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Students at commencement


Columbia Presbyterian Church

Location: Vancouver, Washington
Denomination: Presbyterian Church (USA)
Size: 553 average attendance

Download Columbia Presbyterian's VCP report or see report contents below:

Ministry context

Columbia Presbyterian Church (“Columbia”) is part of the Presbyterian Church in the USA located in Vancouver, Washington, an urban community of over 175,000 located along the Columbia River immediately north of Portland, Oregon. With over 550 people worshipping each week the congregation presents a rich and vibrant diversity of age, family, and work settings focused around the following mission statement:

Encouraging you to enter into a life-changing relationship with Jesus and helping you find your place in God’s work.

Central to this mission is a broad offering of educational offerings designed to meet each person at his or her point of need and designed to equip the believer for his or her place in God’s work. The people worshipping at Columbia work in a variety of settings including information systems, legal, high-tech engineering and manufacturing, teaching, real estate, small business, medical, dental, and many others.

Pre-existing practices

Life Keys

Through small group learning participants seek to develop a one sentence life mission statement describing their purpose in life. This is done through an integrated process of considering why you are here; what you do best; what you are passionate about; what you value, and what your priorities are. The hard work of personal reflection, sharing, and life mission statement refinement results in a renewed sense of purpose and ready pursuit of those things which matter.

When led by a skilled facilitator the collective power of learning comes to bear to allow participants for personally growth and to help other find areas of discovery. The learning can be sized to an 8 to 10 week curriculum or shortened depending on the motivation of participants.

Discoveries from listening process

1. Sunday/Monday Divide

People approach the Sunday and Monday/Saturday times from a distinctly different context. There is a divide from the faith perspective. The goal is to breach the divide and establish continuity where there is no distinction.

We found a dichotomy in our survey results. People express a strong desire to bring faith into the Monday/Saturday context and yet they admit to not doing so. Thus, if we can identify the right content and develop an inviting way to engage it, then the divide can be dissolved.

2. Relationships Matter

Group connections and shared narratives and success seem to have significance in learning the content and skills to applying faith in the faith and work context. This means that whatever learning is presented on the topic of faith and work needs to be relationally based.

3. Faith at Work

Most, if not all, consider faith at work as utilizing the workplace for church recruitment (evangelism) or as practicing moral integrity in work matters and/or helping others (ethics). Believers need to see beyond this “E and E” ceiling. Because the “E and E” ceiling is so limiting, this discovery confirms that if people are able to understand the broader concept of the gospel coming to bear at their places of work, then the potential of cultural renewal is enormous.
Opportunities for growth

1. Bringing the Gospel to Work 

Identifying when individuals are bringing the gospel to work and then replicating the activity and process.

2. Larger Vision of the Kingdom of God

Developing within the culture of the church a larger vision of the Kingdom of God as an outworking of the gospel in all parts of life rather than limited to seeing the Kingdom of God affecting one’s private life, church work, evangelism, and ethics.

3. Unconscious Competence

Getting to a place where there is a functional and sustainable culture within the culture that embeds an unconscious competence of bringing the gospel to faith and work //faith and daily life.

Experiments undertaken

Faith and Work Online Learning

A practical study of integrating faith and work both by preparation for and by participation in communal conversation in the interpretation of Scripture and pertinent scholarly texts. Individual study supports the communal dialogue. This provides an examination of the integration of faith and work. Consideration is given to the reformational theology of work, Christian worldview, public theologizing and the interpretation of these concepts toward achieving unconscious competence in the application of the gospel.

This practice is a significant stretch to move from a traditional Christian education setting and approach to one incorporating current technology along with relational learning groups. The potential to reach a broader scope of people into this important content is unlimited.

 Video: God-Given Life Purpose