Spring Offers Hope, Brightness in Ministry Across the Northwest
March 23, 2002
Spring brings an emotional brightness and psychological lift to most of us. Budding trees, blooming flowers, warming weather, and sunshine are part of God’s gift to all human beings. Paula and I also enjoy the return of the swallows. For those who know Jesus there is the celebration of Resurrection Day, the biggest day of the year for our churches.
Yes, we love spring, and for good reasons.
Spring 2022 also includes recovery from the pandemic. Last Sunday a parent told me that their toddler had never seen the faces of fellow church members, including the preschool workers. This will be a special spring, indeed, for little children and all of us.
We are seeing Spring brightness and optimism reflected in many of our churches and our cooperative Northwest Baptist ministries. Our Oasis pastor/spouse retreat, which will happen in mid-May at Sun River Resort near Bend, OR, is nearly at capacity already. Our pastors are obviously anticipating the refreshment and encouragement.
Our annual Church Planter Retreat on the Oregon coast in April is already at capacity with over 280 registered. This will be our largest church planter gathering we’ve ever had by a big margin. This retreat includes spouses and children. Leigh Ann Stark, our NWBC children’s ministry leader, has put a team together to minister to the children and youth of these pastors. Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Seminary, will be the primary speaker at the retreat, which will also include breakouts for specialized training. For all our planning, we know that Cannon Beach itself may be the biggest draw!
Other important events, including the Northwest Women’s Summit, the Momentum student conference, an Asia/Pacific Rim Roadshow (IMB missionary meetings), and the Northwest Baptist Disaster Relief Roundtable are happening in April or early May. Information and registration for these can be found at nwbaptist.life.
About 150 of Northwest Baptist 500 churches have a primary worship language other than English. Korean, Spanish, Russian, and Vietnamese are the most common among these, but there are about 20 others, including Ukrainian, Mandarin and Chin Burmese. Many of these churches have family and friends who are being displaced and threatened by war. Others come from countries where persecution of Christians is real and sometimes severe.
Northwest Baptist Disaster Relief is prepared to join our churches in providing help in these situations. For example, if you would like to help Ukrainian refugees, you can join our Russian and Ukrainian churches in doing this. By going to nwbaptist.lfe/give you can donate and indicate the ministry you want your gift to support. For example, you could type in “Disaster Relief for Ukraine.” We will take these gifts and provide them to NWBC churches ministering among the Ukrainian people.
Also, you might find it interesting that our Russian-speaking churches have many people from Ukraine and other former Soviet Union countries. Some of these Russian churches are majority Ukrainian. As one pastor told me, “We speak Russian in church, Ukrainian at home, and English in business.” Most came to the United States for religious liberty and other freedoms. They love America and we are grateful they are a part of our Northwest Baptist family of churches.
It's a good day to serve the Lord in Northwest!