It has been a historic year in the life of our community. In the darkness of a pandemic, God has shown a light of life and favor on us. In just a single year, we opened the doors on a new building, re-gathered in person, transitioned to a new Lead Pastor, and came through it all not merely surviving but thriving.
We blessed and commissioned our beloved Founding Pastor, John Mark Comer, to start Practicing the Way, a ministry birthed from Bridgetown, now given for the global church. The transition between John Mark and I, Tyler, held together by our friendship and the maturity of this body of believers, was so healthy locally it became a sign of hope to many in the broader church.
As we opened to a new chapter in an old story, we have discovered new themes together—prayer as our central anchor, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in our expression, and the early rumblings of mission spilling beyond our walls into the streets of our city. We’ve also welcomed many new team members to our staff to play critical roles in this new chapter.
Most profoundly though, the celebration of this year is not about pastors or leaders but the people of Bridgetown Church. Together, we held to our vision of Practicing the Way of Jesus Together in Portland, in both new and familiar ways. Currently, there are more active Bridgetown Communities and more people participating in those Communities than at any other point in our church’s history. We have celebrated baptism, welcomed new members of our family in celebration, and regathered on Sundays, rediscovering the joy of corporate worship in person. We’ve stepped deeper into the life and ministry of the Holy Spirit in our worship gatherings. We have held multiple Alpha courses and celebrated salvation stories through baptism after each one.
My family and I, Tyler, have been profoundly loved and quickly folded in. I am profoundly grateful to call you all family and Bridgetown home. We’re in for a Kingdom adventure together and it’s already begun.
Lead Pastor, on behalf of the Elder Board
Board Chair, on behalf of the Board of Directors
In Portland as it is in Heaven
We were so grateful to remain united as a pandemic-isolated church through livestream worship gatherings. Still, we greatly anticipated the day we would re-gather to worship in the company of God’s people. Finally, in late March, we opened the doors of our new building for full, in-person worship gatherings. Our Sunday gatherings since have been filled with incredible joy, new life in the Spirit, and a renewed sense of family as we greeted familiar faces and met so any who began attending Bridgetown during the pandemic. In addition to Sundays, we hosted a Leader Summit, God & Women weekend, lectures, and more, filling our new home with the teeming life of the Kingdom.
In September, we were able to reopen our Bridgetown Kids’ classrooms under the direction of Joy Schlichter, who joined out staff as Pastor of Kids and Families. In the months since, we have welcomed over 300 children in our classes on Sundays. None of this would be possible without the 90+ volunteers who give their time to teach kids about God’s love for them and their place in his story.
Despited being limited to two online Alpha courses in the early part of the year, incredible stories of salvation continued. In the fall, Tre’ Giles joined our team as the Alpha & Evangelism Coordinator, effortlessly infusing life and leading our first in-person Alpha course since the pandemic began, where 70 guests were hospitably welcomed. Through partnership with local organizations and other Portland churches, Bridgetown also had its first multi-church Alpha retreat, and saw eight people enter the waters of baptism following the fall course.
This year was fruitful in our church in a variety of ministries, but perhaps none greater than Bridgetown Communities. We were able to navigate the pandemic with strength because of the maturity and commitment of our Communities. As we re-gathered, our first in-person Basics Course was packed, and, at the close of the fiscal year, we had more active Communities and individuals participating in Community than ever before in Bridgetown’s history. The resilience of Bridgetown’s Community Leaders is without doubt the primary reason we can celebrate such a great year amidst such dire circumstances.In the fall, we also began conversations that culminated in welcoming Natalie Correll to work alongside Gavin Bennett as our second Pastor of Communities.
(including nearly 200 kids)
This year was a time of preparation in Bridgetown’s justice partnerships and ministries. With the acquisition of a building, we have made it our ambition to allocate the bottom floor as a Justice Center, buoyed by a vision to see the church’s doors open seven days a week, home to ministries serving the marginalized, teeming with a variety of expressions of the Kingdom of God.
Additionally, in 2021, we began conversations with Jonathan Tremaine (JT) Thomas, eventually welcoming him to our staff as our Justice & Mercy Fellow. He will architect the Justice Center, solidify our justice partnerships in the city, and lead us into greater proximity and effective justice work on the streets of Portland. We envision a church who not only matures the body but renews the whole city.
Because we are preparing to prioritize justice holistically and thematically in the coming year, a portion of the 10% we allocate for local and global justice work annually was reserved for initiatives that will come to pass in 2022. Rest assured that this was done thoughtfully and intentionally, with the support of our Staff, Elders, and Board of Directors. We are not pulling back on our commitment to justice but pressing further in.
In its second official year, the Racial Justice Committee (RJC) championed awareness campaigns surrounding months honoring specific groups (Black History Month, AAPI Month, etc.), as well as raising up marginalized voices. The RJC has grown to include six active subcommittees, with five more actively recruiting members to begin work in 2022. This committee continues to pro-actively move us toward being a reconciling church and a living picture of the multi-cultural Kingdom of God in Portland.
In September 2021, we had the honor of celebrating, blessing, and sending our Founding Pastor, John Mark Comer, as he concluded his time on staff at Bridgetown Church. John Mark and the Comers dedicated nearly 20 years to this community, and we are wildly grateful for the foundation John Mark laid at Bridgetown as we aim to see God’s Kingdom come in Portland as it is in Heaven. In September, Bridgetown sent the Comers into a months-long sabbatical to rest and restore as John Mark prepares to launch Practicing the Way as a nonprofit that will serve the global church. With equal excitement and joy, Bridgetown welcomed Tyler Staton, his wife Kirsten, and their children Hank and Simon (and another son, Amos, born in 2022) to Bridgetown as Tyler stepped into the role of Lead Pastor. Previously pastoring Oaks Church Brooklyn, Tyler said “yes” to Bridgetown after a months-long process of discernment led by the Holy Spirit. The pastoral transition has been healthy, natural, Spirit-enabled, and hope-filled. We’re so grateful that you, as a church, have been faithful through it all, releasing the Comers and welcoming the Statons with equal love, honor, and maturity.
Practicing the Way of Jesus, Together, in Portland
In 2021, you once again were incredibly generous in giving toward the work God is doing in and through Bridgetown Church. Thank you for the ways you continue to lean into generosity. Thanks to God’s consistent provision through you, we were able to relaunch our in-person gathering, hire new staff, and re-open Bridgetown Kids.
Figures represent our fiscal year, Oct 2020 – Sept 2021. In total, $4,974,031 was given; $114,677 was assessed in bank and credit processing fees.
Ministry Expenses include but are not limited to: Kids, Youth, Young Adults, Men, Women, Classes, Bridgetown Communities, Alpha, Alpha Marriage Course, and more.
Wages and Salaries include but are not limited to: Wages and salaries for all staff and benefits for full-time staff.
Facilities & Operating Expenses
Operating Expenses include, but are not limited to: Mortgage, building and grounds maintenance, utilities, insurance, office supplies, etc.
Justice & Mercy
10% of every dollar goes directly to justice work and those in need both globally and locally. Any remaining funds at the end of the fiscal year are kept in a reserve for future justice initiatives.
By God’s grace and with your support, we were able to add significant funds to our reserves this year, which will be used toward the building’s outstanding mortgage balance, moving us closer to outright ownership of this beautiful space we call home, and a reserve for future planning and emergencies.
Christmas Giving Campaign
While not part of our fiscal year giving, we also want to celebrate the generosity of Bridgetown through the Christmas Giving Campaign. In early December, we set out to raise $150,000 to support three goals: build out of the prayer room, development of the Justice Center, and support of our Justice & Mercy partners. Not only did you meet that goal, you doubled it. Thank you for your faithfulness to the work God is doing in these areas.
2021 Outstanding Mortgage Balance
Through your generosity, we purchased our building in Jan. 2019. The outstanding mortgage balance reflects the original purchase price and increased costs for renovations. A portion of the annual reserve will be used toward the remaining balance over and above monthly principal and interest.
Thanks to your generosity in 2021, we were able to continue support of our justice partners and the important work they do in our city and around the world. Bridgetown made annual or monthly contributions to the following organizations and program initiatives:
We are so grateful for your financial partnership in 2021. Thanks to you and the faithfulness of God, we saw the church family served both here in Portland and around the world. We are blown away by your generosity, and continue to thank God for you. If you would like to continue financially partnering with Bridgetown Church, you can give online. If you have any questions about our annual report, please contact us.