Restoration and Resurrection

In September 2019, the unimaginable happened in the Grand Bahamas. A Category 5 hurricane sat on the tiny island with over 200 mph winds for two days, destroying and killing everything in its path. Although deeply damaged, Emmanuel Baptist Disciple Center itself SURVIVED. The local pastor, Pastor Israel Pinder, lost five family members from the hurricane, yet still faithfully serves his people amid his own pain. 

One of our Converge | MidAmerica | Southeast | Caribbean partners, Cecil Hollar, and a team from his church, Rejoice in the Lord Ministries, had the blessing of encouraging, supporting, and providing resources to the leadership at Emmanuel Baptist. Because of their partnership with Emmanuel Baptist, the team met with the youth and passed on a number of resources to church leadership. Much of Emmanuel Baptist’s congregation was uprooted after the hurricane when their houses were destroyed, so much of what Cecil and his team focused on was how to help the leadership reestablish their church after this devastating hurricane. Topics discussed included change that brings growth, spiritual gifts, and how commitment is the heart of the church and leadership. The team also met with 20+ church youth to eat, fellowship, and address the trauma they had been through due to the ramifications of the hurricane. They mostly wanted to talk about GOD with them, which was so encouraging to witness! 

Now the church leadership is even more prepared and able to more effectively serve their community than ever before. Worshiping on the final day they were there with the leadership and youth they met throughout the trip was powerful and moving. Some of the best news from this trip is that Emmanuel Baptist was able to finally rededicate their church building after almost four years, praise God! 

Plans are underway for future short-term mission trips to the Bahamas. Cecil and his team are working with Converge MidAmerica as they make plans for 2023 and hope to go every year as they continue to invest in their ongoing relationship with Emmanuel Baptist. 

Our God is a God of Resurrection and Restoration. We look forward to witnessing how He uses Emmanuel Baptist Disciple Center for His Kingdom and Glory! 

We invite all Converge churches to participate in partnership via Vision and Mission trips and financial partnerships. Your church can begin a similar relationship as Rejoice in the Lord Ministries has developed! Click here for more information on our Caribbean partnerships.

All Together: A Recap of our First Gathering

One of our values in Converge MidAmerica | Southeast | Caribbean is that no pastor would ever lead alone.

Although being a part of Converge allows you to lead alone if you want, we also want to make sure that this happens in spite of us, not because of us. One of the main ways we do that is through our Together Groups.

What are Together Groups? They are regional gatherings of pastors from church plants and existing churches that meet to encourage and pray for each other, learn from one another, and dream about how churches can be strengthened and planted throughout their region. We launched our first Together Group in Grand Rapids, MI in January 2018. Today, we have 20 groups in 8 different states (and the Bahamas) with over 200 pastors participating!

Praise God — because of His faithfulness and favor, we are well on our way to seeing that value realized.

October was an amazing month for our Together Groups. For the first time, we gathered our groups in 3 locations: Michigan, Illinois/Missouri, and Florida/Georgia for an event we entitled All Together.

We hoped we would see three things happen:

  1. We hoped to remind each group what is happening in their part of the region is being repeated throughout Converge MidAmerica | Southeast | Caribbean.
  2. We hoped to encourage each other that we genuinely are “Better Together.”
  3. We hoped to get some training on what coaching is and launch a new coaching system that will allow any pastor who wants to be coached the opportunity to get connected with someone to support them for growth in their work and call as a pastor.

Simply put, these three All Together gatherings accomplished what we hoped! At least 135 pastors and leaders met together including at least six churches that are “looking under the hood” to see what Converge is all about. We had 25 people sign up for our new coaching system.

You can sign up using the following link:

We were spoiled by the three amazing churches that hosted us. And best of all, we created stronger bonds with those we already knew and built new connections with others.

One pastor shared this: “I love that Converge offers opportunities for pastors to get together and be encouraged…I appreciate Converge’s heart for training, church planting, and dedication to church strengthening.”

If you aren’t involved in a Together Group, you are welcome to try it out. You can find the closest group to you by clicking here. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly at May God continue to move in our district as we start and strengthen churches for His Glory!

Bryan Moak, VP of Church Strengthening