While living in Reno and attending Living Stones Church, I experienced an awakening in my heart to the Gospel, and felt God lead me to plant a church near my hometown of Roseburg, Oregon. Gospel Community Church was planted in 2015 and meets in downtown Eugene. Though the University of Oregon is located in Eugene, the area is far more than just a college town. It is home to both white- and blue-collar workers, hippies, college students and more. In fact, Eugene and nearby Springfield are full of such a variety of subcultures that cultural segregation often results.
Being from the area, I have long been aware of the great cultural divide between Eugene and Springfield. Even before planting Gospel Community Church, my heart’s desire was to see the Gospel bridge this gap. I’m encouraged to see God bringing this to fruition within our church community where about half of our attendees are from Eugene and half from Springfield.
Rather than pulling back we want to see our church engaging with our culture in creative and loving ways.
Though the area is home to such a variety of subcultures, one thing that exists in all of them is a strongly liberal worldview. Most “spiritual” things are accepted in this area, but anything related to Christianity or Jesus is usually rejected or met with closed-mindedness. This has often led to churches seemingly pulling back into their conservative beliefs and separating from the surrounding liberal culture. We want to see Gospel Community Church doing the opposite of that: engaging with our culture in creative and loving ways.
One of our church members meets regularly with a group of atheists, so we recently decided to host a debate to allow the public in on some of their discussions. Our church meets next-door to a new coffee shop that has struggled to create awareness and build business. We decided this was the perfect place to host the event, and thankfully the owners agreed. On the night of the debate every seat was taken; this was great because of conversations that we were able to have about God, but also the benefit we were able to offer a local neighborhood business, demonstrating our investment in the community.
Our church meets in a CrossFit gym, and we’ve had a number of opportunities to love and care for the people involved at the gym, including hosting two fundraisers: one to help gym members attend a CrossFit competition they’d qualified for, and another to love a couple at the gym whose 9-month-old baby had medical issues. We also recently joined with other local churches to help remodel a dilapidated Department of Human Services building where foster children have visitations with their birth parents. These are examples of ways that we’re working to show our community that we care. Given the standoffish response that church and the Gospel often receive in this area, we believe it is important to lay this groundwork and build trust.
As you think of Gospel Community Church, please pray for a gospel revival in our church and city.
By God’s grace, we are beginning to see the fruit of these efforts. Caleb is the worship leader at our church, and he and his wife Betsie are foster parents. Several months ago, a young boy named Brandon* was placed with them because his mother, Morgan*, had been removed from the home. Caleb and Betsie built a relationship with Morgan, inviting her to their home, to events that they were a part of, and eventually to church. Praise God, she and Brandon were reunited at home, and continued attending Gospel Community Church, where Morgan became a believer and was baptized. She’s now an integral part of our community.
As you think of Gospel Community Church, please pray for a gospel revival in our church and city. Pray also specifically for my family as we continue to adjust to the climate and culture of Oregon, all while trying to build friendships and plant a church.