Why Are You At Intown? Stories From the Pew

Last Sunday we had a congregational meeting where we talked about the vision of our church during difficult financial times. We had a time of open sharing where people got to talk about why they are a part of Intown. Here’s some of what they said:

“When I think of Intown the first two words that come to mind are thoughtful and kind. The thoughtfulness of the leadership and community inspires me to learn and grow and the kindness I have experienced here allows me to be open and honest about my struggles and to be authentically me (flaws and all). Over the last year and a half this thoughtful kindness was very apparent in my life. When I first started to experience difficulties in my marriage, I reached out to Brian — months before I told any of my friends or family. I never was scared to talk to Katie (pastor’s spouse) or Brian because of the consistent kindness they exude and the thoughtful and sound advice that they offered me along the process. They have held my hand every step of the way as I brought my first child into the world while dealing with a painful and unexpected divorce. As I slowly started to share my story with the people of Intown, the message I received in response was consistent across the board: you are loved, you are accepted here, and we are here for you. This was conveyed not just in words but also through everyone’s actions. Members of Intown came and assembled furniture for me, cared for my baby when I was sick, volunteered to watch her weekly while I ran, let me crash their date nights…the list goes on and on. I kept thinking that the support and love from this community would fade over time as my situation became less acute, but it never has. I’m so thankful for this kind and thoughtful community.” — Christina Overbeck Crawford

“It is a privilege to worship in the gorgeous setting of The Old Church and have my soul fed both through the music and the sermon that is offered every week at Intown Church. I find a sense of depth at Intown Church - depth in the music, in the sermons, and in the people. As I love history, I appreciate how the music incorporates words from past centuries and combines them with both modern and older tunes. Having the written words of the past centuries blesses us because we rarely see that level of quality penmanship in our everyday lives. The sermons touch on a great number of topics and challenge us to think about our faith and how to live it out. Brian obviously puts a lot of time and energy to make each sermon fresh and personal. And lastly, the people of Intown represent a beautiful and colorful tapestry. The families are interesting to get to know and are full of variety. Our congregational tapestry of interesting people, when woven together, has much to offer to each other and the community.” — Twila Petrie

“God uses Intown's service to encourage and convict me Sunday after Sunday, and I invite non-Christian friends to attend without hesitation, knowing they will hear the gospel through the liturgy, sermon, and music. This is what initially attracted me to the church. Most recently, however, I have been in awe of the people I've met through Intown. Close friends and mere acquaintances helped us move (twice) and welcome a new baby (twice). I am surrounded by people who inspire me to Christ-likeness, our pastor being one, who though he is the leader is forgoing his family's income for the sake of his flock. I can't help but attribute the grace I've received through Intown to the Holy Spirit, gifting and working through the church body.” — Jessica Downing

“The best way for me to explain what Intown means to me is with a picture. I recently worked in my yard and found a shrub choked by its environment with no room to grow either root or branch. I dug it up and found the "dirt" was just dried clay — no moisture, no nutrients. I moved it to a new spot prepared with rich top-soil with plenty of room to grow and watered it deeply to revive it. A year ago, I was that shrub with withered and dry spiritual branches. Intown has been the place where I've found spiritual top-soil, room and freedom to breathe, and safety to continue my journey. I feel like I am putting out new green growth and maybe even hints of fruit again; like I have a new chance to become that tree in Psalm 1.” — Tracy Petrie

“I’m at Intown mostly because I don’t feel pressure to push my broken flesh back into the suit I’ve always felt I needed to wear on Sundays. I don’t leave feeling guilty when I “just don’t get it.” There is a peace in that building on Sunday mornings that I can’t explain. More often than not, I feel a deeply creative energy during and after the service (whatever that is, I think it’s a good thing.) Intown feels a little scrappy. Elegantly scrappy, and I like that. It’s GOOD to be disturbed by real life and manic piano solos (played impromptu by one of our houseless friends.) I love doing music with these peoples! I love that our son is growing and learning with this bunch, and as of today - knowing it’s okay to be an introvert at church! Hooray for that!” — Vicki Waineo

“A question I hope we all ask ourselves is does God care about cities? Because if he does then he cares about the gospel in the cities. But, many churches have abandoned the cities. We at Intown are positioned to be vessels of the gospel in the city and we hope we can be mirrors of Christ’s love and good news to the city. That is our charge, and that has always been my hope at Intown. With our pastor’s time being stretched even more now, my question is who will take up the mantle? My hope is “all of us.” We all should concern ourselves with how we are loving each other so that we all are increasingly marked with fruits of the Spirit. If we are, then it will show, and others will be able to see the kind of God we serve, Jesus will be honored, and the city blessed.” — Jason Downing 

It’s not an exaggeration to say that being at Intown has changed our lives. We came to Intown when we moved to Portland from Atlanta, and Intown has been our community and our home ever since. It has provided a place to meet Jesus and learn about how He is working in our lives. Growing and learning at Intown has helped us to open our homes and our hearts to a community group, to church and neighborhood friends, to exchange students from France and Spain, and most meaningful to us, to our foster daughter, Emma. Our children have learned what it is to give of themselves to others, and that the love of God doesn’t just change our lives - it calls us to change the lives of others.  At Intown, we’ve seen friends come and go, hurt people find the healing touch of God and His people, and the lost find hope in Jesus. We love our little church, and we see God’s hand in the love and care of this community. — Scott and Jen Bowman