Overlake Christian Church

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Overlake Christian Church is a non-denominational megachurch in Redmond, Washington. It was once the largest church in the state of Washington.[1]


The church's purpose statement is to: Love God, Love People & Serve the World.[2] Weekend services for adults, students and children are considered the main venues where the Love God purpose is fulfilled. Life Groups (small community groups and support groups) are viewed as the fundamental way the church shows its love and concern for people. The church's Serve the World purpose is accomplished through various initiatives (throughout the Pacific Northwest and the world); the primary of which are centered on HIV/AIDS, Human Trafficking and Orphan Care. Overlake is in the midst of its 2012 Vision Campaign[3] in hopes of funding these and other initiatives at a greater level.


The current Lead Pastor is Mike Howerton, who was the "Next Generation" pastor at Saddleback Church (Pastor Rick Warren) in Orange County, California until 2004. Howerton has authored two books, "Miles to Cross,""Glorious Mess", co-authored another entitled, "The Relevant Church," and now writes a blog. The church is governed by a board of elders.[4]


Overlake Christian Church began in Kirkland, Washington in 1969 with a handful of former attendees of Bellevue Christian Church. James Earl Ladd, then president of Puget Sound College of the Bible in the nearby city of Mountlake Terrace agreed to serve as a temporary, part-time pastor/preacher until a replacement could be found. A pastor from Enid, Oklahoma, Bob Moorehead, was invited and became Overlake's Senior Pastor in January, 1970. During the nearly thirty years of Moorehead's tenure, weekly attendance at the Kirkland church campus grew from less than a hundred to more than 6,000. He resigned in 1998 amid allegations of sexual impropriety.[4] The elders of the church initially exonerated Moorehead, but a year later they withdrew their support, saying they had discovered new evidence that showed he violated normal standards of conduct.[5] As a conservative Christian, condemnation of homosexuality had been a major theme of his preaching.[4]

In 1997, the church moved to a new 250,000 square foot (23,225 m²) building on 27 acres (110,000 m2) along Willows Road NE in Redmond, Washington.[6] The new building has seating for 5,138.[6] After Moorehead's departure in June, 1998, the senior pastor's role was filled by Rick Kingham, a former Vice President of Promise Keepers, who led the congregation until February 2007. He stepped down due to allegations of inappropriate use of funds[7][8] Mike Howerton, already on staff as a teaching pastor, became the church's lead pastor in the summer of 2007. The church's membership peaked at over 6,000 in 1997, but dropped to about half that by 2007.[1]

Other churches[edit]

Overlake Christian Church has founded eight other churches in the area, the largest having over 1400 Sunday attendees.[9]

  • Northlake Christian Church, Bothell
  • Christ Church of Federal Way, Federal Way
  • Christ's Fellowship, Kent
  • Evergreen Christian Fellowship, Issaquah
  • Northshore Christian Church, Everett
  • New Light Christian Church, Seattle
  • Coal Creek Chapel, Bellevue
  • Canyon Hills Community Church, Bothell


  1. ^ a b Tu, Janet I. (December 13, 2007). "Overlake church leaders: Usher took up to $100k from plate". McClatchy - Tribune Business News. 
  2. ^ Love God // Love People // Serve the World // > Our Purposes
  3. ^ Love God // Love People // Serve the World // > OCC 2012
  4. ^ a b c Militch, Steve; Foster, Heath (May 18, 1998). "Moorhead resigns as pastor he denies charges, but says they hurt Overlake ministry". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. p. A.1. 
  5. ^ MacDonald, Sally; Miletich, Steve (May 21, 1999). "Elders Now Say Moorehead Is `Guilty' Of Misconduct". The Seattle Times. Retrieved February 11, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b MacDonald, Sally (November 28, 1997). "Church Is A Vision To Behold -- Overlake Christian's New $37 Million Building In The North End Of Redmond Is Open For Business". The Seattle Times. 
  7. ^ Tu, Janet I. (February 13, 2007). "Senior pastor at Overlake announces he's resigning". The Seattle Times. 
  8. ^ Cash and Carry - Page 1 - News - Seattle - Seattle Weekly
  9. ^ Maynard, Steve (May 18, 1998). "Shock of resignation felt in 'daughter' churches too , eight other churches have 'family ties' to Bob Moorhead's Overlake megachurch". The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.). p. A.10. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°41′21″N 122°08′24″W / 47.6891°N 122.14°W / 47.6891; -122.14