This past year marked the end of a decade. Looking back over the previous ten years, certain developments stand out as significant factors in our PURSUIT of developing effective leaders who will build healthy churches and ministries. For instance, I marvel at the way God orchestrated the sale of the Bethel Park property and the relocation of the office for the Network. This transition positioned Northwest University–Oregon to step into the new decade with a new and improved location and a promising future of training pastors and missionaries for the great work entrusted to us.
Early in the last decade we adopted BENDING THE SENDING EDGE as our mission strategy for the 21st century. This renewed and refined focus has given birth to a fresh vision and energy that has made a difference and will continue to do so for decades to come through a new generation of missionaries along with strategic partnerships with the global church. With the help and expertise of Africa’s Hope and your investment of $720,000 we have placed Living the Truth, a 7-year through-the-Bible discipleship curriculum, and the Discovery Series, a diploma level training program, in the hands of the Ethiopia Assemblies of God in three major heart languages: Amharic, Oromiffa, and Somali. Together we have achieved something that will shape the Horn of Africa for generations to come.
We ended the year with a net increase of one church, bringing the total number of churches to 190. The Journey Church, Damascus closed, and then became the Damascus campus of Hillside Christian Fellowship (PAC). White City Assembly of God was closed and is in a relaunch phase as Hope City Church. New Hope Christian Center, Sisters closed. Family Life, Salem, launched a new South Salem campus (PAC). PDX Portland closed, the congregation merging with New Beginnings International Assembly of God.
The total number of ministers stands at 609. It is notable that the median age of all active-status ministers is 53 years.
During the year we welcomed Joe and Emily Knapp, candidate missionaries to Ecuador where Joe will use his expertise to help a national TV ministry as well as serve together with Emily as catalysts for the Ecuador AG to more fully engage in God’s global mission. We also welcomed Sam Paris who transferred back to Oregon. Sam and Lisa serve as missionaries to Vanuatu. Other changes included the retirement of Nathan and Beth Davis and the resignation of Paul and Sunia Gibbs and Wes and Carrie Sheley. With these changes our missionary family comprises 32 units.
We now stand at the threshold of a new decade. While we rejoice in what God has done in the past, we invite you to join with us as we DREAM about a preferred future marked by an increasing number of individuals called to ministry and missions with the commitment and capacity to build healthy churches and ministries throughout Oregon––both rural and urban––and around the world!
Once again, Sally and I want to express our love and deep appreciation for the honor of serving the Oregon Ministry Network family.