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"I wanted to give back."

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Last Sunday, I asked Foothills member Chad Storey to talk about about how he became a Christ follower. A common theme in his story was his persistent determination to understand the Bible and its application to his life.

”I listened to the whole Bible.”

Growing up, Chad had good role models for a work ethic, but he had no examples of what it meant to seek after God and live a life dedicated to serving Him.  In spite of this, God was at work in Chad’s life. While attending Western Oregon University, he met Vicki and began dating her.  Chad said, “I would go to church with her in Sweet Home, which was my first experience with Protestant Church.”  The teaching he heard there challenged him. He had never heard it before. “So,” Chad said, “I got the Bible on cassette tape and listened to the whole Bible.”  

Through listening to the Bible on cassette tapes and talking with Vicki’s family, Chad made the decision to accept Christ. Shortly after that, Chad and Vicki were married and moved to Stayton. They looked for a church to attend and made the decision to attend Foothills. 

“I felt the joy of what God did in my life.”

While at Foothills, Chad attended a Sunday school class taught by Matt Lucas on the subject of discovering your spiritual giftedness.  Chad came away from that class wanting to give back to the church. “I felt the joy of what God did in my life,” Chad said, “and I wanted to give back to Him.”  As a result, Chad has served the church in a variety of ways: working with youth, serving as a deacon, ushering, setting up chairs and preparing coffee on Sunday mornings.

Chad finds serving the church rewarding. “It’s like I can have a cruddy Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday at work and be exhausted Thursday and go to youth group and when it’s over, feel better.”  It encourages his soul.  Rather than just one more thing that drains his energy, he gets encouragement from the experience.  

“God is going to gift you.  He has gifted you already.”

When serving others, you might think you’re not good enough.  “When you’re saying, I am not good enough, I want to be better before I help, it’s a bit of a selfish thing. If you just humble yourself and say you’re just here to do what you can, you’ll be surprised.”  Chad’s belief: “God is going to gift you.  He has gifted you already, and He is there to help you with those things.  God is working with you; you’re putting in the time, and he’s not going to hang you out to dry.”

Do you have the time to serve others?  “One thing that people complain about in life is time.” Chad said, “I think once you make a priority to do something, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to meet that.” He continues to tell how when his small group planned to meet on Friday nights, He thought Friday evenings were for socializing and fun not Bible studies, but soon he realized that the group time was more important.

I enjoyed talking with Chad about his journey.  What impressed me the most was Chad’s commitment to live out his Christian faith. 

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“Giving back is way bigger than getting.”  


That was just one of the many insightful observations Gary Woelfle, made when I sat down with him at a local coffee shop to talk about his long history of serving and sharing his talents with others.  

Gary became a part of the Foothills family around the year 2000, and served in many capacities.  His love of people motivated him to serve in children’s ministry, in youth ministries,  and on missions trips.  Gary talked about the connections and relationships that were made while serving on a three week missions trip to El Salvador.  The team had just wrapped  up an evangelistic rally, seeing many people saved and baptised.  When the time came to part ways with the people they had been serving, Gary said emotions were running high, “Those connections we made were amazing.  You just never forget an experience like that.”  

When I asked Gary how he felt about the impact he makes on people he serves, he answered with another story of service.  “We did the church cookout a couple weeks ago,” Gary said, “My role in the cookout was to tell the church how much food they needed to buy and then show up on Sunday and make it happen.  One of the guys who showed up to help was Shawn Taylor.  I told him one of the first things we need to do is cut up the seven watermelons.  Shawn told me he didn’t exactly know how to do that.  I showed him how to quarter the watermelon and cut it up into wedges, making it easy for people to handle.  In the end, Shawn told me that he hadn’t planned on helping with the cookout because he doesn’t really like cooking, but this wasn’t cooking, it was learning.”  Gary’s observation was that he wasn’t just working at food preparation; he was passing along a skill to make someone else more efficient in their ability to serve.  

Why has Gary dedicated most of his life to serving others?  His answer was simple, yet profound.  On that same missions trip to El Salvador, the team had a busy schedule, but sometimes things would come up and nothing would happen for two hours.  “I learned that serving people mattered, not the schedule.”  I asked Gary what he would say to someone who might be thinking about serving in the church.  “I think the giving part is way better than just receiving.  You get way more back than you ever give.”  While Gary has plans to retire in the near future from his work as the food manager at the Oregon State Hospital, he has no plans to retire from serving others.  “I want to go wherever God wants me.  That’s top of the list.  I want to be willing and ready to do.  I’ve seen some amazing people at church who are older than I, do some really great things, and I don’t want to quit.”   I’m fairly certain that quitting just isn’t in Gary’s vocabulary.  I for one, am very grateful that Gary is a part of the Foothills family. 



Brenda, in her own words

Foothills Church welcomes Brenda Gesher as the new Office Assistant. Brenda shares her story of growing up and raising a family in this community.

I was born and raised right here in this community and have lived here all my life. I always thought I’d move one day, but why? I love where I live! I’m a country girl at heart.

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My husband Todd also grew up locally, and we will soon be celebrating 30 years of marriage. Together we have raised four children, Nikki, Tara, Jackson and Charlie. Not counting our two dogs, we are now empty nesters. At last!  Together we like to run, travel (sometimes we combine those two things) hang out with our adult kids, play pinochle, and spend summer time on the lake. As for me, I also like to paint, spend way too much time planning my next travel adventure and dreaming of what’s next.

I grew up attending church locally and I always believed in God and that Jesus is who He said He is. But it wasn’t until my late 20’s that I came into understanding about His grace and what it means to be in relationship with Him. His word became alive to me and I grew in understanding. There is still plenty of room for growth and thankfully he’s still growing me. Foothills has been our home church since 2005.

I’m excited taking on this role as Office Assistant at Foothills. I have spent the last 23+ years being a full time stay at home mom, and part-time school and/or church volunteer. When Tyler asked me why do I want to work here, at Foothills, my answer was, “I love Foothills; I love the people here; this is my home and I am personally invested in the future of Foothills”. It’s more than just a job. I am eager to serve using the skills I have been given. It’s really a natural progression of what I have already been doing. 


David, in his own words


David, in his own words

Foothills Church welcomes David McGinnis as the new Communications Director. David provides a brief background of his life experiences.

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I was born in San Fernando, California.  When the highway department decided to pave over our house, we moved to Northwest Washington. We lived on a 40 acre farm in Ferndale, Washington.  After about five years, packed up and moved to Lyons, Oregon, by the Santiam River. 

I accepted Christ at an early age, and kept active in youth group and Bible studies.  I was interested in exploring a music ministry and  chose Western Baptist College (now Corban University) in Salem, Oregon. It was at Western where I met my wife, traveled with a music team for three years representing the college and  refocused my attention on psychology rather than music.  In 1983, I graduated with a degree in Biblical counseling.  

I accepted the  position of Youth Pastor at Nooksack Valley Baptist Church (now Christ Church) in Nooksack, Washington.  My wife and I served the church and community there for about five years before heading South to Salem, Oregon, where we built a house on a 3 acre property.  I served as the worship pastor at Stayton First Baptist (now Foothills), and my wife taught at Corban University.  We left Stayton First in 2000 to enter full time self-employment in my video production business — daVideo (now Capitol City Video.)  

I try not to take it too personally, but many places I associate with tend to change their name after I leave.

One of our greatest joys was to bring home two incredibly precious children from India, Mariah Moshkan and Michaela Ghazal.

I enjoy playing guitar, writing songs, cartooning, photography, traveling, and a host of other things, but that’s enough for now.

As the communication director at Foothills, my desire is to ensure that the message of Jesus Christ and his saving work for us on the cross, is clearly communicated to all ages. I also desire to maintain clear lines of communication within the church family as they serve one another and reach out to the community with a message of love, acceptance and hope.




Andy, in his own words

Foothills Church is excited to have Andy Ulrich on board as our worship pastor. Here, Andy shares with us how God’s grace is evident in his life and his hope for Foothills.

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I was born and raised in Spokane, Washington, in a loving, Christian home. When I was 4 years old, I was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer in the nervous system with a 96 percent mortality rate. By God's grace, He spared me in a miraculous fashion, turning the malignant tumors benign.

Aside from cancer, I had a fairly normal childhood. I played baseball and loved fishing. I realized at a young age that my sin separated me from God, and I put my trust in Christ as my Lord and Savior.

My teenage years were very formative to my faith. I changed schools many times and I had to rely on Christ and His strength. In my junior year of high school my cousin invited me to his youth group and my eyes were opened to a new world. I experienced modern worship music for the first time. I was intrigued, as it was so different from what I was used to, and I got involved. Over the past 20 years I have been blessed to lead worship in a wide variety of settings from large conferences to small churches.

I attended Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. I got connected with Cru (a ministry to college and university students) and began playing and leading worship in their weekly meetings. I had another experience that lit a fire in my heart during my time at WSU. I started meeting with a Cru staff member for weekly discipleship. As God worked in my heart and life, He also grew a passion in my heart for discipleship.

I graduated from WSU in December of 2005 with a degree in Hospitality Business Management. Shortly after graduating I married Kate, my college sweetheart. We have three amazing kids: Gracie, Sadie and Judah.

My hope for Foothills Church is that it would be a place of authentic worship, rooted in spirit and truth. A place where people engage God in a real way and the gospel is lived out in our daily lives. I desire that prayer would be a foundational element of our church as we grow in faith and dependance on God.



Meet Our New Worship Pastor

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We are happy to announce the hiring of our new Worship Pastor, Andy Ulrich! Thank you for your faithful prayers over the past few months. God was very gracious to us in the process and in many ways it went about as well as we hoped. 

Since I last wrote to you, Andy became our top candidate which resulted in him and his family visiting Foothills August 3-5. We were able to have him interact with elders, staff and worship volunteers. Also, they came to church as a family and were able to participate in our gathering. Afterward, Andy mentioned how much they enjoyed Foothills, how warm a church body it is, and that “this is the type of church we’d be excited to invite friends to.”

Andy comes to us with many years of experience leading worship. He has led worship in small and large churches, for established churches and church plants, for startup student ministry programs and for Cru conferences with over 1,000 students. Along the way, while part of a church plant, Andy became an Ordained Minister in the Southern Baptist Convention. Andy loves Jesus and has a heart for worship ministry. It jumped off the page when he first inquired of the position and communicated, “My passion is to see God glorified and His people engage Him in passionate worship rooted in spirit and in truth. I firmly believe that worship, in addition to glorifying God, is one of the most important discipleship tools in the church today.” We are excited to have him lead us in this! 

On a personal note, Andy was born and raised in Spokane, currently residing in Cheney, Washington, a city of roughly 10,000 people. He & wife Kate have been married 12 years & have three kids: Gracie (9), Sadie (6), and Judah (4). They are in process of packing up their belongings, selling their house, and saying good-bye to family and friends in order to move to our community. They will be with us by the end of September. 

Obviously, please be in prayer for them as they have many tasks to complete to get here including finding housing in a very limited market. Also, be in prayer that Foothills would be a place where they plant their roots deep, where they are loved, and where their faith grows.


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A trip to Oaxaca brings Mexico mission into vivid focus

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I had been dreaming of going to Oaxaca with Ilene Nagle since my first trip to Papalote, in Baja California, for a church mission trip.

On that trip, in 2011, we met a woman named Nati, who was planning to move to Oaxaca with her husband Beni and plant a church there. Now, Papalote is a three-day bus ride from Oaxaca, so I was curious about the reasons for going to Oaxaca. I learned that Beni and Nati were among the students and spouses who attended the Bible institute in Papalote, but had moved to the Baja from Oaxaca and were returning there to start church plants. I learned that this represented a huge leap of faith for these families as they had left Oaxaca years ago and some had left abusive family situations and difficult living situations (limited resources in terms of work, money, water, electricity, and most things we accept as “normal” living).

As I heard some of these stories, they made me want to go and see the people and villages for myself. So when (seven years later) Ilene Nagle called and asked if I would accompany her as a photographer, I jumped at the chance.

I learned so much on this trip, but one thing that keeps coming back to me is the urgency our Mexican brothers and sisters have to share the gospel. From Junior's aunt in the hospital, to our hotel keeper in Chalcatongo, opportunities abounded to share Christ's love with others.

Among my favorite things on this trip was traveling with Pastor Francisco (Junior) and Maria Campos, who I met on my 2011 trip to Papalote. They had planted a church in a nearby community that met on a bus. The bus church eventually turned into a church building and home. Those two are not ones to sit on their laurels, however. Since that first church plant, they have planted a church in Oaxaca. Currently, Junior is the back in Papalote and is pastoring the church there. My guess is they will plant more churches in the future. They will be in my prayers for a long time.

I made many new friends on my travels. You'll see their photos in the slide show. What amazes me about the Papalote mission, the student and pastors is how easy it is to start a relationship with strangers who speak a different language. This is because we are knitted together through Jesus Christ and his saving work on the cross.

I also loved getting to know Ilene. She and her husband Don are missionaries (with Northern Light Ministries) who, among many other things, help make trips to Mexico possible for our church. Don wasn't able to take this trip, so it was up to Ilene and me to be the estadounidenses. We had a lot of fun together and she was always pushing me (in a nice way) to go a little bit out of my comfort zone. She speaks wonderful Spanish. I have promised myself that I will learn some more Spanish before my next trip to Mexico. I'm practicing now because I hope that trip is coming soon.

Hover over the photos to see the captions. I hope you enjoy them! And if you'd like to hear the audio of me sharing last Sunday in front of the church, you can tune it in here.

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A letter from Tyler

Dear Foothills Church Family, 

Below is a call to prayer, information about our plans in the transition from Bart to our next worship pastor, and some details about our worship pastor search.  


First off (no duh) we encourage you all to join the staff and elders in prayer in our time of transition. Pray for: 

  • Patience, wisdom and guidance for our church leaders as we receive applications and interact with candidates.

  • The Holy Spirit to lead, prompt, and direct each applicant.

  • For our whole church during this time of transition.

  • For the Hodgson's as they work hard to pack up and move, and also as they say goodbye to deeply rooted relationships.

  • For Rob Baddeley and Myron Jones as they provide interim leadership for our worship teams and lead worship on Sunday mornings.

****Please don’t skip over or breeze through the call to prayer. In fact, why not pray now before reading further?****


  • We have two veteran worship leaders in our church who will bridge the gap: Rob and Myron. We have them scheduled out from July 1 through September 2 for now but will continue to add more dates as needed.

Pastor Search

  • If you haven’t seen it yet, we posted the job in mid May- see it here.

  • We’ve had several qualified applicants and will be taking applications until the end of June.

  • Rob Baddeley, Troy Croff, Bob Croff and I will be narrowing those applicants down to the top 3-5 to have the Elder Team consider in early July.

  • When we get it narrowed down to one candidate:

    • Our staff will get a time to interact with the candidate and provide insights into how the candidate would fit at Foothills.

    • We’ll introduce that person to several volunteers that Bart worked with (musicians, sound techs, projectionists, lighting, etc). They will be given an opportunity to interact with the candidate and provide us with feedback on the person we are pursuing.

  • Eventually, with God’s leading, we’ll extend a job offer to our next worship pastor. Our hope and desire is to have our next worship pastor in place in the Fall but we are trusting ultimately in God’s timing in all of this.

Please don’t hesitate to ask questions. I’m sure there are a few. It’s a great joy to journey together with you all as a church. 

Tyler Butenschoen
Lead Pastor
Foothills Church