If you’ve been in worship recently, chances are you’ve heard that another church in town, Peninsula Bible Church, has approached us about the possibility of becoming a part of Christ Church of Traverse City. Church mergers are fairly common, but we certainly weren’t out looking for one.
Since they first approached us in January, my heart and mind have consistently been filled with a single, very simple prayer: “God, what might you be doing here?”
Let me be very clear: we haven’t committed to anything yet, but we are taking an honest look at the possibility. The elders and I have discussed the potential merger at some length, and we’ve met as a board with their board. People from PBC attend worship at Christ Church almost every weekend, and people from Christ Church have begun attending worship at PBC so that we begin to get a feel for one another. Our Wednesday morning men’s prayer breakfast has also extended an invitation to any PBC men who might like to attend. A team has been formed consisting of four people from our congregation and four people from Peninsula Bible Church to look at their fit with us, focusing on three areas: culture, finances, and facility.The people of Peninsula Bible Church do own their own building, and if the merger were to go through, we would move to that building, located at the corner of Fair St. and Titus Ave., adjacent to the Grand Traverse County Civic Center. The identity of Christ Church would not change. Nor would the pastoral leadership.
Ultimately, the question we must answer is, “Are we better together?” Can we engage in WORSHIP, WORD, and WITNESS better together than the two churches can apart? If the answer to that question is “Yes!,” then we’ll figure out how to make the details work. Peninsula Bible Church is a wonderful church with a long history of effective outreach in our city. We already partner with them in serving a free community meal to the poor and homeless every Saturday night. They also have a food pantry that has about 8,000 visits per year! In fact, the reach of their outreach has far surpassed the ability of their congregation to keep up with it! And we have vibrant children’s and youth ministries that are actually much larger than one would expect for a church of our size. The possibilities for real engagement with our community from that location are virtually limitless.
In late April or early May we will have a meeting after worship to answer any questions you might have, although you are welcome to talk to me or to any of the elders at any time. We’ll also be taking a poll of the congregation at that meeting, and then the elders will make a decision in early May. If we decide to welcome Peninsula Bible Church into the Christ Church family, the transition would happen over the summer. I’d like to invite you to spend the next 6 weeks in prayer with me as we seek to discern what path God is laying before us. May our united prayer be, “God, what might you be doing here? Are we truly better together?”