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Coming back.

February 23, 2017

It is with great difficulty we’ve come to the decision to close Converge Church. More will be posted here later, but I will be transferring all my posts that I feel are relevant and helpful from the church website to this blog. And I will write here form time to time as well. I’m currently working on 3 book ideas…no idea if I’ll ever get to them or finish them, but if I do, it’ll be developed here first.

All that to say, I’ll be coming back to this blog…soon.

Thanks for tuning in.

Mark

Closing Converge

February 12, 2017

This post was originally posted on ConvergeChurch.ca and has been archived here.


[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.

Looking Forward to Celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (aka: the Season of Lent)

February 10, 2016

This post was originally posted on ConvergeChurch.ca and has been archived here.

Today has traditionally been known on the Christian Calendar as Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of the season of Lent, which is the 6 weeks leading up to Good Friday. In many ways, Lent is to Easter as Advent is to Christmas. So just as we spent some more focused time looking forward to Christmas during the season of Advent, we want to spend some more focused time now leading up to the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus.

If you were to observe Lent, it doesn’t make you any more of a Christian than not observing it does, and as varied as church history is, that’s how varied the ways of observing it throughout the centuries has been. So what is an evangelically appropriate and gospel-centered way to observe Lent without making it all about a tradition or turning it into legalism? I think the answer is simple—focus on Christ.

We’ve begun a series on 1 Thessalonians and many times throughout this little book, we have been instructed over and over to focus on Christ. If you choose to fast from food or go without a luxury of yours for Lent, great, but the point is not to see how strong we can be against our temptations…the point is not even to give up a bad habit and better ourselves during the next 40 days…the point of anticipating the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the person of Jesus Christ himself!

Let me be clear. Focussing on Christ is a habit all Christians ought to be ninja-awesome at, so why wouldn’t we take the next 40 days and build some good habits into our lives that might become lifelong patterns that keep us focussing on Christ for the rest of our lives?

Here’s some ways we’ll be working together over the next 40 days as we focus on Christ:

  • Tomorrow we will be gathering for our monthly prayer meeting, and again on the 2nd Thursday in March (the 10th).
  • We will be praying and planning together our Easter Sunday gathering coming up this year on March 27. This also just happens to be our monthly potluck Sunday.
  • I personally think this is the best time of year to get baptized and identify with the burial & resurrection of Jesus, so we’re going to plan on having baptisms this time of year…either on Good Friday sometime, or after the potluck on Sunday. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions about baptism.
  • We’ll pause regularly for corporate confession together in our gatherings.
  • We’ll sing songs specifically focusing our thoughts and worship on the cross/resurrection of Christ.
  • We’ll continue to dig into 1 Thessalonians together each week (and the other regular Bible readings) believing that God can do in and among us what he did in and among the church of Thessalonica back in the day as continue to plant, water, pray, repeat.

Anticipating and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ excites me, lets observe Lent together by focussing on Jesus and praying and working together toward our corporate celebration on the weekend of March 27th.

Pastor Mark Myles

(HT: Randy Lundy & his post on the Downtown Cornerstone Church website, “Lent: Honoring Christ, Reflecting the Gospel, and Deepening Our Worship”)

End of Year Letter from Pastor Mark – 2015

December 30, 2015

This post was originally posted on ConvergeChurch.ca and has been archived here.

2016

To know Christ and make him known.

“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.” – 2 Corinthians 4:1 (ESV)
For Converge Church, 2015 has been a year of difficult changes and unique challenges, but nothing that happened this year came as a surprise to our faithful Lord. He has taken the opportunities afforded by the events of this year for many reasons, but none so clear as this: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7, ESV)
Over the last few months, it has become very clear, not only to Keely and I, but to every person that makes up this small church family, that we absolutely must continue as a unique expression of the church in our mission to know Christ and make him known in this small city that we love.

Plant. Water. Pray. Repeat.

We eagerly anticipate the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the people of Campbell River in 2016. We know many people here have yet to hear of the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15), and we intend to plant seeds of the Gospel,water them with love and good deeds, and pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to bring the promised increase. And when we’ve finished that, we will do it again listening to and experiencing the heartbeat of the church on repeat.

Prayer & Support

As we continue to partner with the C2C Network and Fellowship Pacific, we also ask for your prayers and financial support for 2016. Pray that we would steward well all that the Lord has entrusted to us, that our church family would be bold in sharing the good news and in showing love to Campbell River and that we too would persevere in prayer.

Please consider making even a small donation to us right now through our website at convergechurch.ca/give or by snail mail to 881 Cortez Rd., Campbell River, BC V9W6J9.

I leave you with a few verses that have been on repeat in many of our hearts reminding us that our hope is not in our circumstances, but in Jesus Christ:
Lamentations 3:21-24 (ESV) – But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

– Pastor Mark Myles

Are you Encouraged?

April 2, 2015

This post was originally posted on ConvergeChurch.ca and has been archived here.


“Hey Mark, are you encouraged?”

This is a question I receive regularly…usually from other pastors or people in a similar calling. Its a difficult question to answer for me because I like to be honest most of the time.

And the truth is that I’m not always encouraged. In fact, I’m very discouraged sometimes. Sometimes I’m discouraged to the point of exhaustion and simply wanting to give up all that I’m doing.

I don’t doubt the disciples and many who followed Jesus felt this way right after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem (come this Sunday to hear more about the Triumphal Entry). Think about it. Lazarus had just been raised from the dead, Jesus is fulfilling prophecies, he comes into the city like a king, crowds are worshipping him, waving and putting palm branches on the ground for him, people are getting healed, he cleanses the temple (again), the pharisees are thinking of giving up because even the Greeks are coming from all over the world to hear him and become his disciples too! It looks like Jesus is about to win it all!

Then Jesus does this – “And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.” – Mark 11:11b (ESV)

Talk about anticlimactic. All this happens, and all he does is look around and walk out? I’m sure the disciples and the crowds were expecting something else (especially if they knew the prophecy from Zechariah 9 that it seemed like was coming true right in their midst). I would have expected more (that’s me being honest). I would have expected Jesus to do more at that moment than just walk out. Like, why didn’t he call down his angels and take the kingdom that’s rightfully his (because he’s God and a son of David) then and there?

And I think this is why I get discouraged sometimes. I get in my mind that God is about to act a certain way, and then he does something completely different than I expect. Its not that I always think he’s making a bad decision with ordering things a certain way, but it definitely presents an opportunity for me to renew my trust in him and causes me to pick up the shield of faith knowing that he knows what’s best.

And this is what I learn. God’s ways may be different, but they are always better than mine and I can trust in him.

After the Triumphal Entry, what Jesus was about to do by going to the cross and dying for the penalty of sin and raising back to life on the third day to defeat the power of sin and death, rids me of discouragement. The discouragement the disciples felt when he died on the cross was wiped far away when he came back to life on the third day.

Jesus did win.

So am I encouraged? Yes! You wanna know why? Not because of my surroundings or because of my situation. I am encouraged because Jesus is on the throne even when to me it might not seem like it. Jesus is on the throne even when I lose sight of it and I begin to think its all about me. Jesus is on the throne and he has done and is doing everything for our good and his glory.

Ephesians 3:20–21 – Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

______

This was originally posted in our newsletter from March 27, 2015. Sign up for the newsletter by entering your email address in the right hand sidebar.

Pick up the Shield of Faith

March 20, 2015

This post was originally posted on ConvergeChurch.ca and has been archived here.


“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;” ~ Ephesians 6:16

I was very encouraged this week by the prayers of my brothers in the C2C Network. One of the encouragements was from Ephesians 6:16 – not merely that I would take up the shield of faith, but that I wouldn’t (on the flip side) be identified by the flaming darts (which can be my tendency sometimes).

Sometimes when we get discouraged or hurt, or something happens that really feels like a uppercut to our solar plexus, we can wear those things like badges and really own the pain that we’ve experienced. Granted, time must be allowed for grieving the pains, mourning the losses, and experience the hurt to truly get through it all, but when we wallow in it and soak in it rolling around in it as if it were a complete roadblock to everything else in life God has called us to, it is not good.

Jesus knows our deepest pains and sorrows and the gospel says that his death on the cross took our pain, guilt, shame, shortcomings and failures and gives us his new life of the resurrection.

Because Jesus is alive, I can pick up the shield of faith no matter what circumstance I face, no matter how difficult and painful it might be. But rather than carrying the hurt for the rest of my life and letting it get me down, I can trust in Jesus and believe afresh that his work for me on the cross draws me into his perfect rest.

Now, my picking up the shield of faith to extinguish the flaming  darts become an act of worship and an act of faith believing that he will give me strength and he will take my pain and give me the grace by the power of his Holy Spirit to accomplish that which he calls me to do.

Life is an obstacle course. Our various struggles aren’t roadblocks to accomplishing that which God has called us to do, they are merely obstacles. Time to get up on over them.

——-
As we look toward Easter coming up on Sunday, April 5th, consider inviting a friend or two to join us at our gathering and invite them over for lunch afterwards…that’s what we’ll be doing.

Pastor Mark Myles

Jesus is Alive and is Building His Church

March 15, 2015

This post was originally posted on ConvergeChurch.ca and has been archived here.


“I find there are three stages in every great work of God: first it’s impossible, then its difficult, then it’s done.” – Hudson Taylor

I’d be lying if I said planting a church is all fun. Its not. The harsh reality is that sometimes it kicks me in the gut and says “Give up yet?” By God’s grace alone, those have been the times when I know with even more clarity that God has called me (and many of you reading this) to it.

Hey Converge family, the dream of seeing “Gospel saturation in the everyday life of every life in Campbell River and beyond” may seem ridiculously impossible and the path God has been taking us on to get there has, so far, been difficult, but the great truth about all of it is that it to depends not on our abilities or strength, but on Jesus and he WILL accomplish it.

No matter what happens in our lives that may seem to work against us and against God’s purposes, we believe that God is good and that Jesus is still alive, and he is still building his church.

Benny noted in last week’s newsletter that, “this year has been jam packed with spiritual growth and exciting change,”—he couldn’t have been more right. As Converge embarks on a new chapter of life, join me in clinging to and owning these words of the Apostle Paul as our own from Acts 20:24 (which was in last week reading). “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Things sometimes have to get tough before they get better, but all the way along,“…we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Family, I am spurred on by the strength, the encouragement and the dedication of so many of you. You have been an amazing blessing to Keely and I over the past few weeks. I have been so blessed to see your devotion to Jesus and his word, your reckless faith and trust in God’s promises. Keep it up. It is obvious that Jesus is alive and he is building his church because I can see it in the work that he is doing in and through you.

The challenges we are facing right now are not uncommon to the history of the church through the ages. God is no stranger to graciously providing all that we need through various means. I’m excited to see the work accomplished by the grace of God and the work of the Jesus Christ and the move of the Holy Spirit.

By the way…make a note in your calendar for April 5th. Its a Sunday! Its Easter! Invite someone to join you with us at 10:30am at the Campbell River Community Centre. Who knows! Somebody might decide to get baptized!

——
This was originally posted in our newsletter from March 6, 2015. Sign up for the newsletter by entering your email address in the right hand sidebar.
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