Students take Portland streets by storm
By Sheila Allen
July 28, 2014
PORTLAND – Coffee shops, climbing walls, parks, yoga studios and other points between are the daily destinations for 56 college students who have made Portland home for a summer of mission focus.
Young adults from four states outside the Northwest and a few from around the region are on a spiritual venture in an urban context to gain practical knowledge in leadership and ministry within a metropolitan area, according to Wes Hughes, urban church catalyst for the Northwest Baptist Convention.
“The primary goal of ‘Gen Send’ and the ‘Parachute’ teams is a relational one where they meet people, invest in them and their community and invite them into gospel conversations, biblical community and be willing to be invited into their space,” said Hughes. “We highlight one missionary activity each week to grow sharper in our understanding of the practice of the everyday Jesus follower.”
Over the course of six weeks, 11 students from the University of Florida in Gainesville tried to build relationships in the Portland’s upscale Pearl District in Portland. Interviews of locals have revealed they don’t appreciate gimmicks, ulterior motives or those who stand on street corners handing out materials.
Oregon pastor trains leaders in Kenya
By Sheila Allen
July 17, 2014
NAIROBI, Kenya – While many people come to Christ through evangelistic efforts throughout Kenya, the lack of a deepening walk through discipleship was what burdened Richard and Josie Burson. The couple recently embarked on a “1,000 mile trip of a lifetime” to offer a tool that teaches a discipleship process that pastors and leaders could use in their churches.
Burson, pastor of Clackamas Valley Baptist Church in Estacada, OR, took a trauma team to Sierra Leone several years ago and fell in love with the peoples of Africa. Last year he happened upon a 12 week Nav-Press publication entitled “Real Life Discipleship” and realized this was a simple, repetitive method that could be used easily in Africa. After contact was made with two pastors he knew in Kenya, the trip was set in motion.
“It was through the very generous giving of the members of Clackamas Valley and elsewhere that made it possible for Josie and I to go,” said Burson. “We were greeted in Bungoma, a city of about 60,000, by a large group of Swahili people singing and dancing and beating drums. It was a great reception.”
For five days, Burson taught nearly 300 pastors and other leaders for eight hours a day. Many participants went to great lengths to attend the conference.
East Asia partnership available to Northwest churches
By Cameron Crabtree
July 2, 2014
VANCOUVER -- The Northwest Baptist Convention’s executive board approved a partnership with the International Mission Board’s East Asia group with the hopes of sending teams from across the Northwest to portions of the continent over the next several years.
NWBC executive director Randy Adams and five Northwest Baptist church leaders traveled abroad earlier this year on a “vision journey” to explore opportunities for future work with “unengaged and unreached people groups.”
The IMB defines UUPGs as populations less than 2 percent Christian with no active church-planting methodology among them.
Following the Northwest group’s visit, the IMB’s East Asia visited with several Northwest Baptist leaders across the Northwest to discuss possibilities. The NWBC executive committee subsequently recommended a partnership be considered by the full board.
Budget recommendations dominate NWBC board meeting
By Cameron Crabtree
July 1, 2014
VANCOUVER -- The Northwest Baptist Convention executive board will recommend that convention messengers convening in November adopt a reduced 2015 budget that increases the share of funds forwarded to Southern Baptist Convention causes in the United States and abroad, adds resources for church planting efforts in the Northwest and increases frequency of its printed news magazine.
The proposed $5,098,298 spending plan – down 1.5 percent from this year’s $5,177,000 budget -- anticipates $2,720,000 in Cooperative Program funds from its 440-plus affiliated churches, down from the $2,785,000 hoped for in the 2014 budget. The board passed the proposal June 24 at its summer meeting.
The percentage of CP gifts forwarded to the SBC Executive Committee for disbursement to various SBC causes will increase from 27 percent to 27.25 percent. Because the budget is reduced, however, the total amount forwarded to the SBC would decrease slightly, from $751,000 this year to $741,200 2015.
Funding for the Northwest from the North American Mission Board, however, will increase to $1,891,010. Most the NAMB funds support the work of 10 jointly-employed church planting catalysts working across the Northwest. Personnel funds from NAMB for 2015 are shared on an 85-15 ratio.
Oregon school crisis prompts chaplain response
By Sheila Allen
June 25, 2014
TROUTDALE, OR – Two hours after gunshots rang through the halls of Reynolds High School in Troutdale, OR, Red Cross officials asked Northwest Baptist Convention disaster relief chaplains to provide emotional and spiritual care for the hundreds of students, teachers, staff and parents on the scene.
Student Emilio Hoffman, 14, died from a gunshot wound at the school and a teacher was injured, while Jared Padgett, 15, died from a self-inflicted gunshot, according to law enforcement officials.
As the day unfolded with students and staff transported to a nearby holding area, five NWBC chaplains arrived onsite to assist teachers and staff while the school was on lockdown, according the NWBC disaster relief coordinator Gary Floyd.
Chaplains assisted with needs discovered as local responders dealt with the public and specific impacted families. Providing water bottles and lending cell phones became starting points for conversations and offering comfort.
“I served as a chaplain as students waited in line to retrieve backpacks,” said Olin Brock, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Vancouver, WA. “I was amazed by the turnout of volunteers coming to help their neighbors.”