PDX Seminary Church Planting Conference

Portland Seminary Church Planting Conference

May 16-17, 2019

First Baptist Church, Portland, Oregon

Facilitated by Jason and Bev Clark

Featuring guests Steve Nicholson, Michael Gatlin and Tammy Dunahoo


  "A vigorous and continuous approach to church planting is the only way to guarantee an increase in the number of believers, and is one of the best ways to renew the whole body of Christ.” - Tim Keller

Only 28 percent of Americans between the ages of 23 and 37 attend church, a concerning drop from the 43 to 57 percent of older generations who say they do. Fifty-nine percent of millennials who grew up in churches are leaving, and 85 percent of U.S. churches are either declining or plateauing. The church has not done well to adapt to and connect with the needs of a new generation.

Planting more churches when attendance is already declining might seem counterintuitive. Yet statistics show that new churches are more likely to grow. Nearly 50 percent of unchurched Americans are open to taking part in a new church if friends invite them to one.

New churches best reach the unchurched, period. Growing new churches ultimately renews the wider body of Christ. It’s no wonder so many groups and denominations are exploring church planting.

This two-day conference is a practical and theological boot camp for all things church planting.



8:45 a.m. Doors open and check-in begins  First Baptist Church
9:30 a.m. Session I Sanctuary
10:45 a.m.  Session II Sanctuary
12-1 p.m. Lunch (on your own) Main Lobby
1 p.m. Session III Sanctuary
2:30 p.m. Coffee! Main Lobby
3 p.m. Session IV Sanctuary
5 p.m. Break for the evening
Participants are encouraged to spontaneously dine together


8:45 a.m. Doors open and coffee served First Baptist Church
9:30 a.m. Session I Sanctuary
10:45 a.m.  Session II Sanctuary
12-1 p.m. Lunch (on your own) Food Carts
1 p.m. Session III Sanctuary
2:30 p.m. Coffee! Main Lobby
3 p.m. Session IV Sanctuary
5 p.m. Concluding remarks


Steve Nicholson

Steve Nicholson

Steve Nicholson began ministering as a college student through InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in the early 1970s. After graduation, he moved to the Chicago area, where he and several other 20-something leaders founded a church. That fellowship, begun in 1976 in Evanston, Illinois, placed a high priority on contemporary worship, biblical teaching, openness to the Holy Spirit, and committed relationships as a church family.

In 1981, Steve and a team from the fellowship established a new church in Humboldt Park, a neighborhood in Chicago’s inner city. Both churches joined the Vineyard USA in August of 1985, and Steve transferred leadership of the Humboldt Park Vineyard to one of his team members in 1986.

The Evanston Vineyard has since planted nine other congregations in the Chicago area, and another 15 in other cities or countries. Steve led the Vineyard USA’s church-planting task force for over 20 years. He has ministered to and trained church leaders in India, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Turkey, Lebanon, Brazil, Chile and several Central Asian countries as well as in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The Evanston Vineyard is a diverse congregation representing more than 50 nations of the world with no majority racial or cultural group. Currently, it is one church with three campuses or congregations. Since 1986, the ministry of the Holy Spirit has been a regular and ongoing strength and emphasis of the Evanston Vineyard.

Steve and his wife, Cindy, live in Chicago. They have three adult children and eight grandchildren.

Michael Gatlin

Michael Gatlin

Michael Gatlin and his wife Brenda co-pastor the Vineyard Church in Duluth, Minnesota. Michael also leads Multiply Vineyard, a ministry that encourages and empowers local churches as they multiply disciples, leaders and churches.

Michael’s primary focus is to see Vineyard churches be healthy and multiply, and his passion is helping people to discover and express all that God created them to be. When he’s not riding his motorcycle, Michael loves to spend time with his family, read, create art and take some time to play a little music.

Tammy Dunahoo

Tammy Dunahoo

Tammy Dunahoo has served the Foursquare Church in multiple roles, including as vice president of Women in Leadership Ministry, Arkansas District supervisor, and on the national church and leadership health teams. Since becoming general supervisor in 2009, her primary focus has been aligning the national and district offices to serve and support local catalytic mission, and encouraging healthy leadership lifestyles for living and finishing well.

Since the implementation of the Reimagine Foursquare process, there has been a net increase in churches and congregations through multi-site campuses, ethnic congregations, church plants, chaplain congregations and creative expressions of faith communities. Churches are reimagining what “being sent” means in their local context.

Tammy has a Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership from Portland Seminary. She is currently enrolled in the Doctorate of Ministry in Leadership and Global Perspectives program, with an anticipated completion date of April 2021. Tammy has been married for more than 39 years to Gary, the lead pastor of Lighthouse Church in Newbury Park, California. The Dunahoos enjoy life with their family, playing golf and watching sunsets at the beach.

Jason & Bev Clark

Jason and Bev Clark

Jason & Bev co-pastor the Sutton Vineyard Church, that they planted in London, UK in 1997. They also oversee church planting and development for the London Region of Vineyard Churches, as regional leaders. They met at 19 in seminary, and have 60 years of experience in church planting between them.

Jason has a D.Min from Portland Seminary, and a PhD from London School of Theology. He is also the lead mentor for Leadership and Global Perspectives D.Min at Portland Seminary. Bev is in the second year of her D.Min in Spiritual Formation at Portland Seminary and has many years of experience assessing potential church planters.

Jason and Bev have a passion for helping church leaders navigate the cultural and contextual challenges for planting a church, for the healthy growth of those churches and the leaders who plant them.

Conference Location


Portland is home to a vibrant un-churched population. The city’s “Keep Portland Weird” motto is lived daily by thousands of city residents, and tolerated by Portland’s less-weird occupants. It’s the perfect place to plant a church, or visit to learn about church planting!

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean (one and a half hours to the west) and Mt. Hood (one hour to the east), Portland boasts a culture devoted to nature, designer donuts, and craft beer and coffee. First-time visitors must plan a few extra hours to visit Powell’s City of Books, walk along the Willamette River’s waterfront, or tour the food cart scene. Don’t forget to swing by one of the specialty donut shops and fly home with elaborate $5 donuts to wow your friends.

Guests are encouraged to stay at The Paramount Hotel, an easy MAX ride from the airport ($2.50) and a three-block walk from the conference location.


Rachael Fissell 
Email: rfissell@georgefox.edu
Phone: (503) 554-6150