Mt. Lassen Community Church: God's Continued Love Story

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A couple’s love story opens up a new chapter in God’s love story 3/5/14 Dear friends--near and far—and Lake Almanor Basin community: I’m writing you today to discuss a new church plant that I and a small founding group from our Northern California community are excited about starting in Chester, Calif. on Easter Sunday, Apr. 20: Mt. Lassen Community Church (MLCC)!  We’re so exci excited! ted! I want to explain explain the specifics specifics to you so that you know know my heart, how we got to this point, where we are coming from as we start this new mission, and how you can help us give it a firm foundation (and we sincerely sincerely need help). But first, please enjoy enjoy the surprising story (even for me) about how we got (back) here and how MLCC was born… Because it’s been six years since I pastored in the area, and many, I hope, will pass along this news to others who don’t have a church home, let me briefly reintroduce myself. My name is Todd DuBord. I pastored Lake Almanor Community Church (LACC) for 13 years and still love that church with all of my shepherd’s heart. My wife of 30 years, Tracy, and I came up to Chester in the mid-90s and raised our two children here as well. I told Tracy through all those years that I had a deep sense that the only reason I believe that we would ever leave pastoring in Lake Almanor was for something “weird” that God was calling us to do, meaning it was something unlike anything we had ever done before in ministry. That “weird” came along in 2007 when Chuck & Gena Norris asked me to join them as the Chaplain of their their enterprises. enterprises. I knew imm immediately ediately I was supposed supposed to go, and so did Tracy. Tracy. But quite frankly, what most didn’t know is that it broke our hearts to leave this area and particularly LACC. 1


I’m not one enticed by fame or fortune, though I believe they can be great tools to help others. In fact, I left my position at LACC initially netting a drop in pay because of higher taxes. We have never made a major kingdom-based life decision upon money and we both believed God was definitely calling us out on the “mission field of America and the world” to bring Christ’s Good News and love to whomever we could touch through the Norris name. We did in fact engage in many widespread Christian outreaches over the years. I won’t go into further detail here, but if you’re interested to read more, please go to www.NationalTreasures.o www.NationalT rg. What a  joy it has been been to work work with the the Norrises and those in their organizations. organizations. They will remain dear friends for life and eternity. In October 2012, however, our lives were changed forever. Thirteen years earlier in 1999, my wife Tracy was diagnosed with bipolar 2 and PTSD from things she suffered growing up. And, yes, Tracy and I both want this story told about her health. It’s time, especially in starting a new church. I’ll be honest, we we only took her diagnoses half-serious because she seemed “so normal,” and we didn’t understand understand mental illnesses any more than the stereotypes often given to them. To make a very, very long story short, in Oct. 2012, Tracy suffered a catastrophic mental mental breakdown that nearly ended her life. She was immediately hospitali zed for 8-days in Houston, Texas. Afterwards, we moved to Oregon for her recovery to be in a hospitalized quiet coastal location, where we had access to some amazing experts that have changed both of our lives for the better in almost every way. I never doubted throughout all of Tracy’s medical crisis that God was somehow leading us somewhere. We felt in the valley of the shadow of death, yet His hand was with us. From the outset of her recovery journey we were repeatedly told that, among many necessary changes, Tracy needed a simple, stress-free sedentary life so as not to exacerbate her conditions and to cause a breakdown reoccurrence. reoccurrence. In short, we couldn’t live live in multiple states. Since taking the the position with the Norrises in 2007, we split our residency: eight months in Texas and four months in Almanor. We loved Texas and had the most amazing neighbors and co-workers who will remain friends for life. But the fact is, Chester has been our home for almost 20 years and will always be “home.” It’s where we raised our kids; it’s where I pastored for over 13 years; it’s where some of our most cherished lifelong relationships remain; and it’s where God God was calling us back. We always viewed our missi mission on with the Norrises as one “going out” to help the masses, and we did that in more ways than we could ever have imagined, but our heart and “home” has always been here. And now God is calling us back home and he used Trac Tracy’s y’s medical condition conditio n to do so. Many know what I mean when I say: sometimes in life you have to go to Oz to realize that there’s no place like home. Ephesians 5:25 in the Bible says, says, “Love your wife as Christ loved the chu church.” rch.” I have had a unique opportunity to fulfill those those words in the past few years. The way I see it is: Jesus went from heaven to 2


earth for us--His “bride,” and he was asking me to go from Texas to California for my bride (and eventually His). The decision was obvious, though it wouldn’t be easy by any stretch of the imagination: we needed to return “home,” get Tracy into a more routine schedule and then re-establish our life and ministry. Perhaps it is true what one church leader in the community said, after hearing about MLCC’s birth: “Your marriage love story opens a new chapter in God’s love story for the Almanor Basin.” The Norrises have been kind, patient and supportive over the last 18 months through Tracy’s recovery and while juggling my chaplain duties at a distance. However, like attempting to pastor from 2000 miles away, it progressively became obvious that I couldn’t maintain my primary chaplain ministry in Texas while living permanently back in Northern California. Clergy needs to be present in people’s lives. So please understand, the Mt. Lassen Community Church startup decision was not  based  based upon the loss of my job as Chaplain with the Norrises, as I’m continuing to work for them until MLCC is established. established . It was my decision to make this transition not theirs. I could apply for a pastoral position at some other church off the mountain, but that’s not what I’m being called to do. And for those wondering, Lake Almanor Community Church has three full-time pastors and no need for another. And as important as Tracy is in my life and this journey, not even she is the reason for MLCC’s birth--though her illness was the catalyst for our move move back home. My decision to start MLCC is based based upon the fact that God “booted” me out of Texas by caring for Tracy and is calling me back to care for those in and around the region of Mt. Lassen and Lake Almanor, something which thrills me beyond measure! I’ve been praying for months since we returned to Almanor about the roughly 7,000-8000 residents (and 3X that in the summer) that live in the 25-30 mile radius around Chester (excluding Susanville and Quincy but touching their borders) and all of the people who have never darkened the doors of churches throughout Plumas and Lassen counties. In addition, since the downturn of the economy in 2008, difficulty and heartache have increased in the rural parts of our country and state, especially in our mountainous region. My heart breaks for the brokenhearted and I believe God is calling me to re join the team team of ministers ministers in our our counties in pursuit of helping them. them. As Senior Pastor of LACC, LACC, I used used to pray often that God would send more workers, caregivers, pastors and churches to the Almanor Basin and beyond, just as Christ called us to do: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord 3


of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  (Luke 10:2). I believe

so much in the local church and in giving Americans options that I wish there were a dozen more churches in our and every county, and pray someday there will be. So why not become a pastor in another local church? First, no church up up here is seeking a non-denominational Senior Pastor. Second, I non-denominational believe that I’m being called to start a new church. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t take God’s calling lightly. If I didn’t believe it, I wouldn’t do it. And also, anyone who knows me, knows that I love the local church—ALL of them and their leaders. Almost 20 years ago, I helped start LLAMA, Lassen Lake Almanor Ministerial Association, where we ministers gathered for lunch monthly and engaged in various forms of outreach together. I’d like to get LLAMA restarted because it’s important that clergy in every area get together, if for no other reason than merely to build fellowship and healthy relations between churches. I didn’t have much time when I pastored here to meet individually with other ministers, but I would never miss a monthly gathering time when we we all came together. Also, early in my pastoral ministry here, we produced a Christian invitation to church that we handed out on Saturdays in all the campgrounds during the summer, and we placed ALL the names of the churches in Westwood, Greenville and Chester on that brochure as possible places to attend. In addition, having been raised in an atheist home, and after becoming a Christian in 1981, I became a minister in a variety of denominations: Open Bible, Assemblies of God, Foursquare, Congregational, Presbyterian, and then non-denominational non-denominati onal (LACC), in addition to my non-denominational non-denominational Norris chaplaincy. Again, the point is, my concern for the local church is broad, and MLCC would only be offering one option among other good ones. We’re all in the same “work” together. I’ve already been talking to other pastors and leaders in our town and others in the area to reiterate to them my love for all Christian congregations and that our small group starting MLCC is absolutely no commentary on them or what they’re doing. This is America and we thrive on options and choices—and every congregation, as far as it seeks to embrace everyone, ends up reaching a certain segment in society, and people are driven to each for a host of different reasons. But we, Christian church churches, es, all serve Christ and we represent His one Church: We, individual bodie bodies, s, make up His universal Church. And it is indeed all our duty, “to equip others o thers for the work of ministry until we all reach full maturity” (Eph. 4).



Why Chester? Why not another neighboring city? Simply because we live here in Chester and I believe clergy should particularly reach out to those in their own neighborhoods and communities. But there is also another reason: I believe there’s a growing need for clergy to return to “small town America,” especiallyy in our post-Christian era. I believe the answers to restore America lie in the local community, especiall and that local churches remain the heart, hope and light of that renewal. Again, there are 2000+ people in Chester alone—3/4 of them don’t have a church home. I’ve spoken in many churches in which there are thousands of people, but in the end, what matters most to God is the single needy person in front of all of us. And if all of Heaven rejoices over a single person that turns to Him, we should equally realize that success in all its glory can be found in meeting a single person’s (or community’s) real and spiritual needs. I’ve always said that it shouldn’t matter whether or not we’re reaching masses, but what’s important is that each of us fulfills God’s will and uses our greatest potential for the greatest amount of good. If that’s that’s found in helping millions, give thanks to God. But if that’s found only in loving your spouse and family as Christ loved His Church, then know you are just as great as those who reach millions. Success is simply defined in God’s eyes by being faithful to Him and who He has called you to be--period. One last word about Tracy and MLCC: Although she is as excited about Mt. Lassen Community Church as any of o f us, she might not be able to enjoy lengthy times of gathering together with others, especially at first. She has come light years in 18 months and is actually healthier than she’s been in 30 years, with a few limitations and restrictions. Certainly, no one at MLCC or in our community needs to walk on egg shells around her—she’s every bit “Tracy,” “Tracy,” and maybe even more so than ever before. The initial thing everyone notices is her 35 pound weight loss, but the greatest and most awesome golden changes are in her mind and heart: they all boil down to inner freedom, and I bet a few people reading this know exactly what I mean. There’s no doubt that the demands for her care have altered the time and degree to which I can minister to others, but that doesn’t and wont damper my passion for being the shepherd God has called me to be while working with more leaders around me to help shoulder the care of others. In the end, as I’ve always said, 5


there are only two types of people in this life: those who are broken and those who don’t know it. Right?! Mt. Lassen Community Community Church will be a hospital for sinn sinners, ers, not a hall for saints. So if you’re looking to add to your perfection or looking for the perfect pastor, you won’t find either at MLCC. But if you’re open to growth and want to find and follow God, then please consider MLCC as your spiritual home if you don’t have one. The next page will tell you how you can help us make M MLCC LCC that spiritual home home for you and others starting on Easter Sunday, Apr. 20, 2014…

Meeting place of Mt. Lassen Community Church (starting Easter, Apr. 20, 2014): The Almanor Recreation Center (ARC—like Noah’s ARK?)

450 Meadowbrook Loop in Chester (to the left l eft of the public baseball fields off of Main Street) Please “Like” us on Facebook at:  at: 



So how can you help MLCC get off to the right start? I’m glad you asked! Please join join us in taking taking these 4 steps: steps: Pray…. If you pray what Jesus taught us to pray for more workers in God’s fields of harvest, you will be praying for us and others around the country and and world. As you reflect upon the spiritual needs in our country, California and the Lake Almanor community, do as He taught us: “ The harvest is  plentiful, but the workers workers are few. Ask the Lord Lord of the harvest, harvest, therefore, therefore, to send out workers workers into his harvest field.”  (Luke  (Luke 10:2). Especially leading up to Easter, Easter, please daily ask God to bl bless ess

our efforts in caring for others and fulfilling MLCC’s summary mission statement: “Helping  people find and and follow God.”  

Attend... Mt. Lassen Community Church will begin on Easter Sunday, Apr. 20, 2014, off offering ering two Sunday Service at 8:30am & 10:30am. 10:30am. Regular Sunday Service Service times will remain at 8:30 & 10:3 10:30am 0am after Easter. In order to make room, I would encourage those who know me and plan to attend to come to the 8:30am service—at least for Easter, because we are hoping to need more space for first-time church attenders attenders at the 10:30am service. service. MLCC will be meeting at the new Almanor Recreation Center—450 Meadowbrook Loop in Chester, to the left of the public baseball fields off of Main Street.



Volunteer… We presently have two teams of people working on MLCC’s start up: One is a Directors’ Board, who is completing the statutory procedures for incorporation, incorporation, overseeing MLCC’s budget and expenditures, and will establish MLCC’s Elder and Deacon boards, etc. The second team is MLCC’s Church Plant Start-Up Team who is dealing with the myriad of Sunday needs we have for Church services to be functional: Communion elements, music, nursery, ushers, chair set up, children’s and youth class, class, media, and the all-imp all-important ortant church coffee! coffee! Hopefully, Keurig coffee pots will garnish MLCC’s new church plant!). Our Church Plant Start-Up tea team m will grow as we become aware of those who will attend and are willing to help out in any way, whether by setting up the nice padded chairs on Sunday (already in the building) or serving as an usher handing out church bulletins, etc.

Give….(Become a six or 12-month MLCC Founding Partner) I recently was asked in the community, community, “So what do yo you u need for your Sunday Sunday Services?” I replied with a humorous but sincere smile: “Everything. We need everything from Comm Communion union cups to a Cross, portable visual monitors to audio equipment, Church bulletins to Bibles and care pamphlets to hand out to visitors who need them, etc. Pretty much everything you see in and around a Church Service and is used behind the scenes.” On top of those Sunday needs, MLCC’s Director’s Board will be deliberating future personnel needs, including the need for part-time office personnel and how much and when I can receive a salary as the pastor, based upon the commitment card card responses below as well. If you would like to support MLCC’s church plant, please help us by giving a one-time donation or making a 6 or 12-month financial commitment of any amount to help us get off the spiritual launch pad with this new mountain mission. Truly, anything helps when when you’re starting with absolutely absolutely nothing. By April 1, we will also have a website at  at (or .com) through which people can make donations via PayPal. Sundays’ messages messages will also be posted for view and download there as well. (Please fill out next page if you will be attending MLCC or can help support us)



“Yes, Pastor Todd, I’m standing with you and MLCC’s start-up leadership teams by…..” The Scriptures tell us in Galatians 6:2 that we “fulfill the law of Christ” when we “bear one another’s burdens.” Moreover, in Hebrews 11:6, it says that: “It is impossible to please God without faith.” THANK YOU for being willing to help bear Mt. Lassen Community Church’s start-up burdens by joining us in this faith journey to “help people find and follow God.” PLEASE CHECK HOW YOU ARE WILLING TO PARTNER WITH US:  

 _____ Yes, I want to receive MLCC’s MLCC’s Monthly Monthly Newsletter Newsletter via my email: _____________________ ___________________________ ______  _____ I will will daily PRAY for the Lord to bless MLCC’s start-up teams as they seek to “help people find and follow God.”  _____ I will will ATTEND MLCC! See you on Easter Sunday!  _____ I would would like to VOLUNTEER to help MLCC’s Church Start-up by _____________________________  _____ I will will GIVE a one-time financial gift in April for MLCC’s start-up of $________________________  _____ I will will GIVE a 6-month commitment of $_________ monthly, starting in April  _____ I will will GIVE a 12-month commitment of $_________ monthly, starting in April  _____You can count on me/us to ATTEND and regularly GIVE (Tithe) $_________ monthly.  _____ I’ve added $15 for an Easter Lily to be added to the the front of MLCC’S Easter Easter Service Service in loving memory of ____________________________________________ and my/our belief that Christ’s resurrection and belief in Him guarantees their resurrection and future hope in Heaven. Signed: __________________________________ _________________ _____________________________ ____________ Date: _____________ ____________ _ Print name: ___________________________________________ Please cut/paste/scan your commitments above and either email them to Keri Reed (MLCC’s registrar and bookkeeper) at  at [email protected]   or print this commitment page and send it to: Mt. Lassen Community Church P.O. Box 501 Chester, Ca. 96020

All mail will be picked up by by Keri or one of MLCC’s non-pastoral non-pastor al Directors Board’s members. Exact giving amounts of donors will be kept strictly confidential between Keri and the non-pastoral Directors Board member who will assist in maintaining financial integrity from mail receipt to bank deposit. Names of MLCC’s Founding Partners and prospective attenders, however, will be shared with me and others on 9


MLCC’s Church start-up teams in order to rejoice in the Church (God’s people) that God is assembling to begin this new Church plant for His glory and kingdom. Please, feel free to add a note of encouragement with your financial gift that I can read to the MLCC’s Start-Up teams. If you have any questions about MLCC and its start-up, please conta contact ct us via [email protected]   Lastly, you can help MLCC by please forwarding this letter and MLCC’s “love story” to others who don’t have a church home and who you believe would be encouraged by attending MLCC. MLCC.

We look forward to seeing you on Easter, Apr. 20, 2014, and rejoicing in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and for the birth of Mt. Lassen Community Church! I will also share then a larger vision and dream I have for the future of MLCC! “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His  power that is at work within within us, to Him be glory glory in the church church and in Christ Christ Jesus throughout throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  (Eph.   (Eph. 3:20-21)

In His Service with you for the building up of the Body of Christ, Todd DuBord Senior Pastor of Mt. Lassen Community Church  (Soon to be be ) 


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