Ekklesia…The Called Out Ones!

October 14, 2015  
Filed under News, Pulse

Ekklesia

Dear Convergence Family,

I’m so excited as we begin a new sermon series this Sunday!  For the coming weeks, we’ll be learning about “church.”  I know that there are some of us who have grown up in it, some of us who are just experiencing it for the first time at Convergence, some of us who are healing from painful experiences with it, and some of us who absolutely love and adore it!  Wherever you may be on the spectrum, I believe that growing in our understanding of church, the role it plays in our lives, and the role our lives play in it will be essential for us as we go through life as Christians.
The word church comes from the Greek word “Ekklesia” which means, “The Called Out Ones.”  Do you hear that? Can you hear that in your soul? Even this short phrase should begin to shape (or reshape) our understanding of what church is and what it’s all about.
I want to invite you to journey with us starting this Sunday as we explore all that it means to be the “called out ones” unto God, unto one another, and unto the world!
Excited for the Journey,
Pastor Bobby

Convergence Re-Launch!

June 27, 2015  
Filed under News, Pulse

Relaunch

Dear Convergence Leader, Member, Attendee, and/or Visitor,

For those of you who could not attend our member meeting on June 14th, we wanted to share the main thrust of the meeting with you, which had to do with the future of our church and the vision for a “re-launch.”

We began with a re-sharing of our vision and mission:

Our vision is God converging with our lives, changing us to change the world.

Our mission is to hear God, know God, and respond to God.

This is not something that is new for us. It’s not a new direction for us. This is not something that I made up.  This is what I believe to be the word of God that came to me and that inspired the launch of Convergence in the first place.  Why our vision and mission are so crucial to our future is that they undergird everything that we do as a faith community.  We long to see God influence every aspect of our lives and believe that in order to accomplish this, we must hear Him, know Him, and respond to Him.   Our hope is to live out God’s calling for us individually and collectively as a church with faithfulness and perseverance.

Why Re-Launch?

When churches are planted, there are a few characteristics that are deemed to be indicators of health:

  1. A launch team of about 35-40 people.
  2. Planting in the vicinity of the sending church (within 50 miles).
  3. The character of the church planter.

Convergence didn’t have the first or the second characteristic, and the third one (as many of you have come to know) was questionable. 😉  In any case, after seven years of ministry, growing every which way, we are now in a season where we are considering a re-launch.  There is a concept for toddlers called, “parallel play.”  Parallel play is when toddlers are doing their own thing next to each other thinking that they’re playing with each other. In some ways, I feel that this describes our church.  We have so many humble and faithful servants of God who are pouring out their lives faithfully in their respective ministries, but many of us feel alone in our mission and ministry. Also, there have been many people who have had a challenging time connecting with the church members on a deeper level.  All of this is a natural occurrence that many churches face over time.  This is why I believe that now is the time for us to gather together as a whole family and re-launch our church.

The church is God’s missional force in this world. The church is what God uses to fulfill His redemptive work. And now, we have the opportunity to establish ourselves as an enduring faith community that will last far into the future.  We have the opportunity to love one another as we experience God’s love to us in Christ Jesus.  We have the opportunity to pour our lives into something that is greater than us and simultaneously life-giving to us.  I believe that God is doing something absolutely amazing in our church right now.  I believe that He is calling us to hear Him, know Him, and respond to Him.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ moves and is on the move.  It begins in God, makes itself manifest in Jesus Christ, and empowers you and me through the Holy Spirit living and moving in us.  This movement of God in us is illustrated in Jesus’ final words in this world:

6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywherein Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. – Acts 1:6-8

With all of this being said, we are asking for people who feel called to this new movement at Convergence to commit to being a part of this new launch team.  So far, we have 29 committed people who have said yes this past Sunday and we believe that there are more that will be committing through this week as word gets out.

Jeff Chou, one of our Convergence elders, has felt called to lead the strategic implementation of this re-launch and has laid out a brief outline of what this process will look like below.  We don’t have everything figured out. Why? One of our core tenets is to hear God.  This is a continual aspect of our lives and this is what we will continue to do as we move forward.  We do, however, know that we feel convicted to move forward in this re-launch process and that our God is faithful and good!!!

 

Stepping out in faith with you,

 

Pastor Bobby

 

Outline of Re-Launch Process

We’re planning the re-launch to happen in 3 phases.  We’re calling these phases “Listening & Learning”, “Planning”, and finally, “Launching”.  Each phase lasts between 2-4 months.

In the “Listening & Learning” phase we’ll be going through time of hearing from God, hearing from each other, assessing where we are as a church, and who we are as people.  The church is going to be investing in us by sending us to a leadership conference in August.

We’ll then move into a phase of “Planning” what Convergence 2.0 will look like.  This phase will be characterized by more frequent meetings, which will include planning church service and ministries logistically, but also times of fellowship and breaking bread together.  For a period of 6 weeks in September and October, we will be meeting twice a week.  Once on Sunday afternoon, and once during the mid week.  We’re asking people on the re-launch team to commit to attending at least 4 of the 6 weeks of this intensive.

The “Launching” phase starts on November 1st, and will run through January of 2016.  We’ll roll out our new service and ministries format, and have a couple months to tweak and fine tune things as we go along.

The elder team at Convergence would love to serve with any and all who feel called to join this process.  We believe that our church is comprised of uniquely gifted individuals whom God will use to shape and define the future of the church.  The elder team has no preconceived notions as to what the church should look like at the re-launch – this is truly an opportunity to create alongside brothers and sisters in Christ.

It is definitely not a light commitment.  We believe that along this journey we will be challenged into better listening to, knowing, and responding to God.  It is through our response that we hope to re-launch a church to reach the lost and give hope to the hopeless.

If you feel that God is calling you into committing to the re-launch team, please contact Jeff (jeff.chou@gmail.com or 510-676-7447), and we will be in touch with next steps!

 

Leading the charge,

 

Jeff

Join Us on Sundays at DeFremery Park (1651 Adeline St.)! Service Begins at 10:30AM!

December 12, 2013  
Filed under News

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3147/2481773083_8c41b71e08.jpg

We meet at the DeFremery Recreation Center (1651 Adeline St, 94607)  for Sunday Worship.  Our TotsTown and KidsTown ministries also meet at DeFremery.  Service begins at 10:30am.  See you Sunday!

Convergence Membership Classes Begin June 1st!

May 7, 2013  
Filed under News

We are excited to announce that the process of membership will begin next month! In the past 5 years, you may have heard at some point Convergence Church being introduced as a church plant. About a year ago, Convergence officially shed the church plant title and received the title of member church by our denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church at our regional Pacific Southwest Conference gathering.

Church membership is something that is very counter-cultural when we think of membership in the context of our society. Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City shares this about membership on their website:

Membership in a church is not like membership in a social club or other organizations. Most organization members are consumers; the organization exists to serve them. The Church of Christ is a completely different community – membership means ministry and service, going from being a consumer to becoming a provider of God’s love and care to others.

Min Tak, an elder of Convergence Church shares this about the significance and nature of membership:

When we talk about membership, we are talking about being an integral part of a local spiritual community. It is a significant decision, and many people liken it to marriage.

The Biblical definition of marriage is that marriage is a covenant or a contract. A contract is public, contains duties and obligations and contains blessings for keeping it and curses/consequences for breaking it. There is no holding back in a marriage covenant – you are bound legally, emotionally, socially and physically. There is no difference when you want to truly become a part of a spiritual community. Therefore, we want to make sure that you consider membership as a serious decision.

In 1 Peter 2:9, the apostle Peter says that we are a “holy nation.” The meaning of this phrase is that we are called to be a separate and distinct culture. We are called to be countercultural and membership is countercultural. It is countercultural because we want to call our own shots in our spiritual lives and membership is a commitment that threatens that autonomy.

Membership is a transformative process. Our hope is that our membership process will be about more than information. We hope that it will shape and deepen our theological worldview and understanding of gospel as well as the community that gospel produces.

Membership is also an affirming process. It is a venue in which God affirms that you are called specifically to the Convergence community. When the church goes through valleys or difficult transitions, the only thing that we can fall back on will be this calling.

If you are interested in membership at Convergence, please attend 1 of the 2 membership classes that will take place on Saturday, June 1st from 9 – 1PM and Sunday, June 9th, from 2 – 6 PM. The classes will be held at the Convergence Church office at 1901 Poplar St. Please note that committing to these sessions does not mean you are committing to membership. These sessions are part of the membership process. Following these sessions, there will be interviews and formal notification. There will also be a membership review each year.

If you are interested in taking part in the June 1st or June 9th class, please email joe@convergeoakland.org stating your name and class you will attend.

Day in the Park Photo Booth!

May 7, 2013  
Filed under News

Thank you for coming out to Day in the Park!  We hope that you were able to relax and enjoy such a beautiful day!  Please check out the Photo Booth pictures from this event!

New Office!

January 25, 2013  
Filed under News

For the past two and a half years, Convergence has had the privilege of holding worship services at DeFremery Park in West Oakland.  In that time, we have built relationships with the community through events like Day in the Park, Family Fun Night, and volunteering with What Now America.  In an effort to be more connected with our community, we moved our office from Jack London Square to the American Steel Building in West Oakland.  The American Steel Building is a historic building that is the site for many local artists and welders.  It is located conveniently a block away from DeFremery Park on Poplar St.   In August of 2012, we began renovations of the space and completed the project in November.  Thanks to the efforts of members of Convergence and volunteers of St. Mary’s College, the office is now set up and being used regularly by staff and members!  We hope to see you soon!  Our official address is:

 

Convergence Covenant Church

1901 Poplar St. #101

Oakland, CA 94607

Operation Christmas Child 2011

November 3, 2011  
Filed under News

Operation Christmas Child is part of the work of Samaritan’s Purse, an international organization providing spiritual and physical aid to impoverished communities around the world. Operation Christmas Child is the opportunity to give children all over the world a shoebox of gifts for the holiday season filled with toys, goodies, and the message of God’s love and hope. In 2010, Convergence packed and sent out 70 boxes to children and this year we’re gearing up for more! Shoe boxes are being provided on Sundays with instructions on how to pack them. If you would like to make a donation instead, we will be making shoe boxes valued at $20 each ($7 of that covers shipping costs).  You can make a check payable to Convergence Church with “OCC” in the memo line for as many boxes as you would like to donate. Participate in this ministry to bless a child around the world this holiday season!

A Thank-You Note from MLK Elementary

November 2, 2011  
Filed under News, Pulse

This summer, we took a love offering for MLK Elementary School teacher Lindsey Smallwood’s classroom supplies and materials. We received a package of thank-you notes, pictures, and drawings from Lindsey and her students telling us how the supplies have made a difference in their learning. Here’s what Lindsey said:

Thank you so much friends at Convergence Church for your incredible generosity toward me and my students at MLK. We have made use of the money you’ve donated for so many classroom items and projects, including: books, notebooks and paper, markers, crayons, pencils, supplies to make a volcano, recess equipment like jump ropes and balls, photos and compassess to create a neighborhood map, materials for a science experiment and much more! Your gifts have been such a blessing to our little classroom and words can’t express how grateful I am.

Thank you Convergence for stepping up to invest in Lindsey and her wonderful students!

Ladies Night- Let’s Go Bowling!

October 17, 2011  
Filed under Events, News

Calling all women of Convergence! It’s time for our monthly Women’s Ministry Gathering! This month we’re going bowling at Albany Bowl on Saturday, October 22, 2011 from 6-8:30PM. Please RSVP with Becca at rebecca@convergeoakland.org or call (510) 463-1011. See you there!

What’s With the New Logo?

October 10, 2011  
Filed under News

Notice something new on our website lately? No, you’re not seeing doubles…you’re seeing circles! Our new logo was designed by a member of our church family, Kelsey Jones, and holds significant meaning to the vision of our church. If you look closely, the circles are purposely drawn imperfectly to represent us, an imperfect people. In our diversity and imperfection, we gather around the perfect Cross to experience what it means for our lives to converge with His Kingdom.

A huge thank you to Kelsey Jones for beautifully capturing the heart of Convergence and translating it into art!

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