Carlton, Oregon

Family Life celebrated Easter in 2021 at their new Carlton Campus. This is the first Easter at this new church plant.

White City, Oregon

God is doing something new in White City, Oregon. Listen in as Jason Noble and Lee McCloud tell the beginnings of Hope City Church in 2020.

Reconstruction Plan for Mission Oregon Churches

[Bill Wilson]

Hey, Bill Wilson here from the Oregon Ministry Network. I'm so excited about having Lee McCloud, who also serves the Network, alongside me. We're going to talk today about Network affiliated churches. We've been on this journey together for going into your 14th year. That's hard to believe, but it's a real thrill to serve the Oregon Ministry Network together. Good friend.

In April 2020, Lee, we had the Presbytery give us direction on Network affiliated churches. Maybe you could explain to us a little bit what a Network affiliated church is, and what are some of the new directives that we're going to pursue.

[Lee McCloud]

Okay, in 1914, we all know the Assemblies of God was formed. They basically formed with two categories of churches. They had General Council affiliated churches, which oftentimes we would refer to a Sovereign church. They had District affiliated churches, which in Oregon we have called oftentimes Mission Oregon or Home Missions churches historically. More recently we call them Mission Oregon churches. Then in 2010, a third category was created officially, and that was the PAC, parent affiliated churches. All of them function a little bit different. The General Council, they govern themselves. The PAC church is governed by the parent church. But the Network affiliated church, or the Mission Oregon Church, is meant to be governed by the Network, and by a group of people within the Network.

One of the unique characteristics is that in a Network affiliated church, the Oregon Ministry Network is 100% liable for all of their actions. For a number of years, we have been encouraged by General Council, by legal counsel and others to say, "If you're going to have Network affiliated churches, you have to follow your governing documents." We've discovered that we haven't always done that. We haven't always done that. In fact, right now on our list we have 41 churches that are Network affiliated churches, but less than 30 really have functioned in that category, and some don't even know they're on the list. They don't even realize that.

We also think that a lot of the churches on the list are very healthy. We think it's a time for them to launch out on their own. Coming out of this strange time we've been in with this pandemic, and following your advice to reset, we think here's a great opportunity for them to, as a healthy church, relaunch looking different moving forward. So, in April 2020, the Presbytery adopted a reconstruction plan for a Network affiliated church. And so moving forward, there's a new set of bylaws, there is a new policy manual, there is a new agreement between the pastor and the Oregon Ministry Network. We have formed a Church Health Team that's going to help with the governance piece of that.

Now, we're going to try to inform people as we go throughout the state. Then hopefully, give them some options.

[Bill Wilson]

Of the 191 churches, the National Office said there were about 40+ churches that fit in this category. Your investigation says, "No, I don't think so," but some churches don't know. Tell us a little bit about what you actually have found.

[Lee McCloud]

What we've found is first of all, we've discovered that some people don't realize they're on that list because it happened decades ago, and it was just never changed. From our perspective, we hadn't been enforcing the governance piece. So, a lot of people are surprised to find they're on the list. In reality, they have been governing themselves for decades. We feel like that it's time to just officially place them in another category, which requires a step or two. There's a form that needs to be filled out, and that can be handled through our office, and through my assistant, Valerie.

We've also discovered that some people don't think they can govern themselves, but we think they can. Pastor Bill, you've taught us for all these years that our mission, our mandate is to develop effective leaders, that we want to have healthy churches and healthy ministries. We think the healthy move, for many churches, is to take a step towards becoming a General Council church. So, our very first option would be if you are healthy enough, or if you're accidentally, or you're in a wrong category, we want to make sure that you become General Council.

Our second option would be that if you had a parent church, and you'd like to enter into a PAC relationship, or you'd like us to explore possibilities and options for you, we'll try to find somebody to where you can be tethered to maybe a little larger work, or a more solid work. Not always healthier, but just has some stability there. We're willing to do that. There might be some that the church cycle, the church life cycle, has come to an end. That's not always because of the pastor or the current congregation, our towns have died in Oregon. The logging is gone. The lumber is gone. The schools have closed. We have a few of those cases.

For the fourth category that would remain a Network affiliated church, we have drafted new documents, and that's what the Presbytery approved, that would include a Church Health Team. We have a team that will be appointed for a couple of years. It's made of very reputable ministers within our state that will work alongside the local pastor to help provide the governance for a healthy church.

[Bill Wilson]

That's, as you mentioned, our mission, is to be healthy. Thank you for all the hard work you've done. I know this brilliant effort to organization and restructure has been very much a part of your heart, and you've worked diligently on that. Moving forward, as a pastor of a local church, as leaders in a local church, if we are currently in the Network affiliated category, and we want to move forward, what… You've mentioned some guidelines. What will be the next step for us?

[Lee McCloud]

First of all, if you are on that list you can expect a call from me and our Church Health Team Leader, which right is Brian Stellar for this first two years. Some of us will be contacting you, just as I said, you may not even realize you're on the list. What you can anticipate is, if you're going to move forward you need to have around 20 active members. You need to have an approved set of bylaws, and Boyd Powers, our Secretary and Treasurer here for the state can help with that. Then there is a process. There is a document that has to be filled out. We're going to help you with that. You can contact us in advance. You have to have the ability to govern yourself, which really means that you have enough qualified leaders to meet your own bylaw requirements. That's really what that means.

We're going to be going through the state in the rest of '20, and even into '21, and we're going to be setting up meetings so that we can explain everything possible to change that status. We just want the healthiest opportunity for our church that we can possibly provide. If there are any questions, of course they can contact me or my assistant, Valerie, here at the office. We'll have the information for them.

[Bill Wilson]

Well, thanks, Lee, for all you're doing in the network. Thanks to all of you who serve on the front lines of our churches in this most unusual time. This is an opportunity, and we're grateful to be able to serve you all. We'll look forward to seeing how this develops, and most of our churches will become healthier and stronger than ever before. God bless you.

Prospect, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

New Life in Baker City

Over 200 people have come to Christ in Baker City in the past two years! Watch this story of how God is moving in communities across Oregon.

A Step of Faith in Carlton

Family Life of Newberg is taking a bold step into their neighboring community of Carlton. Listen in on this story of a church stepping out in faith.

Lead the Leading Change

Much has changed for us in the past three years. But when I consider the “leading” change, that is, the most significant in my ministry, I’ve come to an unexpected conclusion. I became the lead pastor of Abundant Life Assembly, in Enterprise, Oregon in 2014. As one of 11 churches for 2000 residents, I wondered why God had called me here?

Well, my family of 5 had increased the Sunday attendance by 33%, to 20. It was a good start. And over the next 3 years, we outgrew our building, tripled our space with the purchase of the historic church on Main St. How did this happen?

In the spring of 2015 I was on a prayer walk when the Lord prompted, “Ask Me for the Christian Church Building”. After debate, I conceded. “Lord, give me the Christian Church building.” I hadn’t prayed out of great faith, but simply obedience. A bit embarrassed, I kept it a secret even from my wife for three months; six months after that, I told the board. The very next month, the pastor of the Christian Church asked if we would be interested in buying their building. One year later, Pastor Boyd Powers was our guest as we dedicated our new facility to the Lord.

God moved. Skeptical hearts turned and a spirit of unity filled the congregation. We were blessed with “parting gifts” – technical equipment – from the Christian Church, and an additional 40% growth after changing locations.

But what is that “leading” change I spoke of? It’s not the building or the attendance, it is the change in me. By the end of year two, I had settled in and learned my community, built trust, and established healthy rhythms for myself, my family, and my ministry. Now I was venturing into uncharted waters, so I called upon our Network and began coaching with Pastor Bill. I had already recognized I needed to change: change my leadership style, build teams, give influence to others, and stop doing it all by myself. If we were going to disciple the people of our church, “WE” needed to do it. But I didn’t know how. I am so thankful to the Lord for the wisdom imparted to me throughout the past nine months of coaching. We weathered the purchase, the move, and the growth with relative ease. And I’m getting some ideas for the discipleship part as well.

Another lead change dealt with my perspective. The results are not up to me, as I may have thought; they’re up to God. I'm grateful I didn't tell you this story three weeks ago because two weeks ago our attendance was 35 again. I think we ought not to look only at the highs - the victories of ministry - nor at the lows; but remain focused on our primary calling, to be faithful and obedient to God. The results are not up to us, but up to Him.

I heard in a podcast this afternoon that “we are not called to build a church, but to build a people.” I believe it because when I look at the people I am serving, I see folks that have grown in the Lord. Lost ones saved and leaders who’ve stepped into roles that they never dreamed for themselves. My own heart is more settled and secure in who God has called me to be. Some encouraging words were spoken at Intermission. Scott Hagan said, "Leadership is not about what you accomplish, but about what you set in motion." My church has been in this community for 75 years. This “people,” has outlived many a pastor, and it will outlive me. But as God has given me favor, and influence, I am learning to give these things away. Church attendance can be like the stock market. One day it's up, the next it's down. In one year it crashes, and for a decade it recovers. So, if we're going to invest our lives, let's do it over the long haul. Let us set our hand to the plow and be willing to dig ditches for water and furrows for seed. And then let God bring the increase. Let us lead the leading change by leading ourselves to greater dependence on the Lord, and staying true to what God has called us to do and to be.