So picking up where we left off…
The arrangement with St. Mark’s was for me to continue preaching for them until December (this month) and then sit down to talk about our futures together.
By the way, let me mention that in being with them every week for six months, God did a work in my heart. Initially, I figured I would be preaching for them so that Seven Mile Road could have a place to worship. But over the course of six months, God gave me a great love for the people. I don’t know if you can preach to people without God giving you a love for them. Thankfully He did.
Anyway, we began to talk through possible directions for our two churches to go. The obvious option was to simply part ways. We could thank God for the time He gave us together but go our separate paths. After much prayer and conversation, we submitted a proposal to St. Marks about a different path to pursue. We called it “Death and Resurrection.”
Basically (and boldly), we asked the people of St. Mark’s to consider allowing their church to die. And in it’s place, they could sow their belongings into the soil as seed for a new church to resurrect in its place (Here’s a great article on this). Instead of selling their property and a) distributing the assets to non-profit organizations or b) taking the money and moving to a different location where their current struggles would still follow them, we asked them to prayerfully consider taking the impossible step of simply giving their property away to our baby church so that mission and ministry could continue through us in Northeast Philadelphia. And then, if there were any St. Mark’s people who could wholeheartedly come under the vision of Seven Mile Road Church and wanted to be a part of us, they would be warmly welcomed.
We were asking them to let their church die so that they could give life to a brand new church. Our brand new church.
And just a few weeks ago, they voted YES.