Oregon Church Sets Example for Christian Capitalism
By: Jim Kouri, CPP
When Pastor Eric Bahme and his wife left his church and home in Seattle, where he served as pastor for close to 15 years, and settled in the Portland, Oregon, he took a giant step in faith.
Pastor Bahme said he was given a vision for church planting by Jesus Christ and never looked back. By the start of 2003 Bahme and his wife established a small but faithful ministry of about 60 Christians who met in a rented space in Portland.
However, within a little over one year, this small church congregation — with tremendous faith in their Lord and Savior, but no cash — decided to purchase an old motel and adjoining facilities on a Portland boulevard. Once they fixed up the place, their Mission Hotel became a part of the Rodeway Inn chain.
But the purchase and development of the motel was just the start of what became an ongoing enterprise. The hotel’s remodeling began around Thanksgiving Day of 2004. The church members converted an old Chinese eatery into a coffee shop. They turned the bar into a child care area and youth group concert area, while the original dance hall was transformed into the church sanctuary.
And so, through hard work and prayer, the Eastside Foursquare Church became a reality.
Here are the five consuming focuses to which God is calling Bahme’s church to fulfill:
1. To train and release ordinary people who have been with Jesus to influence and transform their communities through business, government, education, media, and the arts.
2. To be the undisputed leader in the development and implementation of a servant entrepreneurial model within the hospitality industry for the local, national, and global church.
3. To plant hundreds of churches through a multiplication process.
4. To be a church that never closes their doors.
5. To be a prophetic voice of Christ’s compassion and care through involvement in social issues and intentional outreach to surrounding community.
Today, Eastside Foursquare operates two hotels on the campus — a Rodeway Inn and a Quality Inn and Suites along with many other ministries including Sacred Grounds Coffee Shop, Family to Family Counseling Services, The Haven (a youth concert facility), My Fatherâ€™s House (an offsite family shelter), Freedom House (a faith-based on campus recovery and discipleship program), and People Works (an on campus vocational training program).
Plans are also underway to develop HOLD (Hands-on-Leadership-Development), a school for Mission-based entrepreneurial church planting and development. Weâ€™ve developed training programs designed to get people back on their feet and become self-supporting, because we believe you must minister to the whole man–physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
The catalyst for all this is the hotel campus. Weâ€™ve still got lots of work to do in completing the hotel but already weâ€™re making a major difference in the community. One Portland police officer told us that the hotel we purchased had become the â€˜biggest crack house in Portlandâ€™ and that in 6 months we did what the city couldnâ€™t do in ten years to transform our community. Today, more than 500 people call this ministry home and over 400 people have made decisions to follow Christ.
The church holds the potential not only to touch lives through the acquisition of revenue to be donated to the community, but also through its daily operations. Staffed primarily by church members, this Rodeway Inn is â€œa place of peace, rest and total commitment to customer service that will exceed what is commonly found in the world today,â€ according to its website (www.eastsidechurch.net).
At the heart of the ministry is the desire to reach people through relationships built in a comfortable environment.
According to Pastor Bahme, the Sacred Grounds coffee shop is â€œa place of relational community.â€ It is the bridge between the church and the community. Though not blaringly Christian, the cozy coffee shop is decorated with signed posters of Christian bands, creating a contemporary cafe environment comfortable for studying and chatting.
For more information on Portland Eastside Foursquare Church, the hotel and the various ministries, phone 503-226-4900 or go to www.eastsidechurch.net.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer for TheConservativeVoice.Com and PHXnews.com. He’s also a columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. He’s appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com. Kouri’s own website is located at http://jimkouri.us
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc. To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subscription" on the subject line.