Dwayne Terry, pastor of Westgate, was kind enough to send us an open letter after the decision not to move forward with a merger at this time. Please take the time to read it in its entirety.
Dear ERBC Church Family,
Thank you so much for the opportunity that you gave us to share our heart and vision with you. It was an honor and a privilege. We have come to love and appreciate you and the community in which you minister.
We believe the vote of your membership was Providential. A majority of your congregation voted ‘yes’ because they sensed the need for change to fulfill God’s purpose for your congregation. But, God also used the high minority percentage who sensed Westgate was not the agent to bring about that change. In His Plan, this prevented Westgate’s leadership from accepting the majority decision. We accept all of this as God’s Will and believe it was not intended for us at this time.
Westgate had a unanimous vote among the Elders to decline the offer from ERBC, and all our administrative leaders supported this decision. The time we spent in prayer and fasting gave us confidence in our decision. But, that did not mean the decision was easy. We truly have come to care very deeply for you and your community. Therefore, if God would ever lead you to entertain the idea of joining us in the future, we would remain prayerfully open to the consideration. Certainly, once God’s direction becomes clear to you in regards to your leadership, we would be willing to consider partnering with you in future outreach possibilities.
We also believe the time we spent in service with you was Providential. God has used this situation to strengthen our resolve to reach the community where He has us with as much energy as He will provide us (Colossians 1:29). It has unified us in our efforts to see God’s Glory revealed in reaching the lost and serving those in need. As a church, Westgate has grown together in vision and focus through this process. We hope that it has affected you as profoundly as it has us.
The first Sunday I spoke at ERBC, I shared that in light of Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37), the road to Jericho goes directly through the ERBC facility. God has blessed you tremendously with your community and outreach possibilities. This is not an accident, a fluke or a mistake that He has entrusted this to you. It is God’s Sovereign Will. But it isn’t normal. Your opportunities for outreach are extraordinary for a local congregation. You have great Kingdom purpose there with the schools and the women’s shelter. We know it is your heart to reach those people and to make inroads with the gospel in every way possible. And we want to encourage you to serve God with all your heart and serve those He has entrusted to you with just as much passion.
If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted … your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in. (Isaiah 58:10, 12 ESV)
He has already blessed you with many generations. In agreement with His Word, our prayer is that as you continue to grow in obedience, He will raise up the foundations of those generations. As you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, our prayer is that one day soon we will see His promise fulfilled to raise up your congregation as a restorer and a repairer. You will be that city set on the hill whose light cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14-16). Praise God! What tremendous promise, opportunity, and responsibility.
Thank you once again for allowing us to join you in a portion of that journey towards His promises.
God bless each one of you,