For years the church community has played an active role in meeting needs in the community. But in the summer of 2008, Portland churches along with the Palau Association began to think about how they might multiply their impact in their city. The realization came quickly that more could be accomplished together than apart.
These leaders decided to try something new; bringing the church, civic and corporate communities together to serve the region as never before. Several Christian leaders visited with the Portland Mayor and simply asked, “What do you need,” and, “how can we help?” Out of that meeting, the Season of Service was born. By the end of the summer more than 27,000 volunteers from hundreds of churches served the city in different emphasis areas shaped by the initial meeting with civic leadership: Hunger/Poverty, Homelessness, Education/Schools, Neighborhood Revitalization, Health and Wellness, and Human Trafficking.
But the desire was not just for one season of serving the city… the churches wanted to make a long-term impact. 2011 marks the fourth consecutive Season of Service and now churches are beginning to ask, “What does Portland look like 20 years from now if we continue loving and serving together?”
In the very progressive city of Portland, local governments and evangelical churches are working together in relationship; breaking down walls, de-bunking stereotypes, and proving that what we have much more in common than anyone imagined. The business, civic, and church communities are working together for the common good in an unprecedented display of unity. And most importantly, many needs have been met, making a lasting change in the city of Portland.
The Portland story is now one part of a larger Season of Service movement around the country. As this model has expanded to include San Diego, Arizona, Sacramento, and more, the nation is taking notice and cities are experiencing positive transformation.
USA Today: “Evangelism 2.0″
Q Panel: The Church and the City
Christianity Today: “Servant Evangelism: How Luis Palau, thousands of volunteers and a gay mayor are trying to transform Portland”
Reader’s Digest names Season of Service: “Best Group Service Project”
Willamette Week: “Undercover Jesus”