For over 60 years, and especially in the last 10, Willamette has invested in West Linn with great joy through the support of local schools, the hosting of outside groups and occasional pick-up basketball games, and the sending of volunteers out to partner with local organizations.
As regular weekend attendance grew to over 1800, the Lord began calling WCC to invest in a second community.
This ultimately led to joining with Beaverton Christian Church, a 90-year old church in the heart of Beaverton, in 2016. The Lord was orchestrating something special that required all of us to be sensitive to His leading.
As always, God exceeded our every expectation. BCC has grown from a weekly attendance of 370 to over 700 in less than a year and a half, saw 1100 folks come through its doors on Easter, and is creating local and international partnerships that are making a significant Kingdom impact. Disciples are being made and the Great Commission is being fulfilled.
God is just getting started.
We want to reach as many people as possible, as fast as possible, as healthily as possible. This means continuing to respond to the Lord’s leading, whether that’s by joining with another congregation, planting a new one, or supporting ministry partners outside our organization. God is calling us to have a Kingdom mindset as we continue to serve the greater Portland area.
It’s exciting to respond to God’s call, and we are looking forward to what’s next.
Our next chapter.
Over the past 7 years, Hope City Church in Milwaukie has faithfully served an area of greater Portland that is especially challenging for church planting. We’ve grown in friendship with this amazing community over the past 4 years, supporting a key staff position out of our missions funding.
As we’ve continued to build relationship with their Lead Pastors, Brian and Jenn Becker, both churches have been blessed. Brian has spoken at both WCC and BCC, and our churches have partnered together through Rooted, IF:Gathering, Man Camp, and more. Our teams have provided additional support for their Sunday services and administrative needs, and Hope City has shared incredible ideas on how we can better reach outside our walls to those who might want to try church again or for the very first time.
We now believe that we are to join with Hope City Church and become one church that is in three locations – West Linn, Beaverton, and now, Milwaukie / SE Portland.
God is faithful. He is generous. And He is moving.
We are honored that we get to do this – again. Together, let’s pray for continued sensitivity to how the Holy Spirit is moving, wisdom as we join with another community, and joy as we do this amazing Kingdom work together.
We will continue to keep Willamette Christian Church as our name, as BCC and Hope City will also keep theirs. However, we are continuing to work toward adding language or a tagline that helps signal that we are together now. Hope City will dissolve as a business/legal entity, and join our congregation, assets, and ministries under the WCC entity.
As we shared earlier, we want to reach as many people as possible, as fast as possible, as healthily as possible. In 2016, we focused our attention in the SW region of greater Portland and were ultimately led to join with BCC with great success. We want to be sensitive to what the Lord is doing and the relationships He is forming, and the same conditions that were right before exist again in our relationship with Hope City. They not only share our vision and heart for reaching beyond our walls to communities around the greater Portland area, but we really like them!
Joining together allows us to:
- Mobilize Vision – We have the ability to bring our leadership and resources together in a way that will allow for us to bring vitality and health to our community.
- Multiply Impact – Because of the resources that each church brings, we can hit the ground running and make an immediate, significant impact for God’s Kingdom.
- Model Unity – Coming together allows us to model unity in a way not often seen in the Pacific Northwest, let alone the country. We believe this will serve as a testimony of how churches can come together to impact their local communities and the world!
We believe that these items together magnify Jesus, allowing us to make disciples and real impact in our communities for Jesus. We anticipate Sundays at all campuses that have full rooms of adults, youth, and kids across multiple services. We envision the same kinds of changes we’ve witnessed in our schools, local government, and communities happening in Milwaukie and SE Portland. As we grow in traction together, we dream of planting healthy churches in nearby communities while experiencing thriving, healthy ministry and outreach.
In addition, this gives those Willamette attendees who live closer to Milwaukie / SE Portland the option to attend a great church in the neighborhood where they are raising their families. In turn, this will create space for more families in West Linn to join WCC. Space is being made for even more ministry in both locations.
Hope City is a 7 year old church plant on the border of SE Portland and Milwaukie. They currently serve over 300 people a weekend and are making a tremendous impact on their local community.
It is rare to find a thriving church so full of life and passion in this area of our city, and yet year after year Hope City continues to experience the incredible grace of God as they see people from all walks of life take steps closer and closer to Jesus.
Like WCC and BCC, Hope City already utilizes Orange curriculum for their kids, grows people in discipleship through Rooted, helps people find meaningful relationships through Home Communities, and has participated in the Global Leadership Summit and IF:Gathering. They value radical hospitality, and have done a tremendous job of creating a warm and vibrant worship experience at their Sunday venue (Ardenwald Elementary).
We have gotten to know their community well over the past 4 years and have grown in respect, affection, and love for them as a body.
Earlier this year we began to have primary teachers at both of our existing campuses: Joel Dombrow at WCC and Jon Furman at BCC. We also still have other members of our teaching team speak at both campuses, including Grant Hickman, Marty Miranda, Andrew Martin, and Dan Self.
Lead Pastor Brian Becker will continue to be the primary teacher at Hope City, but will also welcome other members of the teaching team. Brian is a gifted and dynamic communicator who is passionate about sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that connects with everyday life. His unique and passionate style combines inspiration and challenge, laughter and tears as people are engaged at their core. We’re excited to have him also teach at BCC and WCC in the future.
Hope City is predominately volunteer-led today, but we will be assessing needs and investing in different areas of their ministry accordingly. Brian Becker will continue to be the primary leader of the campus, but is also stepping into senior leadership alongside others from all three campuses. We are excited for how his voice will influence the direction of our growing church.
Existing WCC and BCC staff will continue to lead at their respective campuses, and all three campuses will work in tandem with the central services team that is made up of people who serve to meet the creative, communication, administrative, and financial needs of all locations.
We continue to work hard to ensure that the staff talents, gifts, and needs of all locations are considered and deployed in the best possible ways to achieve our overall goals.
We are grateful for those of you who faithfully give to the ministry of WCC and BCC. Your giving will be deployed as it always has been, with great care and thoughtfulness to honor the work that will bring God glory and help produce healthy ministry. Generally, funds received at each campus will be deployed to support the communities of that specific campus, as well as to support the central services required to provide leadership to the three campuses.
If you live closer to Hope City than WCC or BCC, this might be a season where some of you choose to make Hope City your home church, knowing that you will have the same great teaching and weekend experience that you’ve come to love at WCC and BCC. It might become a place you invite your neighbors and friends to very quickly – a place where you grow in ministry, service, and in love for Jesus. We can’t wait to see you over at Hope City if that is the case. But for most of you, WCC or BCC will continue to be your church home where you will serve, give, and grow.
What we do know is that there is much work to be done in our own lives, and in the lives of our communities at all three locations. As God’s people, He is calling us personally to keep growing so that we serve others with radical hospitality, sacrifice, and love.
For those of you living in the Milwaukie / SE Portland area, we’ll have a gathering soon for you to meet the team at Hope City.
We are so humbled and honored that the Lord is doing this work with our church. We are excited about the ways this will expand our reach in all the communities that we serve – and we are motivated with urgency to move toward this new future.
While there is much work to be done, we believe that this is what the Lord is calling us to and are excited to share it with you and invite your support.
Thank you for your support, your encouragement, and your prayers. If we can answer any questions, please email Chris Yarco, Executive Director, at email@example.com.