Open: The Holcomb Family

Interviewed by Jason Curry, Photographed by Merissa Humes | May 9, 2023

Even though Jesse and Stefanie Holcomb are each only in their mid-30s, the story of this family started almost 20 years ago. (And, after reading Jon and Traci‘s story last month, let me be perfectly clear in saying not every story told here will have a underlying theme of “young love.”) These two actually met at a Teen Night in eighth grade. There were absolutely zero sparks, if you ask Stefanie. “He was mean to me,” she says. “And I was taking precious time away from his best friend,” who, coincidentally, she had dated previously. Obviously, hearts eventually softened and in three years, they began dating. Three years after that, they were married. And wouldn’t you know it, their first child was born three years after THAT, with two more children to follow in three year increments. While this may all seem planned and tidy, their adult lives in actuality have been anything but. In fact, a major church split and subsequent wounding had them wondering if they’d need to take a break from church altogether.

Discovery Community Church: What initially brought you to Discovery?

Jesse Holcomb: we joined Discovery to help lead our Tacoma Pop-up in the initial phases of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stefanie Holcomb: I was just along for this crazy ride with Jesse.

DCC: What made you want to invest further?

SH: Actually, I was happy to see how different everyone was. It seemed like no two people were the same. Everyone brought their own uniqueness to church. That’s not something I was familiar with at all in my past church experiences.

JH: I was struck by the genuine love I saw. In some of the hardest times we've ever faced, politically, ideologically, and culturally people came together and loved anyway, in spite of all of those challenges.

Describe each of your kids in a sentence or two...


Ava (11): Stef- Sweet, sassy and leads the Holcomb wolf pack well. Jesse- The coolest kid I know, and she knows it!

DCC: I know that you came to us here at Disco Church, having stepped out of a situation where there was a lot of hurt from your previous place of worship. Even in that hurt, why was it a hard decision to finally leave?

JH: Being rooted has always been important to us. We've never left a place without a ton of consideration, thought, and prayer. Leaving our last place was a bit like growing up. It was the church of our former youth pastor and he was a spiritual mentor and father figure to us. Stepping away meant taking a leap of faith. We didn't know where or what our next place was even going to look like.

SH: I’d say without a doubt that faith was the largest piece to this whole transition, and stepping out in obedience was necessary for our growth.We grew up with the people at our past church. They were family. We knew we needed a change and it was so difficult.


Liam (8): Stef- A lover who has deep feelings. Incredibly goofy. At his best self when nerding out on video games. Jesse- Immeasurably kind with the biggest heart.

DCC: As we’ve been talking about deconstruction this past month, I know many of the people who left the church at the same time as you are no longer walking with the Lord. Did you ever consider stepping away or stepping back from Jesus/your faith?

SH: No, never. Jesus has defined everything I am. I absolutely need His light in my life!

JH: It was a little different for me. I have definitely considered stepping away; not from Jesus per se, but from "organized religion" for sure.

DCC: So, Jesse, with that in mind...why did you continue walking with Him in another church setting?

JH: Ultimately I came to the conclusion that Jesus went all in on the Church. There is no plan B for his saving work. If I'm going to follow Him, it's going to be in community with other deeply broken and hurt people. It's all of us hobbling through life limping in the same direction after him. As we lay down our lives and pick up our crosses in apprenticeship to Him, we have the opportunity in community to lift each other up and spur each other on to greater faith.


Grayson (5): Stef- The baby of the family, who flashes his million dollar smile and gets his way. Every time. Jesse- The literal embodiment of the jocks from Revenge of the Nerds.

DCC: Stefanie, I know your friends are truly family to you. How are you walking with them through their deconstruction?

SH: We are just showing up and being ourselves. That's it. That's all we can do. My hope is by doing that, we represent Jesus through how we love them, even in their stepping away. We walk with them through ALL seasons of life, and making sure the door is wide open for conversations about faith if/when they're ready.

DCC: And what do your prayers look like for them, Stef?

SH: My prayer is that they encounter Jesus simply, in the everyday. That they feel and see His presence in the little things. That they find themselves unable to deny a relationship with Him.


DCC: Ok, last question. Describe your relationship with Jesus today as compared to three years ago.

JH: I'd say it's more nuanced. I'm less sure of some of the less important things but I'd like to say I've found a certain kind of assurance in the essentials. His love for me and His plan for me are more clear in my mind than ever before. Not necessarily in specifics but in the direction I see Him drawing me to. I'm learning now to trust in that leading and to have Faith that all things work together for his good.

SH: I'd say that with all of life's ups and downs, He's never let me down or led our family astray. There is a confidence that he will follow through and it may not look how we want it to look but I trust that it will be better than I could ever imagine. That gives me peace.

DCC: Amen. We'll leave it at that. Thanks so much for sharing with us. We love you.