Flexible to change

Joe and Kari Bulman are switching things up: Kari, after over a decade of co-pastoring with her husband, is transitioning to the senior pastor role.

Joe + Kari Bulman

Joe and Kari Bulman serve as the co-pastors of Church On The Rock (Gig Harbor Foursquare Church) in Gig Harbor, Wash. After over a decade of co-pastoring with her husband, Joe, Kari is transitioning to be the lead pastor of their church, which includes a more visionary role. Here, they tell us a bit about their background, why they are making this decision, and what it means for The Foursquare Church in general.

Tell us about the transition in leadership that is happening at your church. Why did you make this intentional decision to appoint Kari as senior pastor?

Joe: Kari got ordained at our district conference, and a lot of prophetic words were spoken over her. When I got back home, I said I felt like the Lord spoke to me that, as co-pastor, I was supposed to step back, and she was supposed to be lead pastor. She was taken off-guard, but we both sought counsel, and we both had a number of people confirm.

Kari: When we started into ministry as youth pastors, we fell into this co-pastoring role. I’ve been teaching on and off this whole time as a co-pastor; what has shifted is that now I am the one setting the preaching calendar and the direction for where we are going as a church.

How is the Spirit currently moving in your community and church as you make this leadership transition?

Kari: One of the things I felt like the Lord spoke to me is that we are stepping into a season that will require all hands on deck. The church, the family of God, needs all of the voices. We need every person fulfilling the call of God on their life without boundaries. And that is where our heart is; I think God is calling the American church to action, and it’s going to take everybody.

“The church, the family of God, needs all of the voices. We need every person fulfilling the call of God on their life without boundaries.”
—Kari Bulman

Joe: The enemy really wants to see 50 percent of the church paralyzed by wrong doctrine. I think we need to remove all of the barriers to people living out their call. We need to be intentional to bring healing, but not push someone into a position just because of their gender.

Do you have any advice for other churches in intentionally raising up women as leaders?

Joe: I would say the most important thing is to seek the voice of the Lord and remove obstacles, while also not trying to have an agenda.

Kari: One of our focal points is that every believer has a call of God on their life—it could be a child, someone who is retired, male or female. God has plans for everybody, and it’s really a matter of removing human concepts and obstacles and really looking at the Word, which says ministry is for every person, and how do we walk that out as a church.

There have been some moments where it’s been really exciting, and right now the church is in a growth pattern, but there have been really challenging moments, and we have had challenging conversations. But at the end of the day, am I going to be driven by what people do or don’t want from me, or am I going to be driven by the voice of the Lord? Am I going to be obedient to what the Lord is putting before me?


Interview conducted by Danielle Mayfield

are co-pastors of Church On The Rock (Gig Harbor Foursquare Church) in Gig Harbor, Wash.
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