Dear Imago Dei Family,
As summer approaches, we are coming to the close of our budget year. I wanted to write to tell you that I am really grateful for the way you have given this year - first to Jesus as an act of worship and secondly to Imago Dei to further our work together.
Generosity is a prophetic act in a consumer culture like ours. When we give financially, we release the grip we hold on our stuff, making more room for Jesus. At the same time we are released from the grip our stuff has over us. As boring as budgets can be, our budget tells the story of a community of people who are finding freedom in Jesus. This community gives of themselves, their time and their money because they have tasted the freedom of a deeper life, meaning, and purpose in the One who gave all that He was and had for us.
2017-18 Ministry Highlights
It’s hard to summarize all that God has done this year. But a couple weeks ago, I was reminded that the city is paying attention to our witness of Jesus. I was able to sit down with Mayor Ted Wheeler, and he started the meeting by saying, “Thank you for the great work your community is doing. I know that when I need help with homelessness you are the first church we call, and there is so much more that you do.” God is doing something important in this city through our worship and love.
With less than a week left in the fiscal year, we still have a bit to raise before meeting our 2017-18 budget goal. Meeting this goal means that all of our ministries will continue to move forward in our mission to take the whole Gospel, to the whole person, to the whole world. If you call Imago Dei Community your church home, I am asking you to please pray and give towards meeting our year-end need. God has been faithful in meeting our needs for 18 years, and I know He will use all of us to meet our needs again.
Part of the beauty of having multiple campuses is realizing we are better together. As One Church at two campuses, we are able to reach more people, embrace our differences in love and see the many-faced Kingdom take shape before our eyes. Eastside Gathering has grown in numbers this year, and the Spirit is doing something very special there as people find Christ, community and the beauty of diversity in outer east Portland. Pray for Eastside and the amazing staff and leaders that are doing an incredible work.
We are now praying about the next campus that God will lead us to start, and I am excited about the young leaders He has brought us that may very well lead that charge.
At Central City, through the sale of the parking lot, we are now able to remodel, repair and upgrade a very well-used building. We dream that the campus will be a park-like place of hospitality throughout the week for our neighbors, a place where relationships are built and Christ’s love is felt.
This year, we raised $105,000 to support 16 clean water projects in eight communities and eight schools in western Kenya. The impact of this partnership with the Water Project and African leaders brings not only water, but also education, church-planting, job creation and community development to thousands of brothers and sisters in Africa.
This is just a snapshot of our global work, and I could go on for pages about our Vietnam partnerships, our Elder Garry Friesen training rural Pastors in Africa, Celestin Musekura working on leadership and reconciliation in Africa through ALARM and the Isensee and Dale families doing church-planting in Nepal. They need your prayers, so please be praying for them. Your generosity helps keep this critical work going.
Here in Portland, our work in so many areas of the city continues, from caring for foster kids and families through Embrace Oregon, Foster Parents’ Night Out and our Foster & Adoptive Parent Support Group to welcoming refugees through resettlement teams and the Refugee Immigrant & Hospitality Organization. In 2017, we awarded $15,000 in missional grants to launch five new ministries that are creating incredible expressions of Jesus’ love and grace through your creativity and gifting. Imago Dei Community stretches its arms very far and wide to pour out the love of Christ in Portland and across the world.
Along with all of this comes the simple yet powerful beauty of more people coming to faith in Jesus at both campuses. As a family of faith, we get to be a part of what God is up to.
Sabbatical and Our Direction for Fall
As most of you know by now, Jeanne and I are on Sabbatical this summer. We are so grateful for the care, love and prayers of this community. As excited as I am to get to rest and be with my family and the Lord, I am also excited about what's coming this fall. God has placed two big themes on my heart and the hearts of our pastors and elders: “Belonging” and “Becoming”. This fall, we are going to explore how we as a church raise the bar on our commitment to Christ and each other. I think it will stretch and unite us in the best way. I want us to push into the depths of all Christ has for us - seeing wounds healed, sin broken and a breakthrough in relationships with God and one another. I believe the Spirit is going to work powerfully through Imago Dei, and that means the Spirit is going to be working powerfully in you.
As I head into Sabbatical, here are a few ways you can pray: Pray that Jeanne and I can rest and receive the refreshment that Jesus has for us. 18 years is a long time. It went by fast, and I’d be lying if I said I’m not a little tired. Kaylee, our daughter, will be with us. I ask you to pray that her anxiety would be low, manageable or even better, healed! We want this time to be a blessing to her as well. Finally, Pray for us as a church family. Imago Dei is not “the Pastor” but a thriving community of people. Imago Dei is you. I pray and ask you to pray that people would discover that God is powerfully present when His people gather to worship Him.
I believe God has something for us and for you this summer at Imago Dei - and great things for the year ahead.
Love and thanks to you all for being a community that is a joy to lead,
Rick McKinley, Lead Pastor