Alumnus pastor shares message of hope during COVID-19 pandemic

Amy Bruce

Garrett Birkeland (1995) came to Bellevue Christian School as an 8th grader, seeking a change from the path his peers were headed down in public school. Even in junior high, he desired to surround himself with like-minded friends, teachers and families.

After graduating from BCS, Birkeland went to college and was in the business industry for 10 years. He loved ministry, but up to that point he didn’t see it as a calling. Over the years, his passion never waned. In 2008, God designed the perfect opportunity for him to step into ministry.

Since then, Birkland has been in vocational ministry, serving for many years as the Executive Pastor of Northshore Community Church. Three years ago, he and his wife Tahnee left Northshore to plant Arbor Church in Woodinville, where they are serving today.

Like churches across the country, COVID-19 has challenged Birkeland and his pastoral team to connect with their community in creative ways. They have converted their Sunday services to an online format and share daily devotionals on social media. To connect with church members, they have been reaching out with personal pastoral calls and texts. They have delivered care baskets to senior housing and assisted living centers, showing love to the most isolated and vulnerable population.

“I’ve been asked many times in the past few weeks some iteration of the question, “How do you see God using this?” I think it’s less about how God is using it and more about how we respond. God has always extended us an invitation, regardless of season, to look to Him, place our trust in Him and find everything we need in Him. It’s when we truly accept this invitation that His peace becomes our reality…and I believe that alone is a massive beacon of hope to fear-filled world,” Birkland said.