Category: Branch Notes

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.

 

Freshmen

February 10, 2017 Julia Campbell Branch Notes, General

It was the first week of staff orientation when we were told our ministries for the year. I was nervous, hoping it was something I would be passionate about. I was handed a plain piece of paper with the words FRESHMEN printed in big bold letters.

I clearly remember being filled with excitement! My thoughts raced to brainstorm what it would look like to minister to this specific group of people. I had excitement and expectancy of what freshman ministry, specifically in the dorms, could look like. Things changed when it became time to actively pursue that dream.

Fear paralyzed my actions. Fear of looking like an idiot. Fear of not being liked. And fear of failing. Months went by without any progress. There was even a point where I hoped I would somehow get out of doing it. One day I was journaling, processing my thoughts, and being completely honest with the Lord about how I felt. I realized that all my fear was rooted in myself – me, me, me. I was walking in fear, not the hope I have in Jesus Christ who is sovereign over all. “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” I started praying about freshman ministry more, asking the Lord show me how He wanted to use me and share His desires for what this ministry should look like.

It wasn’t long till I began dreaming of starting a Bible Study in the dorms. I yearned for a place where non-believing freshman could come and experience the gospel, where girls could find community in a dark and often lonely environment, and learn what it means to be a woman after God’s own heart.

The Lord is so faithful! He not only gave me those desires, but provided the people and the place to make it all happen. He did, not me. By the first week of Winter Term, the Lord provided the perfect meeting place close to campus and three believing freshman girls (all who live in different dorms and have different circle of friends) to join in! This week is our fourth time meeting. In total there are six girls who come regularly! I’m blown away by the Lord’s faithfulness in bringing all of this together despite my fears. The Lord had a plan the whole time. And I’m having so much fun being used by Him in this way!

 

Other News:

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. If you are interested in attending please email Josh Howeth.


Do you want your prayer life to grow and flourish? Do you want to have a better understanding of prayer and or even how to pray? Join us Thursday mornings from 9:30-10:30 am at 224 NW 26th St, Corvallis (Sigma Phi Epsilon) as we pursue growing in our relationship with God through our prayer lives’. Together we’ll discuss the topics of adoration, petition, intercession, perseverance, listening and warfare. Each week will consist of training, discussion, and implementation. Contact Davey Walker for more information.


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.


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. The purpose of Local Mission Grants is to seek and mobilize people at the Branch toward a unified local mission project and goal. If you’re interested in leading a new local missions initiative, fill out the application and send it to Stephen Brucker.


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 Brucker.

Day of Prayer

January 26, 2017 Victoria Renard Branch Notes, General

This week as a community we have committed to praying and fasting for revival. Community groups, families and friends have gathered together to ask our Heavenly Father to stir our affections for him above all else and for our families, friends and the nations to come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior.

As this week comes to a close we are thrilled to be hosting a day of prayer to continue our corporate declaration that The Lord is our ultimate satisfaction. On Saturday, from 9am-5pm the Branch offices will be open for us to walk through prayers of adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication.

We would love it if you would prayerfully consider committing to participate in this day of prayer. It is our hope to have at least 4-5 people praying at all times during the day! This is a come and go event, that can be done at your own speed. Signing up is not required to attend, but if committing to a specific time will encourage you to come you can commit here.

We can’t wait to see how hearts are changed as we come together to sit at the feet of our Heavenly Father and ask boldly for His name and power to be made known.

 

Other News:

Our week of prayer and fasting will conclude this Sunday with Third Meal following our worship gathering. Please bring a dish featuring either a Soup, Salad, or Sandwich. This will be a great time to reflect about your week and share your prayers with each other.


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. If you are interested in attending please email Josh Howeth.


Do you want your prayer life to grow and flourish? Do you want to have a better understanding of prayer and or even how to pray? Join us Thursday mornings from 9:30-10:30 am at 224 NW 26th St, Corvallis (Sigma Phi Epsilon) as we pursue growing in our relationship with God through our prayer lives’. Together we’ll discuss the topics of adoration, petition, intercession, perseverance, listening and warfare. Each week will consist of training, discussion, and implementation. Contact Davey Walker for more information.


Register today to save your spot for the upcoming Branch’s Women’s Retreat on February 3-5. Ladies you don’t want to miss this weekend filled with worship, friendship, relaxation and fun! We only have space for 25 ladies to participate in this incredible cabin getaway. The $80 registration can be paid online, with cash, or check. Contact Victoria or Julia for more information.


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.

Prayer & Fasting

January 20, 2017 Davey Walker Branch Notes, General

In the beginning God said,

“Let us make man in our own image.

We give you dominion over all things.

Commune with us all your days.”

Humanity’s response,

“We want more.”

We hunger for more. Our cravings for more became our demise.

What was once humanity’s dominion has become humanity’s deity.

 

Our appetites dictate the direction of our lives,

Be it the cravings of our stomach,

Our unquenchable yearning for possessions, power, popularity,

Or our longing for the Spirit of God,

Our appetites expose the desires of our heart.

C.S. Lewis once said, ““It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

We have turned our cravings from Creator to created. We have abandoned a holiday at the sea to indulge in mud pies…from fullness and satisfaction in God to the alluring facades of society. We negate the Bread of Life to indulge in the ever-fleeting pleasures of the world. God is calling us to a holiday at the sea…to have our appetites awakened to His pleasure and His fullness.

For when God is the supreme hunger of your heart, He will be supreme in everything. And when you are most satisfied in Him, He will be most glorified in you.

We desire to set our gaze once more upon the riches of our communion with God, feasting on the person and work of God, to satisfy our souls and gladdened our lives.

IMAGINE…What could happen if college students, stay-at-home-moms, people in the work force, united together as the body of Christ to commit to prayer and fasting for the city of Corvallis, for the United States, for the World.

 

Other News:

Our week of prayer and fasting will conclude with 3rd Meal following the service Jan. 29. Please bring a dish featuring either a Soup, Salad, or Sandwich. This will be a great time to reflect about your week and share your prayers with each other.


Branch Brunch has been rescheduled from Sunday, January 22nd to Sunday, February 26th at 10:30 am. If you are interested in attending  on the 26th please email Josh Howeth.


Do you want your prayer life to grow and flourish? Do you want to have a better understanding of prayer and or even how to pray? Join us Thursday mornings as we pursue growing in our relationship with God through our prayer lives’. We will spend 8 weeks together discussing the topics of adoration, petition, intercession, perseverance, listening and warfare. Each week will consist of training, discussion, and implementation. We will begin meeting Thursday, January 19th at 9:30am at 224 NW 26th St, Corvallis (Sigma Phi Epsilon). The trainings will be around one-hour long. Contact Davey Walker for more information.


Register today to save your spot for the upcoming Branch’s Women’s Retreat on February 3-5. Ladies you don’t want to miss this weekend filled with worship, friendship, relaxation and fun! We only have space for 26 ladies to participate in this incredible cabin getaway. The $80 registration can be paid online, with cash, or check. Contact Victoria or Julia for more information.


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.

From Duty to Desire

January 12, 2017 Victoria Renard Branch Notes

My Freshman year of college, The Lord dropped me (yes, I literally fell) into a community of students crazy for Jesus. It didn’t take long spending time with them to realize there was something radically different about their lives. One night I looked at my phone and one upper classman who had taken me under her wing texted and invited me to come pray with a group of students over the campus.

Why not? I didn’t have anything better to do for the next hour. I ran outside and met up with the group. As people started to gather I could feel the excitement building. An upper classman spoke up to address the group and said, “Thank you for joining us for a night of prayer! We can’t wait to see what The Lord will do in in the next 12 hours of prayer…” Everything was a blur after that as my mind started to go in circles. How in the world can we pray for 12 hours? I was lucky to sit and pray for 10-15 minutes before running out of things to say, and honestly it wasn’t very exciting. But I was already there, in the middle of a packed room, leaving now really wasn’t an option.

As I begrudgingly sat and listened to others pray outloud I was amazed. There was something different about the way they spoke. It was as if they were speaking to someone they knew deeply, someone they loved and cherished. Their words were oozing with life, passion and expectancy of the Holy Spirit moving mightily. Their passionate prayers and lives starkly contrasted to  my dull times of prayer. As the night progressed I was convicted that I had let prayer become a duty rather than a delight. Instead of coming to talk to my Heavenly Father, I had let the time I spent with Him simply become something to check of the list. My spiritual life was dead, because I had let my communication with God be lifeless.

That night I silently repented and prayed, “God I want to know you like this.”

If we are all honest about the number of times we have approached prayer and our time in The Word as an opportunity to encounter the living God, I’d reckon it is a lot less than we’d like to admit. Prayer is hard! One of my favorite theologians, Sam Storms always says, “The easiest thing about praying is quitting!” First of all, and most obviously, we are talking to someone we can’t see. On top of that we encounter so many distractions and have way too many things on our schedule that it seems impossible to fit everything into the time you have already. Also I’d be naive to leave out that many of us have been disappointed and hurt by circumstances in the past when we felt our prayers weren’t answered.

Whether you feel like you have a rocking prayer life, or feel like you are in a dry season, I’d like to invite you to take another step in deepening your relationship with our Heavenly Father through prayer. Every Thursday, beginning January 19, we will be gathering weekly to learn about prayer by diving into The Word, and talking to God together!

I cannot wait to see how our lives, and the lives of those around us are transformed as we sit at the feet of our living God to listen, share and learn to love!

 

Other News:

Please join us January 22-29 as we spend a week in prayer and fasting as a community. Elements of Prayer and Fasting Week include a fasting booklet, Wednesday night prayer and worship at Odd Fellows Hall (223 SW 2nd St, Corvallis OR, 97333) with Doxology at 6 pm (childcare provided) and a drop-in prayer time at the auditorium in our office building (760 SW Madison, Corvallis OR 97333) from 9am-5 pm on Saturday 28th.


Our week of prayer and fasting will conclude with 3rd Meal following the service Jan. 29. Please bring a dish featuring either a Soup, Salad, or Sandwich. This will be a great time to reflect about your week and share your prayers with each other.


Do you want your prayer life to grow and flourish? Do you want to have a better understanding of prayer and or even how to pray? Join us Thursday mornings as we pursue growing in our relationship with God through our prayer lives’. We will spend 8 weeks together discussing the topics of adoration, petition, intercession, perseverance, listening and warfare. Each week will consist of training, discussion, and implementation. We will begin meeting Thursday, January 19th at 9:30am at 224 NW 26th St, Corvallis (Sigma Phi Epsilon). The trainings will be around one-hour long. Contact Davey Walker for more information.


Register today to save your spot for the upcoming Branch’s Women’s Retreat on February 3-5. Ladies you don’t want to miss this weekend filled with worship, friendship, relaxation and fun! We only have space for 26 ladies to participate in this incredible cabin getaway. The $80 registration can be paid online, with cash, or check. For those of you that have already tried to RSVP online for the retreat but were told that it is full, we have fixed the website error.


Branch Brunch is a great place to ask questions and hear about the purpose and values of our faith community. Our next Branch Brunch will be held on Sunday, January 22nd at 10:30 am. This Brunch is necessary if you are interested in becoming a member. If you are interested in attending contact Josh Howeth to RSVP.


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. The purpose of Local Mission Grants is to seek and mobilize people at the Branch toward a unified local mission project and goal. Applications can be found online.  If you’re interested in leading a new local missions initiative, please read application, fill it out and send to Stephen@thebranchcorvallis.org.

Mission’s Weekend

January 5, 2017 Stephen Brucker Branch Notes, General

This Sunday, January 8, is Mission’s Weekend. Every year we take some time out of our usual sermon series and address the topic of missions. This Sunday we are going to talk about God’s heart for the nations as well as hear from a missionary who we’ve partnered with in England. This should be a wonderful time to learn more about God’s wonderful heart for each tribe, tongue, and nation, as well as an opportunity to get to hear some real life stories from the frontline of the mission field.

Moreover, this Sunday we will begin a new ministry at the Branch called the Global Mission Pipeline. 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.

This Pipeline is for anyone who wants to learn more about foreign missions in the context of the local church. So if you are considering moving overseas as a missionary, this Pipeline is for you. If you desire to learn more about foreign missions in general, this Pipeline is for you. And if you feel called by God to be a missionary overseas and want to partner with the Branch in ministry, then this Pipeline is for you.

Finally, following the service you are all invited to some hands on missions training regarding ministry in cross-culture settings in the fellowship hall. Pizza will be provided for dinner for all who attend.

 

Other News:

Each year we spend some intentional time praying for and thinking about God’s heart for all the nations of the world. On Sunday January 8, During our Global Missions Weekend, we have the opportunity to hear from one of our partner missionaries, alongside some hands-on ministry training after the service at the Branch office with dinner. Please RSVP for the training at Stephen@thebranchcorvallis.org.


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. The purpose of Local Mission Grants is to seek and mobilize people at the Branch toward a unified local mission project and goal. Applications can be found online.  If you’re interested in leading a new local missions initiative, please read application, fill it out and send to Stephen@thebranchcorvallis.org.


Our week of prayer and fasting will conclude with 3rd Meal following the service Jan. 29. Please bring a dish featuring either a Soup, Salad, or Sandwich. This will be a great time to reflect about your week and share your prayers with each other.


Please join us January 22-29 as we spend a week in prayer and fasting as a community. Elements of Prayer and Fasting Week include a fasting booklet, Wednesday night prayer/worship at Odd Fellows Hall (223 SW 2nd St, Corvallis OR, 97333) with Doxology at 6 pm (childcare provided) and a drop-in prayer time at the auditorium in our office building (760 SW Madison, Corvallis OR 97333) from 9am-5 pm on Saturday 28th.


Register today to save your spot for the upcoming Branch’s Women’s Retreat on February 3-5. Ladies you don’t want to miss this weekend filled with worship, friendship, relaxation and fun! We only have space for 26 ladies to participate in this incredible cabin getaway. The $80 registration can be paid online, with cash, or check.


Branch Brunch is a great place to ask questions and hear about the purpose and values of our faith community. Our next Branch Brunch will be held on Sunday, January 22nd at 10:30 am. This Brunch is necessary if you are interested in becoming a member. If you are interested in attending contact Josh Howeth to RSVP.

What is Christmas?

December 22, 2016 Stephen Brucker Branch Notes

My kids keep asking about Christmas. I’m not sure they understand the gravity of the incarnation of God in Christ. Honestly, I’m not sure I do either. So for those who are prone to get swept away in the commercialization of Christians, this poem is for you.

So what is Christmas?

Is it about family, about reunions, turkey thighs and relational highs, and prolonged goodbyes? Is it about values, festivals, rituals rooted in the past, chucked, and cast, forgotten at last? Is it about red bows and tinseled rows, polka dots, and unending knots?  Is it about giving, about living, about love, or Sleigh bells above? Is it about trees and holly leaves, chestnuts roasting, and mistletoe boasting? Is it a lie, a hoax, that many folks, try to coax, there little eager hypes into obedient types? Is it magic, filled with Santa Clause, and Rudolf paws, naughty and nice, as we hide our vice?  Or is it warm fuzzy feelings, nostalgic winter healings, traditional pew kneelings, or white elephant stealings?

Truthfully, the Christmas season is about a Son, about Angels who were stunned, singing glory to God—peace on earth, for the virgin has given birth. And what humility fashioned that boy, lying in a manger with not one toy, conceived immaculately, God and man incarnate mystery. And people did come, for he was a king and so distant royalty did sing, as they worshipped and knelt, their hearts did melt, as they touched and felt, and gifts they dealt. For this son would not grow old, in his youth he was quite bold, for a few silver pieces he would be sold, though no person could hold, his life was his to fold, for he was God in perfect mold. And though at Christmas he is but a child, on Calvary’s hill a verdict was filed, and the sins of the world did accumulate and pile, as he crushed the cursed wild, drinking the poisonous vile.

You see this is not merely a tall tale, a mere fable in the night, but a story with tension and fight, a story about a Hero who gave up his right, giving the blind back their sight, as the darkness flees by way of the light. Christmas is about sinners saved, because of the Son who obeyed. It’s about guilt pardoned and peace instilled—it’s about hope fulfilled because the Son was killed. It’s about our longings finding their home, the ultimate stanza in our cluttered poem, and the ending to our needless roam. Christmas is good news, and not something we should abuse, for this season is not about us, can we just give up our narcissistic fuss. For this season is about Immanuel—for God came, remembering this our ultimate aim, children of this story we claim, generation to generation we proclaim, in hopes that strangers would one day reclaim…

The message of Christmas is this: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost, and as such we give him our utmost.

Christmas is a season filled with joy, but ultimately because it points to the Divine boy, who was born to die, and died to be reborn.

Merry Christmas,

Stephen

 

Other News:

Advent is the season before Christmas culminating in the celebration of Christ’s birth. Yet, sometimes the meaning and power of Christmas gets lost in the shuffle. Therefore, this Advent we at the Branch are going to seek to spend less on Christmas, so that we can give more away. All donations given to the Branch for Advent Conspiracy are going toward a non-profit serving our Foster Care system in Linn-Benton.


Join us for a 5PM joint Christmas Eve gathering with Hub City and Doxology. We will be celebrating the birth of our Savior at Hub City’s building at 121 SE Lyon St. in downtown Albany. Childcare will be provided.


We will not be having our regular Sunday service on December, 25th. Take this time to enjoy your family and friends on Christmas Day. We will see everyone again on January 1st.


Ladies! Save the date for the Branch’s Women’s Retreat on February 3-5, 2017. The cost is $80 and you can pay online, with cash or check. Stay tuned for more information!

Jesus, The Given One

December 2, 2016 Josh Howeth Branch Notes

“Unto us a Son is given.”

Those words in Isaiah 9 seem to get me every year. It’s such a powerful thought that Jesus wasn’t just born into the world, he was given to the world. Meaning that God opened his hands, so-to-speak, and gave to the world the most precious of all things that He possesses…Himself.

Advent is a time of year where we celebrate that God kept His promise and sent a Rescuer into His world to redeem people for Himself. It’s also a time where we anticipate His coming again, fully and finally to make all things new.

You see, we had devastating needs, namely our need of forgiveness and reconciliation to our Creator. We had no hope to meet those needs with our own or the world’s resources. But God, the only One with the resources, generously gave Jesus to meet our needs.

It’s this gospel story that shapes us into generous people who seek now to meet other’s needs with the fervent praying and hoping that God would meet their deepest need of salvation.

This is why we as a church family are seeking to worship fully, spend less, give more and love all this season of Christmas. We, as well as many other churches across this world call this Advent Conspiracy. I’d love it if you learned more about what we are trying to do as a church this Christmas by visiting our Advent Conspiracy page: http://thebranchcorvallis.org/adventconspiracy

Please slow down this month and spend time reflecting on what God has done for you by giving you Jesus. He gave Jesus to you!

It’s my prayer that as we consider that, we will be shaped by it and therefore consider giving generously this month through Advent Conspiracy so that we can meet real, hurting people’s needs. And all the while we will pray and hope that through our giving and presence He will meet their deepest need. That they will know that Jesus was given to the world for them too.

 

Other Branch News:

Hey ladies! Join us today at 2 pm in The Branch Office (760 SW Madison Ave, Suite 11) for an afternoon of fun, tea & treats. This will be a great opportunity to relax, meet other women in all stages of life at The Branch and lift each other up in prayer. Contact Victoria Renard if you plan to attend, or if you have any questions.


Advent is the season before Christmas culminating in the celebration of Christ’s birth. Yet, sometimes the meaning and power of Christmas gets lost in the shuffle. Therefore, this Advent we at the Branch are going to seek to spend less on Christmas, so that we can give more away. All donations given to the Branch for Advent Conspiracy are going toward a non-profit serving our Foster Care system in Linn-Benton.


Sunday, December 11th. Come ready to hear our adorable kids sing Christmas songs to celebrate Jesus’ birth.


Ladies! Save the date for the Branch’s Women’s Retreat on February 3-5, 2017. Stay tuned for more information!

Thanksgiving

November 23, 2016 Stephen Brucker Branch Notes

 

This week is Thanksgiving.

We’re told to be thankful, many times sharing our blessings around a table, while stuffing our mouths with turkey and mash potatoes. I’ve been thinking lately about my responses I’ve historically given. I’ve spoken of good health, of my wife/children, and even lately about ministry. Those are definitely things I’m thankful for, but should I be thankful for something deeper and more profound?

My daughter came home from school with a paper hat she explained made her a pilgrim. At first I thought I might correct her. But then I realized that she was right. All Christians are pilgrims. We’re all on a spiritual journey toward it’s fulfillment in Christ. And on that journey God grants us with all sorts of things to be thankful for. Some are earthly and others spiritual, but all of them find their source in God sending his Son to save sinners, transforming them daily into His imagine.

This year I think as we go around the table, mouth full of turkey, I’ll share that I’m thankful that God has made me a pilgrim, all because of the Gospel.

I hope you all have a wonderful thanksgiving, filled with laughter, joy, stomach-aches, and thankful hearts at the God who loved us so much he sent his Son as a substitute for sinners.

 

Other News:

Ladies, join us on Saturday, December 3rd from 2-4pm at the Branch office (760 SW Madison Ave, Suite 11) for an afternoon of Tea & Treats. This will be a great opportunity to relax, meet other women in all stages of life at The Branch and lift each other up in prayer. Contact Victoria Renard if you plan to attend, or if you have any questions.


Advent is the season before Christmas culminating in the celebration of Christ’s birth. Yet, sometimes the meaning and power of Christmas gets lost in the shuffle. Therefore, this Advent we at the Branch are going to seek to spend less on Christmas, so that we can give more away. All donations given to the Branch for Advent Conspiracy are going toward a non-profit serving our Foster Care system in Linn-Benton. Type “Advent” in the Other field when giving online or include a note with your offering if using the baskets on Sunday. Contact Stephen Brucker for more information.


Our Twigs program will be performing for us on Sunday, December 11th at the beginning of our normal Sunday service. Come ready to hear our amazing kids sing Christmas songs to celebrate Jesus’ birth.


This summer we’ll be sending two mission teams overseas (East Asia & Haiti) You can find an application online or grab an one at the Connect Table on Sunday. The cost will be around $3,000 and the deadline to apply is December 19th. Contact Stephen for more information.


In addition to our Sunday offering baskets, The Branch offers safe and secure online giving. Use this tool to give to international missions, support one of our interns, give your one-time tithe or even set-up a recurring tithe. Use our website or download our App on iTunes or Google Play.


Don’t forget! All of our sermons are available right here on the blog and on iTunes.

Dinner Party: All Nations Welcome

November 11, 2016 The Branch Branch Notes

On November 23rd, the day before Thanksgiving, at Varsity House, we will be hosting our 4th annual International Thanksgiving Dinner. We host this event every year as a church; we gather food, volunteers, and decorations to throw a huge thanksgiving celebration for international students.

Students from all over the world come and experience an American tradition which they have likely never been a part of before. They get to feel the hospitality of the family of God and receive the love and friendship of Jesus through us, His own people. This meal has been a landmark experience for me in the church, and has defined a season of thanksgiving, generosity, and community in my life year after year.

These students come from nations where the Gospel is rarely spoken of. Many come from Saudi Arabia or China, most likely grew up in families where Jesus was not worshipped, and often have never had a conversation with a follower of Jesus. They come from communities without christians, and thus are without Christ. These are some the unreached people from the nations Jesus spoke of when he said “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations” (Matt 24:14)
Have you ever considered your role in Christ’s call to preach the gospel to every nation? Does it seem daunting, overwhelming, out of reach? Here is an opportunity to bring the Gospel to the unreached people of the world, no plane ticket needed, no new language to learn. The nations are at your doorstep, and they want to have a meal with you. Will you join the dinner party?

– Ways to Serve –

  1. Volunteer for setup / tear down / serving at the meal. We are always in need of people to come a couple hours early to help put up decorations, make food, and arrange chairs and tables. We invite you to act as a server during the meal, bringing out food and keeping tables loaded with thanksgiving dishes. Tear down has been a great experience every year; so we also invite you to stay after the meal to help clean floors, wash dishes, and dance the night away (dancing optional).
  2. Volunteer to spread the word to international students. We gather in teams of 2-6 in the weeks prior to the meal to hand out invitations, meet international students, and put up flyers. Send Sarah or I an email for details and come help spread the word!
  3. Volunteer to cook a component of the thanksgiving meal. Whether you can cook a turkey, buy a pack of rolls, or mash potatoes, we are in need of volunteers who can contribute to the meal and help make the dinner itself a delicious success. Contact Sarah for what foods are needed and sign up to bring a dish for a traditional thanksgiving dinner.
  4. Come, make a friend, and share the Gospel! Come to the dinner, sit at a table, meet the international students around you, and share with those you meet the hope you have in Jesus. All are welcome to the event!

– Ways to Pray –

  1. Pray for provision in food, volunteers, and seats. It is always hard to know how many will show up to the dinner. Last year we had nearly 200 come to the meal, so please pray that we will have enough servers, food, and table settings to accommodate the number of people God brings to us that evening.
  2. Pray for Gospel centered conversations and friendships. Each year the dinner tables are filled with gospel conversations, and friendships often blossom from these long talks over a meal. Pray that many international students come to faith in Christ and into a meaningful relationship with a follower of Jesus.

Can’t wait to have dinner with you all!

 

Other News:

The Members’ Forum on November 20th from 6:30-7:30 pm is for members of the Branch to come together and hear about where we’ve been and where we are headed, make decisions as a church, welcome new members, and share a meal together. Childcare is also provided for our families. If you are a member, this is a very important time for us to spend together, we hope you will make being there a priority.


Hey ladies! Join us December 3rd, from 2-4 pm for an afternoon of fun, tea & treats. This will be a great opportunity to relax, meet other women in all stages of life at The Branch and lift each other up in prayer. Contact Victoria Renard if you plan to attend, or if you have any questions.


This summer we’ll be sending two mission teams overseas (East Asia & Haiti) You can find an application online or grab an one at the Connect Table on Sunday. The cost will be around $3,000 and the deadline to apply is December 19th. Contact Stephen for more information.


In addition to our Sunday offering baskets, The Branch offers safe and secure online giving. Use this tool to give to international missions, support one of our interns, give your one-time tithe or even set-up a recurring tithe. Use our website or download our App on iTunes or Google Play.


Even though you might be home for the holidays enjoying Grandma’s pumpkin pie, you don’t have to miss a sermon. All of our sermons are available right here on the blog and on iTunes.

Preparing for the Members Forum

November 3, 2016 Josh Howeth Branch Notes, General

Our bi-annual Member’s Forum is coming up on Sunday, November 20th. The Forum will start at 6:30PM and dinner and childcare will be provided. If you are a member, these times together are so important for us as a church community. I really hope you will make it a priority to stay after and participate that Sunday evening.

I’d like to share some of the things that we will be talking about that night so that you can be prepared:

  1. We will be receiving elder recommendations from you. It’s our desire that we will have another elder as a part of our elder team by next fall. We want to hear from you regarding which men you’ve experienced a godly example from, someone who comes to your mind when you read 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9, and someone who you’d submit to as a leader in our church family.
  2. We will be sharing four different cities that we are praying about planting a future church in. Our church planting cohort has done some great work and has presented to our elder team four different cities that we want to begin to pray more seriously about planting in. It’s always been our communicated vision as a church that we would be a sending church who plants other churches, rather than seeking to simply grow as an individual church.
  3. We will be talking about Advent Conspiracy for this coming season of Advent. We have a non-profit we are beginning to work with that serves the Foster Care system. She will be coming to share about their ministry in our worship gathering in late November. We are excited about the work they do and want to heavily support them and be involved.
  4. We will be sharing our three goals for the year as a church. Every year our elders assess, pray and dream about the upcoming year. We have three specific ways that we are seeking to lead the church into greater health. It’s important that we each embrace them, in order that they become a reality.
  5. We will be rolling out and sharing our new Local Engagement Strategy as well as a Global missions pipeline. These two things will radically be changing the way we engage our city as well as equip, train, and send people to foreign fields of work.
  6. We will as always be sharing where we are at financially as a church. We want to give you the opportunity to look at and speak into the budget.
  7. We will also be announcing new church members.

Josh Howeth

 

Other Branch News:

The International Thanksgiving Dinner will be here soon. Every year we invite international students to experience a traditional American Thanksgiving meal. We need individuals and families to prepare food dishes in the days leading up to this event. Contact Trevor or Sarah for more information.


Hey ladies! Join us December 3rd, from 2-4 pm for an afternoon of fun, tea & treats. This will be a great opportunity to relax, meet other women in all stages of life at The Branch and lift each other up in prayer. Contact Victoria Renard if you plan to attend, or if you have any questions.

 

His Strength In My Weakness

October 28, 2016 Julia Campbell Branch Notes, General

Before starting this internship, I had a pretty naive idea of what ministry as a job looked and felt like. What could be better than devoting the majority of my day to sharing the Gospel, spending time with the Lord, and encouraging people in their faith? Nothing is better and more fulfilling than that, yes. But ministry is also very draining, messy, and humbling.

Every day I get to tell people about Jesus and encourage them in their walk with the Lord. While this is encouraging for myself in many ways, what I didn’t realize was that I would spend hours each day listening to people talk about their disappointments and struggles. Some of those people without the hope of Jesus Christ as their Savior. I didn’t realize that those conversations could take away so much of my energy. Before I discovered I had a limit to how many people I could effectively meet with in a day, I often thought and acted in the flesh rather than in the spirit during conversations. I was too drained from previous conversations, earlier in the day, to be fully present with those I met with next. I tried to do it all in my own strength rather through the Lord’s, which is when it became draining.

I also didn’t realize ministry could be so messy. How could it be when you’re working alongside the Body of Christ? If you think about it though, ministry is people working together. As people, we are sinful and broken so therefore working with each other is difficult at times. We all experience moments of defeat, we have miscommunications, or fail to see eye-to-eye on things. It isn’t always rainbows and sunshine.

The aspect of ministry that has effected me the most since starting this internship is humility. Without a doubt, this has been some of the most emotional months of my life. I am constantly humbled through the Lord revealing my sins to me. Someone close to me gave me insight into why this specific season of my life was leading me to uncover my sins. They pointed out that because of this internship, I’ve been spending more time with God, thinking about Him, reading His word, and actively living for Him. Awareness of my own brokenness is overwhelmingly enhanced because I’m daily reminded of my need for God.

With all these new discoveries about the hardships that come with ministry, I’ve learned so much about the God we serve and His faithfulness to those who love Him.  I tried to do things on my own – thinking that taking a break or allowing the Lord to help would be a sign of weakness. But it turns out that I AM WEAK. I can’t do it all on my own. Praise the Lord for his continuous grace, and his strength beyond anything I’ve ever felt before. Jesus is the reason I can do ministry every day. I’ve seen the importance of mini-retreats with the Lord, reflecting on my weakness, and being humbled by His strength. I’ve also learned to extend more grace and love to those that I work with. Oh how great and good is the God we worship for showing me all these things.

In closing, I want to share something my mom told me awhile back that I’ll never forget. She said, “Lately I’ve been praying, ‘Lord, reveal my sin to me so that I have no choice but to run to the cross.’” That’s a profound prayer to pray because the Lord will answer it if you ask Him to! As your sin is revealed to you, you’ll humble yourself before the Lord and discover that God’s grace and love for you is larger than you’ve ever known before. Even though ministry is draining (when done in your own strength rather than through God’s), messy, and humbling, it’s more than worth it because I get to be a part of growing God’s Kingdom and learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

 

Other News:

Branch Brunch is a great place to ask questions and hear about the purpose and values of our faith community. Our next Branch Brunch will be held on Sunday, October 30th at 10:30 am. This Brunch is
necessary if you are interested in becoming a member. If you are interested in attending contact Josh Howeth to RSVP.


The Members Forum is a time for members of The Branch to come together and hear about where we’ve been and where we are headed, make decisions as a church, welcome new members and share a meal together. If you are a member of The Branch please make plans to attend on Sunday, November 20th from 6:30-7:30 pm (immediately following our Sunday gathering.) Childcare is also provided for our families.


Calling all College Students! We have got the first ever Young Life Fall Getaway just for COLLEGE STUDENTS! Our College Getaway is November 4-6 and is only $99. We are joining up with other colleges all throughout the northwest to have the best weekend of the year. There will be OVER 500 college students there. Take a break away from the chaos of school and get away to Washington Family Ranch for an amazing weekend of community, games, teachings, and personal introspection. You will not want to miss it. Contact Davey Walker if you have any questions.


The International Thanksgiving Dinner will be here soon. Every year we invite international students to experience a traditional American Thanksgiving meal. We need individuals and families to prepare food dishes in the days leading up to this event. Contact Trevor or Sarah for more information.


Hey ladies! Join us December 3rd, from 2-4 pm for an afternoon of fun, tea & treats. This will be a great opportunity to relax, meet other women in all stages of life at The Branch and lift each other up in prayer. Contact Victoria Renard if you plan to attend, or if you have any questions.

Calling All College Students

October 20, 2016 Davey Walker Branch Notes

I want to share about something sweet that is on the horizons in my world. As many of you know, I also work for College Young Life at OSU. Young Life has been an awesome opportunity to get to share Jesus with students that you do not often find in the pews or seats of churches on Sunday. Many students have also used Young Life as a tool to have conversations about Jesus with their peers. It has been such a blessing to see people come into relationship with our Lord and Savior.

This fall we have a College Young Life first, Fall Camp. November 4-6 we are headed over to Washington Family Ranch for our college getaway. Camp will have the same feel of summer camp crammed into a weekend. Even better, it will not only be OSU out there but we will have over 500 college students through the pacific northwest including UW, UO, WOU, and PSU. I am stoked for this weekend because everyone there is going to get to hear the gospel. I encourage students to use this weekend as an opportunity to have your friends hear the gospel. We all have friends that we want to know Jesus but know will never come to church with us on Sunday. This is a great weekend to hopefully bridge that gap as they get to hear about Jesus in a setting that is much more comfortable for them.

I whole heartedly believe God is going to do big things this weekend. He is going to change lives and bring people into relationship with him. Students of OSU are going to be changed as they come face to face with Jesus.

I want all the students of the Branch to consider spending a weekend out at the ranch with their friends as the gospel is proclaimed clearly. If you have never been out to experience the beauty of Washington Family Ranch, there is extra incentive to come because there is no other camp like it. And if you are not in college, please lift up this weekend in prayer. The gospel is going to be proclaimed to over 500 college students throughout the northwest. Pray that students come to know Jesus and the overall spiritual climate of the Northwest is changed.

To God be the glory.

Specifics:
Date: November 4-6
Cost: only $99
Where: Washington Family Ranch
Contact: davey@thebranchcorvallis.org

 

Other News:

Branch Brunch is a great place to ask questions and hear about the purpose and values of our faith community. Our next Branch Brunch will be held on Sunday, October 30th at 10:30 am. This Brunch is necessary if you are interested in becoming a member. If you are interested in attending contact Josh Howeth to RSVP.


The Members Forum is a time for members of The Branch to come together and hear about where we’ve been and where we are headed, make decisions as a church, welcome new members and share a meal together. If you are a member of The Branch please make plans to attend on Sunday, November 20th from 6:30-7:30 pm (immediately following our Sunday gathering.) Childcare is also provided for our families.


Community groups gather together weekly to get to know one another, pray, study the bible and live life together. It’s never too late to join a group so if you didn’t attend one earlier this week you can still do that! You can find a list of weekly meeting locations and times on our website or on the Community Group Map in the back of the auditorium on Sunday nights.


In addition to our Sunday offering baskets, The Branch offers safe and secure online giving. Use this tool to give to international missions, support one of our interns, give your one-time tithe or even set-up a recurring tithe. Use our website or download our App on iTunes or Google Play.


We get it – cold and flu season, midterms, visiting family – sometimes you just can’t be at church on Sunday. Don’t worry, all of our sermon series are available on our website and iTunes so if you miss a week you don’t have to miss out.