A SMALL CHURCH – 28 people in fact – WAS BORN SOMEWHAT RELUCTANTLY on June 10th 1977. Pastor Richard Probasco and others could no longer support, in good conscience, the doctrinal direction of the former New Covenant Fellowship (a now defunct congregation). As a result of our decision, Pastor Richard was asked to leave with others of similar convictions. New Song Christian Center (as it was then known) had our first worship service in the Sheraton Hotel (presently the Double Tree at the Lloyd Center). Within a couple of weeks, the group moved to a small room in the Cosmopolitan Hotel (presently the Holiday Inn at Lloyd Center) for about a month and somewhat humorously became known as “The First Church of the Shoe Box.”
The summer of 1977 brought yet another step of stability for New Song with an agreement to share The House of Prayer For All Nations – the church in which Pastor Richard grew up and was discipled. Its founding pastor, Bishop Searcie, was Pastor Richard’s grandfather. Because of the other Church’s service schedule, the Church had to meet at 5:30 Sunday afternoons. Three young pastors were ordained during this year in June – Jim Andrew, Cliff Baker, and Dan Rice.
In December of 1979, New Song was able to lease a building of our own – a vacant Baptist Church on the comer of 82nd and Thompson Streets. It was there that the planting of three years began to “take hold and flourish.” From a congregation of about 100 in 1980, the church grew to over 400 regularly in attendance by the end of 1982. By this time, it was necessary to hold two Sunday morning services. The Church was able to add to its staff an Associate Pastor, Jim Andrew, and a secretary, Kelley Carmichael.
The blessing of God in a growing Church brought with it an interesting “problem,” a great need for space! After two years of sometimes frustrating negotiations (which included being turned down twice!), New Song Church was able to buy the property on 6th and Holladay, a former Christian Science Church.
The miraculous details of all the events and how the Lord provided spiritually and financially during this time are far too numerous to mention. From a very humble beginning, God has carefully nurtured and provided for New Song, a vibrant ministry employing sixteen full and part-time staff, a governing Eldership of seven, twenty-three functioning ministries, and several overseas missionaries. There are two Sunday services accommodating well-over a five hunred people and a life-changing message that reaches out to people throughout the greater Portland area. In addition, there are several churches that have chosen to identify with the ministry of the Church by submitting to the covering of New Song International Ministries. This organization also covers other itinerant ministries.
In May of 1985, New Song released Associate Pastor Jim Andrew to found an outreach Church in southwest Portland, our first “child.” About sixty others helped form this pioneering work – Christian Community Church. Other outreaches soon followed. Pastor Ron Bronski established Song of Hope Church in North Portland in 1990. Another Associate Pastor, Dan Mayhew, launched out later that year with a small group of families and singles to form Summit Fellowship Ministries. God is to be praised for the expansion of His kingdom!
By the direction of the Holy Spirit, Pastor Jim Andrew was “re-assigned” to fill the Associate Pastor role at New Song Church in November of 1991. In August of 1992, Cliff Baker, Pastor of Christian Community Church, prayed and fasted, seeking God’s direction for the coming year. The direction he received was unexpected. It was to merge Churches. After confirming this with the elders of both Churches, Cliff and the congregation merged with New Song in October 1992, with Cliff coming on staff as a Pastoral Assistant and Minister of Adult Education.
Searching for several years for a larger facility, we purchased an abandoned theater and laboratory building in March of 1992. The laboratory building was remodeled to house our Children’s Ministry Department.
After several years of negotiation with church debenture programs and trying to fund the remodeling through the cash-flow of church offerings, the church secured a loan to finish the remodeling on the church and moved to its present location at
2511 Northeast Martin Luther King Blvd.
On March 30, 1998, the first service was held in the new facility. The former facility has been sold to a development company and will be razed to accommodate the building of a high density-housing complex.
New Song Church added the word “Community” to its name to reflect the fact of it now being located in a neighborhood this provides the opportunity to reach out to the people nearby. This will further our vision “to seek, save, and disciple the lost.”