The only thing traditional about the new Ballard Church (1460 NW 73rd St) is the outside.
When you walk in the front door, you’re greeted by an espresso cart, a cafe for relaxing and a table with bagels and muffins.
The sanctuary doesn’t have a traditional organ or altar – front and center is a drum set for playing non-traditional church music. “It’s really loud music, you can expect that. People that come in expecting traditional church music are going to be really surprised,” Paul Diaz, the founder of Ballard Church says. “The music is loud. We crank up the sub-woofers, the amps, everything’s going. The band is rockin’.”
Diaz lives in Crown Hill with his wife and five kids. “We’re meeting the people, we’re living here, we’re being part of this community,” Diaz says. “And it’s unique and it’s awesome and we love Ballard.” Diaz was part of Timberlake Church on the Eastside before Timberlake closed their Ballard campus at this same location a few months ago, which is how Diaz got connected with the 50,000 square foot space.
Ballard Church also focuses on kids. From newborn to middle school, there is a place for them. There are several different rooms for different age groups and a giant indoor playground that will put the McDonald’s play area to shame. “A lot of people grew up in a generation where church is so serious,” Diaz says.”A lot of kids checked out because it was boring, it wasn’t relevant, they hated going to church. I have five kids, I want my kids to enjoy church.”
Although this is an independent church, it is affiliated with the Free Methodist Church. This Sunday is the second of three preview services before Ballard Church officially opens in September. The 60-minute service starts at 10 a.m.