By: Gary Rohrmayer
"The Church is to Go, Grow, and Glow," with those words keynote speaker Dr. Michael Henderson brought the house down at the 18th Annual Celebration Banquet. In a packed ballroom of 570 people, we gathered as a region to celebrate everything God is doing through the ministry of Converge MidAmerica.
The Jubilee Baptist Church choir kicked off the event by leading us in a dynamic worship celebration of Jesus our King!
Mark Albrecht added to the celebration by announcing Converge MidAmerica has surpassed their five year church planting goal of 40 churches by deploying 42 new church planting in four years. Russ Shearer updated us on how Ignite Church (7 months old) in Peoria, IL is doing and introduced Paul Seidl his first church planting resident who is seeking to start his own church in the next 18 months.
Dick Loizeaux described and celebrated the success of Converge MidAmerica’s new Pastoral Placement Process. Wayne Sisk (Chairman of the Elders) and Pastor Daniel Wentworth of Homewood Church gave a ringing endorsement of the program.
At last year’s banquet Rev. Lucious Fullwood and Rev. John Byrd cast a vision for the need of a Coordinator of African American Ministries. Because of the generosity of all the banquet participants last year we were able to hire Dr. Winfred Obleton to fill that role. Dr. Obleton shared his dream for the position and we dedicated him to the Lord in prayer.
Jessy Padilla our Hispanic Ministries Director shared the need for raising up Hispanic leaders from our own churches. He introduced our Ignite Program, (an 18 month mentoring program for Latino Lay Leaders). He then introduced Javier & Judy Maldonado one of the first couples to graduate from the program in 2009 and who are now leading our third cohort through this process that has mentored to 28 couples in the last 6 years. Their testimony was very moving in revealing the need for reaching not only first generation Hispanics but also 2nd and 3rd generations who are missed by the church today.
Dr. Henderson ended the evening with a great missional challenge from Matthew 28:16-20. We are to GO in Jesus authority! We are to GROW followers of Jesus! We are to GLOW with the presence of Jesus!
We received an offering that evening to fund our African America Ministries, the Ignite Program and the ongoing support of the Church Planting Matching Grant Fund.
And because of your generosity, we are close to our goal of 100,000 raising $98,233. There is still time to invest in these three worthy projects through our Online Giving or by sending a check to Converge MidAmerca c/o Celebration Banquet 924 Busse Hwy, Park Ridge, IL 60068.