This August will mark 6 years since Kelli and I have moved to Portland and have started participating at our church, The Evergreen Community. As I was reflecting, I’ve realized that this is the longest time I’ve ever been a part of the same church. I started going to church when I was 15 years old and was part of a great church in Bloomington, IL for about 3 or 4 years until I left for college. At that point I was a youth sponsor for a short stint until I realized I was not cut out to be a youth pastor (tough job!). Then I preached at small country churches all over central Illinois for “pulpit supply”. After I graduated from college I helped to plant a church in Lower Manhattan and was there for about 3 1/2 years and then moved to Tampa, FL where I was a part of a church for about a year until we moved to Portland.
And so Evergreen is the church home I have known the longest and I am not planning on going anywhere soon. I’ve realized how valuable it is to stick with a community of people for a long period of time.
It’s amazing to see the transformation and growth that has happened with Evergreen in the past 6 years. When we arrived, Evergreen was about 2 years old. Now that we’re 8 years old, we are finding ourselves to be a much different people than we were 6 years ago. One thing that has definitely changed is that we have a ton of kids now! That will certainly change things.
Looking at our time at Evergreen and where we are currently at, I’m really hopeful about this next season.
I truly enjoy our team of staff and elders. Our meetings are filled with laughter, care and concern for one another and the community, and true wisdom. I genuinely enjoy and respect our elders and staff. It’s a great team!
Relationally and structurally I think we’re at a really healthy place right now. We’ll always have growth areas (I can think of a few!), but as I look around at what is going on, I’m encouraged. Like I said, we’ve got a fantastic elder team. We’re seeing a lot of visitors and are growing. Our current new people’s group may be the largest one we’ve ever had. People are caring for one another, bringing meals to new parents, giving large sums of money to families who need it. Discussions on Sunday are fun and engaging, lots of interaction. Despite the flaws that we all have, you get a sense that people truly like one another!
I know that not everyone has this positive of an experience when it comes to church, but I am grateful to be a part of a humble, caring, loving church.