STAFF INTRO: Kent Baron, Facilities Director

Please Welcome our newest staff member, Facilities Director Kent Baron!

We are so excited to have Kent join the staff here at NWH as the new Facilities Director! Kent has been attending Northwest Hills since 2018 and has served in a number of capacities since.

As the new Facilities Director, Kent will be overseeing our campus’ physical spaces to ensure that they are welcoming, clean, and set up for ministry use.

STAFF INTRO: Meet Ellery Peterson, NWH Worship Intern!

Many of you may already know Ellery because, well, she grew up here at NWH or you have witnessed her incredible voice from the stage on Sundays!!

Ellery has a deep passion for worship and hopes to have the opportunity to continue to engage with worship ministry following this internship experience.

For many people, early mornings may be a dread, but for Ellery, they fill her up! Watching the sunrise energizes her along with spontaneous worship sessions with Worship Director, Justin, and fellow intern, Grace.

She is all about having intentional time with Jesus, spending time with family, serving, and feels blessed by surprise coffees and little notes.

If she could travel anywhere, she’d head to Soglio or Gimmelwald, Switzerland, or Africa. If she had to stay within the United States she’d check out North Carolina or Georgia. If she only had 3 hrs to do something fun, she’d probably hit up Goodwill, Target, or make the trek to Chik-fil-a for that Chik-fil-a sauce.

We absolutely love Ellery and feel blessed to have her on our 2020-21 intern team! This gal is going places and we can’t see the future doors God opens for her!

You may recognize Ellery in these contexts…

STAFF INTRO: Jon Griffes, NWH Youth Intern


2020-21 NWH Youth Intern

Jon is incredibly passionate about youth ministry and we are SO GLAD he joined the Youth Intern crew this past fall to explore God’s gifting in his life!Jon feels called to dedicate his life to youth ministry (possibly camp ministry specifically) and hasn’t shied away from diving into opportunities such as working at Camp Tadmor as a full-time staff member, serving with a local youth group while completing his degree at Corban University, and now participating in the NWH Internship!

Here are some FUN FACTS about Jon! 

  • His favorite food of all time is lasagna so if you make a “mean” lasagna, invite him over!
  • Some of the things that fill him up are:
    • Sunrises from a mountainside
    • Getting to know people of the church and being invited into their lives/homes
    • Standing on large rocks (yep.)
    • Youth Ministry!
  • If he could travel anywhere, it would be Oslo, Norway. If he only had a few hours, he’d drive over the McKenzie Pass and stop at any waterfall or the Dee Wright Observatory.
  • His celebrity look-alike is said to be Mark Hamill (a.k.a. Luke Skywalker from Star Wars)…. what do you think?
*a mustache has been added for comparison
Jon is an incredible addition to the NWH team and we can’t wait to see what God does through his life!

STAFF INTRO: Meet Maria Daniels, NWH Youth Intern!


We reached out to Maria Daniels with some fun questions to get to know her a bit more!

How long have you known Jesus?
I have been a Christian since I was 5 years old!

Why did you choose the NWH Internship Program for this year?
I’ve always wanted to be more involved in youth ministry. I am student teaching right now, so I thought it would be cool to get to know the age group I’m teaching. I think that middle/high school is a super influential time in life, and I really want to be there for people in that age group. I also spent a lot of time praying about whether I should go for it or not, and ultimately felt a lot of peace about the decision. It’s an amazing opportunity, and I know that I’m here for a reason and there’s going to be a lot of growth and learning from this experience. I’m stoked to be a part of it!

What do you hope to do in ministry someday?
I for sure see myself continuing to volunteer with youth ministry. The reason I’m becoming a teacher is because I’m passionate about that age group, and it’s just a lot of fun! I’m also a firm believer that ministry isn’t confined to only serving in church. I hope to be a light as a teacher, and learn to serve in my job and to those around me outside of church as well.

If you could have any food at someone’s house in our church what would it be?
Honestly with the fullness of my schedule, making nice meals isn’t at the highest priority. I would be thankful for pretty much any home-cooked meal haha. But, if you want me to be more specific, I’m always a fan of a warm casserole, hamburgers, and good meat in general. I’m not picky at all!

Do you have a funny or favorite moment from the NWH Internship so far?
One of my favorite memories from the internship so far is when the interns had a fun little Canadian Thanksgiving. Another would be our backyard fire nights with smores and hotdogs. It’s been a lot of fun!

What is something that energizes you and fills you up as a human being?
I feel energized and filled up when I get to have meaningful conversations with people I love. I love being with people, but I also need time to be alone, read, and spend time in prayer to be filled up as well.

If someone asked – “How can I bless you?”, what would you say?
My love language is words of affirmation, so I always feel pretty loved/blessed if I receive a card. Also in this season of life, having nice food is always a blessing 😅 Some of my roommates have offered to make me food when my day is really busy, and I always appreciate that a lot!

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I definitely want to travel overseas and have good, Italian pizza and experience all of those good things over there. But for a more realistic goal, I would love to go to the San Juan Islands someday!

Let’s say you have 3 hours on Saturday to WHATEVER you want. What would it be?
I am trying to spend my Saturdays Sabbathing, so I end up getting to do these things! Some of my favorite Saturday activities right now include going on a bike ride, going for a Fall walk, getting coffee (soon eggnog lattes!!), hanging out with people I love, reading and resting. I’m also always down to get out of the house and go for a little adventure!

We absolutely love having Maria on staff this year! She is such a joy to all who know her

This Week’s NWH Kingdom Prayer || The Grahams – Uganda
Be praying for Daniel and Rachael Graham, our ministry partners in Soroti, Uganda throughout the week.
The Grahams have shared prayer requests for:
  • Rest as they furlough in Oregon during this unique season.
  • The Soroti community, as they recently had their first COVID-related death.
*If you missed their video update from Sunday, check out our recorded service on our homepage! *
*Get to know the Grahams a little more by checking out their page on our website! *

INTERN TEAM: Dacoda “Cody” Wagner

Hailing from the grand state of Texas, Cody has been such an incredible addition to the team here at NWH! He has known Jesus for 9 years and feels called to vocational ministry!

We asked Cody a few fun questions to learn more about him! 

What has been one of your favorite moments in the NWH Internship so far?
Favorite moments so far have been all the times people have opened up there lives and given me a chance to connect with them and learn from them and develop a relationship with them. The people in this church are so accepting and wonderful.

What is something that energizes you and fills you up as a human being?
Getting to worship Christ freely with the congregation of the church.
(Also, tacos.)

Has anyone told you, you have a celebrity look alike? If so, who?
I get compared to Napoleon Dynamite and carrot top all the time… I think it’s the hair.

A Few Other Fun Facts about Cody: 

  • If you didn’t catch it, he LOVES tacos! So if tacos are your thing too, you know who to call!
  • If there is one thing he would want people to know about him it would be that he is here for them if they ever need help!
  • If he could travel anywhere it would be Modena, Italy (to learn to make pasta!)

Introducing Carissa Larson

Meet the newest member of the NWH staff, Director of Communication & Connection, Carissa Larson!

Once a young girl who cried her first day of Kindergarten because she was so scared to meet new people now finds herself in a role she is very passionate about – a role ALL ABOUT meeting new people!!

For over 6 years, Carissa has called NWH and Corvallis home, serving in a variety of capacities, and she SO excited to now be serving in a more day-to-day role as the Director of Communication & Connection!

In this role, Carissa manages all the communications for NWH, oversees church events and Sunday services, helping coordinate many of our incredible volunteers, and comes alongside individuals (like YOU) to get them plugged into opportunities here at NWH!!

Behind the scenes, Carissa and her husband, Travis, lead the Young Marrieds Community Group together and love being a part of that growing community! Together, they love exploring, enjoying a great cup of black coffee, and running!

Final Fun Facts about Carissa!
– Travis is exactly one foot taller than Carissa (6’4″ & 5’4″)
– Her favorite sound is rain! Seriously… She loves rain.
– When she was little she wanted to grow up to be either a Disney princess or a “cooker girl” (a.k.a. a chef).
– Her AYSO soccer nickname was the “Energizer Bunny” and if you know her, you probably understand why!
(If you don’t know her yet, she wants to get to know you!)

OneStory Update + Serving Opportunity

Hello, NWH Family!

Exciting news! The OneStory Project with Peter and Diane is complete for the Banyadu people in Indonesia: 50K-100K people in West Kalimantan.

OneStory works with mother-tongue speakers to develop and record worldview-sensitive, chronological Bible “story sets” for each specific group — typically 20 to 30 stories – for unreached people groups made up primarily of oral learners who often have no written language.

All 28 stories have been crafted, approved, and professionally recorded. The next step is to distribute and promote the stories in fellowship groups and churches. It’s an exciting time!

Also, we’d like to create videos to go with the stories. We did this with the Taburta people, and there were well received. You can watch them here.  We’re looking for a few people who know a little bit about video editing to help. You do NOT need to be an expert. If you’re interested, reach out to James Furlo or contact the church office to learn how you can get involved. (Here is a video directly from James!)

Phase 2 Plan for NWH


Hello, Northwest Hills,

As many of you have likely heard, Benton county has been approved for Phase 2 reopening. The Phase 2 reopening in Oregon allows for us to have limited in-person gatherings (services). We will be following the State of Oregon guidelines and best practices which for us means:



  • We can have up to 100 people per service.
  • Face coverings will be required for everyone over 2 years old.Children will need to stay with their family units and therefore there will be no childcare or kids’ classes.
  • There will be limited singing participation.
  • If you have a pre-existing health condition or are in a high-risk category we encourage you to continue to participate via our online services.

We understand that these conditions for gathering are not ideal. But, the risks related to Coronavirus are still real and we want to be a responsible member of our community. We appreciate your cooperation with these conditions for participation.

Until we can resume gathering together without restrictions we will continue to provide full online services. Starting on June 21 we will have two services on Sunday mornings at 9am and 11am.  We encourage you to arrive up to 10 minutes before the service starts so that we have plenty of time to get everyone settled while maintaining social distancing.

For those of you with young children…you are welcome to bring the whole family to these services. We will be adjusting the service to be a bit more kid friendly and we will provide activity packets for kids. If you would like, you are welcome to bring an electronic device and headphones so that your children can watch the kids’ church video during the service. There will also be a separate room available where the service will be streamed if you need to allow your child to move around a bit.

We have created an online survey asking if you plan to attend any of the services in June. If you haven’t had a chance to fill out the survey yet, we ask that you please do so. You can access the survey here and get up-to-date information on services for each week at This information is helping us to accommodate allowing as many of you as possible who want to attend a service. After the first two weeks we will evaluate if we need to modify our service types or times.

We are looking forward to seeing you face to face in the coming weeks.


Office hours
The church office is open to the public. Our goal is to have someone available in the office Monday-Thursday, 9am-3pm. Because we are operating on reduced office staff hours, there may be periods when the office is closed even during the scheduled hours. Therefore we encourage you to call the office (541-758-7688) ahead of a visit to ensure that someone will be here to assist you. We appreciate your understanding if we miss you.

Please continue to pray along with us for our government and community leaders to make wise decisions and that the spread of Covid 19 will be held in check.  Also pray for our health care workers, essential workers, and those who have been directly impacted by the effects of the virus.

We look forward to seeing more of you as time goes on!

-Your Ministry Staff

Pastor Josh – A Few Thoughts on Current Events


NWH Family,

As a church who loves Jesus and therefore should be committed to loving our city, our country and our world, it is important that we are involved in the conversations that our culture is involved in. We want to bring truth and love where there is hurt, lies and sin.

The death of George Floyd is a horrific, inexcusable tragedy. The hatred and ensuing violence in response is also awful. The good that is coming through this however are the conversations about racism, racial subjugation and social inequality.

These are challenging conversations in a country with such a dark history in regard to racism but ones we must have. We must ask questions today like “Why does racism still continue to happen and what can we as a nation do to stop this? I want to share just a few brief thoughts from our study in Exodus that address these very topics.

Two weeks ago May 24, as we studied Exodus chapter 1 we asked the questions; “What led Egypt to enslave the Hebrews?” and ”How do we face the same struggles today?” The next day George Floyd was killed fueling the conversations about racism and hate. I do not believe it is an accident that we were studying Exodus 1.

Racism and racial subjugation begin with pride. For Egypt, we saw that it began with pride toward the Hebrew herdsman. Genesis 46:34 “…for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.” This prideful attitude led the Egyptians to separate themselves from the Hebrews.  Later all relationships were lost when Joseph died and was no longer working with the Pharaoh. Once relationships were lost suspicion and fear began to take over. Fear led to suppression, suppression led to genocide.

The exact same sinful slope exists today from pride to loss of relationship to suspicion and fear, to persecution to genocide.

Pride is the original sin that leads any person to believe that they are superior to others and it was pride that started our country down a dark road 400 years ago. The question remains what can we do about this today? As we are painfully aware, this is a significant question with many different applications. I have been asking myself “What can I do about this?” I challenge you to ask the same question of yourself.

We can begin by reversing the slope. If pride breaks relationships and isolates which leads to suspicion and fear, we can do the opposite. Out of love, every human can build relationships with those who are different than themselves. We can all work to hear each other’s stories, empathize, grieve with each other, and lament with each other over our hurts pains and fears. We can work with each other to empower one another and help each other get the love, support and dignity all humanity deserves. Jesus said it best when he said to love me, is to love your neighbor. May we be a church who loves and lives like Jesus by knowing ALL our neighbors and loving them like Jesus would.

Pastor Josh Carstensen

Meet the Summer Interns!

Hey everybody,

Pastor Gary here inviting you to join me in welcoming our three summer youth interns: Chris, Mason and Dylan!

All three young men are from Texas and will be spending eight weeks here in the Pacific Northwest serving alongside our youth team at Northwest Hills. I have known each of these young men for several years and can attest to their relationship with God and their desire to use their unique God-given abilities for his purposes. Each have been involved in serving in various volunteer roles such as worship team, set-up/tear-down crew, building and grounds, audio, video production, camp team, as well as speaking and leading. I am stoked for this opportunity for our church and for these young men! Our goal for these eight weeks is to train them, invest in them, and give them unique opportunities to serve and lead in the local church.

We are excited to provide an opportunity for them to grow and thrive and consider them a big blessing to our ministry this summer! Most of all, it will be a joy to send them out after this summer to Love Jesus, Live like Jesus, and Make Him Known!

Phase 1 Plan for NWH


Hello, Northwest Hills,

The worldwide effort to limit the Covid 19 outbreak continues to impact almost all areas of life.  As many of you have likely heard, Benton county has been approved for Phase 1 reopening. Phase 1 allows for groups of up to 25 people to meet in-person as long as 6 feet of social distancing can still be maintained. Sadly, we still won’t be able to all meet together for church services yet but this easing of the restrictions provides the possibility for smaller groups to begin meeting in-person. There are a number of areas where this will have an immediate impact on our ministry.

Small group meetings
The group limit of up to 25 people now provides the opportunity for some community groups, Bible studies, or other small groups to resume meeting in-person. Because there are many complexities to each group’s composition and situation, we are not setting a blanket protocol for how all groups should handle this. We are not continuing the restriction of all groups from meeting in-person but neither are we saying all groups should resume meeting in-person. We ask that you prayerfully consider, with your entire group, how to best handle this for your group. Please take into consideration that it will be difficult to maintain 6 feet of social distancing in most homes even if your group size is well under 25 people. Also, consider the vulnerability of each group member based on their age and health status as well as how to handle any children that might be present. 

Office hours
The church office will now be open to the public for those who need/want to drop by for anything ministry or business purposes. Our goal is to have someone available in the office Monday-Thursday, 9am-3pm. Because we are operating on reduced office staff hours, there may be periods when the office is closed even during the scheduled hours. Therefore we encourage you to call the office (541-758-7688) ahead of a visit to ensure that someone will be here to assist you. We appreciate your understanding if we miss you.

This situation is constantly evolving. As a staff we are discussing how we can best leverage the opportunities and increasing allowances to do ministry closer to “normal”.  Phase 1 reopening doesn’t allow for dramatic changes to what we have been doing over the last couple months and Sunday services will continue to be online only. We are considering options for small groups to meet on the NWH campus where we have rooms that may more easily accommodate adhering to the social distancing guidelines. We will communicate this potential opportunity to groups as we gather more information. 

Please continue to pray along with us for our government and community leaders to make wise decisions and that the spread of Covid 19 will be held in check.  Also pray for our health care workers, essential workers, and those who have been directly impacted by the effects of the virus.

We look forward to seeing more of you as time goes on!

-Your Ministry Staff

NWH Women’s Opportunities & Updates

Hello, Women of Northwest Hills!

We hope that your fall is off to a beautiful start and you and your family are settling into the new routine that often comes with the start of school and a new season.

With the changing of the seasons, a lot has changed at NWH since we last met in the spring for our Dream Big event. We, as a team, are thrilled to have Josh Carstensen as our Senior Pastor as we strive to Love Jesus, Live Like Jesus, and Make Him Known!

If you attended the NWH Summit this past Sunday evening, you may have gotten a sneak peek at what women’s ministry will look like this year!
Our hope and focus is that all members of NWH would be active in church, practicing the spiritual disciplines, participating in a community group, and serving!

As a women’s team, we are going to do what we can to support those four areas of ministry with a female flavor! In addition to that we are offering two NWH WOMEN FOCUS GROUPS. These are extra opportunities for women to grow with women by studying the Word of God, forming discipleship relationships, and encouraging one another in their walk with the Lord.  If you would like to sign up for either of the focus groups, the following information will be helpful.

Bible study focus group.
This fall we will be learning about God’s desire for the church, our part in it, and how to apply the importance of biblical community in our lives through Whitney Capps’ study: “WE OVER ME: Letters of Hope from Revelation”. 

Wednesday Nights: 6:30pm – 8:00pm, Starting October 2
Led by Ruth Nelson
This group study will run October 2 – November 20 in Room D7

Thursday Mornings: 9:30am – 11:30am, Starting October 3
Led by Wendy Evans
This group study will run October 3 – November 21 in Room D7

How to join.

The cost of the study guide is $14. Please feel free to reach out to us if the cost is a concern for you. We would love to have you, all are welcome!
God is doing great things at NWH and we can’t wait to watch Him continue to change lives as we focus in on Loving Jesus, Living Like Jesus, and Making Him Known!

With much love,
The NWH Women Leadership Team
Carissa Larson, Patty Ollerenshaw, Cristina Richards, Kasey Cleary, & Olivia Bulman

Updates from Pastor Josh

The 2018-19 ministry year ended with us ABOVE BUDGET in giving. Considering the year we’ve had, this is especially encouraging! Thank you for giving generously.

Music Team Changes:
Justin “JJ” Jackson now has the title “Music Director” and Alex Valle-Lopez “Production Director”. The primary difference NWHers will see on Sunday mornings is Justin leading music three times/month and Alex one time/month. Justin and Alex will continue to work very closely together in providing an environment conducive to worshipping our awesome God.

Youth Program Update:
We have a Youth Pastor candidate visiting NWH over the weekend of September 22!! This is very exciting and yet we also appreciate those currently serving faithfully in the Student Ministry. Thank you to John & Wendy Evans for the excellent leadership with the Middle School students and staff. High School recently received new leadership in volunteers Justin & Wyndser Jackson who will come alongside and help with our volunteer High School staff. We appreciate you!

Be Praying:
Soon we will roll out specific options for places to serve and opportunities to connect at NWH. Be praying about what God has for you this Fall.

Prayer for Timothy Retreat & Team

Our Timothy Retreat Team – made up of Steve & Mary Mock and Arlene Amick – is off to Uganda for two weeks. They will arrive in Entebbe on Friday, November 30 and will travel 10 hours to Soroti on Saturday, December 1. Their trip will include a purposeful visit with missionaries Daniel and Rachel Graham, a goat distribution, and the annual retreat. They return on December 13. Lots of prayer is needed and appreciated for travel mercies, health, effectiveness, blessings, open hearts, etc. We can travel in prayer with them using their prayer calendar.

Labor Day Teaching

Main Point:

A person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not be rich toward God.  Life is not measured by how much you own.

Missed something?  Find it here:

View PDF of Sunday’s slides.

Check out the procrastination TED talk:

When the audio/video is posted it will be linked here.

For further study:

A great book on heaven, eternal rewards, and being rich toward God: Going for the Gold (amazon link).  If you are interested in reading this book but cannot afford it, please let me know and I can get you a copy.

Learn about Jim Elliot who famously penned: “he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose”.

Insider Investment Info:

It has been widely published for a couple thousand years—but few people are long on these ideas.  Here 10 hot tips and their sources.  If you scour the surrounding source material you can find additional tips.

  1. Minister to those in need. (Matthew 10:42, Hebrews 6:10)
  2. Sacrifice to follow Christ. (Matthew 19:27-29)
  3. Give without fanfare. (Matthew 6:1-4)
  4. Accept abuse for the sake of Christ (Matthew 5:11-12)
  5. Pray in secret. (Matthew 6:5-6)
  6. Invest in the lives of those who minister in the Word. (Galatians 6:6-7)
  7. Engage in spiritual activity without fanfare. (Matthew 6:16-18)
  8. Love your enemies by being willing to help them. (Luke 6:35)
  9. Give hearty service to the Lord and not just to please men. (Colossians 3:23-24)
  10. Entertain those who cannot repay you. (Luke 14:12-14)

The hard question:

Do you invest more into your retirement (employer contributions, stock options, 401ks, IRAs, eta) than you give charitably?  Does that say anything about your own internal standards?


School Supplies and Gift Card Drive

Northwest Hills will continue our partnership with Hoover School by hosting our own School Supply Drive for Hoover. In addition, we will be collecting gift cards for students (District-wide) whose families are experiencing financial difficulties. Buy items now and bring them to the Lobby or the church office during the week. Last day to bring items is Sunday, August 19. Pick up a list of needed items at the table in the Lobby. Contact Wendy Evans if you have questions.

Hoover Wish list:

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
Hand Sanitizer
1” Plastic Band-Aids (no latex please)
Ziploc Bags – sandwich size
Ziploc Bags – gallon size
White Copy Paper
Kid Scissors – Blunt
Kid Scissors – Pointed
Spiral Notebook (single subject, wide-rule) – Red Cover
Spiral Notebook (single subject, wide-rule) – Blue Cover
Spiral Notebook (single subject, wide-rule) – Green Cover
Spiral Notebook (single subject, wide-rule) – Yellow Cover

Gift Cards in the denomination of your choice (WinCo, Bi-Mart, K-Mart, gas, etc.) or you can provide money that will be used to purchase gift cards.

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