Corvallis, OR 06-2018

With a heart full of praise and thanksgiving for what Christ has already won for us on the cross, our lips proclaim his mighty works to the world. Members at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Corvallis OR partnered with Praise and Proclaim Ministries to receive evangelism training so that they may go out into their community and confidently witness their faith to others. The Lord blessed our weekend together.

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church was established in the early 1970’s and is located on the north side of the city. Rev. Luke Tembreull and his family arrived almost two years ago from Wisconsin to serve as pastor.

Corvallis is an hour and a half drive south of Portland with a population of 53,000 people. The city is home to Oregon State University (enrollment of 28,000). Like many campus towns across the U.S., the university’s influence on the culture and religion of the community is significant. Coupled with being in the Pacific Northwest, there is a larger percentage of people who feel that they have no need for the one true God of the Bible, nor have a desire to hear anything about salvation found only in Christ. The fiercely independent spirit of many long-time residents in the Seattle-Portland area have little need for organized religion – especially if a congregation holds to orthodox teachings of the Bible.

In a recent article from the Corvallis Advocate (“Faith and Fervor in Corvallis: Religious or Otherwise”), the reporter mentions Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church. At the conclusion of the article, the reporter editorialized, “Clearly Corvallis has no shortage of spiritual or religious affiliations. Maybe the rest of the country is just full of overachievers. Or maybe we’re more or less evolved {depending on how you look at it}, our citizen’s beliefs composed of fluid or personalized theologies and intuitiveness. This goes for me at least. Like Einstein, I find solace in the science and the stars. Like Socrates, I believe that if death means eternal nothingness, we will perish unawares. I prefer death to be open-ended, and to seek out the secrets of life instead. Perhaps you beg to differ, or would rather take part in some fine-lined theism. Point being, the choice is yours.” (Stevie Beisswanger)

There are many neighbors surrounding Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church who would agree with the reporter’s views on religion.

We know because we met them at the door.

And this was no surprise to the members who put their training into action on Saturday morning to go door-to-door to proclaim the gospel.

It can be intimidating for any believer to proclaim the gospel to friends and strangers especially in Corvallis. We knew that a small university town in the Pacific Northwest would be filled with people who are not bashful to express their lack of interest in hearing what Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross. A strategy needed to be adapted to engage people and connect with them at the door, before proclaiming a gospel message.

Like offering ESL classes to ethnic populations to build a gospel bridge with the community, Beautiful Savior needed to improvise a cross-cultural strategy to connect with their neighbors. Borrowing from an idea that is used in Texas to plant new churches, Praise and Proclaim suggested launching a Food Drive and ask people to participate. This would increase the likelihood for an opportunity for members to engage people at the door and conclude with a short gospel message.

The Lord blessed this strategy.

On Friday evening, members were trained to introduce themselves at the door and immediately transition to inviting people to participate in the Food Drive.  With the promise of stopping by the following Saturday to pick up donated items at their door, eighty-six (86) families agreed to participate. The invitation to participate in a service project allowed members to transition to share a short gospel message to fifty-nine (59) people.

Members discovered that when you treat people with love and respect, most people will be polite in return. There were times that people expressed a lack of interest and quickly closed the door when they found out we were from Beautiful Savior. If that was going to be the worst response we receive, then we could handle that. They missed out on a wonderful opportunity to hear the Good News.

We rejoice that the members of Beautiful Savior have a desire to build gospel bridges with their surrounding community and are equipped to give a reason for the hope they have in Christ. They learned that service projects are a wonderful way to display their love for Christ and provide a comfortable way to proclaim the gospel with courage and confidence.

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church
A small church family with a big heart.

May the Lord bless the ongoing gospel ministry at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church. May the Lord provide members with patience and persistence while they continue to engage the community, invite them to participate in future service projects or events at their church, and proclaim the gospel.

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