The next chapter…

For nearly ten years, I have have lived and breathed vocational worship ministry. The last five of those years, I’ve held the position of Worship Pastor at Overlake Christian Church in Redmond WA. A sort of writing-on-the-wall opportunity brought me to the Seattle area, where I was invited into one of my richest seasons of ministry to date.

When I interviewed for the position at Overlake, I told Mike Howerton (Lead Pastor and dear friend) that I knew God had called me to Worship Ministry. I also shared with Mike my desire to finish my undergraduate studies and pursue graduate work in the field of Counseling Psychology. It might not have been the best thing to share with my potential future boss who was looking to fill a worship position, not a counseling position. However, after Mike prompted me to share my goals for the future with him, I couldn’t resist. And I’m sure glad I did! I’m also excited to share that dream is slowly becoming a reality.

I started at Northwest University in 2012 with 20 college credits that I collected during my few attempts to earn a bachelor’s degree. And now I am 6 days away from receiving my BA in Psychology. Many late nights of coffee, writing papers and sleep deprivation have paid off. All the while, I was extremely fortunate to continue my full-time work at Overlake in the midst of my studies. The entire staff at Overlake has been nothing but supportive in my efforts, and I am so grateful to have had these amazing people in my corner. Not to mention the support of those who served alongside me every Sunday at Overlake.

My time at Overlake is coming to an end in order that I might fully invest in this next chapter of my life. I was recently accepted to The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology as a part of the 2015 cohort! Over the next 2+ years, I will be working towards a Masters of Arts in Counseling Psychology and eventually start practicing as an LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselor).

Does this mean I am done singing? NO WAY! I believe the calling of a worshiper is one that lasts a lifetime. But for this season…this next chapter… I’ll be worshiping as a part of the congregation, not from the stage. Sure, if the new worship leader needs a break, I will gladly step in and help out! But I’m equally excited to offer my mind to God as an act of worship as I embark on this academic journey.

Thank you Jesus for trusting me with this new adventure, and for the sweet chapter that you are gently closing in my role at Overlake.

To my Overlake family: I love you. These past 5 years have been a blast and I can’t believe that I was able to be a part of it. Thank you for your love, acceptance and support. I will sure miss being your Worship Pastor.

A very grateful,

John Stearns



8 Replies

  1. Lisa Firebaugh Reply

    We will miss you, too. Very proud of you!Please keep us updated about your journey. Love you, friend!

  2. Rick Binns Reply

    We will miss your enthusiasm, singing and so much more. Wish you all the best life has to offer. Thank you for what you have brought to OCC.

  3. Maila Reply

    Praying for your new adventure, John!

  4. Connor Reply

    Luv you roomie!

  5. Kelly Lawson Reply

    You’re such a great listener, I’m not shocked you’ll be in the counseling industry as well. All the best wishes for you John. I’m just glad you’ll still be part of our OCC family. We’ll be seeing you around Stearns.

  6. Sean Gasperetti Reply

    Yeah John! Way to chase your dreams bro. Enjoyed sharing part of that NU journey with you. I’ll come to you if/when I hit the wall and need counsel! 🙂

  7. Jill Hopster Reply

    I am sad! OCC and Mike and you and the rest of the staff and all the congregation? You are all part of the reason my girls and I have returned to the Kirkland area! You will be greatly missed!

  8. JISUK YI Reply

    God bless to you Joh.Always your voice makes me happy that atOCC. Thanks again john.I wish see you again.Bye
    from KOREA.