Is there ever a right way to start off a conversation like this? Is it possible to ease into things and then hit people with gut wrenching information? How do you deliver such news? No one could have guessed that after three years we would be in this position, but alas, we are. We have officially closed our doors as a church in San Marcos. Hope is not a strategy, but it has become apparent over the past six months and more so the past three, that hope was the only thing we were clinging on to. I wanted to take a few minutes and bring you in on the decision and how we came to this conclusion. We were not alone in this decision, but multiple avenues of wisdom poured into making this right call. Here are some of the things that went into the closure.
Numbers (financial and attendance) will always play a role in the overall health and eventual success of a church. Our bottom line was getting beyond bare from a lack of internal finances (can’t be externally supported forever either), that it became apparent we would not be able to reach a point of sustainability without relaunching the church from ground zero.
We know that every church and church plant faces opposition. There is no doubt that church planting and life transformation is a spiritual battle. We get that and knew it walking into this thing. Everyone told us how spiritually oppressed and hostile this city was, how low the church engagement was, and one pastor even told me it was the reason they launched their campus across the border in Escondido. San Marcos is not only hard ground, it is oppressed ground.
We did not come to San Marcos to plant a church, we came here to be faithful. We have always done our best to remain faithful to the vision God has called us to and the people that need Jesus. What we are determined not to do is force something. As we prayed with council, Matthew 10:14 kept coming to mind and repeating itself amongst our advisors: “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” We don’t talk about this a lot in church planting, because this can mean a church is “unsuccessful”. We’re less concerned about “success” and more concerned with being faithful, and this is a big part of why the decision came down.
It’s all about Faithfulness.
We can choose to focus on all the bumps we’ve experienced along the way. Some have said we were dealt a raw hand, that the deck was stacked against us, and that so many things have happened that it was near unrecoverable. You know, that’s just not biblical. I don’t see anywhere in scripture where God says things will be a cake-walk. All I see is that He will be with us every step of the way. As faithful as we have been to Him, He has been so much more faithful to us throughout these last few years.
When the old ends, something new begins.
Thank you for believing in me, our family, and the vision God had for this city.
This chapter may be done for us in church planting, but He’s not done with you or me. It’s time to move forward, so let’s do that the same way we started: together.
Until everyone hears His Story,
Russ, Sarah, Isabella, and Peyton Cantu