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History


In 2007, a small number of Christians came together to explore how to experience God outside the box of "normal church", serve the community, and reach others who were interested in Jesus but not traditional Church services. Together, this group envisioned an informal, grassroots network of people experiencing relationship with God, others, and their community... in simple, yet transforming, ways.  We envisioned a different type of Church that looked more like that of the New Testament and the Early Christians.

Catalyst was founded in January, 2007, by Shawn & Marina Mitchell.  Following 13-years of full-time pastoral ministry in large, conventional Christian Churches, Shawn & Marina embarked on a completely different ministry journey - To rediscover the simple roots of Christian faith & lifestyle characterized by Jesus and the church of the first century Christians.  Formerly, Shawn served for 13-years in full-time pastoral ministry in traditional churches: 10-years as a Youth & Children's Pastor in California and Washington; and 3-years as a Church Planter in Beaverton, Oregon.

Since 2007, the people of Catalyst have launched dozens of short-term & long-term groups and initiatives, have engaged many people in a lifestyle of following Jesus, and have built trusted partnerships with other local churches & ministries along the way.  

ALIGNMENT

Catalyst NW is aligned with the Independent Christian Church/Church of Christ congregations of the Restoration Movement.

The Restoration Movement (also known as the American Restoration Movement or the Stone-Campbell Movement) is a Christian movement that began on the United States frontier during the Second Great Awakening (1790–1840) of the early 19th century. The pioneers of this movement were seeking to reform the church from within and sought "the unification of all Christians in a single body patterned after the church of the New Testament.” Especially since the mid-20th century, members of these churches do not identify as Protestant but simply as Christian.

The Restoration Movement developed from several independent strands of religious revival that idealized early Christianity. Two groups, which independently developed similar approaches to the Christian faith, were particularly important. The first, led by Barton W. Stone, began at Cane Ridge, Kentucky, and identified as "Christians". The second began in western Pennsylvania and Virginia (now West Virginia) and was led by Thomas Campbell and his son, Alexander Campbell, both educated in Scotland; they eventually used the name "Disciples of Christ". Both groups sought to restore the whole Christian church on the pattern set forth in the New Testament, and both believed that creeds kept Christianity divided. In 1832 they joined in fellowship with a handshake.

Because the founders wanted to abandon all denominational labels, they used the biblical names for the followers of Jesus.  Both groups promoted a return to the purposes of the 1st-century churches as described in the New Testament. The Restoration Movement has since divided into multiple separate groups. The three main groups are: the Churches of Christ, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and the independent Christian Church/Church of Christ congregations. 

The Restoration Movement has been characterized by several key principles:

  • Christianity should not be divided, Christ intended the creation of one church.
  • Creeds divide, but Christians should be able to find agreement by standing on the Bible itself (from which they believe all creeds are but human expansions or constrictions).
  • Ecclesiastical traditions divide, but Christians should be able to find common ground by following the practice (as best as it can be determined) of the early Church.
  • Names of human origin divide, but Christians should be able to find common ground by using biblical names for the Church (i.e., "Christian Church", "Church of God" or "Church of Christ" as opposed to "Methodist" or "Lutheran", etc.).

Thus, the church 'should stress only what all Christians hold in common and should suppress all divisive doctrines and practices'.  A number of slogans have been used in the Restoration Movement, which are intended to express some of the distinctive themes of the Movement.  These include:

  • "Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent."
  • "The church of Jesus Christ on earth is essentially, intentionally, and constitutionally one."
  • "We are Christians only, but not the only Christians."
  • "In essentials, unity; in opinions, liberty; in all things love."
  • "No creed but Christ, no book but the Bible, no law but love, no name but the divine."
  • "Do Bible things in Bible ways."
  • "Call Bible things by Bible names."


FOUNDING PARTNERS

  • Northwest Christian Evangelistic Association. NWCEA is the church-planting organization that helped launch Catalyst in 2007.  NWCEA has been planting churches in the Northwest since 1956.  NWCEA was extremely generous and equipping in their support of Catalyst for our initial 3-years of development.
  • Potter’s Hands Christian Church. PH was the church out of which Catalyst was launched as a ‘Daughter Church’ in 2007.  Potter’s Hands, only a 3-year-old church at the time, was instrumental and very generous in the foundation of Catalyst for our initial 18-months.  Shawn & Marina Mitchell were one of two founding pastoral couples who launched Potter’s Hands in 2003.  
  • Project Unleashed. PU was a non-profit ministry that helped establish and support house churches / networks in cooperation with the overall Body of Christ.  Project Unleashed was very instrumental in the development of our leaders and groups for the initial 3-years of development.