Nearly four years ago a dedicated Oregon Conference member shared with me that he had financially supported a major evangelistic campaign with Mark Finley in Denver, Colorado. He planted a seed. When Shawn Boonstra preached at the Gladstone Camp Meeting the following year, we noted the good connection he made with our members. The seed continued to germinate, and we prayed about this possibility.
We were convicted that it was time to focus on the very secular Portland/Vancouver metro area by inviting It is Written to partner with us. When we called Shawn Boonstra he and his team were on a planning retreat, and so we left our invitation on voicemail. The It is Written team prayerfully and independently concluded God was leading them to come to work in the Portland/Vancouver metro area. When they returned to their office our invitation was waiting, another confirmation of God's leading.
Our conference executive committee began to spend one and half hours before our agenda in prayer and study of the first two chapters of Acts. Our weekly administrative council did the same. Our pastors became engaged. All of us were seeking God's leading instead of our own.
As we started visioning what God wanted, we recognized the Boonstra meetings must have a dual focus: first, people all around us should have the opportunity to know and accept Christ and explore fellowship with believers who also treasure His Word; secondly, we wanted the Revelation Speaks Peace meetings to stimulate an ongoing Commission Culture within our members and churches.
It was wonderful to see how eager our members were for Commission Culture. More than 250 people showed up for a full day of training to give Bible studies with Joe Cirigliano. The classes continued for 10 weeks with continued faithful attendance. Bible study invitations were mailed to the Portland/Vancouver area, which resulted in 1,300 responses.
When the evangelistic meetings began on February 1, some wondered if people would come nearly every night for a whole month. Yes, they would. The guest list quickly grew to 1,500 with just under 2,300 people attending on Saturday nights.
One couple from Newberg, Oregon, came every night absolutely excited about the clear Bible teaching. After three weeks they voiced sorrow that the meetings would soon be over. Another couple canceled a vacation so they could attend the entire month. A student from a local seminary asked Boonstra for resources to assist in a dissertation on how Sabbath was changed to Sunday. Many more stories surfaced daily.
Evangelistic meetings don't define Commission Culture. They are simply one way to assist people in making decisions for God. When at some point you read a more detailed account of these meetings in the GLEANER, recognize they are just a part of the constant wheel of Momentum throughout the Northwest that invites all of us to live our lives with a continual desire to connect people with Jesus, to live a Commission Culture. We believe in this now more than ever, and pray you will be inspired to follow in your own area of influence as you read the following testimonies of how God is working among us.
By the way, the dedicated member who planted the seed for our Portland/Vancouver evangelistic effort funded the entire Oregon Conference portion of the expense. When we pray, Commission Culture happens, in miraculous ways.
We were convicted to focus on the secular Portland/Vancouver metro area by inviting It is Written to partner with us.