So, you show up in a new town the week before Christmas with an SUV, a dog, a fake tree and your wife and children flying to your location in 2 days....Desperately wanting to setup shop and create stability in everyones lives as we settle into the place where God has led us- I start the church search.
I found that THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR A RUSH JOB...
Outside of graduate school, I've never really lived in a metropolitan area as large as Portland, Oregon.
The city has something to offer for everyone. My hope is that I and my family can get plugged into a body of believers who like-mindedly (if that is a word) want to do life together as they grow and serve Jesus Christ...not really a novel concept, but I found that it is one to be applied in many different fashions.
Above, is our "Short list"... narrowed down from web searches, locations, and conversations...so much more to choose from....why dedicate a blog post to something like this? Someone might say- why not just join up, show up, and pat yourself on the back for the effort...I mean, does it really matter? Does God care? Do you get more brownie points for one then the other? What is the purpose of the church? for the church member?...all very interesting questions that have to be considered, not just by myself, but also to consider the needs of my wife and children- my REAL LOCAL church. How does a church help me to shepherd them as a father and a husband?
There certainly is a lot to consider and I am excited about what God is doing to teach and lead me towards the opportunities to get connected with a church family/ local body of Christ....So, what have I learned so far? Well, a quick little summary that biblically sits well with our family as we consider the options are the purposes of the church to be as such:
the bride of Christ (a.k.a WIFE) which makes for a nice acronym-
W-worship God ( in a way that honors Him and not the people singing)
I- instruct people from God's word (in an authentic method/hermeneutic)
F- fellowship b/w God's people, to do life together & show God's love to the world thru each other
E- evangelism: living out & sharing the Gospel directly, missionally, & relationally to each other & the world
Other things I found helpful in the church search were these other priorities in the church which I found through a collection of churches subscribing to these criteria called the 9 marks (9marks):
1-expositional preaching, 2) biblical theology, 3) biblical understanding of the good news, 4) biblical understanding of conversion, 5) biblical understanding of evangelism, 6) biblical church membership, 7) biblical church discipline, 8) biblical discipleship and growth, 9) biblical church leadership......
Thus, the search is ongoing but showing great signs of progress. I hope we will land somewhere soon and am thankful ahead of time for God's provision.....pray for us, and check back for updates..