After Year 1
Welcome to the new look of Your Church +Portland! This month we are celebrating the one year anniversary of Your Church’s inception, which all began with the launching of this website on Monday June 10th, 2013. Since that day a lot has transpired. Just this evening I shared a story from the Bible regarding Joshua and the battle of Jericho, and how that story reminds me of the same opportunity God has given us here in Hillsboro. Joshua had to first hear what God wanted him to do, than he had to cross over the waters – the waters being the vast unknown. When he set foot in the water, the water stopped flowing; the unknown was no longer unknown and Joshua crossed over to where he was supposed to be. From there, Joshua’s first big assignment was to circle his dream while keeping his mouth shut, which is tougher than you think especially when you’re ready to fight and make progress. But as the Bible proves true, the walls will always come down. It was a definite ‘win’ for Joshua, but it wasn’t his biggest win just his first – reminding us to celebrate the win, big or small, because every win is a win.
So when I look back over all that's happened, we truly have a lot of wins, while we continually circle a bigger win. To name just a few, it was one year ago this month that we secured our financial supporters, 90% of whom continue to sustain us this day! We launched this website that month, and it received more internet traffic than the website of the church I was pastor of for 10 years. On the same day the website launched, we placed our Texas home up for sale and sold it the next day. Within 60 days we moved to Hillsboro, compiled a launch team, established goals, and began doing things a new way. By September we secured a possible location for launching the church, confirmed our Board of Directors, and completed 25 pages of bylaws in order to establish us as a corporation. As we entered the fall, we filed for non-profit status with the IRS, Garrett and Avril Johnson moved their family and possessions from Canada to join us as inroads were being made with the downtown merchants. As 2013 drew to a close, we confirmed Coyote’s Bar & Grill for our February opening, held our first launch team meeting along with a few coffee get-togethers, and began building relationships the way we had begun building everything else – organically.
When we opened our doors in February we were struck with what became Oregon’s biggest snowstorm in 10 years, and it was then that the term ‘organic’ took on a whole new meaning. Amidst several thousand dollars in advertising lost to the deep snow, we began that cold dark evening on the 9th with our team, our friends that drove down from Canada to support us that day, and two precious ladies down the street from Coyote’s who braved the deep snow to be a part of this new thing. Sixteen weeks later, we have had over 20 people in attendance, established and continue to develop new relationships, joined the Chamber of Commerce, joined the Ministerial Alliance, was recognized as a corporation, received our official Hillsboro business license, drank more Starbucks coffee and cried more tears than we will admit to; all the while as God somehow used the people of the Northwest to show us what this whole concept of church is truly all about. It’s definitely an adventure, and yet the real ride hasn’t even begun.
Call it lofty, or call it crazy…my vision is to start 49 more of these churches here in the Northwest...with 49 individuals willing to sell everything and be here to begin relationships organically, leading and pouring into those who have never experienced the One who holds real life. Long term and short term, that’s what this is all about. It’s sort of like the prophet Hosea, who made his own life a testimony of God’s love for a people who actually weren’t interested in God’s love. It’s big…but big isn’t about size but more about the hugeness in covering this Northwest landscape with gatherings where people can enjoy themselves, find a friend, and discover something about this loving God they probably never saw before. That’s why we circle our Jericho with confidence today knowing that every wall, regardless of how intimidating they look or feel, will eventually come down.
Thank you to all those who have stood with us and continue to stand with us, and for those who continue to believe in this work so much that you financially support us; I truly believe that you are our biggest win. To all those who continue to read my blogs and haven’t faltered in your belief in us, together we celebrate this one year win. Remember, big or small, every win is a win!