FINISH

Phone calls. Visits. Counseling. Preparing for teaching Bible classes and sermons. Administrative work. Team of pastoral staff coordinating duties for current happenings and making plans for future ministry. Weddings. Funerals. Baptisms. Dedication of babies. Caring for those who are no longer physically able to attend corporate worship. Jail ministry. Hospital ministry. Foster children ministry. Resourcing missionaries. Ad infinitum.

Years ago an elderly lady congregant would sometimes quip: “I do not see why we need staff to be in the office five days per week.”

We enlisted her as a volunteer one day per week. She became an advocate for the staff and would commonly say: “I do not know how the pastoral staff gets everything done.”

Scholars estimate that between 6,000 and 10,000 churches die every year. Many more decline in membership and effectiveness. The number of small gatherings in homes, offices, rented spaces and motels that die each year cannot be known.

How is it that Covenant continues to be healthy, strong, viable in the community and a force for missions in distant places?

The answer is simple: We have a terrific complex as a base of operations. We have terrific staff and elder leadership. We are about Our Father’s business. We follow in the footsteps of Jesus to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

It is my joy as Senior Pastor to affirm to you my confidence in the life and integrity of every Elder and pastoral staff member.

We hold each other accountable to scripture. No hocus-pocus and no manipulation of scripture to justify our personal whims and lifestyles. With passion and grit we pursue holy biblical living.

Study dying churches and it becomes obvious that they die inward. They do not die from persecution. They do not die because government shuts them down. They do not die because of opposition in their community.

They die from lack of vision. They die from selfishness. They die from stinginess. They die because they cheat God in tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:10). They die because of self-will and carnal living. They die because they become social clubs. They die because they allow politics to become more important than theology.

They die from dried-up pulpits with supposed clerics trying to deliver sermons to please people. They die from false clergy standing in sacred pulpits and telling people they can get to heaven without a cross.

The preacher becomes a pawn of congregants to sanctify ungodly lifestyles.

In our city there is a car lot that advertises: “Everybody rides.”

Churches die because they try to create a vehicle that allows people to do what they want and still go to heaven.

Churches die for lack of vision!

Covenant is alive. Strong. Growing. We talk about where we are going and correct course if necessary. We do not promote personalities. We do not follow fads and fashions. We do not build our hopes on style or grandstanding events.

Steady. We never cancel services on a Sunday. Patient. Unified. Teaching Bible classes. Preaching solid biblical sermons. No gossip. No grumbling. Servant hearts. Mission-minded. Generous.

Yes, generous. We believe that God gives us wealth to bless His Church, his people and to serve the poor. We believe that when we give to God we are “laying up treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not corrupt and thieves do not break through and steal” (Matthew 6:19-21).

Our buildings are a treasure to us and our community. We are not selfish. We serve our community. Belvedere subdivision community meetings are at Covenant. Pregnancy Center and Fellowship of Christian Athletes board meetings are at Covenant. Private and home school ministries meet at Covenant.

For twenty years we dreamed of connecting our buildings. God opened the door. We are nearing completion. The gift of the FINISHed building will be so awesome. Already God is adding to us precious people. More will come. Our impact on our community and the Kingdom of God will be greater.

Thank you for praying for workers. We have lots of volunteers. The intensity of work is amazing. Last evening men were on site until almost 10 PM. You will see visible progress again this week when you come to worship.

If it snows, the doors will be open!

Onward, friends. Thank you for giving. Thank you for making the dream a reality. Your greatest reward will be to rejoice when souls are brought to Jesus.

We press towards FINISH! …that we may have a NEW BEGINNING!

Much love
Pastor Bare
Ephesians 5:1,2: Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Jason Luber