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Texas Church Plant Celebrates Unprecedented Launch

 In All Church of God, Central, CHOG

By Carl Stagner

Late last year, CHOGnews published the story of the development of a church plant in the greater Houston area poised to reach those far from God. Months and months of prayerful preparation culminated on February 9 when Merge Church held their grand opening gathering at Peet Junior High School in Conroe, Texas. Though Pastor Efrain Cirilo and the team expected God to do big things that day, they were blown away that morning as guests just kept coming, and coming, and coming. Turnout was more than double what they’d set up for, and the Holy Spirit’s orchestration of the entire morning gave rise to an experience few could forget.

“Based on the research,” Pastor Efrain explains, “the average church plant launches with 150 to 200 people in attendance. With this in mind, we were preparing for that amount of people; however, at about 9:45 AM, the worship center was starting to fill up. It was at that moment we realized we needed more chairs.” Four hundred thirty-five people showed up.

Dealing with this “good problem to have,” the ushers moved quickly to secure more chairs, finding some in the teacher’s lounge. Of course, attendance isn’t the only or the most important marker of a church. While the capacity crowd was encouraging, the baptism of three believers was really worthy of celebration.

Pastor Efrain post-baptism on Launch Sunday.

Launch Sunday was an answer to prayer,” Efrain recalls. “Megan and I are grateful for our ‘serve teams.’ They were in the parking lot as greeters, hosts in the lobby, serving children in the kid’s area, and leading worship. We celebrated new life in Christ and so many heard the gospel.”

Expounding on the paramount importance of a growing relationship with Christ, Efrain and the Merge Church leadership team kicked off a series titled “All In.” By “merging our story with God’s story,” as Efrain describes it, this kind of necessary discipleship can begin to take place. Championing the hallmarks of loving God, equipping Christ-followers for service in the body of Christ, reaching the community, and developing leaders, Merge Church has laid the foundation for continued health and growth beyond their first Sunday.

“Week Two was amazing!” Efrain exclaims. “We had new families attend Merge and take the next step in getting connected in the life of the church. We pray that people are drawn to genuine, gospel-centered relationships and our vision to plant churches until ‘every child has a church.’”

Worship at Merge Church.

As the regular rhythms of Merge Church are established, the tendency could be for all that fresh enthusiasm to wear off. Thankfully, the Spirit is as much at work a month into the congregation’s public ministry as he was on Day One. There’s so much left to do, and the story of Merge Church is no doubt just beginning. So, when asked how the Church of God movement can keep the new work in prayer, Pastor Efrain humbly points to the mechanics of the mission:

“Pray for our serve teams, Merge groups, children’s and student ministries, as well as the mission to make disciples who will make disciples.”

Thank you, Church of God, for your ongoing prayers for Pastor Efrain Cirilo and Merge Church!

Learn more about the mission and methods of Merge Church at www.mergeconroe.com. Learn more about the Church of God movement at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.

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Photo: Ben Sand speaking at Warner Pacific University.© Can Stock Photo / mflippo (https://www.canstockphoto.com)