2022 End of Year Update
This last year has been filled with amazing growth and moments. We want to make sure to celebrate and glorify God for the impact He is making in and through this church. We are so grateful for the generosity of our church body. We are so compelled by the clarity and conviction to raise up a generation of disciples who desire to see this city transformed through the power of the Gospel. With the joy of Christ set before us, we have seen such encouraging Kingdom fruit over this last year.
We’ve seen growth this year both on Sundays and in individual ministries. Increased engagement with the local church gives us great hope for the future of our city. The Lord continues to entrust more and more people to our weekend gatherings with a nearly 40% increase in attendance this year, and Rise Kids serves almost 200 kids each per week. 41 people publicly declared their new life in Christ through baptisms—in Sunday services, downtown during church in the park, and two young adults in a river in Clackamas.
We celebrate these numbers with all of heaven—symbols of heart change that we long to see multiply as we grow as a church. All of this is a result of the Holy Spirit moving as the name Jesus is being lifted high as we shamelessly declare the Gospel in our city.
In July, we held our annual Kids Camp at the Gresham Arts Plaza, inviting kids in from all over the neighborhood. This year we took over the park for three days under the Oregon sun to serve 280 kids. It takes an army of almost 100 team members to pull these few days together —sharing the Gospel, loving these kids right where they are, and having an incredibly fun week. God has used these connections to bring families into the church that otherwise might not feel comfortable.
Our local outreach team took solid roots as we served our city through two major events: Backpacks & BBQ and Santa’s Workshop. Both of these are simply to love the people in our neighborhood and share the generosity of Christ with them. We saw 490 kids come through the doors for Santa’s Workshop where they enjoyed lots of holiday traditions including hearing the Gospel story from a live nativity. Through our local partnerships with Laundry Love and My Father’s House, we spent evenings building relationships, washing clothes, having meals, and playing with kids.
This summer, we sent off Nolan and Lindsey Tjaden as they plant The Garden Church in Phoenix, Arizona. While we grieve the loss of such incredible ministry partners and friends, we rejoice at this step of Kingdom expansion. Nolan and Lindsey are an absolute gift to the church, and we are so proud of them for courageously following God’s call to plant The Garden in the desert. While we continue to support them as a church, I ask you would continue to cover them in prayer as they embark on this journey.
In October we were finally able to re-launch our groups structure. Groups have always been a pivotal part of our discipleship process—but they needed some new life and vision post-covid. Well, the launch was successful, to say the least. Our 18 groups we launched filled up within the first two weeks.
As one leader described the launch of their group: "There was a lot of exciting energy as people arrived. It was evident that people had been longing for this time together. As we wrapped up, there was an eagerness to see one another on Sunday too now that we recognize each other."
Life-on-life, sitting under the Word, talking over a meal—Groups are a place to go deeper in the word, find our people, and grow to become more like Jesus. This January we will have a new batch of groups launch that can accommodate our growth and welcome new people.
After a summer out at Trout Creek, and getting married in September, Jordan Fahlman has officially stepped back into lead Rise Youth. Our Rise Youth team serves our middle and high schoolers every Wednesday night with games, food, and the Gospel. In October they took dozens of kids on a life-changing retreat to explore their New Reality in Christ. This care and discipleship of our next generation will be what changes the landscape of our city and brings hope to our region.
In September I got to travel to northern India to visit some of the churches we have gotten to be a part of planting there through The Timothy Initiative. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the power of the Gospel to move in hard places. I got to sit in homes, worship alongside brothers and sisters in Christ in a different tongue, preach the Gospel to people on the other side of the world, and eat some other-worldly spicy chicken curry.
Church, the Gospel is on the move in the world. Places like India, Iran, China, and Africa are seeing the Gospel explode as disciples upend their lives to go and make disciples of all nations and we have gotten to be a part of it! Over the last two years, we’ve been able to fund 56 church plants throughout the world through your generous giving to Kingdom Builders. I can’t even begin to communicate what an amazing opportunity we’ve had in being able to participate with such an incredible church planting organization.
First, we are going to launch the year with a read-through of the New Testament called New in 90. As an entire church, as one body, we are going to spend January, February, and March reading the beautiful, timeless, life-changing words of Jesus together. We will journey through the Gospels, the story of the early church, and the Apostles guiding letters to those early gatherings of believers.
"The Bible—banned, burned, beloved. More widely read, more frequently attacked than any other book in history. Generations of intellectuals have attempted to discredit it, dictators of every age have outlawed it and executed those who read it. Yet soldiers carry it into battle believing it more powerful than their weapons. Fragments of it smuggled into solitary prison cells have transformed ruthless killers into gentle saints.”- CHARLES COLSON
As we work our way through scriptures in our personal discipleship to Jesus, our year will launch with two teaching series I’ve been working on for months now.
The first is a verse-by-verse teaching through the Epistle of Galatians. The church in Galatia was born out of a beautiful movement of the Holy Spirit as the Gospel of Jesus was preached––but was hit with a crisis. The church had been infiltrated by false teachers who were adding to the Gospel. This “troubling” and “unsettling” teaching was leading the Galatians away from Jesus, not deeper in The Way. And if we aren’t careful, we too can heretically add to the Gospel in the name of our own theological tribalism. There is one equation we need: Jesus + nothing = everything.
After our 9-year celebration in March, we will launch into a nine-week series of the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith in a series called The Ologies. As followers of Jesus, we are called to “watch our life and doctrine” closely. So we will dig down deep to build a solid foundation on the truth of Jesus, so that we can be a people who walk in the way of Jesus, in order to experience the full life of Jesus. I am on the edge of my seat as I think about the joy of walking our church through the beautiful “ologies” that lay the foundation of our sacred faith.
We have some exciting endeavors with our church’s home in the coming year. We are going to be opening Pause Coffee likely in February of 2023, if all continues to go as planned. From the moment we purchased Skate World, we envisioned the old ticket booth and entrance being converted into a coffee shop. A space for community. A place of connection. A step towards our church for those who feel like they would likely never enter our doors. Pause Coffee, run by Will and Kim Ray, will lease the space from Rise and operate independently throughout the week. With an upstairs mezzanine, creative, modern finishes, and the best sweet cream cold brew you’ve ever had in your life – Pause will create a space that helps shape the culture and community of Gresham.
On top of finishing out the coffee shop, our facility team is currently working with our architects on developing a plan for facility expansion. We will be doubling our kids by expanding into the second story above the current kids' area in the coming years. We also are doing our due diligence on expanding into the additional 8,000 sq feet on the east side of our building that is currently leased out to be used as a future larger auditorium to better fit our growing congregation. Lastly, our facility team is already strategizing on how to bring some resurrection power into our parking lot that is clearly experiencing the fall-out of the curse upon this broken world.
As one expression of our vision to raise up future leaders for the church, in September of 2023 Rise is going to be launching a fully accredited school of ministry. This partnership with CRU and Kairos University will allow the next generation to gain transformative theological training alongside a life-changing season of ministry experience at Rise, while earning bachelor's or master's degree in Christian Leadership. We believe this will be an absolute game changer for those who are feeling the call to full-time vocational ministry.
Church, this is just the tip of the iceberg of what Jesus is doing in and through the body in this city. I wake up every day overflowing with joy that I get to reach our city, serve the saints, and glorify the name of Jesus alongside all of you. I can feel this spiritual impact building up in our church getting ready to be unleashed in the coming year. As we seek Jesus deeply in His word, as we continue to sacrificially love each other, and we humbly love our city with the grace of Jesus, he will pour His presence among us and accomplish his purposes through us.
Let’s close this year strong and carry this momentum into the coming year. Go open your Bible and spend time listening to His voice. Get on your knees and pray for your church family, its leaders, and your fellow brothers and sisters. Give sacrificially to close out this year and decide in your heart now what you will commit to joyfully give to Christ’s mission over the coming year. Serve with passion as God has both gifted you and wired you to be a blessing to others in our church community. And do it all with all your heart, all your strength, all your joy as you work for God’s pleasure, not man’s approval.
With joy, gratitude, and a burning passion for the future,