Lead Pastor Update

Alex Lessler's Commissioning

We apologize for the poor picture quality - the video was captured from Zoom during the Sunday morning service on April 28, 2024.

Meet our new Lead Pastor!

SUNDAY, MARCH 17, 2024

We are so happy to introduce you to the new Lead Pastor for the Willamette Campus – Alex Lessler!

Lessler for website 400px Alex and his wife Fallon have been married for 13 years and are the proud parents of four beautiful daughters – Scarlet (9), Isla (6), Lennon (4.5), and Marit (2.5). They’ve lived in Oregon all of their lives, and currently live in the Beaverton area.

Alex has been serving in ministry in Oregon for over 15 years, having majored in Biblical Studies from Moody Bible. Since 2014, Alex has served as the Pastor of Adult Ministry at Beaverton Foursquare Church. He has been a primary leader on the B4 team, and as we are sharing this news with you today, the B4 family is also hearing of Alex’s transition to this new role.

Since August of 2023, we have met with 23 candidates both from within our church and from outside our church. While we have known Alex since 2017, it was last fall that we formally entered a process of prayer, discernment and exploration with Alex and Fallon for the role of Lead Pastor. This journey with Alex and the Lessler family has included numerous one-on-one and group meetings with our leadership team, staff, and elders. It has included deep prayer, long meals, and great conversations. They – and we – have done thorough work to carefully reference and explore the fit and health of this match for the long term of the Lessler family and WCC.

It is with incredible gratitude to God, that as Elders and Executive Team, we unanimously believe that God has called Alex for this role – and their heart and belief is the same.

As a Pastor, Alex believes that a humble church filled with His goodness is part of God’s plan to reveal His love to a world desperate for Him. He is passionate about serving and cultivating a church family that puts people first, is filled with compassion, nurtures empathy, seeks truth and justice, embraces service, and in doing so, becomes more like Christ.

Alex will finish his time with B4 in mid-April and join our staff on April 22nd. He will be working hard to get to know you all, and during his first weeks and months, we will host intentional gatherings for you to meet him and his family. As a family, they anticipate moving to the West Linn area this summer to get even further settled into the community. We know that many of you will want to know how you can help welcome them to our church, and help them in this transition. As we get closer to that time, we’d love to invite you into helping make their initial season and move to our community go well.

We will celebrate and welcome Alex to the role of Lead Pastor on Sunday, April 28th and he will preach his first message on Mother’s Day May 12th.

For now, will you be praying for the Lesslers in this transition? Will you pray for B4 as they go through this change? Will you pray for the flourishing of ministry for both our churches?

Thank you for your faithful investment in WCC, and I join you in anticipating an exciting season ahead as we serve Jesus together with the Lesslers.

Chris Yarco
Lead Executive

Watch this short message from Alex:

Lead Pastor Update - March 1, 2024

We are thrilled to share with you that we have finalized the selection of our new Lead Pastor for Willamette!

The journey toward this selection has included meeting personally with 23 candidates - both internal to our church family and those from around the country. During the last 90 days we have been on a very intentional path with three finalist candidates, and during the last 30 days we narrowed that selection down to a final candidate and his family.

Our new Willamette Lead Pastor and his family have been in a process of discernment and exploration with us for over 4 months and have met many from the WCC campus and all the staff, and we have invested considerable time together to explore this role and this fit. We have explored theology together, leadership vision, alignment around our core values, and the desire and fit to join the community of WCC. The clear YES for both them and us has come through many touchpoints, and we are so grateful for your prayers and their intentionality in this season.

We truly believe that this process has revealed to us, and to our new Lead and his family, that this is a mutual decision that is beautiful and right for their future and the future of Willamette.

Over the next two weeks, our new Lead and his family – together with their home church here in the Portland area – will be sharing this news with their staff. As excited as we are to share the name and all their information, it is out of care and love for them and their church family that we want to honor a communication plan for both church families that is happening at the very same time.

You can expect to receive both email and in-service announcements – pictures, info, and a short update from our new lead and their family no later than March 17.

They could not be more excited, motivated, and humbled to join this amazing church – and we cannot wait to have them with us! They will finish well at their church and join us on April 22nd in full-time ministry. We will have a great time together as we welcome them, install them into leadership, hear from them, and get to know them. We will invite you all to be part of getting to know them in large and small group gatherings over the coming months. I am so excited for them to experience the gracious and welcoming church that you are.

Thank you for your prayers and please continue to pray – for the announcements, for them to finish well, for the transition season for their family, and for the future of our church.


Chris Yarco
Lead Executive

Lead Pastor Update - February 9, 2024

Dear Willamette Family,

Once again, I want to thank each of you for your continued prayers for our staff and team as we've been on this journey to select the Lead Pastor and family to join us here at WCC.

As you know, by God's grace, we have had an incredible season to get to know many wonderful people as we've conducted this search. Our staff and leaders have logged hundreds and hundreds of hours in meetings, meals, conducting reference calls, watching teaching and getting to know incredible leaders in the church.

We are so pleased to share that we believe we have found the person that God has for us – and that they believe that as well. As we share this, we are preparing to introduce them to a number of volunteer leaders from WCC as a final step in their decision. We are truly so excited to be at this place and are so grateful for the unity we feel in this decision.

It is important to us to share this update with you – even while we are not yet ready to share their name. As you can imagine, there are many considerations that we are seeking to make so that the candidate and their family can lead their church family and loved ones through this as well. So, we are walking out this final portion of the search in as care-filled a way as possible.

Our candidate and his family will meet some WCC folks tomorrow and will then have a final meeting with our Elder Board and Lead Pastors on February 19th. If all goes as planned, we will more broadly and fully share all of this with you - ideally before the end of February. Included in that communication will be a timeline for meeting and welcoming them to our family in this next season.

For now, will you keep praying? Pray for their peace, for all the details, for the unknowns and the knowns. We will have lots of opportunities to share, celebrate, meet and journey together in this next season and I cannot wait for you to meet them. More news to come soon… until then, know you are dearly loved.


Chris Yarco
Lead Executive

Lead Pastor Update - January 28, 2024

John Rosensteel

Recorded during service on Sunday, January 28

WCC Leadership Update

Posted on Aug 1, 2023 

From Chris Yarco, Lead Executive

Dear WCC Family,

As we continue to conduct the search for the right person to serve in leadership for our Willamette Campus, I want to thank you for your faithful prayers and peaceful patience. Be assured, there is no slowdown to the ministry and to the discipleship that is happening at our church each day.

Throughout this process, we’ve invited our campus and central staff to offer feedback and insight in order to gain alignment and agreement around the character, education, experience, competency, and care for the community that we believe our next leader should have. Their voice is essential and we are well served by this team of leaders at WCC. (Don’t forget to visit their bios and learn more about them!)

Campus Staff
We have a professional, Godly staff that supports the mission and ministry of the building up of servant leaders. Our campus staff facilitate the day-to-day ministry you experience and participate in throughout the week. From local discipleship to family care to local outreach, these are the faces of those you’ll interact with regularly as we lock arms to inspire people to know, love, and follow Jesus.

Lead Pastor Roles

We believe strongly in team and collaboration. The new lead pastor of WCC will join a team of loving followers of Jesus who serve in many different roles. Once hired, WCC’s new lead pastor will become a member of the Executive Team. Together, with our elders and other executive team members, they’ll help frame the vision and mission, ensure sound teaching and doctrine, and lead and serve the people, ministries, and programs of the WCC campus as well as all our other church campuses.

Keep praying for who God has planned for us… and keep leaning into ministry. When you’re here on Sundays, you’re part of a healthy community. When you participate and serve during the week, you are helping make a healthy community. We need you and we love you.

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind." - James 1:2-6


Chris Yarco

Selection Process for WCC's Lead Pastor

Posted on Jul 25, 2023 

From Chris Yarco, Lead Executive

As part of the family of Willamette, we invite you to learn more about who we are as a church, and to stay informed about how we are growing and addressing the transition in campus leadership. If at any point, you desire more information, we’d love to have a conversation with you. Just ask.

Our Elders

We have one elder board who is accountable for the overall mission and vision of our church. These elders typically worship at their home church on one of our campuses, but they are responsible for providing solid governance, wise counsel, and healthy teaching for our entire church family.

As Lead Executive, Chris Yarco reports directly to the Elder Board, and together this team is responsible for the ultimate decision for the next Lead Pastor to join the team. This team is working with Lead Pastors Jon Furman and Daniel Knutson, members of the staff, and members of the WCC family to clearly identify the character, experience, and vision required of the future lead for the WCC Campus. Once that discussion is complete, and with much prayer, we will develop the path toward meeting with possible leaders, and how we will make final decisions. Keep praying for this process and we will continue to update you.

Mike Grubb, Joe Villa, Kevin Marple and Rich Miller are current elders serving multi-year terms. For those who are curious, elder candidates are invited by the team to journey alongside existing elders in a non-official manner for many seasons before adoption to eldership. We are consistently praying about and connecting with those who may be called for future eldership by evidence of their Godly character, humble servanthood, and wise discernment.

Joy Through Unity

The Apostle Paul challenged the church in Philippi to “make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose” (Philippians 2:2). As Paul was writing to a diverse group of people filled with Jews and Gentiles, men and women, young and old, wealthy and poor, former slaves and Roman guards (see Acts 16), he encouraged them to be one. Their unity around what was most important to them did not crush their diversity; instead, it showed a spotlight on the source of their unity—the gospel. Thanks for being part of the Willamette family.


Chris Yarco