TurningPoint Church Plant in Roseburg

On the first Sabbath of 2003, TurningPoint Community Church held its initial “prelaunch” worship service in Roseburg, Ore. What a joyful experience it was as more chairs were set up to accommodate an attendance of nearly 70 people, including a dozen who hadn’t been attending church previously.

This day was long awaited as some in the core group had begun studying the possibility of starting a church plant about three years before. Dreams were stalled by several external conflicts but the little group never gave up. Finally a year and a half later, with blessings from their pastors, the group began meeting as often as two times weekly for prayer and study and to plan a church plant. Eventually, having received the blessing of the mother congregation, a new seed was planted and abundantly blessed. The Lord provided a school facility rent-free for six months, as well as a sound system and talented people to join the ministry team.

By the fifth Sabbath service, there was standing-room only with more than 90 people in attendance, including 30 “target” people. Fortunately, the school gymnasium was available for services and with dividers and greenery, it is transformed each week into a sanctuary.

About 122 people joined together to celebrate TurningPoint’s official public launch on June 7. Numerous newspaper and radio spots had invited the community but, almost without exception, those attending had received personal invitations as well. The launch service included a variety of talents. The worship team led songs of praise, the school-age youth (TruthTrackers) performed a skit about the Good Samaritan and the children’s choir sang. Phil Vasseur, pastor, presented a message of God’s acceptance put to action in community, and Scott LaMert, representing the Oregon Conference, led a dedicatory prayer. The short Friendship Cup social time was followed by Bible study classes for all ages. A delicious fellowship lunch allowed all to share and learn from each other.

“You won’t find a bunch of flawless people here,” says member Jane Maritz, “but you will find a flawless God who can draw us together, flaws and all, into a community that shines with His love.”

Besides Sabbath worship services, men’s, women’s, and young adult groups and programs, the praise team and other small groups, TurningPoint members take part in servant/kindness evangelism events. They give away items or perform a service for others for free along with sharing a connection card that reminds all that “God’s love is free!” Giving away 100 coupons for free gas, handing out cold drinks at stoplights or flowers at the mall, and washing cars for free are a few of the awesome events they’ve experienced. People are blown away that it really is for free and often begin asking the questions members love to answer: Who are you? Where do you meet? Why would you do something like this for me?

Church planting doesn’t happen overnight, and it is easy to get discouraged when things move slowly but TurningPoint's story reminds us that everything is possible in God’s own time.

August 01, 2003 / Oregon Conference
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Susan Woods with Judy Neal and Jane Maritz