Category: General

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.

Reflections on the Week of Prayer and Fasting

February 3, 2017 Stephen Brucker General

Last week we celebrated our annual week of prayer and fasting at the Branch.

I’ve never been one to rave about food and I’m about as far away from a foodie as a person could get. Maybe it’s because my Mom used to wake me up at 4 in the morning to drink weight-gainer shakes, which I should have sued for false advertisement, tasting more like chalk than the vanilla goodness it promised on the plastic container.

But then you cut out food during a fast and you realize how easily your heart and desires can be manipulated.

Last week I realized that I had bacon in the refrigerator.  My mind raced backward so that I could remember just what bacon tasted like, felt like, sounded like against my teeth. With each gurgle of my weakly disciplined stomach my heart worshipped the big pig in the sky. I would have sold a finger (probably my right ring finger, it’s the most expendable) for one greasy piece of non-kosher bacon.

My mind raced toward the end of my fast, ‘only 3 more days left’ I said with repetitious fervor. I day dreamed of the finish line, longed for the end, and gladdened my weak flesh as I meditated on a day.

In the midst of my bacon-induced coma, slobbering more than a St. Bernard, God broke into the void and awakened my mind and eyes to what I was doing and so often do. That is, I put my trust and faith and hope in functional saviors.

When I was in high school I dreamed of college, in college I dreamed of dating that girl (you know the one, the girl who’s hopelessly out of your league but you pray it’s God’s will anyway), when I got the girl it was the perfect job, then the perfect spouse, the perfect career, the perfect house, ad nauseam.

Whenever I was in a bind, hopelessly unsatisfied and discontent, I looked to the future for security and joy, knowing that if only I secured the right job, the world would be a better place, I would be invincibly happy.

But God broke into my fasting story and reminded me that functional saviors are foolish idols at best, which fail to live up to their promises. They talk a big game, but once secured, they leave me wanting more, searching all the more for the next thing which would promise to fill my void.

Yet there is one Savior and this Savior says ‘trust in me, turn your eyes toward me, gazed into my victorious life and there you will find a Savior who rescues, redeems, and provides hope and joy in this rollercoaster journey called life’.

Though I might have worshiped bacon, God turned my affections once more toward him, reminding me of my privileged union with Christ and the joy that flows from a hunger greater than food—a hunger for God himself.

 

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.

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.

2016 Financial Update

December 28, 2016 Andy Crowe General

We’re past the first quarter of the 2016-17 fiscal year and headed into the New Year 2017. We continue progressing towards self-sustainment, it’s exciting to see God work!

During the first quarter of this year, our Offering Funds Income (internal giving) has increased 61.51% over this period last year. While our Organization Funds Income and Partner Funds Income has decreased 48.76%. As I mentioned in our last financial update, the Organizational and Partner Fund Income will continue to decrease and it’s important that our internal giving increases in proportion to this decrease. Despite these decreases in Organizational and Partner Funds Income, we’ve seen an overall increase in income of 28.94% across all income accounts.

Below is a breakdown of income mix. Over time we’ll want to see the light green portion getting bigger, while the dark green and yellow portions get smaller:

the-branch-income-by-source

As we enter into the New Year, I pray God continues revealing Himself to each of us. That through His continued revelation we find ourselves more and more awe struck by His generosity, His mercy and His love. And, as an outpouring of our affection for Christ and His work on the cross, we would lay down our worldly desires in exchange for the ultimate desire. That He would be exalted among all nations. He is worthy!

 

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.


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.


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!

Three Types of Shoppers

December 15, 2016 Josh Howeth General

I’ll admit it. I’ve gone shopping far too many times for no other reason than because it sounded like something fun to do. I haven’t always been this way, and maybe it has something to do with having more and more kids running around,  but sometimes I just need to get out of the house and wandering around a store ironically seems like the most affordable way to spend my hour of freedom.

Most of the time I have a personal agenda when I shop. I know specifically what I’m getting before I leave the house. I know the stores that I’m going to and have already planned out the best order to attack them in. And, while I’m parking I’m envisioning which door to enter through and where exactly in the store these items are so that I can break the world record of fastest and most efficient shopper. (That would be a great record to hold as a man).

There is a third type of shopper too. I experienced this type of shopping once I started driving in high school. My mother would send me down the hill to our local Albertsons to get 10 lbs of extra lean ground beef. I went so often that I’m writing that information from memory. Now there are times where Liz sends me to the store for milk. It’s for some reason usually milk. In these moments I’m not a wanderer and I don’t have a personal agenda, but instead I’m a sent shopper.

If I mix in wandering with being sent, I might frustrate the one who sent me because those items are needed. And if I mix in my personal agenda I might fail to pick up the item I was sent to purchase. (This has only happened a few large handful of times).

Jesus prayed, “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:18) He prayed this to his Father at the end of his life, before he died a criminal’s death to redeem us.

It’s an important thought to engage with in this season of Advent. That the Father sent Jesus into the world. In other words, if the world were a store, the Father sent Jesus not to wander, not to have his own agenda, but to accomplish the things he sent him to accomplish. Christmas isn’t just meant to give us a warm feeling in our hearts that God is with us, although that is massively comforting. It’s comforting and warming because Jesus picked up all that he was supposed to pick up.

But Christmas is also meant to remind us that not only was Jesus sent, but we are now too. God’s agenda to redeem and restore the world hasn’t changed. So, just as the Father sent Jesus into the world, so now Jesus has sent us.

We aren’t wanderers. We don’t have a personal agenda. We are sent. Because Jesus was sent, and has now sent us.

Do you believe that?

 

Other News:

This summer we’ll be sending two mission teams, one to East Asia and another to Haiti. You can find the application online or grab an application at the connect table. The cost is approximately $3,000 and the deadline to apply is December 19th. The Branch will provide fundraising training and theological training in the months leading up to departure. Contact Stephen@thebranchcorvallis.org if you have further 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.


It’s time for our annual Twigs Christmas Party! This Sunday, December 18th, during the church service, come ready to eat yummy food, create an ornament, and celebrate Jesus’ Birthday.  All volunteers please arrive by 4:30pm to decorate and set up.


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!

Delightful Communication

November 17, 2016 Victoria Renard General

A little over a month ago I took a road trip to Washington Family Ranch for a Young Life Leader’s retreat. If you have heard anything about the Ranch you’ll probably know that the gravel road to camp is slightly crazy, and has potholes galore. In light of the roads the family I rode with had borrowed a truck to make the trek. As we left camp the tire pressure warning signal lit up. Much to our dismay we watched the air pressure go from 50 to 20 in the span of just a few minutes. As we pulled over and looked at the flat tire we all tried to remain calm. None of us had ever changed the tire on a truck before, and it certainly didn’t help that this wasn’t our vehicle! To top it off there wasn’t any cell phone service.

Immediately we grabbed the driver’s manual and started looking for the tools needed to replace the flat tire. 20-30 minutes later After attempting to lower the tire from underneath the truck bed we accidently broke the tool needed to lower the tire! In that moment of uncertainty (and frustration) we began to pray. As soon as we said, “Amen,” a man with a truck similar to ours stopped, helped us change the tire with his truck’s tools and sent us on our merry way. The appearance of the truck driver, and changing of the tire all happened so quickly that we didn’t realize that help had arrived almost immediately after we had prayed until we were well into our drive back to Corvallis. This answer to prayer came in the form of a pickup truck.

I wish I could say that this isn’t the only time I haven’t immediately turned to God in prayer, but unfortunately this happens frequently. When I lose my keys (for the millionth time), am asked to do project at work, or help plan an event I often jump into action without thinking twice about praying. I would love to say that I am fully dependent on God, but my lack of communication with Him would beg to differ.

It blows my mind that God, the all-knowing creator of the universe, doesn’t just tolerate communicating with us, he delights in it! He wants us to talk to him about the things we are excited and happy about, as well as the things we struggle and are frustrated with. He invites us to ask him for things and to simply be with him. It’s incredible!

Just imagine what our lives would look like if we were people whose initial reactions to the ups, downs and inbetweens of life were to turn to God in prayer both individually and corporately. If we were a community acutely aware of how much we desperately need God that we can’t help, but be in constant communication with him. Would it energize us to pray more fervently for each other, for our city, the nations and in turn share the gospel with others?

May we be a family that delights in talking with our Heavenly Father and waits in expectancy of Him moving mightily!

 

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. This month we will be receiving elder recommendations from you, talking about church planting, local missions and Advent. 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.


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.


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.

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.

One Of The Reasons Our Church Values Membership

October 7, 2016 Josh Howeth Branch Notes, General

Our faith community values membership. Not because we are trying to create a special club but because we think what the New Testament describes and commands God’s people, the church, to be and do can only be accomplished in our culture with some form of declared commitment. How can we encourage each other, love one another, carry each other’s burdens, pray for one another, do life together in a way that reflects the image of Jesus if church is merely a Sunday event that we attend?

Membership is a very meaningful thing to us because it is a declaration to others that we are committing our lives to them. We are saying in becoming a member that we care about other people’s growth in Christ-likeness and not just our own. We are saying that I choose to do life with you for the glory of Jesus. We are saying that I want to try and let myself be known by others, and I want to know others as well.

You see, membership is meaningful because it’s about people. We are committing our lives to each other, not to a 501C3 or an organization or a brand. It’s about following the desire of Jesus to not just save individuals for their own personal fulfillment, but to save individuals and gather them into a new community – a family.

We live in a day where commitment is not a value but a wavering individual choice that changes under the slightest transitions. When we experience other’s commitment to us, and they experience our’s to them, it is a beautiful picture to the world of how worthy and unifying Jesus is. The world will know Whose we are, by our love for one another. It’s just hard to love one another though, if we don’t do life with one another.

So it has been my prayer from the beginning that no matter who you are, I want to encourage you to become a member of a church somewhere. I hope it is a church that seeks to faithfully preach and embody the gospel and there are many incredible churches in our beautiful city that do that. So join in somewhere. But don’t see your commitment as a commitment to a worship service, or a brand, but to people.

If you’d like to take a step of exploring becoming a member of The Branch please RSVP to attend our quarterly Branch Brunch. This is a time where we share a meal, discuss our church’s story and the reason we exist, and what we are laboring to see God accomplish through our faith community. This brunch coming up at the end of this month, October 30th. (And did I mention that it’s only once a quarter?) It starts at 10:30am at my house. Don’t worry I’m not cooking, but someone who is amazing at cooking is (she’s pretty pretty and we share the same last name.)

 

Other News:

We will be celebrating The Branch’s 4th birthday with a 3rd Meal on this Sunday, October 9th! Our theme is 4 Years 4 Ingredients. Bring something yummy that is made with only four ingredients to share while we celebrate being a church family. Contact Jesse Parker for more information.

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 at the back of the church.


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.


Did you miss it? All of our sermon series are available on our website and iTunes. Head on over to listen again or to catch up on what you missed.

Refuge Groups

September 30, 2016 Stephen Brucker General

Are you in a season of particular hardship? Are you struggling with addictions, anxiety, depression, grief, or just feeling stuck? If so, refuge is for you. These gender specific groups cater to people who feel stuck, and need help. Each week (Monday Night at 8 pm at Grant Ave. Baptist Church), trained leaders facilitate conversations around a curriculum called the Genesis Process. The goal is to pursue self-discovery, and most importantly, discovery of how God, through the gospel, changes us.

This summer I went through the first 6 weeks of the curriculum with a handful of men. Looking back, I can definitely say that God did some amazing things in my life because of going through the curriculum with those men. If you’re at all interested I highly recommend coming on Monday or contacting me at Stephen@thebranchcorvallis.org for more information.

 

Other News:

If you’re interested in becoming a member of The Branch and have not yet attended our Branch Brunch, make plans to attend on October 30th at 10:00 am. Email Josh Howeth or text him at 541-224-1476 for directions and to RSVP.


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 at the back of the church.


We will be celebrating The Branch’s 4th birthday with a 3rd Meal on Sunday, October 9th. Our theme is 4 Years 4 Ingredients. Bring something yummy that is made with only four ingredients to share while we celebrate being a church family!


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.


Did you miss it? All of our sermon series are available on our website and iTunes. Head on over to listen again or to catch up on what you missed.

Jesus Continued: A Series Through the Book of Acts

September 24, 2016 Josh Howeth Branch Notes, General

This Sunday will mark our second gathering in our new location. It will also mark the beginning of the major teaching emphasis of this new year. We will be walking through the book of Acts, and honestly, I couldn’t be more excited.

With our 4th birthday as a church fast approaching, it has been joyous and fun to reflect on all that God has done over the last four years. But, it has also been a joy to look ahead and pray and dream about God continuing to move in our city.

There are a few things we are going to be praying and leading into this year as a church. We will be focusing our attention on leadership development for the purpose of church planting. We will also be focusing on cultivating a culture of evangelism in our church. Thirdly, we want to see significant growth in both our hearts and our actions towards compassion ministry to our city. The creation of Refuge is the first step towards that.

I say all of this, because I sense that the book of Acts will very much cultivate these things in the life of our church as we move through it.

More than anything though, I can’t wait to see how God cultivates a more significant love for Jesus in our hearts this year. Acts is showing us how Jesus is continuing to work, teach, and move in this world through his church.

It’s my hope that you’ll engage with God’s Word this year in community with us, and prayerfully ask Him to seriously transform your life through it. And may he do that for the sake of our faith community and for the benefit, salvation and transformation of our city and every nation.

I love you guys. You make pastoring a joy. Seriously.

See you Sunday at 5 in our new location.

Other News:

NEW LOCATION! We are now meeting at The River Center just off of Western and 35th on the Southwest side of OSU’s campus (4000 SW Western Blvd.)


Join us for a Welcome Back BBQ at our new location (4000 SW Western Blvd.) on Sunday, September 25th at 3:30 pm. It’s been a great summer and we’re excited to have everyone together again.


Refuge Groups start again on Monday, September 26th. If you are interested in learning more about Refuge groups please email Stephen.


Community Groups start next week. Pick a group from the list on our website and send the leader an email to let them know you’re coming. Super Easy. If you have any questions about a particular group feel free to email the leader. If you have questions about Community Groups in general contact Stephen Brucker.


The next 3rd meal will be Sunday, October 9th and to celebrate The Branch’s fourth birthday the theme is 4 Years, 4 Ingredients. Your challenge is to bring a dish that contains only four ingredients to share with everyone.


We need 15-20 people to join our Setup and Welcome teams. If you are interested in helping us out contact Jesse and Kimber Parker.