Category Archives: United Evangelical Free Church

Stepping down

This week I resigned from my position at United EFC in Seattle. Below is the letter of resignation I sent to the congregation.


February 26, 2012

To the congregation of United EFC,

It with great sadness that I resign as Senior Pastor of United Evangelical Free Church. While we do not know what the future holds, we have confidence that God is sovereignly in control of the details of our lives. We know that he can be trusted.

It has become evident that some have lost confidence in my ability to lead because of what they perceive are mistakes made by me in the events surrounding Aaron’s departure. I chose not to make public the details of Aaron’s performance reviews. In 1 Corinthians 10:23, the apostle Paul says, “All things are possible, but not all things are profitable; all things are possible, but not all things edify.” I did not feel it was either beneficial or edifying for you to know all that the elders knew and discussed regarding Aaron. While the lack of details may bother some, it is my conviction that some things are best kept confidential. To spare the church any additional dissension and strife over this issue, I feel it best to resign.

I am grateful for the opportunity to minister among you these past seven and a half years. You took a chance on me when others would not. You encouraged me to grow. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.

As you begin this process of transition, let me encourage you to remember the instructions of Hebrews 13:17; “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” The elders are tasked with leading and shepherding the church. You can make their job easier by choosing to follow their leadership.

Please pray for us as we begin this new season of life. Thank you.

Following His Footsteps,

Pastor Mark & Carol Wheeler

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Posted by on February 29, 2012 in United Evangelical Free Church


Kids Christmas Party

Our church’s Wednesday night children’s ministry, Pioneer Clubs, had a Christmas party last night. It included inflatable games, crafts, food, and an appearance by Santa (though I ‘m still not sure why he was included). But a good time was had by all who attended.


Children lead in praise

Sunday, December 4, the children of United Evangelical Free Church led the congregation in celebrating the birth of Jesus. Our youngest children began by singing three songs. Following them, our children and youth presented a musical, The DBAB–Don’t Be Afraid Brigade. It told the story of the angels preparing to announce the message of Christ’s birth to the shepherds. It was a fun way to start the Christmas season.


Decking the halls

One of our Christmas traditions at United Evangelical Free Church in Seattle is the Soup Supper. The first Friday after Thanksgiving, we gather for a meal of soup and salad. Then we disperse throughout the building for various tasks. Some decorate the church for the Christmas season. Our deacons prepare plates of cookies to deliver to shut-ins. And some sit, talk, and fellowship with one another.

Thanks to all the cooks, decoraters, cookie preparers, helpers, and especially to Jeri Braun for designing and coordinating the efforts.


Are we hiding the cross?

A gentleman visited our church yesterday for the first time. He normally attends another church nearby, but wanted “to see how we did church.” He was friendly enough until he walked into our sanctuary. He noticed that our projection screen was covering up most of the cross. (We use PowerPoint in our worship service and unfortunately, the screen is in front of the cross.) He went off on a rant about how churches are hiding the cross. In his opinion, churches are becoming social clubs. I mentioned it would be interesting to hear his comments after the service. He said he wouldn’t have any comments, only opinions. It was a bit of an odd way of starting the morning, but there you have it.

It did make me think about our church, our worship service, and our ministries. Is the cross visible in what we do, say, teach, and how we live? While fellowship is certainly part of what we do, are we more than a social club?

Ironically, I am currently preaching through the gospel of Mark. We wrapped up a section (Mark 2:1-3:6) where Jesus created controversy because he changed the old way of doing things. The Pharisees taught that you had to be good enough for God. You had to live by their rules and regulations in order to be holy, or at least, that’s what they taught.

When Jesus showed up, he made changes, both in how we relate to God, but also in how we live. Jesus replaced religion with a relationship; he replaced the Law with grace. He demonstrated that he was Lord over all. He was the Lord over sickness and sin (2:1-12). He was the Lord of redemption, calling the least and the lost to himself (2:13-17). He was the Lord over change (2:18-22). He was the Lord over the Sabbath (2:23-3:6).

While the wooden cross may be partially hidden behind a screen at United EFC, the teaching of the cross was certainly on display and up front.

Afterwards, the gentleman said that our worship service was “nice.” I guess he did keep his opinions and comments to himself. I hope he finds what he is looking for.


Party in heaven

United Evangelical Free Church wrapped up a week of Backyard Bible Clubs in six different parts of Seattle and Shoreline. No doubt there was a party in heaven as eight people (6 children and 2 junior highers) trusted Christ as their Savior.

“Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.” (Luke 15:10, The Message)

We celebrated with a Summerfest Carnival on Friday evening. Many came from the neighborhood and surrounding area. Based on the 130+ hot dogs that were consumed, there was quite a crowd. As we can see from the photos, a good time was had by all.


Summer skies at United

Today’s beautiful blue sky makes for a unique background for United EFC’s steeple. A lone bird even got in the act.


Reading & Reflection Service

Yesterday we took a creative approach to our worship service at United Evangelical Free Church in Seattle. Rather than a typical, normal service with music and sermon, we opted for a “Reading & Reflection” service. Admitting that I get my best ideas from other people, it was an idea I borrowed and adapted from Grace Evangelical Free Church in La Mirada, CA, where two of my children attended while students at Biola University.

The service was designed to serve as a transition or buffer between sermon series. It would allow us to look back and reflect on what we learned from the series on The Life of David, as well as look forward and preview what we will study in The Gospel of Mark.

During the first third of the service, we had a time of open sharing where folks could tell what they learned from the life of David and how his life impacted theirs. Several spoke of what it meant to be a man of God. Others spoke of realizing that while God forgives our failures, he may still allow us to deal with the consequences of our choices. It provided an opportunity for mutual encouragement and building up one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

The middle of the service focused on celebrating communion or the Lord’s table. We were reminded of what Jesus Christ did on the cross for us.

The latter third of the service previewed the passages I will preach on from June – August. Seven different people read Mark 1:1-3:6 in nine different translations and paraphrases. The readers were a mix of old and young, men and women. Using this approach allowed us to hear the Scripture in a different voice and from different voices.

The sharing, communion, and readings were all interspersed between music and worship. Here’s a copy of the order of worship in case you are interested in the details.


Do this in remembrance of me

In preparation for United Evangelical Free Church’s Good Friday service of choir, Scripture reading, and communion.


Enhancing worship

Yesterday morning, two women in our church, one of them being my wife, Carol, added some word art to the foyer at our church, United Evangelical Free Church in Seattle. They helped transform the foyer in order to enhance worship. The verse they chose, John 4:23, will help to remind people of why we come to church and the attitude we should have. It’s a great example of how art can be used in the worship of our Savior.