In January 1992, after serving Prince of Peace for 22 years, Pastor Merv Thompson decided it was time for a new challenge in his ministry. In large congregations across America, when a long-term leader leaves a church they often struggle to find a new identity as well as a new leader. Some church observers felt that Prince of Peace could not survive this kind of leadership change. In a sense, we had begun a “wilderness wandering” experience between what was and what was yet to be; not unlike the people of Israel at the time of the Exodus. This was a time of congregational soul searching, reconciliation, and seeking the will of God.
Sensing that the congregation needed a “Sabbath” to rest and consider the future, it was decided to take the entire month of January “off” and declare a “sabbatical” for the whole church. All programming (except regular worship) was cancelled for a month, and during that month the staff and board of the church used that time to sit down with nearly every family in our church and have a half hour conversation regarding the hopes, disappointments, and dreams these families and individuals had for the future of Prince of Peace.
It was also decided that since these families were coming to the church for interviews, we would create a new congregational directory at the same time. This January was a “time between” and as the call process for a new Senior Pastor (Pastor Mike Foss) proceeded, the congregation found its way through the wilderness and continued to thrive. God was faithful, continued to be faithful, and will be faithful as we launch into our next period of renewal.