bill [dot] wilson [at] oregonag [dot] org (Bill Wilson)
Network Lead Pastor
Two Ways We Are Increasing Our Influence
One of the significant components of our mission as an Oregon Ministry Network is to "build healthy churches and ministries." This means we are working together to give our attention and energy to the planting and revitalization of churches. These are practical efforts that help us fulfill the Great Commission and increase our influence in Oregon.
1. Planting: Over the last 36 months the OMN has assisted in launching four new successful churches in Oregon. Each of these new churches has a unique story of how they began. Amazingly, the combined attendance of these church plants now averages over 700 people each week. The stories of lives being changed each week causes us to rejoice. Scores of people have been saved, healed and baptized. In addition, thousands of dollars have been given for missions from these new churches.
Join me in praying for God's direction for church plant locations, as the Church Planting Team compiles a list of targeted communities. God is stirring our hearts. Locations being considered include: Roseburg, Canby, McMinnville, St. Helens and Portland. We are increasing our influence.
2. Revitalization: Church specialist George Bullard suggests that there are four common stages in the life of a local church: (1) Birth-Growth, (2) Prime-Plateau, (3) Revitalization and (4) Aging. In each of these stages a church will discover challenges. It is vital that each church, whether 5 years old or 50 years old, needs to pause from time to time to ask, "How are we doing? What needs to be adjusted? Have we ceased to grow? Are we reaching the lost? If we stopped existing, would anyone notice?"
The OMN is calling for revitalization and revival of our established churches. On occasion, the painful decision has been made to close a Network church due to its inability to function. That is rare. On the other hand, we are working with many of our OMN churches that were on the downturn and are now coming back to life.
One example is Pastors Eli and Cindy Smith at Eagle Cap Christian Fellowship in Enterprise. The Smiths report that their attendance has tripled in the last year and is now averaging over 70 on Sundays. They have just completed the first phase of their remodeling project and are working on plans for the next major step to reach their community.
Kevin and Ronda Reich, of Relevant Life Church in Salem, have seen a huge increase over the last 24 months. They have added a second Sunday morning service and have launched a $210,000 remodeling project to add much needed space. Stories like this are being reported from all over the Oregon Ministry Network. The OMN is increasing its influence.
The next time someone says to you, "Is the OMN just closing churches?" you can respond, "Listen, we just opened four new churches and many of our churches that were about to close are being revitalized."
I love the lines of Acts 2:47 that say, "And the LORD added to their number daily those who were being saved." This is the direction of our Oregon Ministry Network. Together, we are going to accomplish more as we see churches planted and revitalized.
Bill Wilson's Blog