Lead Pastor DJ Rabe wears a faded denim shirt and dark blue jeans as he welcomes attendees at the door for the May 2 event. The church is warm and welcoming, the atmosphere brimming with anticipation and excitement at the Turning Point USA founder’s forthcoming speech.
Finally, the big moment arrives. Pastor Rabe welcomes Kirk to the stage and the 650-strong crowd erupts in enthusiastic applause. During his 45-minute-long speech, Kirk talked about why he thinks it is important for Christian conservatives to be involved in the political process. For instance, many Biblical figures like Deborah and Samson were actively involved in the secular governance of their society.
Kirk shared that he believes conservative pastors are responsible to help their congregation make sense of what’s happening in the news, like a shepherd to his flock, instead of being apolitical.
“The church should be actively involved in the moral, civic, and political issues of the day,” Kirk said.
Yet the story of how The House Church was able to host Kirk in the first place could be described as nothing short of miraculous since everything came together in three days.
Taking a stand against Cancel Culture
Kirk was originally slated to speak further south at Puyallup’s Motion Church on May 2. Yet on April 23, Senior Pastor Roger Archer announced on YouTube that he was forced to cancel Kirk’s speaking engagement. The pastor claimed that “radical terrorist mobs” and “anarchists” threatened to burn down church properties and cause bodily harm to church leadership and parishioners and neighbor’s properties.
After seeing Pastor Archer’s video and subsequent interviews, something didn’t add up to Pastor Rabe who concluded that the anarchists’ threats were unfounded. Then Pastor Rabe had an idea: invite Kirk to The House Church. But before doing that, he waited to see if Kirk would give a response to Pastor Archer’s video cancellation.
He didn’t have to wait long. On April 25, Kirk posted a video expressing his disappointment that the May 2 event had to be cancelled.
“As I watched his video response, I could see it in his eyes, hear it in his tone, see it in his body language that he was disappointed that fear won,” Rabe said.
Even though he felt it was a long shot for Kirk to come to Snohomish, a town of 11,000 people, Pastor Rabe sent an email to Kirk’s team the morning of April 28 conveying his willingness to host Kirk at The House Church on May 2.
That same afternoon, Rabe posted a portion of the email he sent on his personal Facebook page and within 40 minutes, Kirk’s team replied that they were interested.
Despite posting about the event only once on his personal Facebook page, it went viral quickly. On April 29, the church announced on their official Facebook page that Kirk would be coming to Snohomish in a graphic and people told Pastor Rabe that they saw it shared all over their feeds.
Hope for the present, hope for the future
Pastor Rabe founded The House Church in 2007 and held services in the Snohomish Boys and Girls club. They then moved to a few buildings before moving to their current location on 1820 Bickford Avenue where they’ve been for the last two years. Unlike many churches, The House Church did not close down nor did it comply to Gov. Inslee’s COVID-19 mandates.
Rabe showered praise on church staff that they were able to coordinate the event, including hospitality and security, in the span of only three days.
“I’m so proud of them,” Rabe said. “They did a stellar job.”
The event didn’t only attract people from Snohomish County. Conservatives from the surrounding counties and churches that Rabe encouraged to open up all converged on The House Church to see Kirk speak.
“It was good to see them all brought together in one place and accord which has been said is a breath of fresh air,” Rabe said.
After the multitudes of positive feedback, The House Church is open to hosting more conservative speakers.
“We are going to be a place that will host people that are going to stand for religious freedom so we can be a resource for our community,” Rabe said. “We are 100 % open to future events.”
To Rabe’s surprise, The House Church in Snohomish has not received any negative feedback, including from governmental agencies, about hosting Charlie Kirk. The opposite is true: he’s received only positive responses.
“People walked away from the speech completely refreshed, inspired, and encouraged,” Rabe said. “They were given hope; hope for the present and hope for the future.”