Last summer I was humbled and honored to be selected to serve on the Elder Board in our church, The Gathering. I knew it was a huge responsibility and was going to add to an already somewhat hectic schedule. I really had no idea what was coming…but it’s been an amazing journey!
The leaders I serve with are incredible, Godly men. We have wrestled with several decisions over the last 8 months and clearly felt God leading the church in some new directions. We were given a vision to be more active in the community we live in…currently we have a very strong international missions and outreach ministry, but the lack of a permanent facility (we’ve set up in a gym for nine years) made it hard to really impact our immediate surroundings. Last fall we thought we found a building we could transform into a permanent church home that would give us a strong presence in the Monument/Tri-Lakes region but soon found the cost to remodel was much greater than we were comfortable spending. The search continued.
In December, Mike, our lead pastor was meeting with Ed, the lead pastor at another church in our area, Tri-Lakes Chapel. They have been friends for nearly a decade and have been mentors to each other over the years. Mike shared the vision we had of making a bigger impact in our community and some of the challenges we were facing. Ed shared the vision he and the leadership at his church had regarding expanding to the south with a multi-site strategy and the challenges involved with that vision. After some continued conversation it occurred to both Mike and Ed that the visions each had for their congregations weren’t really all that different. They engaged in a preliminary discussion with their respective Elder boards about what it might look like if these two churches joined together instead of continuing to operate independently. To make a long story shorter, after months of praying, fasting, deliberating, investigating, talking, praying (and did I mention praying?) a joint, unanimous decision was made by the respective Elder Boards that these two churches would be better together than continuing separately. In fact, the tone of the conversations had changed from “how can we do this?” to “how can we NOT do this!” The idea of the merger was presented to each congregation this morning. Two churches with a common vision joining together to form a new, bigger church yet maintaining a more intimate worship setting by having multiple locations, combining the best each has to offer to further the Kingdom of God in the communities where we live.
It’s not a done deal and there’s still a LOT of work to be done. But in this age where, more often than not we hear about disagreements between denominations, fighting among churches, and congregations splitting over petty circumstances, it is exciting to be part of two churches coming together to be better. Better with each other. Better in our neighborhoods. Better in our community. Better in our world!
There are many more conversations to be had. This won’t be an easy transition for anyone. Both congregations will have to make sacrifices. There will be a sense of loss for people on both sides, especially those who have called these churches home for so long. But the vision for this new church remains the same. We will be better together…to the glory of God!
Ecclesiastes 4:9-11, John 17:20-21, Matthew 6:10
See the video announcement here.