Do you know what your future holds?

April 28, 2017 The Branch Branch Notes

Do you know what your future holds?

God’s word gives us glimpses into our past, what is really happening in our present, and what God has in store for us in the future.

I was reminded of one of God’s promises for our future at the Bakar Batu festival our community group (and Vanny) put together up in the Portland area two weekends ago.

For those who aren’t up on Papuan cuisine, Bakar Batu is a traditional Papuan way of cooking for large groups. The participants dig a hole and start an adjacent fire to heat up rocks. You then put the hot rocks, some banana leaves (we used local ferns), whole pigs, and vegetables in the hole, cover it up, and let it cook. All working together we fed about 40 Papuan students, along with 25 Americans and a couple of Chinese students.

As we sung, danced, and ate some rockin’ pork (pun intended) verses like these came to mind:

Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (Revelation 14:6-7)

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10)

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 5:14)

As we get a glimpse into what the future holds for us in scripture, we are constantly reminded that every nation will be together there celebrating the victory of Jesus. We are also reminded that God’s intention is to carry the good news of the victory of Jesus to every nation. There are people in every tribe and people and language whom God wants for himself; they will indeed be found with the Gospel, and they will indeed be saved.

They will be invited into God’s presence and included in this great celebration, a celebration for all who will make up God’s new kingdom here on the earth. We will be included in a great international celebration, a feast for all those who have accepted the rule, authority, and salvation of Christ and will spend the next billion years and beyond worshipping, celebrating, working, and living on this earth for our good King Jesus.

As I reflect on that moment, singing songs about Jesus (and many others I didn’t understand), dancing together, and eating together, I can’t help but praise God looking forward to and thinking of what John writes:

“And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” (Revelation 16:9)

We may not know a whole lot about the future, but we do know this, we are headed for a great international worship feast. With this on our hearts, how blessed we are to have such an international church! How blessed we are to have those from other cultures joining us in our worship and celebration of Jesus’ victory each Sunday!

This feast in Beaverton was a very special moment. For just a few hours, through many cultures together enjoying the day God had made, through Papuan worship songs and the smells of Bakar Batu, a handful of people in Beaverton, Oregon were teleported into a future moment that God has promised his people.

You, however, do not need to roast a pig to get this taste of the Kingdom. Every time you talk to someone from another country about Jesus, every time you work to the Glory of God with someone from another culture, every time you worship together with someone from another nation, you get a little taste of heaven, you get a small peek through a window into eternity. If you do not have an international friend in Corvallis, I highly suggest it. There are few better ways to taste the Kingdom of God than to celebrate Jesus across a culture.

Do you know what your future holds? You can know it in part. If you want to preview a component of your future, praise Jesus to someone from another nation.

The end of all history and the end of every nation is a person, and His name is Jesus. Let’s celebrate together in expectation of His great international kingdom.

Theology to Doxology

April 21, 2017 Davey Walker Branch Notes

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!” (Psalm 95:6) Let us worship! What does that mean? What does it look like to truly worship the LORD? Is it singing praise songs to God? Or is it more than that? Is it a personal interaction with God or something done corporately? Is it an action we do or a lifestyle we live?

Honestly, many of us have too small of a view of worship. We typically limit worship to our Sunday gatherings when we sing “worship” songs or the occasional worship night we attend. Yet, we all cognitively know that worshipping God is more than just our singing and our Sunday gatherings. Yet often, worship in our lives is limited to those experiences. Worship is a matter of our heart expressed through a lifestyle of holiness. We want to expand our understanding of worship to see that it goes far beyond lifting God up through song. Worship happens on the personal level as well as a corporate level.

For the next six weeks we are going through walk through some of the different ways in which we worship the LORD. Though it will not be an exhaustive study on worship, it will broaden your understanding of worship and grow you in your love to worship God through these various elements. Together, we will look at worship through scripture, worship through prayer, worship through song, worship through liturgy, worship through our gifting’s/work, and worship through unity/Church discipline. Each week we will spend about an hour together learning how to worship God more wholly. There will be teaching on what these different components look like individually and corporately. Worship is both individual and corporate and growing in our understanding of this will change us individually and corporately as our lifestyles of worship continue to grow. Each week entails some teaching on the topic and then implementation; we need to put into practice what we learn.

God truly is worthy of our praise and worship. He is worthy of more than the 4-5 worship songs we sing on a Sunday. He is worthy of us honoring him with extravagant love and extreme submission. Worship should be more than an action; it is a lifestyle.

We will begin Worship 101 this coming Thursday, April 27 at 12pm at Davey Walker’s house [224 NW 26th St, Corvallis, OR 97330 – Sigma Phi Epsilon]. If you have any questions, please contact me at davey@thebranchcorvallis.org.

DIVINE EULOGY | A reflection for Holy Week

April 13, 2017 Josh Howeth Branch Notes

HIS BEGINNING

Yes, He was born as an infant in Bethlehem. But unlike you and me and every person that has ever drawn a breath in their lungs, He had no beginning. He may have had a father named Joseph, but before a star was ever hung in the night sky, He existed in sweet relationship with God the Father.

What a mystery. The first words Jesus ever uttered as a toddler, weren’t in fact His first words at all. Before anything was made, He spoke and planets spun into place. He spoke and the sun rose and set. He spoke and trees grew and swayed in the breeze with perfect harmony and precise poetry.

He wasn’t merely born into this world as a boy, but was given to the world as a gift…as a substitute….as the ultimate Hero. He was given by His Father. Unlike us who are constantly ebbing and flowing, seeking to discover purpose, He was born with no identity crisis. He lived to show us what God is like. To live a life that none could live and to a die a death not brought by his own hands.

He was born that men and women would no longer die. And His life never deviated from that pre-ordained path.

HIS LIFE

Some others long ago have written about this divine Jesus saying:

“He came into the very world He created, but the world didn’t recognize Him. He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him. This Word, this Son of God, became human and made His home with us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness”

“He was the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all His creation. He made the things we see, and the things we can’t see. He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together.”

We should never forget, especially during a week like Holy Week, that He was perfect. Always obeying His heavenly Father. He never had a hateful thought, a heart filled with lust for a moment, never tried to “get ahead” and was unceasingly serving and humble. Can you believe that? The Lord, the God, not bound by time, the Creator, considering others more important than Himself always, serving instead of seeking to be served. Always responding as a child, as a teenager, as a man, with grace and unconditional love. Although some mocked Him, He returned grace. Although they tried to kill Him, He loved them in return. He never wished the worst on His enemies, but always loved. He was always gentle at the right time. Also, strong and hard at the perfect time.

When He looked at people as He walked through His day, He always saw them as they truly were. He saw their heart, their motivations, their deepest desires, always viewing them through that lens, because His eyes were the eyes of God.

When His father asked Him to do something, He responded in joyful obedience. And the greatest test of obedience came during the final hours of this Messiah’s life. Now came the time, not for Him to have His life taken from Him, but for Him to GIVE His life. To consider others again more important than Himself. To love without strings attached. To be generous and hold nothing back. To give the world what they didn’t deserve and to give what He wasn’t obligated to give.

He was other worldly. Like no other. And rightfully so, because He was God.

HIS GARDEN

As the hand of time etched closer to the end, the Son knelt down in a garden of despair.  His face glowed as he glimpsed His Holy Hill, knowing the imminent conclusion that none could thwart.  Bursting capillaries exploded as his future unfolded, the horror of the end none has ever known. The cup of wrath He soon would drink, a nightmare that made his stomach churn.  But gladly He walked, obedient to the end, spiritually empowered for the gladness and glory of His Father.

HIS DEATH

Many people watched as the Son of God died. They saw the excruciating, physical pain and suffering He endured. If only they knew what was really happening. That the physical pain was nothing in comparison to what He was enduring beneath the surface.

Do you think the nails being driven through His hands were painful? Try having your hands and feet pierced while you carry the weight of the sins of the world on your shoulders.

He was experiencing death, not in simply a physical sense, but an eternal sense. He died the death we all had coming. And in the blink of the world’s eye, He felt brokenness. He felt separation, from the One who has been with Him since before the world was imagined. Before the first laugh. Before the first cry. What has always been normal to us, separation and brokenness with our Creator, was for the first time an experience for Jesus.

In the midst of all this internal sorrow, can you believe what He said? In the midst of Him experiencing the most sorrow and pain and anguish that any person has ever experienced in a moment’s time, He looks out and says to His Father – not “help me” – not “I change my mind” – and not “I don’t deserve this” – but, “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing. This is what Your God said. Son of God. Fully divine. Fully man. Jesus, the Messiah endures this for you, me and peoples from every nation, tribe and tongue.

“Come and see, look on this mystery, the Lord of the universe, nailed to a tree.” – F. Ortega

 

Other News:

Join us for corporate prayer every Sunday afternoon from 3:003:30pm in the Twig’s area at Christ Church (Formerly The River Center) as we intercede for our church and the city. Come for the whole time, or just drop in for a moment.


Join us on Good Friday (April 14th) when we will be gathering together for a night of worship and reflection centered around the crucifixion of our Savior Jesus at our sister church, Hub City’s facility on 2nd and Lyons street in downtown Albany. Childcare will be provided and the service will start at 6pm.


Ladies on Saturday, April 22, we are going to take an in depth look at what it looks like to stand firm in the Lord by taking up the whole armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-20. We will meet from 9:30am-12pm at the Branch offices (760 SW Madison Ave) for an incredible time worshiping together in word and spirit! Contact Victoria Renard for more information.


On Saturday May 6th, the men at the Branch are invited to a day of rafting down the Clackamas river, followed by dinner. The cost for the event is $70, which includes rafting and all meals. This is a good event to bring your friends (christian/non-Christians) and enjoy some adventure and fun. Sign up online and if you have any questions email Stephen.


Get excited for the Branch’s 4th annual short-term missions fundraiser, Stumpies! You won’t want to miss out on this evening of fun, laughter, missions and dessert on Friday, May 12 at Grant Avenue Baptist Church (1625 NW Grant Ave.) Doors will open at 6:30pm and the event will begin at 7:00pm. We will be providing childcare for the evening and invite all of our families to bring their children!


Our Community Forum is for members of The Branch to come together, share a meal, hear about what’s going on in the life of our church and to dream and pray together about the future. Our next forum is on Sunday night, April 30th immediately following the Sunday worship gathering. Please mark your calendars for this very important night together. Every forum is important, but this forum will be extremely important as we will be sharing about various changes and sending opportunities we are going to be encountering this year. Please contact Josh with any questions you might have. (541-224-1476)


The Global Mission Pipeline is simple—it’s a training program to help equip and cement a foreign mission DNA within an individual. Within the program, you’ll read books, walk with a coach, write papers, and be exposed experientially to ministering cross-culturally. If you’d like more information please contact Stephen.


We are asking members of the Branch to apply for Local Mission Grants, which seek to come alongside member’s ministry ideas/endeavors with financial support. If you have questions or would like to talk to someone about Local Mission Grants simply fill out a connect card and drop it in the basket. If you’re interested in leading a new local missions initiative you can find the application online, fill it out and send it to Stephen Brucker.


Branch Brunch is a time to get to know more about our church and ask questions. This class is also a requirement to become a member. Our next Branch Brunch is scheduled for Sunday, April 30th at 10:30 am. If you are interested in attending please email Stephen Brucker.

Missional Living Training

April 8, 2017 Stephen Brucker Branch Notes

This week we will be canceling community groups and we will all meet at the Christ Church on Wednesday (April 12) at 6 pm. Why you might ask? To grow in our ability and effectiveness in make Christ known.

There is an old Navigator tool called the Wheel. You can google it sometime, but overall the tool depicts 4 aspects of the Christian life—Pray, Bible Reading, Community, and Evangelism. Over the years, I’ve shared this illustration for it encompasses four aspects of a healthy Christian’s life. After I finish sharing the Wheel and describe each element in detail, I inevitably ask this question; “which one of these four disciplines is most lacking in your life.” Honestly, I’ve only received one answer—evangelism.

Even the word “evangelism” is hard to say. Furthermore, if you’re anything like me, then you struggle with what I’ll call cowardly lion syndrome, fearing people to the expense of declaring the gospel to them. Which is why training like this is so important.

Though we will not discuss every element of mission during this training, there will be much talk about how to live faithfully in Corvallis, capitalizing on opportunities, and loving our neighbors with the hopes of seeing God work in their lives to the extent that we get to see them transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of his beloved Son.

So please make it a priority to come on Wednesday. Childcare is provided. John Winder from the Navigators will lead us in this training, and there will also be a time for Q&A at the end. Invite your friends, or anyone who might be interested in this training. If you have any questions please let me know.

 

Other News:

Community groups will be canceled the week of April 11. As a result, we hope that you can use the time you would have spent in your community group and join us for a training on missional living and evangelism. John Winder, our friend with the Navigators, will be leading us in a time of training as we explore how our lives can more faithfully intersected with non-Christians. Invite your friends or anyone who could benefit from it. We will gather at 6 pm at Christ Church and childcare will be provided.


Now accepting applications for our Branch Internship! We at The Branch are deeply rooted in a strong desire to provide a spiritually enriching and educational environment where you can explore your call, not only into vocational ministry, but also God’s call to be ministers in all areas of life. Our 11-month internship focuses on three different areas: personal ministry, spiritual development, and Branch specific ministries. If you are interested in learning more about the internship or applying for the internship, please contact Davey. Your application is due by April 15th.


Join us for corporate prayer every Sunday afternoon from 3:003:30pm in the Twig’s area at Christ Church (Formerly The River Center) as we intercede for our church and the city. Come for the whole time, or just drop in for a moment.


Join us on Good Friday (April 14th) when we will be gathering together for a night of worship and reflection centered around the crucifixion of our Savior Jesus at our sister church, Hub City’s facility on 2nd and Lyons street in downtown Albany. Childcare will be provided and the service will start at 6pm.


Ladies on Saturday, April 22, we are going to take an in depth look at what it looks like to stand firm in the Lord by taking up the whole armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-20. We will meet from 9:30am-12pm at the Branch offices (760 SW Madison Ave) for an incredible time worshiping together in word and spirit! Contact Victoria Renard for more information.


On Saturday May 6th, the men at the Branch are invited to a day of rafting down the Clackamas river, followed by dinner. The cost for the event is $70, which includes rafting and all meals. This is a good event to bring your friends (christian/non-Christians) and enjoy some adventure and fun. Sign up online and if you have any questions email Stephen.


Our Community Forum is for members of The Branch to come together, share a meal, hear about what’s going on in the life of our church and to dream and pray together about the future. Our next forum is on Sunday night, April 30th immediately following the Sunday worship gathering. Please mark your calendars for this very important night together. Every forum is important, but this forum will be extremely important as we will be sharing about various changes and sending opportunities we are going to be encountering this year. Please contact Josh with any questions you might have. (541-224-1476)


The Global Mission Pipeline is simple—it’s a training program to help equip and cement a foreign mission DNA within an individual. Within the program, you’ll read books, walk with a coach, write papers, and be exposed experientially to ministering cross-culturally. If you’d like more information please contact Stephen.


We are asking members of the Branch to apply for Local Mission Grants, which seek to come alongside member’s ministry ideas/endeavors with financial support. If you have questions or would like to talk to someone about Local Mission Grants simply fill out a connect card and drop it in the basket. If you’re interested in leading a new local missions initiative you can find the application online, fill it out and send it to Stephen Brucker.


Branch Brunch is a time to get to know more about our church and ask questions. This class is also a requirement to become a member. Our next Branch Brunch is scheduled for Sunday, April 30th at 10:30 am. If you are interested in attending please email Stephen Brucker.

Twigs: Instilling the Family Mission

March 28, 2017 Christina Law Branch Notes, General, Twigs

March was my third month as Twigs Director at The Branch. Though this wasn’t a position I ever envisioned myself holding, I have been immensely blessed by this leadership role. I have found that I enjoy the curriculum writing and compiling, the team organization, and the teaching element of children’s ministry. By far, the best part of this role has been working with the talented and compassionate volunteer team; our teachers consistently go above and beyond what is asked of them with their creativity, initiative, and commitment to the kids of our church.

Right off the bat, one of the tasks I faced was condensing the mission of Twigs into a simple statement that could be used regularly to describe the ministry from the pulpit. Rather than referring to the kids’ gathering time as merely “childcare,” I wanted to communicate the importance of what the teachers do each week, and recognize that our children’s ministry fits in with the mission statement of The Branch: to create disciples who are in awe of the gospel, who embody the gospel, and who give their lives away because of the gospel. Fitting these ideas into a single-sentence description wasn’t difficult.

Twigs is the Sunday children’s ministry at The Branch, which is a time of teaching the gospel at a kid-level understanding.

We believe that the children who attend The Branch are a vital part of our church family. We wouldn’t be complete without them! We want our kids to be excited about and be a part of our family mission to make disciples of all nations. This begins with teaching them the basics of who God is, the story of amazing grace through Christ’s atoning sacrifice, and how we respond to the love of God.

Our prayer is that through the Twigs ministry, the kids of The Branch will come to know and love Christ at an early age, that the interactions with their teachers on Sundays illuminate the incredible story of God’s plan of salvation, and that families would be able to grow in faith together as a result of consistent exposure to the gospel.

If this vision is something that you would like to be a part of in any way, please contact me. Currently, we depend on a lot of college students as our volunteer base, and because of this our leadership is always on a high turnover rate. Please be praying for the leadership of our ministry, that the Lord will provide the right combination of passion, availability, and competency as the need for new leaders arises.

 

Other News:

Now accepting applications for our Branch Internship! We at The Branch are deeply rooted in a strong desire to provide a spiritually enriching and educational environment where you can explore your call, not only into vocational ministry, but also God’s call to be ministers in all areas of life. Our 11-month internship focuses on three different areas: personal ministry, spiritual development, and Branch specific ministries. If you are interested in learning more about the internship or applying for the internship, please contact Davey. Your application is due by April 15th.


Join us for corporate prayer every Sunday afternoon from 3:003:30pm in the Twig’s area at Christ Church (Formerly The River Center) as we intercede for our church and the city. Come for the whole time, or just drop in for a moment.


We are going to be cancelling all Community Groups the week of April 11th with the hopes of gathering together as an entire church to think more intentionally about the way we spend our time and how we can be a more faithful sharer and embodier of the gospel in our community. John Winder, our friend with the Navigators, will be leading us in this missional living training as we explore how our lives can more faithfully intersect with non-christians. We will gather together at 6pm, location is TBD, and childcare will be provided.


Join us on Good Friday when we will be gathering together for a night of worship and reflection centered around the crucifixion of our Savior Jesus at our sister church, Hub City’s facility on 2nd and Lyons street in downtown Albany. Childcare will be provided and the service will start at 6pm.


Ladies on Saturday, April 22, we are going to take an in depth look at what it looks like to stand firm in the Lord by taking up the whole armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-20. We will meet from 9:30am-12pm at the Branch offices (760 SW Madison Ave) for an incredible time worshiping together in word and spirit! Contact Victoria Renard for more information.


On Saturday May 6th, the men at the Branch are invited to a day of rafting down the Clackamas river, followed by dinner. The cost for the event is $70, which includes rafting and all meals. This is a good event to bring your friends (christian/non-Christians) and enjoy some adventure and fun. Sign up online and if you have any questions email Stephen.


Our Community Forum is for members of The Branch to come together, share a meal, hear about what’s going on in the life of our church and to dream and pray together about the future. Our next forum is on Sunday night, April 30th immediately following the Sunday worship gathering. Please mark your calendars for this very important night together. Every forum is important, but this forum will be extremely important as we will be sharing about various changes and sending opportunities we are going to be encountering this year. Please contact Josh with any questions you might have. (541-224-1476)


The Global Mission Pipeline is simple—it’s a training program to help equip and cement a foreign mission DNA within an individual. Within the program, you’ll read books, walk with a coach, write papers, and be exposed experientially to ministering cross-culturally. If you’d like more information please contact Stephen.


We are asking members of the Branch to apply for Local Mission Grants, which seek to come alongside member’s ministry ideas/endeavors with financial support. If you have questions or would like to talk to someone about Local Mission Grants simply fill out a connect card and drop it in the basket. If you’re interested in leading a new local missions initiative you can find the application online, fill it out and send it to Stephen Brucker.


Branch Brunch is a time to get to know more about our church and ask questions. This class is also a requirement to become a member. Our next Branch Brunch is scheduled for Sunday, April 30th at 10:30 am. If you are interested in attending please email Josh Howeth.

The People of the Restoration

March 24, 2017 The Branch Branch Notes

Our God is a God of Restoration.

God’s word promises God’s restoration. From one of the first promises of God after the fall – a son of woman who would crush the evil serpent, to the last sentences of John’s revelation – crying our for Jesus to return for his people, God has promised us that he is restoring this world.

Gods people are the God’s method of restoration. Consider the call of Noah to preserve a remnant of God’s people on the ark while the world was cleansed, or the call of Abraham to start a family, from which every single family on the earth would be blessed. Consider the sending of God’s Son, the one who absorbed every bit of sin and brokenness from all space and all time and secured all this restoration. Consider the sending of His Church, the called people of the restoration, the citizens of the already restored kingdom living now on this unrestored earth.

All this because Jesus took every last ounce of unrestored life in this world into himself, the moment on which the whole story of restoration pivots, to make us cleansed and restored into relationship with God.

This manifesto of restoration is and always has been the rally cry God has written for his chosen people.

This is why the Church speaks of launching into the most broken places in this world. This is why those in the Church uproot themselves and plant in places of brokenness and lostness, places where this message of restoration is not known or represented.

As a force of restoration we move into the most unrestored places in this world. We are called to be salt, drawing near to and eradicating the numerous physical, social, emotional, and spiritual diseases caused by sin. We are called to be light, preaching and living the message of a reconciled relationship with God and others and teaching others how to live a life of restoration. This is the mission of the church: to boldly step into unrestored places, ask of God what restoration with God and with Man would look like in this place, then strive to see this restoration come about. We are God’s restored people on this earth. As God’s restored people we have a purpose to be a restorative force on this earth.

Throughout the world’s history God’s people have been called to this restorative position, and each of us are to seek how we are to give our lives to partner in restoration of the world. This purpose is why our church is always moving towards God’s mission, both locally and globally.

Our local missions grants are intended to enable those in our church to step into restorative work right here in Corvallis, introducing others to Jesus and restoring our city physically, spiritually, and socially.

Our church planting efforts are in preparation to establish more of these restorative communities throughout Oregon and the world.

Our global missions pipeline can help those wanting to learn about God’s restorative purpose as it is explained through all of the Bible, to understand their own calling in God’s plan of restoration, to gain skills to explain the Gospel to others across cultures, and to find ways to be a part of a team who are also working to this same end.

Finally, our short-term trips overseas are intended to give a taste of the restorative work God is doing all over the world and give inspiration in how to be involved in this global task.

There are endless ways to be involved in God’s global task of restoration. Many of these opportunities exist right now in our church in Corvallis.

Restoration is a task which all of God’s people since the beginning of history have been called into, a task we are enabled for by the power of God’s creating and restorative spirit, and ultimately a task which God himself in Jesus gave his life for, rising again to be the firstborn of all the restored creation.

Would you pray into, consider, and let the Holy spirit reorient you toward God’s task of restoration? How does God want to move you towards preaching, sacrificing, serving, and striving for the restoration of the world?

 

Other News:

Join us for corporate prayer every Sunday afternoon from 3:003:30pm in the Twig’s area at Christ Church (Formerly The River Center) as we intercede for our church and the city. Come for the whole time, or just drop in for a moment.


We are going to be cancelling all Community Groups the week of April 11th with the hopes of gathering together as an entire church to think more intentionally about the way we spend our time and how we can be a more faithful sharer and embodier of the gospel in our community. John Winder, our friend with the Navigators, will be leading us in this missional living training as we explore how our lives can more faithfully intersect with non-christians. We will gather together at 6pm, location is TBD, and childcare will be provided.


Join us on Good Friday when we will be gathering together for a night of worship and reflection centered around the crucifixion of our Savior Jesus at our sister church, Hub City’s facility on 2nd and Lyons street in downtown Albany. Childcare will be provided and the service will start at 6pm.


Ladies on Saturday, April 22, we are going to take an in depth look at what it looks like to stand firm in the Lord by taking up the whole armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-20. We will meet from 9:30am-12pm at the Branch offices (760 SW Madison Ave) for an incredible time worshiping together in word and spirit! Contact Victoria Renard for more information.


On Saturday May 6th, the men at the Branch are invited to a day of rafting down the Clackamas river, followed by dinner. The cost for the event is $70, which includes rafting and all meals. This is a good event to bring your friends (christian/non-Christians) and enjoy some adventure and fun. Sign up online and if you have any questions email Stephen.


Our Community Forum is for members of The Branch to come together, share a meal, hear about what’s going on in the life of our church and to dream and pray together about the future. Our next forum is on Sunday night, April 30th immediately following the Sunday worship gathering. Please mark your calendars for this very important night together. Every forum is important, but this forum will be extremely important as we will be sharing about various changes and sending opportunities we are going to be encountering this year. Please contact Josh with any questions you might have. (541-224-1476)


The Global Mission Pipeline is simple—it’s a training program to help equip and cement a foreign mission DNA within an individual. Within the program, you’ll read books, walk with a coach, write papers, and be exposed experientially to ministering cross-culturally. If you’d like more information please contact Stephen.


We are asking members of the Branch to apply for Local Mission Grants, which seek to come alongside member’s ministry ideas/endeavors with financial support. If you have questions or would like to talk to someone about Local Mission Grants simply fill out a connect card and drop it in the basket. If you’re interested in leading a new local missions initiative you can find the application online, fill it out and send it to Stephen Brucker.


Branch Brunch is a time to get to know more about our church and ask questions. This class is also a requirement to become a member. Our next Branch Brunch is scheduled for Sunday, April 30th at 10:30 am. If you are interested in attending please email Josh Howeth.

 

Is Our Gathering Time A Barrier?

March 17, 2017 Josh Howeth 7 Sayings on the Cross, Branch Notes

Since we started preview services nearly five years ago, our worship gathering time has always taken place on a Sunday evening. One reason we have met on Sunday evenings is that we have always desired to be a church focused on reaching students at Oregon State. We felt like gathering in the evening would offer a more convenient time for students to come and worship. A second reason was far more pragmatic, in that we have had a difficult time finding a facility where we could worship together during a Sunday morning.

Since the beginning of The Branch, nearly 4 ½ years ago, we have seen God work in tremendous ways. We were a group of young families who were dreaming of making an impact on the campus. Little did we realize that reaching students would be more natural, while reaching other generations would be more challenging.

One of the distinctive elements of our vision from the beginning has stated that we desire to be a church that reflects our city. If you’ve ever attended Branch Brunch and committed to become a member of The Branch, you’ve heard us talk about this at length. We desire to be a church that reflects the demographics of our city because we believe if that were to happen, there would be a greater display of the glorious gospel for all to see.

Most communities or organizations gather around preference—a preference of an idea, institution, style, or culture. We firmly believe that Jesus gathers people together who are diverse in preference and calls those people to experience unity and show love for one another in an other-worldly kind of way.

Since Corvallis contains roughly 50% college students, we have sought to reflect the demographic of the city by living as a church focused on reaching college students. Yet there is much diversity within the city of Corvallis—elderly, families, singles, single parents, Chinese, Hispanic, poor, rich, educated, uneducated, the elite, the marginalized and more. And we believe this is not only what Jesus wants to do, but we believe this is just what Jesus does. He takes people who are unlike one another and makes us family. But this only happens if our faith community centers around a Person and not a preference.

This is our dream. To see Jesus call us to himself and daily send us out to share and show the gospel to people who are both like us and unlike us.

Last fall, our elder team began to ask honest questions about what we have become at this point in our church’s story. 70-80% of our church is college students. We celebrate this! But we then asked why we are not seeing greater growth, from our perspective, amongst other people groups in our city.

One question we discussed and prayed about for months was if our Sunday gathering time was a barrier to connecting with other generations. We have sought out an extensive amount of wisdom and coaching regarding this question and have confidently landed on an answer. Yes, we believe that our meeting time is a generational barrier.

With that said, as elders, we have decided to move into the future seeking out opportunities for us to be able to gather on Sunday morning instead of Sunday evening. The earliest this change would happen is this fall when our lease with Christ Church (formally the River Center) ends. Currently we have no firm leads on a potential Sunday morning meeting location, which is why we’re asking that you’d join us in praying for God’s provision.

Change in church planting is unavoidable. We’ve anticipate that to be true and have experienced that as being true. Please know that it is definitely not our desire to create change for the sake of change. We love the leadership and hospitality of Christ Church and wish that we could avoid making a facility change in the future. Unfortunately, worshipping in their building in the morning is not an option.

We recognize that changing worship locations again is not ideal. But with all that’s been said, we recognize that it is necessary and it is our hope that wherever we are led we would be able to worship in that location long term.

The Branch, like many churches, especially church plants, has seen its fair share of changes. But a time change like this will be a culture shift for us. In the most loving way possible, I want us to realize that this shift is not a decision that’s being made because it’s necessarily my preference or your preference (I personally love our gathering time). But this is a culture shift that we think we need to make, not for our sake, but for the sake of those who are yet a part of our community of faith.

This shift is a shift attached to our mission. We desire to see Jesus build his church and we definitely do not believe this is the silver bullet. But we do believe this will remove a barrier.

Please don’t hesitate to email me or call me with any questions or concerns you might have. I want you to know that I’m so thankful for you. It is a joy and privilege to be your pastor. My prayer is that you abide in Jesus and experience the fruit of that union which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

-Josh Howeth  |  josh@thebranchcorvallis.org

 

Other News:

Join us for corporate prayer every Sunday afternoon from 3:003:30pm in the Twig’s area at Christ Church as we intercede for our church and the city. Come for the whole time, or just drop in for a moment.


Ladies on Saturday, April 22, we are going to take an in depth look at what it looks like to stand firm in the Lord by taking up the whole armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-20. We will meet from 9:30am-12pm at the Branch offices (760 SW Madison Ave) for an incredible time worshiping together in word and spirit! Contact Victoria Renard for more information.


On Saturday May 6th, the men at the Branch are invited to a day of rafting down the Clackamas river, followed by dinner. The cost for the event is $70, which includes rafting and all meals. This is a good event to bring your friends (christian/non-Christians) and enjoy some adventure and fun. Sign up online and if you have any questions email Stephen.


Our Community Forum is for members of The Branch to come together, share a meal, hear about what’s going on in the life of our church and to dream and pray together about the future. Our next forum is on Sunday night, April 30th immediately following the Sunday worship gathering. Please mark your calendars for this very important night together. Every forum is important, but this forum will be extremely important as we will be sharing about various changes and sending opportunities we are going to be encountering this year. Please contact Josh with any questions you might have. (541-224-1476)


The Global Mission Pipeline is simple—it’s a training program to help equip and cement a foreign mission DNA within an individual. Within the program, you’ll read books, walk with a coach, write papers, and be exposed experientially to ministering cross-culturally. If you’d like more information please contact Stephen.


This year we are asking members of the Branch to apply for Local Mission Grants, which seek to come alongside member’s ministry ideas/endeavors with financial support. If you have questions or would like to talk to someone about Local Mission Grants simply fill out a connect card and drop it in the basket. If you’re interested in leading a new local missions initiative you can find the application online, fill it out and send it to Stephen Brucker.


Branch Brunch is a time to get to know more about our church and ask questions. This class is also a requirement to become a member. Our next Branch Brunch is scheduled for Sunday, April 30th at 10:30 am. If you are interested in attending please email Josh Howeth.

Branch Internship

March 10, 2017 Davey Walker Branch Notes

As we prepare for another set of applications, interviews, and future interns, I reflect on the fact that it was only 3 years ago that I was the one filling out the application and eagerly awaiting my interview. I remember driving down to Corvallis during Spring Break to meet with Josh and Stephen over brunch at Broken Yoke. I left excited for the potential future…little did I know that after our meeting Josh said, “Yeah, that guy definitely isn’t going to come here.” Fast forward 3 years and now I have the privilege of leading the interns (I guess Josh was wrong). Our internship experience was transformational in my own life and I’m blessed to continue to see it transform the lives of those currently going through the internship.

The Branch Internship is an 11-month commitment. There are 3 different elements to the internship: Personal development, Direct Ministry, and Church Operations. A huge part of our program is about YOU. We want to give you adequate time to spend on personal/spiritual development. We want you to leave more in love with Jesus and more in touch with who you are in Christ and who he has made you to be. Direct ministry focuses on reaching the campus of OSU. It seems like a rather daunting task to reach the WHOLE campus of OSU, so we focus on specific people groups present at OSU. Whether that be Greek ministry, Freshman ministry, International ministry, or something else, we challenge you to create a ministry from the ground up that can be self-sustaining. Though going into the internship this is often the most terrifying aspect, by the end of the year they have found it to be the most joyful and gospel growing experience of their year. The last element of our internship has you play an integral part in the weekly rhythms and existence of the Branch. We give you a behind the scenes view of the functions of the church as well as ministries of the church. The beauty of being part of a smaller church is that your voice actually matters. You can speak things into existence and lead aspects of local and global missions, hospitality, community group, and worship. Your love and appreciation for the local church will flourish.

What I love about our internship is that it is about YOU. Our heart is for your growth, discipleship, and ministry. You are not simply hired help to get things done, but you are part of our intimate Branch staff family. I believe the unity and intimacy of our staff is enough reason to apply for our internship. I also love that our internship is not just for people who want to go into “full time ministry.” As I look at back on our interns we have interns who are in full time ministry, who are in the secular work force, who are active in missions globally, and who are faithfully serving in their local church. Regardless of your future vocational plans, I encourage you to take time to contemplate the Branch Internship. I can guarantee that you will be more equip and ready for wherever the next stage of life brings you.

If you are interested in more information about our internship, I would love to take you out to coffee and chat more in-depth. You can email me at davey@thebranchcorvallis.org. I would also challenge you to connect with one of our current interns to hear about their experience and what they have learned.

For more information: http://thebranchcorvallis.org/intern

 

Other News:

Ladies on Saturday, April 22, we are going to take an in depth look at what it looks like to stand firm in the Lord by taking up the whole armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-20. We will meet from 9:30am-12pm at the Branch offices (760 SW Madison Ave) for an incredible time worshiping together in word and spirit! Contact Victoria Renard for more information.


On Saturday May 6th, the men at the Branch are invited to a day of rafting down the Clackamas river, followed by dinner. The cost for the event is $70, which includes rafting and all meals. This is a good event to bring your friends (christian/non-Christians) and enjoy some adventure and fun. Sign up online and if you have any questions email Stephen.


Our Community Forum is for members of The Branch to come together, share a meal, hear about what’s going on in the life of our church and to dream and pray together about the future. Our next forum is on Sunday night, April 30th immediately following the Sunday worship gathering. Please mark your calendars for this very important night together. Every forum is important, but this forum will be extremely important as we will be sharing about various changes and sending opportunities we are going to be encountering this year. Please contact Josh with any questions you might have. (541-224-1476)


The Global Mission Pipeline is simple—it’s a training program to help equip and cement a foreign mission DNA within an individual. Within the program, you’ll read books, walk with a coach, write papers, and be exposed experientially to ministering cross-culturally. If you’d like more information please contact Stephen.


This year we are asking members of the Branch to apply for Local Mission Grants, which seek to come alongside member’s ministry ideas/endeavors with financial support. If you have questions or would like to talk to someone about Local Mission Grants simply fill out a connect card and drop it in the basket. If you’re interested in leading a new local missions initiative you can find the application online, fill it out and send it to Stephen Brucker.


Branch Brunch is a time to get to know more about our church and ask questions. This class is also a requirement to become a member. Our next Branch Brunch is scheduled for Sunday, April 30th at 10:30 am. If you are interested in attending please email Josh Howeth.

Engage Corvallis

March 3, 2017 Stephen Brucker Branch Notes, General

I can remember the first time I spent time in Corvallis. I was struck by this vibrant city, surrounded by rolling mountain peaks. Though the rain is getting a bit old and redundant, I keep reminding myself that spring is coming, alongside budding flowers and beautiful greenery. Corvallis is truly a beautiful city and we are truly lucky to live in a city and region such as this.

And though this city is beautiful and wonderful to live in, it is simultaneously broken. Corvallis is not exempt from the problems that plague most cities—though it does sometimes do a good job of hiding many of its warts. So as we engage this city, being in awe of the gospel, we are continually seeking to think through how to best serve, love, and give our lives because of God’s sacrifice for us.

It is with this in our view that I’d like to remind us all that next week we have the privilege of serving our beautiful community. Monday and Tuesday, March 6th and 7th, we will be engaging our city and Oregon State University students in various ways as a church. We are doing various things from giving away free coffee in the Quad, engaging people through spiritual surveys, playing soccer and sharing a meal with international students, doing church planting demographic research about 3rd spaces in our city and serving single parents in our community.

If you are interested in joining in any of these opportunities, or if you’d like to know more information, please contact Josh Howeth (541-224-1479). We have a mission team that week serving with us from our sister church in Tennessee. Come and serve alongside of us as we engage Corvallis together.

Thanks for your prayers and we’re excited to share the many stories of what God does as we engage our city with gospel enthusiasm.

 

Other News:

We have the opportunity to host a group from Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City! During their time here you can engage by joining us in prayer walking around Oregon State University and Downtown Corvallis on Friday, March 9 at 9:30am. We will also be hosting a worship night on Friday, March 10, at 7:00pm (5643 Oak Creek Drive, Corvallis) focused on desiring and enjoying God! We will get to to hear testimonies of moving from a place of duty to delight in The Lord.  If you have any questions please contact Victoria Renard.


Monday and Tuesday, March 6th and 7th, we will be engaging our city and Oregon State students in various ways as a church. We are doing various things from giving away free coffee in the Quad, engaging people through spiritual surveys, playing soccer and sharing a meal with international students, doing church planting demographic research about 3rd spaces in our city and serving single parents in our community. If you are interested in joining in any of these opportunities, or if you’d like to know more info, please contact Josh (541-224-1476). We have a mission team that week serving with us from our sister church in Tennessee. Come and serve alongside of us as we engage Corvallis together!


On Saturday May 6th, the men at the Branch are invited to a day of rafting down the Clackamas river, followed by dinner. The cost for the event is $70, which includes rafting and all meals. This is a good event to bring your friends (christian/non-Christians) and enjoy some adventure and fun. Sign up online and if you have any questions email Stephen.


Our Community Forum is for members of The Branch to come together, share a meal, hear about what’s going on in the life of our church and to dream and pray together about the future. Our next forum is on Sunday night, April 30th immediately following the Sunday worship gathering. Please mark your calendars for this very important night together. Every forum is important, but this forum will be extremely important as we will be sharing about various changes and sending opportunities we are going to be encountering this year. Please contact Josh with any questions you might have. (541-224-1476)


The Global Mission Pipeline is simple—it’s a training program to help equip and cement a foreign mission DNA within an individual. Within the program, you’ll read books, walk with a coach, write papers, and be exposed experientially to ministering cross-culturally. If you’d like more information please contact Stephen.


This year we are asking members of the Branch to apply for Local Mission Grants, which seek to come alongside member’s ministry ideas/endeavors with financial support. If you have questions or would like to talk to someone about Local Mission Grants simply fill out a connect card and drop it in the basket. If you’re interested in leading a new local missions initiative you can find the application online, fill it out and send it to Stephen Brucker.

What is a Healthy Church

February 23, 2017 Josh Howeth Branch Notes, General

If someone were to ask you, just like I am right now, what a healthy church looks like, how would you answer? What would you say?

I’m sure we would come up with many good things to say. A friendly church. A welcoming church. A growing church. A lively church that cares for one another and does good in the world. The list could go on.

I think if we were to be more honest with ourselves, we would come up with a list of things that wouldn’t necessarily be bad things, but definitely more preferential things. Answers that we know aren’t the right answers on a test, but answers that we more truthfully measure things by. We might answer with what sort of programs a church offers, how much we enjoy the music, is the preaching interesting and engaging, and does the church feel relevant or is it up to speed with culture?

Those aren’t necessarily bad things, but I fear if we assess what a healthy church is by those metrics, we can error into disaster. Worse yet, our churches could have the appearance of health, but it could simply be a facade. We could be like a man dying but trying to keep up the appearance of health, and we all know how futile that is in the end.

As a church, we have some pretty deep convictions about what a healthy church is, and how a healthy church functions. We are Word-shaped people, so we are committed to the preaching, teaching and submitting to God’s Word. We are Gospel people who continually desire to remember all that God has done for us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and to live differently in this world empowered by this message. We are a praying people because we realize that our lives are not dependent upon our own will and strength, but rest in the hands of our gracious and sovereign God. We believe the church is a committed family of regenerate Christ-followers and we deeply care about the witness that we offer to our city and the world about how glorious, holy, loving and gracious our savior Jesus is.

There are many other things I could say at this point, but my goal is not to provide an exhaustive list for us to memorize today. My hope is that we could prayerfully ask this question. And that we wouldn’t stop with the question, “What do I think a healthy church is?” But get to the place where we are asking, “What does Jesus, who is the Head of the Church, think a healthy church is?”

Our answer to this important question should not only shape how we function as a church, but how we function individually in our daily lives.

I strongly encourage you to continue to think through this question, and one great way to do that will be by considering to attend an upcoming conference that’s sole purpose is to not only ask this question but to give answers to it.

The conference will be held at Hinson Church in Portland and is only $65 dollars to attend. It is an all day event on Saturday, March 31st and runs until the following lunch time on Saturday, April 1st. There are some great speakers and some great panel discussions. Please consider attending, and if anything you’ll gain a greater understanding as to some of the convictions that our church has on what contributes to health in a church.

Follow this link for more info: https://9marks.org/event/2017/03/9marks-conference-northwest/

 

Other News:

There will be a meeting for all Twigs volunteers on Sunday, February 26th at 3:30 pm at The River Center. Families only need to send one representative to the meeting. Contact Christina Law for more information.


Branch Brunch is a time to get to know more about our church and ask questions. This class is also a requirement to become a member. Our next Branch Brunch is scheduled for Sunday, February 26th at 10:30 am. Email Josh Howeth if you plan on attending.


We have the opportunity to host a group from Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City! During their time here you can engage by joining us in prayer walking around Oregon State University and Downtown Corvallis on Friday, March 9 at 9:30am. We will also be hosting a worship night on Friday, March 10, at 7:00pm (5643 Oak Creek Drive, Corvallis) focused on desiring and enjoying God! We will get to to hear testimonies of moving from a place of duty to delight in The Lord.  If you have any questions please contact Victoria Renard.


Monday and Tuesday, March 6th and 7th, we will be engaging our city and Oregon State students in various ways as a church. We are doing various things from giving away free coffee in the Quad, engaging people through spiritual surveys, playing soccer and sharing a meal with international students, doing church planting demographic research about 3rd spaces in our city and serving single parents in our community. If you are interested in joining in any of these opportunities, or if you’d like to know more info, please contact Josh (541-224-1476). We have a mission team that week serving with us from our sister church in Tennessee. Come and serve alongside of us as we engage Corvallis together!


The Branch Men’s Retreat is coming up April 21-23. Put it on your calendar now so you don’t miss out on all of the dangerous and manly things Stephen has planned.


Our Community Forum is for members of The Branch to come together, share a meal, hear about what’s going on in the life of our church and to dream and pray together about the future. Our next forum is on Sunday night, April 30th immediately following the Sunday worship gathering. Please mark your calendars for this very important night together. Every forum is important, but this forum will be extremely important as we will be sharing about various changes and sending opportunities we are going to be encountering this year. Please contact Josh with any questions you might have. (541-224-1476)


The Global Mission Pipeline is simple—it’s a training program to help equip and cement a foreign mission DNA within an individual. Within the program, you’ll read books, walk with a coach, write papers, and be exposed experientially to ministering cross-culturally. If you’d like more information please contact Stephen.


This year we are asking members of the Branch to apply for Local Mission Grants, which seek to come alongside member’s ministry ideas/endeavors with financial support. If you have questions or would like to talk to someone about Local Mission Grants simply fill out a connect card and drop it in the basket. If you’re interested in leading a new local missions initiative you can find the application online, fill it out and send it to Stephen Brucker.