We are MOVING!!
from Texas… to Portland, Oregon.
Why Portland, Oregon?
To answer that question we need to take reflect on the last two years. Knowing the Lord was preparing our family to spread His Gospel further, we began praying where and what that looked like. Through months of praying, God cultivated in our heart a passion to see the Gospel go forth in a very unreached, unchurched, and liberal minded city. As we tried to sort out what that meant, we came upon the town of Lawrence, Kansas and immediately fell in love with the community and desperately prayed for the Gospel to take hold in that city. We moved forward with preparations to move our family to Lawrence and plant a new church. However, the Lord began to reveal that He had something else chosen for our family. While unsure of what the Lord was going to do, we waited patiently. We continued to pray the Lord would bring the Gospel to Lawrence, even if it was not us that would specifically be the ones to see that manifest. We continued to pray the Lord would open doors for the exact place He chose for our family to fulfill His mission.
We spent many weeks in prayer and reflected on how the Lord had grown us through the past few years of ministry. God had placed us with specific churches, ministries, and people that have helped us refine our gifts and passions. In particular, we have witnessed several struggling churches close their doors for various reasons. Over time we began to feel a burden for churches that lacked strong pastoral leadership and were on the brink of closing their doors. Not only this, but our hearts became passionate for “replanting” or “revitalizing” a church, which essentially is taking an existing culture and morphing it into one that is focused on the Gospel.
As God was doing a new work in our hearts, He was also doing much work with a church in the middle of the Portland metro area. Through only what can be explained by the hand of our sovereign King, God connected us together. While on vacation in Portland, we visited with a church that is located in the Southeast area of the city and has been pastor-less for 2 years. The church is located in an area known as “felony flats,” which from the name alone you can imagine that it is not located in the best part of town. The church is also located 2 miles from Reed College, the infamous anti-religious university that was made famous in the Christian world through Don Miller’s book, “Blue Like Jazz.” Most of the congregation consists of older believers, middle to lower income families, and even a few near homeless individuals. The building is tucked in between two declining elementary schools, but no young children attend the church, nor does the church have a presence in the city. The leadership of the church shared their desperation for the city, for the lost, and their desire to stay relevant. They also expressed a need for strong leadership that would revitalize the church so that they could go out and revitalize the city in the name of Christ.
A few weeks passed by as we continually asked the Lord for clarity. During this time God evidently burdened our hearts for the people of this church in Portland. He developed within me compassion for the lost in this area and for the current congregation who has been fighting the good fight without a pastor. Little did I realize that the Lord has been preparing our hearts for Portland, Oregon over the last 18 months. Drawing our hearts to a city of extreme spiritual poverty. In the last month I have taken two more trips out to Portland and this past weekend, I humbly accepted the position of Lead Pastor of Flavel Street Baptist Church.
I have been amazed by the beauty of God’s timing through an 18 month journey to reach Portland, Oregon. We are going forth as missionaries to a completely different culture, one that we have already fallen deeply in love with. We are asking God to go before us and draw the city to Himself.
We will be moving to Portland in December after I finish out my semester as a Professor of Political Science at North Central Texas College. Soon we will be posting ways in which you can get involved in helping us replant this church in one of the least churched cities in the United States. We have already began to formulate a non-profit organization called, “Reach Portland,” which will serve as a fundraising organization to help raise support to share Christ with the city of Portland, serve the needs of the church and it’s members, and provide salary/insurance for our family in order to do the full-time work that the Lord is calling us to. Our hope is that Reach Portland eventually serves as an organization that helps support other pastors and teams to come plant or replant churches in the Portland area.
Thank you all you have been praying for our family and supporting us these past few years. I want to especially thank the leadership and people of CityView Church and Christ Community Church who has loved us well for the pat 3+ years. Their dedication to families, pastors, and the gospel in unmatched. Please pray for Flavel Street Baptist Church that God will continue to fuel their passion for change and for His Son Jesus. Also, pray we find a house soon, for our family to have a smooth transition to the Pacific Northwest, and that God will ignite people’s hearts to financially support us. Finally, pray for the city of Portland. It needs Jesus desperately. Pray that the Lord would send us very strong leadership that will support our efforts in bringing the Gospel to this city.
What an amazing journey the Lord is allowing us to participate in and we thank Him for all that He is done and will do. Glory alone to Him.
Kyle & Cassie