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Oregon Hosts NAD Church Planting and Revitalization Bootcamp

Oregon Hosts NAD Church Planting and Revitalization Bootcamp

Seeking to encourage passion and support for gospel mission, pastors and church leaders from all corners of the Pacific Northwest came together in mid-November for an inspiring bootcamp aimed at bringing health and vitality back to their congregations. Coordinated by the North American Division (NAD), the Church Planting and Revitalization Bootcamp brought simultaneous specialized sessions of encouragement and training in both English and Spanish to the Oregon Conference Holden Convention Center in Gladstone.
          
Leaders from all over North America offered their experience and expertise to equip attendees for their local ministry contexts. Participants engaged not only in the main sessions, but also the breakout sessions that were tailored to their ministry needs. “I loved it,” said Pastor Harold Altamirano of the Echo Church Plant in Gresham, Oregon. “We should be lifelong learners, so anytime I can sharpen my tools, I take full advantage. Planting a church is a great challenge, so I am thankful that I got to learn from other practitioners.” Beyond the training component, there were focused opportunities for Q&A, bonding over shared meals and discussion, networking with other participants, and prayer. On Friday night, there was also a special season of worship and prayer that culminated in taking communion together.
           
Leaders came away from this weekend equipped to come back to their churches with inspiration and motivation. Pastor Eddie Ciobanu of Healing Hope and the Village Seventh-day Adventist Churches expressed his gratitude for these meetings, sharing two major takeaways from the gathering. One such takeaway was that “we’re not asked to protect the Gospel, but to share the Gospel.” In other words, church leaders are not called merely to act as guardians of the truth, but to share the hope of Jesus in a hurting world.
           
Pastor Eddie also pointed out another challenging takeaway in the concept of “risking to love.” This means accepting the call to serve and love people and connect them with the church community. As one presenter shared, “we don’t want to just keep the church pristinely Adventist, but we also want to love people and bring anyone in.” There are times and places where culture can hinder mission if maintaining culture is more important than the mission of Jesus. This is where both revitalization and church planting become necessary to create a healthy missional culture or start this in the DNA of a new church.
 
“I was really encouraged by the presentations from the NAD on revitalization,” says Pastor Alberto “Pochy” Montes of Vivid Adventist Church. For Pastor Montes, it was not only leadership development that mattered in these boot camps, but the spiritual encouragement. “My favorite presentation was from Pastor Ivan Williams. He spoke about the reality of our churches, the needs, and practical solutions. More importantly, he emphasized allowing the Holy Spirit to be present in our church communities. He then shared a powerful quote.”

The quote was from Ellen White in Testimonies for the Church page 383, which says, “The reason why there is so little of the Spirit of God manifested is that ministers learn to do without it.” For Pastor Montes, this is an unacceptable reality for him. In his words, “If the Spirit of God is not moving, I don’t want to try to strategize on my own. I needed this reminder and I pray we can all allow ourselves to move in the Spirit so we can show and experience divine fruition.”
 
Through engaging training, spiritual encouragement, and community building, attendees left the Church Planting and Revitalization Bootcamp fired up to share the gospel in new and meaningful ways, grounded in the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the mission of Jesus Christ in their communities across the Pacific Northwest.

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