Missions Update: Medford and Denver 

Out West, evergreen trees are spread across large mountains for hiking and climbing. That landscape is a rare sight here in Memphis. The religious landscape out West also greatly differs from that of Memphis. While evergreens are rarely seen here, churches are rarely seen out there.

In July, Bellevue sent teams to two different churches—Living Hope Church in Medford, Oregon, and Journey Point Church in Denver, Colorado—to serve and encourage them. Reaching the lost in our own country doesn’t have to be complex. For these church plants, simple outreach efforts make a big impact.

July is a busy time for Living Hope Church. Lead pastor Shawn Snyder brings in different churches to help as Living Hope prepares for two big events at the end of July: basketball and soccer camps and vacation Bible school.

Bellevue’s missions team helped spread the word about these events by inviting community members. They went door to door and set up shop in the local park to hand out snow cones and cotton candy. Our team also did various service projects within schools, helping maintenance workers with tasks like pulling weeds, repainting the parking lot, and putting on new roofs.

Julie Foreman has made the trek to Medford three times, and she’s seen how Living Hope reaches out to the community not with complexity or extravagance, but with simplicity.

“Shawn has found that if we get out into the community and show the love of Jesus in practical ways, that gains people’s rapport and makes them willing to listen,” she said.

The team’s efforts had a long-term impact. They spent their time laying the groundwork that will continue to serve as a springboard for kingdom work at Living Hope.

By the time our team left, soccer camp sign-ups had gone from 10 kids to 47, and a family night that closed out the month of July brought in around 130 people.

It’s not always about the numbers, but that kind of turnout was a huge blessing to Shawn and Living Hope. Bellevue team member Scott Griffin described why taking a team to a church like Living Hope is so important.

“I think we just put some real wind in the sails of the pastor there,” Scott said. “It’s just kind of a dim area. To have people that are like-minded come alongside you and encourage you—he over and over again just said, ‘You can’t begin to imagine how much this means to us.’”

In Denver, Journey Point’s Lead Pastor and former Bellevue staff member, Chris Phillips, shared that he highly values our team of college students that helps with the elective-based camp that Journey Point hosts each summer. Campers choose from a range of activities like sports, dancing, or cooking.

In an area where 95% of people are disconnected from Christ, getting a large group of volunteers to help with a church camp for a whole week is almost impossible, but because of the team we send out, that burden is lifted.

“Having teams that can come in and be feet on the ground for us is vital for us to having a good camp experience,” Chris said.

Chris explained that families will bring their kids to this camp for two or three years before they will make an actual visit to Journey Point Church. It’s essential to build and keep those connections with families, and our team plays a role in that.

“Bellevue has been a vital piece of the camp being a success, which ultimately means people are giving their lives to Christ, which ultimately means that they’re getting connected to the local church,” he said.

Sometimes the task is more straightforward than we think. Sometimes its simply encouraging, spurring on, and planting the seeds that God will sow later.

To learn more about serving opportunities with church partners, you can email missions@bellevue.org.