Forty years ago, at the 121st Annual Meeting for Converge MidAmerica, the leaders at the time wrote these words:
“It would seem feasible and desirable to project our faith to the extent of 200 churches by the year 2000. This projection can be a reality if current budgets are met, and if there is a constant flow of resources from new churches entering our fellowship. Two hundred churches by 2000 = The 2200 Plan = the reality of level of support from each church.” – Clifford E. Anderson
My reaction to reading this was first humbling and second challenging. It was humbling to know that leaders were dreaming of our current reality 40 years ago! It is challenging because it has forced the question, “What faith dream are we going to leave the next generation?”
Over the last two years the Board of Overseers has been asking the question, “What is next?” This led us to conclude, in the words of the previous generation, “It would seem feasible and desirable to project our faith to the extent of seeing 400 churches by 2027.”
A Bold Vision
After a season of prayer and fasting, God has, through the generosity of our partner churches, provided the funds to hire two exceptional leaders to help us fulfill our vision of reaching 400 churches by 2027.
I am proud to report that both Danny Parmelee and Bryan Moak are making excellent progress in their new positions. Which makes this vision of 400 churches in the next ten years an ever-growing reality.
Through our regional vision meetings and prayer gatherings, our pastors and church planters shaped this dream of 400 churches. We are now using the phrase ‘400 Strong Churches by 2027’.
During the next ten years, we are going to need every church involved spiritually, relationally and financially to achieve this bold vision of ‘400 Strong Churches’.
We are going to need churches to pray for the Converge MidAmerica team as passionately as they pray for the missionaries they support and encourage. We are not denominational officials but regional missionaries.
We are going to need pastors and planters to break out of their comfort zones and be willing to meet together, pray together, learn together and work together as we see the gospel advanced. I am hopeful that we will see greater cooperation among our churches that will break down the racial and geographic segregation of our churches.
We are going to need to see our churches and church plants honorably fulfill their financial commitments in supporting this vision. What would our region look like if every church committed to give 3% of their offerings to support this aggressive vision?
We are going to need to see a wave of generosity flow over, in and through our churches and our pastors as we seek to start and strengthen churches in our eight state region. Above and beyond the recommended giving percentage will be greatly needed. Missional leaders not only feel the burden of God’s mission but they also act upon that burden and act upon it sacrificially.
400 Strong Churches by 2027
Why 2027? In October of 2027 it will be the 175th celebration of the first church started in Rock Island, IL. Converge was birthed out of a mission to reach non-English speaking immigrants.
What a tribute it will be to the Lord of the harvest to offer 400 Strong Churches as an act of worship. Soak in the word of the Apostle Paul to the believers in Rome.
“But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:15-16).
May our work be an acceptable and sanctified offering to the God who redeemed our souls.