Nearly 300 leaders from 94 churches attended this power packed 24-hour event. This year, we welcomed in 7 new churches that have purposely joined Converge. We commissioned 7 church planters, celebrated launching 7 multi-sites from our multiplying churches, appointed 6 new board members and gave out 9 Prevailing Pastor Awards in celebration of pastors who have served in one church for more than 20 years.
Thursday afternoon we had 24 workshops taught primarily by Converge pastors and leaders who are succeeding in the trenches of ministry. Bryan Moak led us in a PrayerFirst gathering to start the day on Friday. It was so encouraging to see pastors and leaders praying and worshipping together.
Our theme this year was Advancing the Gospel Together (John 17:23) as we tackle the issue of diversity from a biblical perspective. Three of our pastors, Jay Cantus, Darryn Scheske and Ed Brown powerfully shared their own diversity journeys and all that God has taught them from it. We heard a robust presentation by Professor Ruben Rivera of Bethel University on the subject during our theological forum and ended with an excellent panel discussion from Converge pastors who are leading the way in this area.
We cast a bold vision of 400 Strong Churches by 2027. This is a challenging but doable vision if each of our churches embrace and execute our strategy of Each One Reach One; Each One Raise One; Each One Start One and Each One Send One! It is a stretching vision but it is also a reachable vision that will call every one of our pastors and each church to a higher level of participation in the Great Commission.
One pastor told me he was so discouraged to think he will have to wait two years for our next all conference gathering. So I told him about our Pastors and Wives Retreat scheduled for October 22-24, 2018 in New Buffalo, MI.