Space for Celebration!
Last Sunday was a red-letter day for Covenant Family. When we built in 1996 it was intended as a fellowship hall. Finishing touches were made for it to be a temporary sanctuary.
Soon thereafter we paid an architect to draft plans for a sanctuary building. Plans were approved. The Holy Spirit intervened and just prior to launch of construction we paused. The Holy Spirit arrested us without explanation and a decision to build was put on hold. It seemed illogical and irrational. We had paid the architect and plans were final.
Shortly thereafter the stock market crashed and interest rates went to an uncomfortable level. We were spared. Only in the aftermath were we able to understand the blessing of the Holy Spirit pressing "Pause" on what had been a bold dream.
Years passed and we came to realize that a huge sanctuary was not the best plan. But we were still limited by having two buildings, i.e., adults in one building and children/youth in the other. Parents gracefully bore the burden of traveling between the two complexes---regardless of the weather.
Having decided not to build a sanctuary building our dream became one of connecting the two complexes with a functional lobby and elevator to all levels.
Last Sunday with inspection approvals for new nursery, new classrooms, new lobby and new offices folks were blessed to walk inside and tour the Children's Ministry complex. Dana Carrier, Family Life Pastor, and his team have done an amazing job of decorating and furnishing the area.
We did not open the new office area because work is still in process. Soon there will be an opportunity to praise the Lord for the Church Office complex. It was moved downstairs in order to dedicate the whole upstairs to children.
I am writing at 3:20 AM. Sleep left earlier. In the quietness of the morning my heart is captured by the journey. The burden is not the building program. The burden is souls.
Before writing to you I have penned notes to persons who are precious to me that are struggling to find their way with Jesus. Souls. Yes, souls. Men and women that God has put in our path for us to share with them the gospel. Families that are struggling to find their way with Jesus.
At this moment I am resting this writing to send a note to a family that is allowing things to blind them to the plan God has for their family. They started out running strong, but have allowed personal schedules to morph into a self-centered lifestyle getting them off-track from Holy Spirit direction. I will finish this letter in a few minutes. (Pause)
I am back. Writing again to you about our future. Our buildings serve us and our community. Are you aware that quite often Covenant facilities serve the larger Christian family in Charlottesville, i.e., weddings, funerals, family gatherings? Neighborhood meetings are held at Covenant. Pregnancy Center and Fellowship of Christian Athletes boards meet (free) at Covenant. Christian clubs for boys and girls were started by Covenant and happen at Covenant (response to moral changes of Boys and Girls Scouts).
Saturday PM Laila and I were at Covenant. A staff member was in the office. More than 40 teenagers at a youth event. A Filipino Bible study was in process.
Sunday after worship the Cafe hosted a large gathering of Greeters. Laila and her team of mentors and teenagers were practicing in the overflow area for state Bible Quiz competition. As I left to visit persons in Hospice folks were arriving for Hispanic worship.
Our buildings serve. They are buildings planned and designed to bless the Lord. To win souls, to increase community of saints, to facilitate discipleship, to glorify Jesus Christ!
We are in striking distance of resting construction for a season. This Sunday we will march with our tithes, missions giving and building fund offering. In celebration of our love for God and Covenant fellowship we will bring a "Blessing Offering".
Laila and I will join you. Elders and Pastoral Staff will join you!
Soon...very soon...our energies will be totally dedicated to evangelism and discipleship!
One more thing: Will you daily pray that we may keep our feet in the footsteps of Jesus. I am asking you to mark Friday, March 22 as a Day of Prayer for Covenant Church! Join with Elders and Pastoral Staff. If you are able we join us 12 to 1 PM in the sanctuary for a corporate time of prayer.
I Peter 5:7