'Tis the Season...

By Al Reimche

'Tis the season! The season to give, the season to rejoice! The season to be grateful, and the season to love! The season to count our many blessings, and to share with others what has been so generously bestowed on us – whether it be time, money, love, gifts, or food.

'Tis also the season to share about the many ways God is blessing the Oregon Conference! His mercies are new every morning!

We are rejoicing in the blessing that Ben Lundquist, currently the young adult ministries director for the Arizona Conference, has accepted a call to join our Oregon Conference team to serve in the same capacity. Ben has been visionary in Arizona and throughout the North American Division in developing a ministry for and with young adults. 

We are excited that he will be expanding that ministry and leadership here in Oregon. He will be supporting and  strengthening various campus ministries at public universities that are within our conference, and also coordinating young adult driven ministries in the local churches. We look forward to our young adults being able to come alongside Ben as they find their own ministries and as they share Jesus with their friends, colleagues, and classmates.

Everyone, young and old alike, loves to hear stories. Stories open hearts; stories help people heal; stories can lead people to Jesus. At our executive committee in October, we made the decision to use a specific non-tithe donation to aid in creating the position of assistant to the president for creative ministries. Dick Duerksen, a powerful story teller, has accepted the call to that position. He will be coordinating the story-telling of the miraculous ways God is leading here in Oregon.

Already he is finding stories that will be a blessing to each member, as well as opening opportunities for others to hear the good news. He will also be helping to develop our media ministry in creating  programming which targets the Portland/Vancouver area. In time this programming will expand to include all of the areas covered by Hope Channel. Our prayer is that through this ministry, the Christmas story and the best story ever told – that of Jesus’ birth, and His subsequent life and death which gives us the gift of salvation – will be spread across Oregon. Our mission is to share God’s love with every man, woman, and child. Our desire is that each person hear stories that lead them to accept the greatest gift ever offered to us.

Another exciting venture beginning is ‘riding the waves!’ To be more specific, we will be riding the airwaves! This week we began to test the signal that will be sent to the newest television channel in the Portland/Vancouver market. KEVE Channel 36.3 is a free channel available throughout the Portland metro area that will broadcast Hope Channel as  well as local programming. Channel 36.4 will be the new Spanish channel – Esperanza. We believe that God has opened up this exciting opportunity that can make an impact for Him. 

You are invited to drop by the conference office and visit the new studio facility on the lower floor of the office. We are asking everyone to please support this project with prayer as it moves forward. We know God can use this ministry in a powerful way because ‘waves’ can reach people in their homes as nothing else can.  

A supportive climate for all the individuals God has called to ministry within our territory is an important  part of our mission here in the Oregon Conference. We have prayerfully examined the concepts of ordination and commissioning and looked at the policies laid out by our church. After dialoging with leaders within our conference and union, as well as at the division level, we have voted a process to affirm those who have been commissioned, while maintaining the church's understanding of ordination. Our intent in wrestling with this is not to create a two-tiered approach to ministry but rather to allow our pastors to be actively involved in the mission God has given us. The guidelines we have voted are within practices and policies throughout the world church. The document we shared with our pastors this past month is dynamic in nature and will continue to develop as we study God's call to ministry in His church. Your pastor has a copy of the full document and can share it with you if you are interested in reading more about this decision.

As you experience this holiday season and begin a brand new year, I pray you will feel God’s blessings and love anew every day. My hope is that by knowing His love, you will find your own ministry to share that love with those in the circle in which you live. I wish you each and all a very Merry Christmas – and that it truly will be the season for all of us to love, rejoice, share, give, be grateful, and to count our many blessings.