Church Planters: Ron and Lori Clark
In September 1984 a young engineering student at the University of Missouri decided to invite 100 people to a dorm Bible study. The last door was a first year Veterinary school student who was struggling to pass his classes. The student accepted the invitation to attend and was the only one to respond. This student (Ron) was baptized the next month. After flunking out of the school he returned to Central Missouri State University to finish his degrees in Biology and Chemistry. While there he led dorm Bible studies and led his 3 best friends to Christ.
Years later Ron turned down a full ride teaching assistantship in a Biochemistry PhD program to preach for a church in Missouri. He became the youth minister for the Chillicothe Church of Christ in Chillicothe, MO. While there he met Lori, a college student. In 1987 they were married and later moved to Bonne Terre, MO to preach for a small church in the town. After 3 years Ron and Lori moved to Memphis to finish his Masters of Divinity at Harding University Graduate School of Religion. God blessed them with a son, Nathan. They returned to Bonne Terre for 5 more years of ministry.
In 1998 they moved to Portland where Ron served as the preaching minister for the Metro Church of Christ in Gresham, OR. In 2002 Ron finished his Doctorate from Harding and continued to teach at Cascade College, and develop Communities Against Domestic Violence in Gresham. God added to their number in the births of Hunter and Caleb. In 2006 they led a church plant to downtown Portland. Beginning with 16 people in their home the vision and dream for the Agape Church of Christ became a reality. Agape launched at Lincoln High School Easter 2007 with over 100 people and continues to reach out to Portland to reflect God’s love and glory to the city. In 2012 Agape saw two new churches launched AS IS Church, led by Scott and Gwenna Bradley, and Agape Rockwood Campus, led by Allyn and Becky Bradley. Agape has a goal to plant 40 churches by 2020 and seeks strong individuals and couples who wish to develop leadership skills and add new congregations to the existing battle against evil in our cities and throughout the world.
Lori is a preschool teacher for Tree of Knowledge Pre-School in Troutdale, OR. She is supported as a women’s minister and works with women in domestic and sexual abuse, prostitution, and those needing mentoring. She is a speaker, sometimes with Ron, in the Portland Metro area concerning domestic abuse and faith communities.
Ron has served on the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force, The Engaging Men Project (TEMP), and co-founded Community Against Domestic Violence. He has authored Setting the Captives Free, Emerging Elders, Freeing the Oppressed, The Better Way: The Church of Agape in Emerging Corinth, Am I Sleeping With the Enemy?, and the newly published trilogy The God of Second Chances: Finding Hope in the Prophets of Exile, Jesus Unleashed: Luke’s Gospel for Emerging Christians, and The Acts of the Spirit Unleashed on the Early Church. He has also authored articles in Hebrew and Greek studies and theology. He serves as an adjunct faculty with Portland Seminary.
“The northwest provides a great opportunity to bring the message of Jesus to people who have welcomed us into their homes, hearts, and lives. Agape has been a great blessing for us and an opportunity to connect with our Portland neighbors with a gospel of hope, healing, and love.”