SNOHOMISH — Rich Alverdes Jr., the son of a pastor, never thought he’d follow in his father’s footsteps.
The Snohomish High School graduate works at Kenmore Camera as its associate manager.
“Photography was his love at high school,” said his father, Richard Alverdes Sr.
His son had watched the struggles of his father, a pastor, who combined work as a chaplain for local fire districts as well as serving at local churches, including being an associate pastor at Pilchuck Valley Chapel near Lake Stevens.
Yet Rich Alverdes, 47, felt a deep commitment to his faith. In 2008, he graduated from Calvary Chapel Bible College in Mountlake Terrace with an associate degree in theology.
He initially was resistant to the idea that he would one day lead a church himself, let alone take on the responsibility of starting a new church.
His reluctance was overcome by a belief that he had been called by God to start a Calvary church in Snohomish, a process called a church plant. “Let’s try it and see what happens,” he said.
Rich Alverdes acknowledges that the city already has a number of local churches. Stand on First Street in downtown Snohomish “and there’s probably 10 churches within a couple blocks walking distance,” he said. “There’s still people to reach in the area.”
There hasn’t been a Calvary Chapel in Snohomish, although the denomination does have other churches in Snohomish County, including Lake Stevens, Mill Creek, and Monroe. They’re three of the denomination’s 1,600 churches worldwide.
In November, weekly Bible study classes were launched in temporary quarters.
Then they decided to take the next big step, establishing Sunday evening services. Alverdes and several other church members began contacting churches in the Snohomish area asking if they would be willing to rent space. Clearview Foursquare Church was the first to respond.
A six-month lease has been signed. The first service took place May 1.
Church members gather at 6 p.m. Sundays at the Clearview Foursquare Church, 17210 Highway 9 in Snohomish.
Alverdes wants Calvary Snohomish to be geared to families. The domination focuses on teaching the Bible verse by verse, he said. “Calvary churches are really well known for simple, basic Bible teaching,” he said.
“We’re not fancy on how we approach things,” he said. Alverdes said there’s no intention of trying to make it a mega church that would grow large and impersonal.
Church members recently started studying the Book of Hebrews. “You get through it and apply it,” Alverdes said. “You can teach through the Bible and keep it simple.”
Alverdes said that in addition to the responsibilities that come with opening a new church, he has a full-time job and family responsibilities. He and his wife, Julie Alverdes, have three children.
“It’s not necessarily a logical decision,” he said. “I feel like the Lord has called me to plant a church. Then you step out and do it.”
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; firstname.lastname@example.org.