The Portland Story
For years, churches have played an active role in meeting needs in the community. But in the summer of 2008, as the Luis Palau Association prepared to host an evangelistic festival in Portland, Oregon, the city’s churches began to think about how they might make an even bigger impact. Several Christian leaders met with Portland's mayor to simply ask, what do you need, and how can we help? Out of that meeting, the “Season of Service” was born.
By collaborating with civic leadership, the churches discerned several specific areas of need in the Portland area:
By the end of the summer more than 27,000 volunteers from hundreds of churches became involved in at least one of these focus areas.
Now, what began with school clean-up days and health clinics has burgeoned into year-round programs, ongoing campaigns for support and awareness, and countless efforts to mobilize volunteers. Local governments and evangelical churches are breaking down walls, debunking stereotypes, and proving that what we have much more in common than anyone imagined.
In 2013, as involvement became more and more ongoing and year-round, the Palau Association changed the name of this initiative from Season of Service to CityServe. The goal of the CityServe team is to help connect churches to the city’s most critical needs, celebrate what the Body of Christ is accomplishing, and share this Portland Story of unity and collaboration for the good of the city.
CityServe in the media:
- Faith and Leadership: Finding common ground in Portland
- 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”