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Spirit Song Church celebrating seven years of music and fellowship

Husband and wife pastoral team, Larry and Nadine Hernandez, planted their first church — an independent, interdenominational, multicultural congregation — in Silverdale in 1999. Now they are preparing to celebrate Spirit Song Church’s seventh birthday on April 1.

With a Saturday evening service and home groups for Bible study and prayers throughout the week, Spirit Song Church has grown from a three-family gathering to a 60-member congregation in the span of its life.

“(This is) our first coming up to the plate,” said senior pastor Larry Hernandez. “After many years of (ministerial) experience we felt the call of God to plant the church, to just take care of God’s people.”

He and his wife of 39 years, associate pastor Nadine Hernandez, are natives of Southern California where Larry Hernandez first walked down the ministry path.

In his teens, he followed a passion for music into touring with rock ‘n’ roll bands and artists like Ricky Nelson.

In 1970, just a few months before Larry and Nadine’s son, Samuel Hernandez was born, the couple felt called to serve God.

Larry Hernandez re-focused his musical energy and toured with Silverwind, a contemporary Christian band out of Tacoma. He played lead guitar in the nine-member band in the 1980s. It was in the middle of that decade the Hernandezes started a family business in Orange County, while pursuing their ministry training.

In 1996, the family left their home church, Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, Calif., and traveled to the Pacific Northwest.

“We had asked in California, ‘Lord, where is there a need?’ and the Holy Spirit led us here,” Larry Hernandez said.

He and his family made their home in Poulsbo and set out to create a church.

“We’re partners in Christ just like we were partners in business,” Larry Hernandez said. “We worked together for years, it was an easy transition to go into full time ministry together.”

For this pastoral team, God, family and church have blended into a balance. Music also remains an ingredient in the Hernandezes’ worship. There are no organ notes sounding during Saturday service, but a mixture of contemporary music and traditional hymns make up Spirit Song Church and pastor Larry brings his acoustic guitar.

“When I did music in the secular world, it was for myself and when I do music now it is for the Lord, to glorify God,” Larry Hernandez said.

“My audience now is the Lord, my Heavenly Father,” he added. “Before it (was) like you’re chasing a neon rainbow, you’ll never be satisfied. The only one who can satisfy us is the Lord.”

Larry and Nadine Hernandez are indeed satisfied with the church they’ve established.

“I followed God’s heart in the matter,” Larry Hernandez said. “Nadine and I have just been filled with joy to see God’s will unfold before our eyes.”

In Spirit Song Church the Hernandezes have focused on five goals for the congregation — teaching the word of God, worshiping with song, praying, fellowship and reaching out to the community.

Setting aside Saturday evenings for the main service has proven welcoming to area residents, especially military families, who treasure weekends spent with their families when they are not deployed.

“It’s a benefit because if you come to church on Saturday you get all of Sunday,” Larry Hernandez said. “People get a real sabbath.”

Another Spirit Song Church signature trait is an event dubbed “Pot Blessing” — the Hernandezes’ version of a potluck.

There will be a special “Pot Blessing” for the Saturday evening service on April 1 as well as guest speakers — Pastors Jon and Judy Engstrom, from Christ the Rock Fellowship in Lynnwood. The Engstroms are part of an advisory committee that helps navigate Spirit Song Church’s pastors through the waters of ministry, Larry Hernandez said.

The Hernandezes’ excitement about the church anniversary is shared by congregation members.

Pastor’s assistant Monica McConnell and her husband Bob were one of the three couples, including the Hernandezes, who made up the original Spirit Song Church.

Larry Hernandez was Monica’s worship leader at another church and the McConnells followed their mentor to become the foundation of the new congregation.

“It is all about God, all about showing God to people who walk in the door,” Monica McConnell said. “We are a very welcoming church.”

The road to the seventh birthday of Spirit Church Song has been “exciting and pioneering” she added.

For more details on the celebration, which is open to the public, visit www.spiritsongchurch.com

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