush, a girl I had never met but who I now count as one of my dearest friends. When we arrived in Pullman, Whitney Sherritt (another girl I’d never met but now count as a dear friend as well) had made a full steak and potato dinner for our group. We stayed in Keith Wieser's basement.
It seemed like a happy accident to be there during the week of Resonate's launch. We helped pass out granola bars and watched for opportunities to draw others into the story of the gospel. We invited the campus to the very first Resonate service, held in the foyer of the Schweitzer Event Center.
What happened next only God could have orchestrated. On the day of the launch, people piled into that foyer and we kept adding row after row of chairs. Keith painted a spectacular picture of a cosmic God’s personal invitation. Josh reminded us that in Christ we are “carried to the table of the Lord.” As we finished tear down, Phil looked at me and said, "They're gonna need help." He paused but didn’t go any further. It was the kind of pause that continued to speak and I began to wonder if the Lord was drawing us to be a part of this church plant.
As I mentioned, we were in a season of transition and at the time had no home address. We were between jobs and had been traveling the country visiting friends. It seemed like more than a coincidence at this point that we happened to be in Pullman the week of the launch.
A few days later, I looked at Phil and said, "Okay, let's do this." It would be an understatement to say this moment was filled with uncertainty. I was pretty scared at the thought of moving our lives to Washington, but some of the best stories in life begin when we take the biggest risks. So we drove to Texas, loaded up the moving truck, and headed back across the country to move 2,000 miles away from home to a place we'd only visited for a few days.
We lived on Timothy Street. We worked at the Washington State University campus bookstore, The Bookie. We made pancakes. We set up chairs. And we made some of the dearest friends in this life. We led a small group at Bucer’s Coffee House in neighboring Moscow, which eventually led to a village in the Smith's apartment, which then launched Resonate's second campus at the Nuart Theater for the University of Idaho. I remember the expectancy and anticipation; it seemed unbelievable that such a new church could indeed plant another church.
We were repeatedly overwhelmed to see the work of God as we served in Pullman for two years. It was a sweet season that truly shaped us. We learned about doing life together, and church became more like a family and less like a building.
The way we think about church and ministry are forever linked to our experience at Resonate. Only God could have written this story. I believe he moved us to Pullman to teach us about deep gospel community and about His bride, the Church. Our time with Resonate showed us the meaning of 1 Timothy 4:12,
“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”
You could “just show up to church” during your 20s, or maybe you could be part of a movement in the Kingdom of God. We are forever convinced that God can use college students to do incredibly more than we can ask or imagine.