By Dick Loizeaux
On October 22-23, 254 Converge MidAmerica pastors, wives, and staff, trekked from 7 different states to “Encourage, Equip, Connect and Celebrate” together. We had a lot to celebrate! A record number of states represented, a record number of workshops and network gatherings, a record number of new pastors welcomed, and a record number of Prevailing Pastors recognized. The host church, Calvary Community in Schaumburg, Illinois, did a great job welcoming, directing, and feeding all of us. The sense of camaraderie and enthusiasm over both days was palpable.
One pastor said: “Connect was really encouraging and challenging to me personally. It was a much needed time to change my place and pace and encounter Christ. Thank you for the time and energy you put in to moments like this.”
Pastors and staff participated in network gatherings and 24 workshops. Popular topics were: Breaking Through Leadership Lids, Creating and Sustaining Momentum, Improving Your Weekend Worship Experience, How to Change Your Church Without Killing It, Developing Volunteer Leaders, and Reaching Families With Milestone Moments.
We heard messages from Gary Rohrmayer, and President Scott Ridout and were led to the Throne by the NorthBridge Church Worship Team. Youth Pastors received intensive training in coaching volunteers and students by Bo Boshears of Lead 222. A track for Ministry Wives provided opportunity to interact with author and Christian Counselor Kay Swatkowski, and author Pastor James Ford. We launched 12 church planters with prayer and welcomed 3 church planters into full membership. We recognized and awarded 5 Prevailing Pastors who have each served their church for over 25 years. We welcomed 9 new member churches and over two dozen (that is right, two dozen) new pastors.
The conference closed with a time of victorious worship, a presentation by Bethel University Professor Mark Strauss on “Gender and Identity Issues and the Church” followed by Q & A, and a moving time
Connect 2015. Hearts were refreshed, friendships were renewed, ministry skills were sharpened, and the Lord was exalted. We ARE Better Together.