Planting a Church in a Pandemic

Planting a church in a pandemic is a fantastic way to test and build faith in God. In 2020, churches around the world were closing. At the same time, Hills and Valleys Adventist core group decided to open and meet every Sabbath outdoors. Our goal was to experiment with unique interactive worship styles while staying safe. For example, we decided not to have a “pastor” or main speaker. In addition, we chose to have a different leader every Sabbath. The church model we landed on is what I imagine the early church used. We read Bible stories, and leaders ask powerful questions. The goal being to spur discussion and testimony. Our leaders are given an acronym to lead by: W.A.I.T, which stands for Why Am I Talking?    

Other Unique Qualities of Hills and Valleys

In the fires of 2020, many in our group had to evacuate their homes and stay at the Adventist Conference Campgrounds. Consequently, two Sabbath services were held by the pond in the valley campsites. For over a year, we moved to several locations and braved wind, rain and storm. Through the fires, the ice storm and the pandemic, the DNA of our church culture was shaped. As a result, we learned to accept life as it comes and take people the same way. Every Sabbath for us is the first day of an evangelistic series. We don’t focus on unique Adventist teachings; we save those for private Bible studies. Every week we expect someone new to walk through the door. Consequently, each service is treated as if it is the first time the Bible has ever been opened.

Who Is Hills and Valleys? 

Hills and Valleys is an Adventist missionary church plant in Oregon City. We strongly believe in the unique Adventist understanding of Biblical teachings. On the other hand, our church is in a bingo hall with a stocked bar (closed) in the basement of an Elks Lodge. Homeless alcoholics, prostitutes and drug addicts are welcome, and you would be amazed at their insights. In addition, we love noisy children and people of all religious beliefs. If you desire something better, you are welcome in this house of God. 

Featured in: July/August 2022