Our Continuing Journey

 In Uncategorized


An overarching question we have always asked ourselves is…

How can we reach the largest amount of people possible…

Because every person matters to God and every person matters to us.

 as quickly as possible …

Because we have a responsibility to do our part with the time that has been given to us.

as healthily as possible?

Because burnout, bitterness, and brokenness is not the way of Jesus, or of a vibrant and life-giving church.

We made the decision in 2018 that to achieve our vision and mission more effectively, we should officially partner with Willamette Christian Church, whose campuses are in West Linn and in Beaverton. Since that time, we have continued to see our ministry thrive and grow. 

We have seen new people come through our doors – from people who live in our neighborhoods who attended WCC previously and we continue to reach people far from God who are also bringing their friends and neighbors to church who are seeking truth, hope and a place to belong. We’ve also seen a deepening of faith with the HCC family.

We are now at another incredible place in our journey. We believe that the next step in this adventure with Jesus is that we are to invite Milwaukie Christian Church to join us to become part of Hope City. 

Things you may be asking

Who is Milwaukie Christian Church (MCC), and how did this come about?

For over 75 years, MCC has built a legacy as a church that cares for their community, and cares deeply about the Word of God. Located at 5197 SE King Road, Milwaukie (just 1.5 miles from Ardenwald), MCC has been an outpost of ministry and a place where hundreds of people have met Jesus, have been cared for and taught, and have sacrificed faithfully to serve the needs in SE Portland.

For the last 44 years, MCC has been led by an incredibly faithful pastor named Russ Isom. Russ and his wife Judy have demonstrated amazing commitment and faithfulness to this church body, and, with a body of elders, actively serve in leadership today.

As Russ has approached retirement, there have been on-going discussions at MCC regarding the right steps to ensure the Gospel would continue to be proclaimed in the most God-honoring way. While those who call MCC home remain actively engaged and invested in ministry, it has also been less effective in reaching the next generation and the church has aged significantly over the years. The current size of the church on a Sunday morning is approximately 50-60 adults and 10-15 children. The needs at the church are greater than simply hiring a new pastor, and that led them to explore other options.

During these same years, Brian Becker and Russ Isom have been growing in friendship, and have regularly met to pray over our cities, and to seek ways to serve our communities better. The friendship has built trust, and a depth of understanding and love for each other. So, it was natural that as MCC pressed in to see where God was leading that they sought Brian and Hope City to see if there was possibly something to be done together. This started a journey of prayer and conversations that has included a small team from MCC, Hope City and Willamette Christian who have been meeting to explore further whether we believe it is the right next step to join Hope City and MCC as one to serve the Milwaukie and SE Portland area. 

Through this season, we have all grown in our love for each other, our trust and respect for each other has deepened, and our shared commitment to the cause of Christ is more urgent now than ever before. And while it may seem unconventional to the outside world, churches joining together to reach their communities is clearly an opportunity to demonstrate that the God we serve and the mission He gave us is more important than the name on the door or the positions we hold. 

What does it look like to join together, and will we keep our name?

We will continue to keep Hope City Church as our name, and will absorb the family and ministry of Milwaukie Christian Church. While there will no longer be an MCC in name, the people who call MCC their home will very much be part of the life of Hope City and our desire is that all of them – and all of you – will make their home in our joined church. 

Why do we think this is the right thing to do?

Just as we did in joining with Willamette, we believe joining with MCC allows us to:

  • Mobilize Vision – We have the ability to bring our leadership and resources together in a way that will allow us to bring more vitality and health to our community.
  • Multiply Impact – Because of the resources that each church brings, we can make more immediate, significant impact for God’s Kingdom.
  • Model Unity – Coming together allows us to model unity in a way not often seen in the Pacific Northwest, let alone the country. 

We believe that these items together magnify Jesus. As we grow in traction together, we dream of seeing more healthy churches in nearby communities, while experiencing thriving, healthy ministry and outreach.

Who will teach at Hope City each Sunday, and what will change?

Brian Becker will continue to serve as Lead Pastor at Hope City, and you will not see any change with our Sunday services. Our culture, vibe, and DNA are created by our values, vision, and leadership. Brian serves as a member of the executive leadership team of Willamette Christian Church, and his ideas, voice and leadership help shape and influence decision-making and vision. This all will continue. 

What happens to our existing staff?

Hope City is predominately volunteer-led today, and we will keep our leadership team intact. We are excited to share that during this last season the Lord has created some amazing opportunities to help us grow and support our ministry. 

We have increased the role of Tom Vice from Groups Coordinator to Campus Pastor. He has more capacity to serve in leadership of group life, discipleship, teaching and care. 

We have added resources to Hope City Kids with the additional support of Denise Chapman, who is helping to lead and guide this fast-growing ministry.

We have invited Seth and Beka Overby to lead us in worship each week.

As MCC joins our ministry, there are committed and devoted staff members that have been serving there as well. We are currently working as a team to assess the best fit and roles for these few, committed team members. 

We are very excited to share that Russ Isom will serve in the role of Pastor of Care and Missions for Hope City.

Where will we meet on Sundays?

Our plan is to continue to meet at Ardenwald School as one church family until a renovation of the current property that has been home to Milwaukie Christian Church receives a renovation. Our desire is that by summer of 2019 we will be meeting at the newly-updated building at 5197 SE King Road. 

Why would we move into a non-portable location?

  • We believe that this strengthens our growing church by providing stability and security for those families searching for safe and loving care for their children and students. 
  • It provides permanency to our ministry, a home base to equip our people and invite others to experience. 
  • Having our own building serves as a Base Camp, making it much more likely to launch new churches in the surrounding area. 
  • And it frees up our people and resources used for setup and teardown to have fresh wind each week to engage in serving our neighbors and our community.
  • We also are able to leverage and use property for God that is almost impossible to find in the city in this day and age. Rather than watch it turn into a housing complex, we have the opportunity to use it as an incredible place of ministry as we continue to do whatever it takes to help find people and follow Jesus.

Our commitment is to ensure it is a space that is welcoming and inviting for our friends and neighbors who don’t normally attend church. The property will undergo a renovation of children’s and students’ classrooms, and an updating of the building so that it will be a place where we will all feel comfortable inviting our friends and neighbors to join us. We are not trying to make it fancy…but we do want it to be effective. As we get closer to that time, we will have more communication to prepare everyone for this important move.  

What about our support to Ardenwald? 

The reality is that the school needs our involvement Monday- Saturday much more than it needs us renting the space on Sunday.  Just as we have continued our Egg Drop in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood, we will continue our neighborhood and school support with our commitments at Ardenwald, from Party at the School, Christmas Outreach, Concerts in the Park, and more. 

When is all this happening?

We are working through a very prayerful and careful plan, but with expediency so that we do not hinder the momentum and mission we are on to reach people. So, our timeline looks something like this…

Oct/Nov Share the plan; MCC body to affirm the vision

Jan 2019 MCC joins HCC at Ardenwald; renovation at MCC begins

Summer 2019 Renovation complete; all move to King Road as Hope City Church

What are you as leaders most excited about?

We are so humbled and honored that the Lord is providing ways to protect, preserve and promote the future of ministry for both Hope City and Milwaukie Christian. We are thrilled to consider that there will be a revitalization of a faithful body that has served over 70 years in our community. We believe that as the world grows more and more hostile toward things of Jesus, more church properties are at risk of being lost to become restaurants, retail stores and new developments. We are excited to consider that this property will once again become an outpost for essential ministry to a city that desperately needs Jesus.


We recognize the incredible opportunity we have to do something that hasn’t been done in SE Portland on this scale – to provide vibrant worship and teaching for children, students, adults and seniors, and have hundreds of people joined on mission to love their neighbors and their communities in radically generous and humble ways. We believe that taking this step of faith fuels our ability to do this. 

What do you need from me?

We need you as much now as we ever have. 

  • To pray for this season – pray for the body of MCC as they journey through this change. Pray for unity for all of us. Pray against distractions that would tempt us to wander off our mission.
  • To show radical hospitality – Open your arms wide to welcome MCC in January. Go out of your way to limit awkwardness toward them. Think of being the new kid in school…it’s scary.  Be the one that reaches out, welcomes in, and cares deeply for those who are new.
  • To faithfully give – Keep being faithful. Grow in your generosity so that you experience all that God has for you on mission with Him. Your giving will be deployed as it always has been, with great care and thoughtfulness. 
  • To trust – Trust that we serve an incredible God who desires to do incredible things in us and through us. Trust that Brian and the leadership team have had hundreds of hours of conversations, prayers, questions, and counsel regarding this next step.  We trust this is an adventure that God has planned and prepared for us – one for us to lean into and trust Him with.

Thank you for your support, your encouragement, and your prayers. If we can answer any questions, please contact Brian directly at brian@myhopecity.org.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

Say Hello!

Got a question? Drop us a line!

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt