Our New Lead Pastor

Knutson 4

Welcome the Knutsons!

We are so excited to welcome Daniel Knutson as the next lead pastor of Hope City Church. Daniel and his wife Brandy, along with their four kids, Cohen, Malek, Rayna, and Regan, will be joining us in May after they transition from their current church leadership.

Above you will find a video that explains how we came to invite Daniel into this role, and you will hear from Daniel himself as he shares his excitement to join our church family. Below you’ll find answers to some of the questions you may be asking, as well as a special note from Daniel’s wife Brandy.

Your elders and I, along with all of our staff team, are committed to prayerfully, carefully, and transparently leading through this time of transition. We are available to meet with you, answer questions you may have, and pray with you. You are welcome to contact me at chris@willamette.cc or to contact our elders at elders@willamette.cc and we will respond to you. Additionally, below we want to provide you with answers to questions that may be on your mind.

Thank you for your love for Hope City Church and God’s Kingdom.


Chris Yarco
Lead Executive

Daniel and I couldn't be more excited to be joining the Hope City - Willamette - Beaverton church family. We have loved and prayed for Hope City from afar for nearly a decade as we maintained friendships with some of the key families in the organization over the years. Through the love and prayers, we have been given an opportunity to come serve the Milwaukie community alongside you. I wanted to just take a moment and share a little of our story and history with you so that you have a chance to get to know us a little better.

Daniel and I were re-acquainted in 2007 through a mutual friend and began dating shortly after. When we began dating, neither of us was walking closely with Jesus, despite growing up in the church. We had spent our late teen years (separately) knowing who Jesus was, but not really caring. Not long after we began dating, I started attending church with Daniel at Branches, where he was serving on the worship and set-up teams. It didn't take long before I felt at home in a church for the first time in my life, and Daniel and I both began to serve in a larger capacity together. As Branches was growing, the need for a youth group became apparent and we jumped in to be a part of the youth group plant team right away. As we spent more time serving together our relationship with Jesus got stronger, and so did our relationship to one another.

In the summer of 2009 we got married, and after our honeymoon we took on leading the middle school youth group. One thing that has not changed in our lives over the years, is our heart to serve our local church. We spent many years volunteering at Branches before Daniel was hired part-time, and eventually full-time. We have served on the: creative team, content team, set-up and tear down, worship team (Daniel only), guest services, children's ministry, youth ministry, campus pastors, and lead pastor. In all of these different roles and responsibilities we have learned so much about Jesus, ourselves, our marriage, and how to better serve those around us.

From 2010-2019 we have welcomed four kids into our family: Cohen, Malek, Rayna, and Regan! They are all vastly different in every way. They are constant reminders that Daniel and I are still growing as Jesus' followers, individuals, spouses, and parents. They bring a lot of joy and adventure into our lives, while simultaneously pushing every button and boundary. Thankfully we can say confidently that we have some amazing kids who we are very proud of, and we enjoy watching them learn as they grow into the people that God has created them to be. Since the beginning of our marriage, and through the addition of each child, we have been grateful to be in a community group through every transition. We have been abundantly blessed by the wisdom that we've gained through all the individuals that we have been doing life with over the years.

I wanted to end with this... "It's in the chairs" is a sentiment that we threw around a lot when we were still doing set-up and tear-down for our Sunday services every week in the middle school gym. It's a statement we would say to remind ourselves to consider each person that walks through the doors on a Sunday morning, how important it is for them to encounter Jesus, and to feel like they could belong to a church community while they were learning to follow Him. We know that Hope City has this same background founded on grit and the "whatever it takes" attitude to bring those who are far from God, closer. We are honored and grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Hope City team, and the Willamette church family, to continue serving Jesus and walking in faith to what He has called us to.

With Love,

Brandy - and the Knutson Family

How did the elders come to the decision that Daniel and his family were to lead Hope City?

Upon hearing of the Hope City Lead Pastor changes, Daniel and Brandy prayed about whether it was something they should even consider. Based on their relationships with so many at WCC, they made a decision to put their toes in the water and explore. They were not looking to leave Scappoose, but more looking to respond if God was calling them to their next season.

The senior leadership team made up of Chris Yarco, Lead Executive, Josh Grant, Senior Executive, and Lead Pastors Jon Furman and Brian Becker, and Associate Grant Hickman, all met with Daniel and Brandy to determine if there was an affinity for leading together, and shared theology and philosophy. Daniel met with all members of the elder board and Hope City staff, as well as other members of the WCC staff team.

At every layer, and every step, we explored character, chemistry, competency, and calling. And at every step, we kept walking through each open door. It was a unanimous decision by the elders to affirm Daniel as Hope City’s Lead Pastor.

Tell us a little more about Daniel.

We can't wait for you to meet Daniel and his family in the coming months. Growing up in Scappoose since he was 11, Daniel completed a couple years of study at Portland Bible College before ultimately completing a Bachelors in Business Administration at Warner Pacific University. He and his family love to explore the outdoors as a group through rock climbing, camping, and snowboarding, and Daniel also takes each of his kids on an individual overnight trip every year. He and Brandy love investing in their family as a collective unit while also valuing and fostering the unique personalities and giftings of each of their kids.

When will Daniel and his family transition full time to Hope City?

Daniel is in the process of wrapping up his current responsibilities at Branches to ensure a healthy, positive transition there. We’re currently looking to Daniel officially joining the staff on May 2.

What happens between now and May?

Both Tom Vice and your Hope City staff team will continue to provide interim leadership locally, supported by our central office staff. They’ve done an incredible job so far, and we are grateful for their willingness to continue over the next 40 days.

When can we meet the Knutsons?

We will soon announce several meet and greet nights that will allow you to meet them in-person in a safe, socially distanced environment, or online via Zoom. We hope to email out those opportunities soon. If we don’t have your email, now’s a great time to let us know so you’re included on that communication.

What can we do to support this transition?

First and foremost, be praying for Daniel and his family as they begin their transition to Hope City. It’ll be a busy time as they work to establish themselves in our community! Pray for their protection and stamina as we welcome them.

In addition, reach out to the team if you’re available to serve at one of our next in-person gatherings, or see if you can support our staff team from home. Let’s continue to practice radical hospitality by finding ways to invite our friends to explore what it means to join the family of God in this season of in-person and online gatherings.

Will this impact our ability to regularly meet in-person again soon?

We’re continuing to collaborate with the State and other professionals to understand the healthiest and safest ways to continue expanding new rhythms of gathering in-person. Those plans won’t be delayed by the lead pastor transition, but we continue to reevaluate our approach weekly in response to local trends.

We will have Easter both online and in-person at Hope City on April 4. You can join us in-person for safe, socially distanced worship and teaching at 8:30am or 10am, or online at 9:15am.

Then, beginning April 11, you can join us in-person or online in the following ways:

  • In-person at 8:30am and 10:00am with live teaching from Tom Vice
  • Online at 9:15am (or on demand anytime after) on YouTube, Facebook, and our website to hear from Grant Hickman

Stay tuned to the website for regular updates that may affect gathering times and children’s programming.