At Portland First, we are committed to loving God passionately, loving others genuinely, and serving Christ boldly.
Our strategy at Portland First is to simply engage together in three things – Gather, Grow, and Give.
The word “gather” has two meanings that are particularly important to us as a church. The first meaning of gather points us directly to our mission as a church. To gather is “to harvest” and that is exactly what Jesus has called us to do. In Luke 10:2 Jesus tells us, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” We are praying that everyone at Portland First will be a gatherer for the Kingdom.
The second meaning of gather is “to come together or assemble.” In a day and age when people find it easy to skip church for downloadable content, it is important for us to emphasize the value of gathering together as the community of faith. Carey Nieuwhof points out five non-downloadable experiences we miss out on if we don’t gather together as part of a community of faith:
- Community – You might be able to download an artfully captured message and awesomely engineered music, but you can’t download community—at least not the deepest form of community. And that’s what the church should be best at.
- Presence – One of the theological questions this discussion raises is this: “Is God present differently when the church gathers than he is in our personal lives?” I think the answer is yes. If you look at how God moved in the early church, it was often through groups of people. It’s not that God wasn’t with people individually—he was, and is—it’s just that the corporate presence is different and powerful and often changes the world.
- Movement – The church is not an institution or even an organization; it’s a movement. And movements by nature gather people and make an impact. Cycling down a road all by yourself, listening to the latest podcast certainly is peaceful, but wouldn’t you rather actually be part of the movement? If your church is gathering for the sake of gathering (you’ve lost the mission), there will be no sense of movement. But the closer your church is to the mission of the original church, the greater the sense of movement will be.
- Invitation – It’s hard to invite your friend to a podcast. It’s easier to invite them to church. And every Christian who feels insecure or ill equipped to talk to their friends about Christ (which is most) can still easily say “why don’t you come to church with me.”
- Service – In the same way you can’t download community or invitation, you can’t download serving people either. The church is one of the greatest places in the world to serve.
To serve each other.
To serve children.
To serve teens.
To serve unchurched people.
To serve the brokenhearted.
To serve the poor.
If all I do is download my favorite Christian content, the only person I end up serving is myself.
We have a saying we like to use around here – “It’s okay to not be okay. But it’s not okay to stay that way.” We believe that a loving God desires to transform our lives and to heal our brokenness. In essence, to help us to grow into the people he created us to be. We believe that growth happens one step at a time and no matter where you are at in your faith journey there is always a next step to take. We want to constantly encourage and help people to take their next step, whether that is a welcome class, baptism, finding a life group, or a place to serve.
We believe that one of the ultimate and greatest goals of a follower of Christ is to live a giving life that reflects the generosity of a God who has given us his all. A giving life includes finding ways to serve our church, our community, and our world. A giving life includes giving of our financial resources to bless and serve others. We believe that generosity should be a characteristic of everything we do as a community of faith. Thats why at Portland First thirteen percent of every dollar received goes to support others locally and globally.
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three personalities: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These three are coequal and are one God. Genesis 1:26,27; 3:22; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Corinthians 13:14
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is coequal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all the people by dying on the cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven’s glory and will return again someday to earth to reign as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Matthew 1:22,23; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-5, 14:10-30; Hebrews 4:14,15; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4; Romans 1:3,4; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Timothy 6:14,15; Titus 2:13
The Holy Spirit is coequal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make men and women aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in the Christian and provides the Christian the power for living, understanding spiritual truth, guidance in doing what is right, and empowerment for ministry. He gives every believer a spiritual gift(s) to perform ministry on God’s behalf. As Christians we seek to live under His control daily. 2 Corinthians 3:17; John 16:7-13, 14:16,17; Acts 1:8, 2:1-4; 1 Corinthians 2:12, 3:16; Ephesians 1:13; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 5:18
The Bible is God’s Word to us. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for beliefs and living. Because it is inspired by God, it is truth without any mixture of error. 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20,21; 2 Timothy 1:13; Psalm 119:105,160, 12:6; Proverbs 30:5
People are made in the image of God, to be like Him in character. People are the supreme object of God’s creation. Although every person has tremendous potential for good, every person has an attitude and disposition of disobedience toward God called “sin” that mars all of us. This attitude separates people from God and causes many problems in life and the world. Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:3-6; Isaiah 53:6a; Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59:1,2
Salvation is God’s supreme gift to us, but we must receive it. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty. When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus Christ in faith we are saved. Eternal life begins the moment we receive Jesus Christ into our life by faith. Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8,9; John 14:6, 1:12; Titus 3:5, Galatians 3:26; Romans 5:1
Followers of Christ are called to live under the authority of Christ. As His children, He desires that we reflect His character and His personality. Just as Christ is a person of integrity and holiness, we too are to live pure lives. God not only calls us to this standard but He graciously makes provisions for us to live holy lives as we invite His Holy Spirit to possess, cleanse and fill us with His transforming presence. Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:25-27; Acts 1:5; Romans 6:11-13; 8:1-4; 12:1-2; Colossians 3:1-17; 2 Peter 1:3-4; Hebrews 10:10-17
People were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence. John 3:16, 14:17; Romans 6:23, 8:17-18; Revelation 20:15; 1 Corinthians 2:7-9
Portland First Church of the Nazarene was organized on July 4, 1906, by Dr. Phineas F. Bresee, founder of the Nazarene Denomination. Forty people formed the center-city church, which met at various downtown locations until building and moving into the current facility on SW Raab Road.
Our faith family can trace a rich and significant heritage back to the earliest days of the holiness movement which became the international Church of the Nazarene.
In the early days many of the cultural and economic issues were different, but not the messages. We have always urgently desired the Word of God to be clearly given and new life in Christ experienced by our neighbors and community.
Commitment to Jesus Christ is still our hallmark, and God has been faithful to guide and bless this church over the last hundred-plus years.
Our present ministry owes much to the foresight and faithfulness of each of the Senior Pastors that have helped write our history well with their dreams, gifted communicating, prayers, and visionary leadership.
Portland First Church of the Nazarene faithfully seeks to show demonstrations of God’s love that will plant seeds of eternity in the hearts of people, for we believe that lost people matter to God and to His church.