This last January, the elders presented their vision for the next season of community together at Evergreen. As we’re now halfway through the year and heading fast towards Fall, we wanted to circle back and re-emphasize what we’re thinking will be important in and to our community over the coming months.
All of this comes in the overall context of our Mission together as a church:
The mission of the Evergreen Community is to make disciples of Jesus as we invite others to join us in the life of the Kingdom. We do this through intentional communal practices of worship, listening to God, attentiveness to His word and through loving and serving one another, the neighborhoods in which we live, the City of Portland and the world.
For more than 12 years we have been a community without a home. Though this nomadic existence has allowed us to prioritize people over buildings/property, and to become a widely dispersed community with Evergreeners coming from all four quadrants of the city and many of the suburbs beyond, it has also led to a feeling of rootlessness, tiredness from constantly setting up and tearing down, and an inability to focus mission geographically. As we have grown and matured as a community, we have felt for some time the desire for a more permanent home in which to worship and out of which our missional efforts can flow. For a number of years now we have sought that more permanent home. Now that we have found what looks like a long-term solution for our community in the PCL building, we want to intentionally choose to look ahead. No living thing, including communities of faith, can remain the same for long- we are either maturing and growing or we are stagnant and in the process of dying
To that end, we, the elders, see the priorities for our community in the next season as being:
- Spiritual Growth- Our primary purpose at Evergreen is to help people become disciples of Jesus. Whether they are moving from no relationship with God to relationship, from spiritual immaturity to maturity, or starting at a spiritually mature space and being challenged to build into others, our desire is always and in all ways to help people take the next step with God. This will not change as we grow and move into a new season in our life together. In fact, it becomes all the more important. Without maintaining and refining this focus, we run the risk of stagnating as a community, feeling as though once we inhabit a building we have somehow “arrived,” or conversely, being caught up in nostalgia for the “good old days” in the pub spaces.
We desire to see our focus on spiritual growth sharpened through increased commitment to discipleship huddles, theology discussion groups, spiritual direction, home communities that challenge/encourage each other and the rhythms of worship/learning we engage in.
What this means for you:
This Fall we need to lean more and more heavily into spiritual growth and formation together. If you haven’t been a part of a discipleship huddle, now is the time to learn the skills we are practicing together as a community- hearing God and responding appropriately, knowing my gifts and using them for this community and the Kingdom of God, learning to pray how Jesus taught us, and more. Contact Bob (bob AT evergreenpdx DOT org) to be matched with a huddle forming in September.
A part of spiritual growth and formation is learning more about the God we worship and serve, and how HE views the world and the issues facing us. To that end we regularly hold theology discussion groups called “Theology Pubs”, harkening back to the time when they were all held in Pub spaces as that was what was primarily available to us. These days, some are still held in pubs, some at the Evergreen building, but they retain their nature of openness to questions as we seek truth together, diving deep into issues, and seeking to hear God together on a number of topics. Watch for announcements soon about Fall theology pubs, and commit to learning more about what it means to live life in the way of Jesus.
Home Communities are always primarily about building community and living life with other Evergreen people. This year, in keeping with our focus on spiritual growth, we’ll be adding a learning/discussion component to them. Please watch in late August/early September for the list of Home Communities we’ll be hosting around town in 2017-2018, and dive into one near you!
And lastly, spiritual direction is the process whereby one person helps another hear what God is saying to them, and think through what it means to respond appropriately. If you are interested in meeting one-on-one for a season with one of our pastors or with Amy Hyatt who graciously gives her time and spiritual direction talents to the people of Evergreen, please let one of our pastors (Dustin, Jessica or Bob) know.