What a turmoil of emotions. Relief and anxiety. Encouragement and frustrations. Hope and despair. Excitement and dread. Those words describe my experience of leading a struggling church through a merger. I have to admit it’s not the end I had in mind when accepted the call to pastor this small church a year and a half ago. It must also be said that I am convinced this was/is the will of God.
Initially, after my arrival here we grew. We grew numerically and spiritually. The church felt new life flow through its veins. But over summer we lost that momentum and by summer’s end I was thoroughly discouraged. Yet in my times of prayer and study I kept hearing God give me the same overall vision and instruct me to keep doing what I was doing. Facing the reality that this local congregation could only survive another year financially I heard God instruct that we should keep pressing on. Shortly thereafter we were approached by a young, growing church without a permanent home. And thus the merger process began.
It was a difficult road. The hard truth we had to face was that we simply did not have the energy and manpower to turn this ship around. What was needed as a re-birth. Going through a season such as this causes one to do some serious self examination. It prompted a new song titled “Deconstructing Me” as I felt God tear me down, and reassemble me. Over the last eight months really I have struggled with calling and caring. I questioned the role and purpose of Church and my place in it. Through this journey God did something interesting. He rekindled in me a passion for His Church. I am convinced that my investment in the Church and its mission is the most significant thing I can do in my life.