By Gary Rohrmayer, President of Church Multiplication Partners
Disclaimer: Below is an example of a Vision Casting message I shared at the biennial gathering of Converge MidAmerica, a church starting and strengthening organization. This is part 1.
It’s been said that denominations and churches are like families, but in reality, they are more like blended families.
Today blended families now make up more than half of the families in America. It is very rare today for an extended family not to have some blended family members.
According to Cyperparent.com, these are the characteristics of blended families.
A Blended Family Is Appealing: A blended family is often large. They offer diverse perspectives. They tend to be fun and exciting. They are a place where acceptance and love is extended freely.
A Blended Family Is Not Perfect: A blended family can be frustrating. They can be challenging on all fronts and at times there is often conflicted feelings just below the service.
Blended Families Are Ever-Changing: The nuclear make-up of the blended family is always changing because family members come and go all the time. Children are gone to stay with other family members on weekends, during different times of the week, for vacations and also for summer breaks.
Blended Families Are Here to Stay:2,100 blended families are formed every day in America. Blended family numbers will only continue to rise in the future as families experience the loss of a loved one or the end of a marriage through divorce. Many parents will remarry, creating more blended families.
Converge is like a blended family.
We Are Appealing: We are getting larger every day through the starting of new churches and through established churches starting to join us at an accelerated rate. We are filled with great diversity, embracing a host of cultural perspectives centered on a strong affirmation of faith and a unifying mission. Our gatherings are often filled with exciting worship and fun interactions. Our understanding, acceptance and love for each other is growing every year.
We Are Not Perfect: At times we have frustrated others and others have frustrated us. At times relationships have been stretched, expectations have not been met and misunderstandings occur. It is in these times that forgiveness is sought, forgiveness is granted and relationships are renewed. The potential for theological and missional tension to occur is greater than we realized, but when we keep the main thing the main thing, unity is experienced.
We Are Ever-Changing: Like blended families, churches come in and go out all the time. New churches are planted and older churches close. Churches join us and churches leave us. Leaders come and go. New leaders are raised up and older leaders retire and move on. Yet God is faithful to provide leaders for our churches and workers for the harvest.
We Are Here To Stay: Since 1852, we have been doing ministry in Illinois. Over 163 years ago we were born out of mission and continue to live that mission for the glory of God. God’s hand has been upon us and his favor has powerfully sustained us. We are not going away… until the Lord returns and His mission through us is completed. I know that one of my jobs is to see successfully this mission passed on to the next generation, just as all my predecessors have done before me.
A blended family might mean some changes, some conflicts, some challenges, and some compromises, but it also means more people to love and more people to love you.
Just like blended families, a partnership with Converge can be stretching, sanctifying but ultimately satisfying as pastors, leaders and churches work together to see the mission of God advanced and the glory of God revealed.
When we are better together, we are fulfilling Jesus’ prayer for the church:
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me (John 17:20-23).