On January 27th I accepted a call to join Mercy Road Church in Appleton, Wisconsin. This is a young EFCA missional church plant located in the Fox Valley, about 60 miles north of our current location.
Over the past couple of years God has been putting me and my family on a new trajectory focusing on relational disciple-making and local mission. Mercy Road is being built on these basic values that are clearly demonstrated in the early church. I will be joining my friend, Pastor Jedidiah Haas, as an associate church-planting pastor. My job will be simple: establish a weekly worship service, lead a missional community, and be a disciple-maker who equips leaders in the local church (Ephesians 4:12). Of course, there are many other important responsibilities that I will gladly be involved with as needed. I’m really looking forward to partnering with Jed and Mercy Road volunteers to help establish this young church!
I’m not sure when this move will happen (sometime in 2014) but the announcement has been made to our current church family at Harvest Free Church in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. I’ve been on staff at Harvest for nearly 7 years as an associate pastor of worship, discipleship, and communications. I am very grateful that Harvest took a chance on me back in 2007. They have been flexible and supportive as I’ve learned how to be a pastor over these years. I’m particularly grateful to Pastor Scott Roen for mentoring me and being a friend for so many years. Leaving a church family is never easy but we are excited about our new journey.
I will need to raise funds to provide income for my family; this will be a new challenge for my family as we trust God to provide. Erin graduates from Beaver Dam High School and will most likely be attending Illinois State University this fall. Megan will need to enroll in a new high school in Appleton to begin her junior year this fall, and in May or June of 2015 we will have a wedding for Andi and her fiancé Andrew. Wow – lots of change coming in 2014 and beyond.
Obviously, we covet your prayers and we look forward to sharing our excitement and answering your questions, so please call us anytime. If you feel led to support us financially please contact me and I’ll let you know how to setup a recurring tax deductible gift through the Forest Lakes District of the EFCA.
More news soon – thanks for your friendship and support.
Here’s the letter I sent to the Harvest congregation:
February 3, 2014
The book of Mark (1:16-20) tells the story of Jesus calling some of his first disciples. He said, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” Their response was as extreme as Jesus’ invitation. These new disciples of Jesus dropped what they were doing and started following Jesus in their everyday lives. They correctly discerned the importance of Jesus’ invitation for a new challenge that changed the world.
I regularly teach the concept of ‘invitation & challenge’ in discipling huddles — where there is a high invitation (come, follow me) and a high challenge (disciple others) there is a clear opportunity to be involved with productive, breakthrough kingdom work. The reality of ‘invitation & challenge’ has been in front of me for several months. As a result, I have prayerfully accepted a call to join Mercy Road Church in Appleton, WI as a church-planting pastor. This move will happen sometime during this calendar year. My role will be to establish a weekly worship service, lead a missional community, and equip others to be disciples who make disciples.
It was very important to me, and my family, to inform you of our new call even though we do not have specific dates to share. I hope this announcement will ensure a smooth transition and I look forward to the opportunity of continuing to serve you during this time.
Mercy Road is an EFCA missional church plant. The district has recognized the need for an additional pastor, joining Pastor Jed Haas, to establish this new plant. Because this is a brand new church plant, the church is not able to support pastoral staff. I will need to raise money as a missionary pastor for our living expenses. This will be administered through the EFCA Forest Lakes District office with hopes that I will be able to focus my efforts on full-time ministry rather than being bi-vocational. This is the most difficult decision that Heidi and I have ever had to make, similar to our call to join Harvest but much more risky and frightening to be honest. There are so many things about this move that don’t make sense, humanly speaking, but it’s just something we have to do. God is bigger than our fears and we are taking this step of faith knowing it will work for God’s glory.
The timing of our move will depend on many things that I am not able to predict. We have improvements to consider before selling our home, medical/insurance concerns, Erin’s senior year to complete at BDHS, a new high school for Megan, fundraising to secure, a wedding to plan for Andi in 2015, and more. I desire a smooth transition and the ELT is working on a plan to provide for effectively handing off my primary responsibilities to trusted volunteers and to allow time to secure future income through fundraising efforts.
Heidi and I look forward to talking with you about our new adventure, please feel free to ask us about this new season for our family. Our desire is to follow God’s timing in a way that is healthy for Harvest and all involved. More news will be shared as we work through the details with the ELT. On behalf of my family, thank you for allowing me the privilege of being one of your pastors for nearly seven years!
Pastor Brian Conyers