I was connected through a common friend with Josh White, pastor of Door of Hope church in Portland, Oregon. My friend knew of my posts on open-air preaching and he knew that Josh White is doing it. After a couple of emails the last few weeks and then a phone call today, I'm very excited to share some of what Josh and Door of Hope are doing. (By the way, Josh is lead singer of the Christian band Telecast. I saw them open for Crowder in Lexington, KY years ago and had to pick up their CD, Eternity is Now. Still gets play time. Had no idea until the end of our phone conversation that he leads Telecast. Door of Hope also has connection with Blitzen Trapper and other solid indie bands in Portland. See more of their music family, friends, and favorites.)
After a great, descriptive email from Josh of what their open-air work looks like, I asked if I could turn what he wrote into a post. He said yes, but then he tweaked it so it could be on the church's website. Even better. So here is what Josh wrote about Church in the Park. What if more churches did this!?
Why do Church in the Park?
How do we bring the gospel to our neighborhood? How are we to be supernaturally natural in an urban environment that is less than 1% Christian? How do we encourage our Church community to stop treating their faith like a secret society? We do not see the early church primarily praying for the lost but praying for boldness. We are convinced that if our love for Christ surpasses our fear of people, we will begin to see revival occur in Portland. Church in the Park is our opportunity as a church family to declare together the good news of Jesus. However, the only exposure most of us have had to open air preaching is the zealous guy who stands alone and shouts at people, which never seems very effective. Or we see large irregular church events done with permits and sound systems, which is equally unnatural.
When do you meet?
Thursdays at 7pm.
Where do you meet?
Colonel Summer's Park
Between 19th and 20th Avenue on SE Taylor Street.
What is Church in the Park?
BRING THE CHURCH GATHERING TO THE PARK. Jesus said “they shall know you are my disciples by your love for one another.” When the body is together in a public space it gives authority and validity to the preaching of the gospel. It also allows for a lot of conversations to occur that would not in the confines of a building for the park is a place where the world and the church can truly intersect.
TOTALLY UNPLUGGED. No amplification allows us to meet with out permits and allows people to listen of their own accord with out us being a giant bear in their picnic. Every week people have walked over to the fringe of our gathering and listened - and sometimes heckled.
DIRECT THE MESSAGE TO THE CHURCH. This allows outsiders to witness a body of faith taking in the word while trusting the Holy Spirit will draw many to Himself if Jesus is lifted up.
MUSIC. We are blessed at Door of Hope to be in Portland and to have so many talented musicians. We are a singing church, and it is powerful witness to have a church body singing worship together in a public space.
CONSISTENCY. We do church in the park regularly. Cynicism dissipates as the people see that we are part of this neighborhood too, and that we aren't going anywhere. As long as it is not raining we will do it every week.
Is childcare provided?
Unfortunately, we do not currently offer childcare at Church in the Park.
All of this is having a tremendous effect on our church. It gives us greater confidence in the Spirit's ability to use us for Kingdom work, exposing many to the gospel for first time. Church in the park is definitely creating a stir, given that gospel proclamation is not popular in our beloved city. But we believe it will make an impact for “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God”.