This month we are celebrating Pastor Barry Brenden's 20th anniversary serving with our staff team! We are immeasurably blessed as a church family and community by Pastor Barry's heart for people and his passion for pastoral care. Barry was kind enough to share the following reflections with us:

What do you find most rewarding about serving as a Pastor?
Seeing God transform people knowing that what I do or say has impact that can last for eternity, by leading them to the feet of Jesus. I have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams that God could call me, use me, all the while providing for me so that I can serve Him. It’s humbling. Ultimately my greatest joy has been seeing less of me, and more of Jesus.

What do you enjoy about leading our Care Ministries?
I’m thrilled in worshipping God after seeing people healed from their brokenness and then see them minister to others. It’s truly a blessing when I see someone thrive as they reach out and care for someone else. When people find freedom and healing that only Christ can give, their story becomes compelling and their lives can only be explained by the intervention of the power of Jesus Christ. When people meet Jesus, anything is possible. Nobody is too far from His reach. Now in 20 years I’ve seen many people transformed in Jesus, and generations impacted by the living God. Seeing new life in their eyes speaks volumes.

Tell us about your family?
To this day, I still am convinced that I am the ‘luckiest’ man on earth, that 43 years ago Ginny said ‘yes’ when I proposed. The greatest blessing on earth (next to Jesus saving me) has been Ginny. I can’t imagine life without her. We have three children...all grown... and all of whom I am tremendously proud. My oldest son Joel, 40, teaches and works in a local college in Buffalo, NY. Stephen, our youngest at 30, lives in the Capitol Hill area in Seattle and works at the “Liberty” in downtown Seattle. Leanna, 38, is our special daughter who lives with us at home and continues to grow and love life with us.

What are some things you enjoy, outside of your work at the church?
Since youth I’ve enjoyed the outdoors; fishing, hiking, backpacking and still do so today. Our family loves to camp (olde style....with tents and campfires). I also love to bicycle locally and tour on my bike, and play tennis at local courts in the area. Anyone who knows me also knows conversation usually will turn to cars at some point, with me having a love for the hobby since working with my dad on cars in my childhood.

What verses or passages in the Bible have ministered to your heart, as a Pastor?
It’s so difficult to narrow down since God continues to illuminate His Word to my heart daily. Early on, when I was six years old, my Sunday school teacher offered me a Bible if I memorized Ps. 23, Ps 100, the 10 Commandments, and the Christmas and Easter stories. So I did. Those scriptures spoke into my heart and life from that day on, until I received Christ at the age of 18. The gospel has been central to my life, of life (John 3:16; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 John 5:11-13) and forgiveness (Heb 10:12, 14; Rom 8:1). Jesus’ words in Matt 5-7 (the Sermon on the Mount) are so powerful, practical and revolutionary. They have penetrated my thinking and informed my conduct for over 40 years. Romans 6-8 have also been dear to my heart and in many ways contain keys in living the victorious Christian life. Again, God has continued to speak to me through them for many years. Lately, the word of the Lord through the apostle Paul in Acts 20:24 has helped to guide me and encourage my heart. So, to narrow it down... these passages have influenced my life and conduct the most.

What’s something you are looking forward to? (could be job related or personal!)
Jesus began his ministry with a statement that he was the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah. He would bring healing, recovery, and freedom. Today I am a part of that continuing fulfillment as God continues his healing ministry through me (Matt 25:34-36). How humbling and special! I see Highlands as that bright light on the hill where we care for the hungry, thirsty, lonely, the sick and the oppressed. That vision excites me and motivates me as one day I’ll celebrate in seeing Jesus face to face with us shouting in victory, “We did it!"