Planted in Pearland

What's going on in the life of Covenant Community Church

Covenant Update January 25, 2010

Filed under: Covenant — Sarah @ 11:30 pm

I’m still kind of mulling over my next post in the community series (by that, of course I mean I haven’t taken the time to sit down and write it yet, sorry). So, I thought I would do a quick update in the life of our new church. There is so much to tell.

We now have 34 adults, and double that many kids, committed to the core group of Covenant Community Church (OK, not really that many kids, it just seems like it sometimes).  That may not seem like a lot, but for us who have been here from the beginning, it is an astounding number. Never could I have pictured this group when we were meeting for the first time in Daniel and Joy’s living room, just over 6 months ago now.

At that first meeting, there were 7 adults – to think that we’ve over quadrupled in size in a few short months is crazy!  As a result of the growth, a couple of weeks ago, we multiplied from one large core group meeting on Wednesday night to three community groups meeting at different nights and different locations throughout Pearland. A couple of the groups are already “at capacity” and could be multiplying again soon. It is amazing to see how God is growing our church!

God has also provided a location for us to meet on Sundays – we are renting space on the west side of Pearland in a dance studio, that’s right, a dance studio. It is ideal for our small body right now, providing a few smaller rooms for children’s ministry and one large room for our corporate gathering. In addition, after a few months of preview services, informational meetings, trainings and the like, we are launching our first public service on Valentine’s Day! It is astonishing that it’s already almost here!

More than the numbers and locations, I am excited about the growth that is happening in and among the relationships that are being built. God has been so kind to knit our hearts together with those in our new church family quickly and tightly. Through the power of the gospel, we have swiftly developed a genuine affection for one another. We have seen people jump right in to serve one another, practice hospitality, love on each other’s kids, give and share what they have been given, and just generally be the church as God has called us to be. It is incredible. 

As I think back to all that has happened, it is so clear to me that God’s hand has been and continues to be at work every step of the way. When I see who has come to be a part of Covenant, from where and by what ways people have made their way to our church, there is no explanation except that God has done it. God is building His church- it really has nothing to do with us. We are so grateful to simply be a tiny part of the work God is doing.

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Community: Lesson One January 13, 2010

Filed under: Community,Learning — Sarah @ 9:57 pm

I realized after I started thinking about how to approach this series that this is a huge topic. God, in his incredible mercy and grace, has been so faithful to teach me so much about community in the past 3 ½ years, yet every day I still feel like I have more to learn. I got kind of overwhelmed thinking about organizing or planning it out just right, so I’m just going to start at the beginning of my journey on learning about community. My first “a ha!” moment, my first lesson.

Our first week in Louisville, our neighbors Jeff and Kelly invited us to Sojourn Community Church and introduced us to Daniel and Joy.  Unbeknownst to us, God used Jeff and Kelly’s hospitality and kind invitation to put our lives on the course he had planned for us. After our introduction to Daniel and Joy, we soon met Dave and Maggie and were invited to join their community group when groups started up in August. Having no idea what we were getting into, but wanting to get plugged into Sojourn, we agreed. 

Looking back, I think it’s so cool that Dave and Maggie were our first community group leaders, and that Daniel and Joy were our second community group leaders, especially considering the journey we are all now on. I am so thankful for the time we spent in community group with them. God used it to knit our hearts together and prepare us for our future ministry together. 

Anyway, back to the story, my first “a ha!” moment. I remember our first community group so very clearly. We were all sitting in a circle in Dave and Maggie’s living room, and Dave asked us to go around and talk about what we were hoping to get out of this group (I’m not sure that’s exactly how he worded it, but that’s what I understood the question to be). 

My turn came, and I answered as honestly as I could. I told everyone that I really didn’t know what I wanted out of this group, but I was very clear on what I didn’t want. I didn’t want the same old church group, Bible study, Sunday School, small group stuff I had always experienced. Meaning, I didn’t want surface conversations about nothing important. I didn’t want awkwardness or forced and uncomfortable answers during the discussions. I didn’t want prayer requests that only centered on difficulties on the job or grandmothers having surgery (to be clear, there is nothing wrong with praying for tough job situations or family members’ surgeries- we can and should pray for those things- I just didn’t want that to be the focus of prayer time). I wanted something different than all that. I just had no category for what different would look like. 

Well, people continued around the circle, and when Meaghan’s turn came, she gave my first category for what “different” looks like. I don’t remember anything anyone else shared that night, but I distinctly remember what Meaghan said. She was holding her 6-month-old son, Conner, and said very simply, “Well, what I’m really hoping for in this group is some friends. I really need some friends because since Conner was born I’ve really been struggling with post-partum depression.” 

I know that comment may not seem like much to you, but to me it was absolutely revolutionary. I had never heard anyone be that real or that honest in a church setting before, EVER. It rocked my world. It was like God used Meaghan’s transparency at that moment to say to me, “Hold on, Sarah, you’re about to see something you’ve never seen before.” 

So, what is community? My first lesson taught me that community is raw, it’s real, it’s honest, it’s transparent. There is no room for masks or facades in true community. 

**Because community does require honesty and transparency, there is an expectation of confidentiality and privacy concerning the things shared in community group. I asked for and received Meaghan’s permission to share this story**

 

Happy Birthday, Peach! January 9, 2010

Filed under: Kids — Sarah @ 3:45 am

OK, I know I said I was going to blog about community and here I am writing about a birthday, but this is a special occasion. Daniel and Joy’s precious “baby” Annelise turned two this past Saturday! Plus, loving on each other’s kids is part of community, so there, how’s that for a tie-in?

One of my favorite things about my birthday growing up was that my parents would always tell me the story of my birth. Every year, I would hear again about when my mom felt the first contractions, how they got to the hospital and I was finally born at 1-2-3-4 in the afternoon (12:34pm), etc.

So, it’s no surprise that on Annelise’s birthday all I could think about was my memories from the day sweet Peach was born. And I thought I’d share. Annelise was due on January 19th, but well before Christmas, Joy was quite miserable and ready for her to come out. Tim and I were traveling to Texas for the holidays, and I kept talking to Annelise (in utero) about how I needed her to wait until Uncle Tim and Aunt Sarah got back from Texas before she came out. Joy, of course, would give me the evil eye every time I said this, as well she should have; it was a 100% selfish request.

Well, Christmas came and went, and Tim and I were making the 16-hour drive back to Louisville on New Year’s Day. I called Joy when we got north of Nashville (about 3 hours from Louisville), and I told her to tell Annelise that Aunt Sarah was almost home, and she could start making her way out into the world if she wanted to. It was probably about 9pm. Well, Tim and I rolled into freezing Louisville just before midnight, exhausted from the drive and fell into bed.

About 12:30am (so we has been asleep maybe half an hour), Tim’s phone rings. It was Daniel. Joy was having contractions, and they needed us to come over and stay with Reid. CRAZY! I leaped out of bed with as much energy as if I had slept 10 hours. Tim… not so much. Let’s just say I had to encourage him quite a bit; he was moving slowly.

Eventually, we got to Daniel and Joy’s. Daniel had the bag; they were ready to go. A couple brief instructions, promising they’d call with an update, and off they went. I was so excited I could barely get back to sleep. They called about 4am and said the doc had admitted them, and they were definitely having a baby that day. YAY!

Here’s where it gets a little weird. We never heard anything else. Reid woke up at his normal time. We fed him breakfast, played, Tim had to go to work, I followed his schedule all day with meals, snacks and naps, we had a really great time. People from our community group would call and ask me what was going on with the birth, and I had NO IDEA. It wasn’t until much later that I found out she was born at 3:14pm, was 7lbs and 12oz (which considering she was 3 weeks early is really something), had red hair, fair skin and blue eyes (what the heck?). I also found out later that Annelise had some problems- she wound up in the NICU for breathing problems and being treated with antibiotics. Again, I was completely clueless while it was all going on.

Looking back, I guess it’s funny that my memories from Annelise’s birth-day are mostly memories of taking care of Reid- things like laughing when I saw him stuff all his carrots in his mouth at once after I told him he could have some raisins once he finished his carrots, bundling Reid up and taking him to my apartment so we could walk the dogs, splashing and playing with him at bath time, calling a friend who lived in the same complex as Daniel and Joy to pick up some overnight diapers because I didn’t realize we were out until right before Reid’s bed time, arranging to get keys to Joy’s parents when they arrived so they could go see Annelise, etc.

I don’t have any memories of passing around a newly born Annelise, being shocked at her red hair and fair complexion, marveling at her tiny hands and feet, looking at her through the nursery window, seeing Joy in the aftermath of birth and being astonished at what she had just accomplished. But that’s OK. All that would come the next day, when Joy’s folks took over Reid duty and I was able to get up to the hospital to see the newest Davis. On Peach’s birth-day, I was right where I should have been, right where I wanted to be, taking care of Reid so that Daniel and Joy could focus on the joyous task of bringing their newest little one into the world, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy Birthday, precious Peach. Thanks for listening to Aunt Sarah and waiting until January 2nd to make your debut. I would have hated to miss it. I love you so much, and I am so thankful you are a part of my life.

 

What’s all the fuss about Community? January 2, 2010

Filed under: Community,Learning — Sarah @ 9:45 pm

In an effort to make my posts on this blog a little more regular, I was thinking I could do a series on community. This is a word that gets tossed around a lot- it’s definitely a vogue topic and buzz word in church circles, and there’s even a television show entitled, “Community” (I’ve never watched this show, only heard of it).

So what’s the big deal about community? Well, there are a lot of reasons community is a big deal, especially for believers. For me, community has been a huge “a ha!” discovery in my Christian walk. I spent many, many years being a “lone ranger” Christian, trying really hard to work out my faith on my own. God finally brought me to a place where I learned that it is impossible to truly grow or change without community.

You see, all humans are created for community. This goes all the way back to Genesis and the garden of Eden. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). As humans, we are created in the image of God. There are many facets to this image, but one aspect of being created in the image of God is that we image God’s own community. God has been in perfect community with himself, in three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, for all of eternity. He has always exsited in community and always will. Therefore, if humans are to image God, we must also exist in community.

This is the reason God said of Adam the first man, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18). A lot of people probably know the rest of this story, God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, took a rib out of his side, made Eve and presented her to Adam as his wife. This shows us that marriage was the first and still is the most intimate community we can have. However, all people, even unmarried ones, still want and need community. And, for those who are married, marriage alone is not “all we need” in regards to community.

In this series, I’ll try to do a “journalistic” approach on community – answering the “What, How, When, Why” questions that are so important to really get a good grasp of the concept being discussed. Most of it will be personal anecdotes of how God used certain people, places, passages of Scripture, etc. to each me about community.