[This was announced at our Sunday Gathering February 12, 2017 to the Converge Church Family.]
After 6-1/2 years of being a Gospel presence in Campbell River, through lots of prayer and many conversations, I have had to make the very hard decision to close Converge Church.
There are a number of things that have led me to this decision…
When God laid it on our hearts to start Converge, we never thought the day would come that we would also shut it down. But as time went on and I grew in my understanding of cycles of organizational growth, where there is birth, growth, maturity, decline, and eventually closure…I began to wonder if God would have us close our doors one day.
Personally, I have bore most of Converge’s oversight, operation, guidance and leadership on my shoulders for nearly 7 years and I simply cannot bear the load any longer.
This is not to say we don’t have or haven’t had any help with the church over the years. To be sure, we have men and women here today who have helped to shoulder the load for a long time.
Early on our plan was to appoint elders and deacons to share the load with me, and as we grew, a number of people went through a discipleship and leadership class that I taught on principles of church planting, core biblical doctrines, and gave practical tools for personal and corporate discipleship.
By God’s grace we began to see lots of numerical and spiritual growth seeing many baptisms and new life where God was calling people to himself. The vine of the church was growing and a vine needs structure to assist it in its growth, so 2 years ago, when it came time to further establish Converge bringing some structure to assist in the growth of the vine, God had other plans. We were looking at appointing at least 3 elders and a number of deacons as well as begin the process of establishing membership. However, God’s plans allowed our numbers to dwindle and a ripple effect began.
During that time we had an Immerse apprentice student pastor that Converge had committed to support financially as he pursued pastoral ministry, but now we were going to have to decrease his salary significantly. I also would have to take work outside of the church taking me away from many days to work on the church, in order to make ends meet for my own family effectually taking me away from much of the work needed from a founding pastor of a church plant. Others left, following their friends, and we continued to lose many of our people.
We also lovingly sent our apprentice pastor to another church knowing that it would be best for him and his family, but this left us with minimal help to continue running Converge while I was bi-vocational.
Its been more than a year since then and we’ve seen growth and decline and growth again. We’ve been slowly growing here and there and it has been all glory to God. The best thing about it is that God is worshipped among us, Jesus is made much of and the Gospel is proclaimed every single week.
Converge is a story of faithfulness. God’s faithfulness. In our almost 7 years, we’ve been privileged to witness 20 people submit their lives to the Lord through baptism. All of whom were either baptized in the frigid waters of Discovery Passage or McIvor Lake.
Through all of the ups and downs, God has provided for Keely and I not only with various kinds of work to make ends meet financially, but with prayer and emotional support to keep us and Converge going. But I am growing weary. And I have come to a place where I need to do what is best for myself, what is best for my wife and children and what is best for the people who call Converge “family.”
Today’s message from Zechariah 4 proves that God’s Spirit has been and will continue to be at work through the lives that he’s impacted through Converge Church. The work God began in your life will not end simply because Converge closes her doors. No. I am convinced that in the midst of this closure, there will be immeasurable spiritual growth as a result in your lives and mine and we cannot comprehend all that God can and will do in and through us all.
One of my biggest desires in all of this is that you all would find a place to gather with another church family. Keely and I will eventually settle in somewhere, but have not yet decided where that will be. We will be taking a break from leadership in the church for some time to just be a family. I need to take care of myself, my wife and my children. We will, however continue our relationships with each one of you. I will never stop caring for you as a part of our church family. Just because our church closes, doesn’t mean that our church family ceases to exist. Something has begun here that will last forever.
But it is now time to move on to offer our gifts to other expressions of the church in Campbell River to see the planting of the gospel in people’s hearts and lives no matter where are.
Undoubtedly, there are are many things that I have to learn from this and I really don’t know all that I need to do in this process as we look at closing the doors of Converge, but I want to finish well, and I want you to lean on Jesus Christ, and I want to see our God glorified in all of it.
So this week we will have a meeting in our home. The meeting is for our church family to ask questions and to provide a space to grieve and talk through all the things that you want to talk about as we close our doors.
Next Sunday, February 19th, 2017 will be our last gathering. We will celebrate the life of Converge Church with memories, some pictures and stories. Bring a memory to share with us. And we will also have Potluck, so bring some food to share with us as well.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you.
Your Pastor and brother, Mark Myles.