Church Honored for Closing for the Right Reasons

Post a Comment » Written on June 26th, 2008     
Filed under: News
GREEN LAKE, WI (June 26, 2008) – Kreig Gammelgard, the former pastor of Crown Valley Covenant Church, received the Living Legacy Award—a baton—on behalf of the congregation during a special presentation on Wednesday at the 123rd Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church.

The award honors the members who voted 23-0 to close the church earlier this year and use proceeds from the sale to start congregations throughout the denomination. John Wenrich, director of church vitality for the Department of Church Growth and Evangelism (CGE), made the presentation.

LegacyWenrich lauded the congregation for taking the difficult, but generous action. Sale of the church assets is expected to bring $4 million and fund the start of 40 new churches.

Gammelgard said church members worked hard to reverse the decline, but ultimately were unsuccessful. He said the congregation longed to continue contributing to the kingdom of God and that their decision provided that opportunity.

The congregation came to see that it had reached the end of its life cycle. Gammelgard says. He referred to the words of King Solomon, who said, “There is a time to be born and time to die.”

Gammelgard also referred to John 12:24 – “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

The church made the decision after attending a Veritas workshop, a program that Wenrich says is designed to help congregations advance their ministries. He added that sometimes closing is the best option.

“Sometimes churches close for all the wrong reasons,” Wenrich says. “I both admire and honor Crown Valley in closing for all the right reasons. He pointed to the 1995 closure of the Evangelical Covenant Church in Poway, California, as one example. Approximately 25 churches with a combined current attendance of more than 10,000 individuals is a result of that church’s decision, he observes.

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