Planted in Pearland

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

Covenant Update April 29, 2010

Filed under: Covenant — Sarah @ 2:11 am

I got in just under the wire, but I made it – two blog posts in one month! Woohoo! I really did want to finish telling y’all about what’s happening at Covenant, just haven’t had a chance until now.

Our first Easter service was so wonderful. It was amazing to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior with our new church family. As is to be expected, some of our “regulars” were gone out of town visiting family, while some others of the “regulars” had family in town visiting and brought them along to the service. As a result, we had 56 adults and 26 children with us Easter Sunday morning. Dave (whose birthday incidentally fell on Easter Sunday this year) took us through the liturgy which included the gospel account of the death and resurrection of Jesus. The way his voice and demeanor was affected as he read to us from the pages of Scripture served to remind us of the weight of what we were hearing. Daniel was likewise affected by the implications of the day and preached a wonderful message reminding us that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is not just something that happened a long time ago—it is near to us and affects our every day lives. What a great word. Thanks be to God for such godly men to lead us on this awesome day.

We also started our first round of membership classes. They began in late March and went every-other-Saturday until late April. There were three classes: “The Gospel,” “The Church as a Family,” and “The Church as an Army.” Well, I say there were three classes… there were supposed to be three classes… there will be three classes in the future… It’s a good story; I’ll get to it in a minute… First, let me just say how much I enjoyed these classes. I never get tired of hearing the gospel. Never. And that’s all the first class was about- three hours of teaching on the gospel. Love it. I love being a part of a church that is all about the gospel. The second class was great too. It is so refreshing to be reminded of the “family” distinction that characterizes Christ’s church. We are family- we are blood related (by the blood of Christ), we speak with one voice, we have family resemblance (we all resemble our Father) and we have family traditions- if that doesn’t describe a family, what does? The third class would have been equally as great if not for one tiny problem… ok, here’s the story…

The Saturday of the third and final class, a good number of people showed up at the location we had been renting for class time. Eliza slept late, so I got there a bit late and pulled up to see everyone – adults, kids, childcare workers – all milling around in the parking lot. Come to find out, the person who was supposed to open the building to let us in never showed up and was unreachable. Oh the joys and challenges of being a young church plant.  Well, we visited in the parking lot for a good while, and when it became clear that we were not going to get a hold of anyone to let us in the building, Daniel explained that this class was supposed to cover the topic of the church as an army and being out on mission, so he charged us with going out and using this time to meet and visit with people in our neighborhoods. Good stuff.

Here’s an exciting development in the life of Covenant that I don’t think anyone saw coming: we have a vampire service! No, I don’t mean actual vampires come to our service (that would be cool, though). We have a small contingent of people in our church family – police officers and nurses – who work the night shift (lest anyone think we are mean or insensitive, these night shift people have dubbed themselves “vampires” because they’re awake when everyone else is sleeping, hence the name for the service). As a result, for them, making it to a 10:30am service would be the same a “normal” person going to a church service at 2 in the morning! Not exactly easy for someone who has to get up and go to work the next day! So, Daniel started inviting the night shift people to the “practice sermon” that he does at the dance studio at 7am, before the set up crew even gets there. It’s really starting to gain momentum because those who are coming have been telling friends that they work with about it and inviting them to come along after shift ends. It’s a totally informal, low-key, laid back format, and like I said, this is nothing that any of us expected Covenant to be doing, but it’s exciting to see how God is using this “outside the box” service to draw people to himself.

In other news, Covenant is also growing through births. Our church family was so excited to welcome Emma Ann, daughter of Jeremy and Kristin Perrine, on April 11th! She is Covenant’s first baby GIRL (our first Covenant baby ever, and first boy, Kai, was born in October to Kevin and Laura Waden). She is oh-so cute and tiny, tiny, tiny! We are so thankful for this new little life in our church family and are looking forward to the arrival of three (or more?) Covenant babies this year! Thanks be to God for the blessing of children!

OK, that’s enough for now. Wow, once I get started, I just can’t stop talking (or typing) about all that God is doing – and it never ceases to amaze me! There is simply no explanation for all that is happening around here with Covenant except that God is at work. It’s so exciting!

Advertisements
 

God is Good… in Pearland April 8, 2010

Filed under: Community,Covenant — Sarah @ 10:47 pm

Stacey asked me to post her first blog post since she doesn’t know how 🙂 So here we go, the one and only Stacey Mullins:

HI. I am not really a “blogger,” and what I mean is I don’t write things on the internet for loads of people to read. Even my facebook posts are super short and far-in-between. I guess for me there is only one reason: I don’t think I really have anything interesting to say. So when Sarah, Maggie and Joy said that we should do a blog, I laughed out loud. I was like “sure, great idea! … for you,” but here I am attempting to put words together…

So, we are finally getting settled into our new home here in Pearland. We are learning about the amazing humidity and the super short spring (that I totally enjoyed!!!) My parents have visited us and my best friend Stephanie Tanner too. We both have jobs and are starting to settle into a routine – finally.

But really, I just wanted to say, on my first blog post ever, how truly awesome our God is! I have to say that this move has not been easy for our family. I don’t think I expected it to be easy, but I certainly wasn’t expecting all the little difficulties we have faced. But I don’t want to focus on those. Despite these little nuisances, God has been present in our lives and has completely affirmed our move here. He has given us such a sweet, sweet community here! They have gone out of their way to make us feel at home. Thinking about the saints that the Lord has brought to Covenant makes me teary-eyed. I can’t believe that we have known them for only 4 short months. Seriously! So many families that didn’t know us at all invited us into their homes, fed us and made us feel like family. So many couples have offered to watch our kids for us so we can have date nights. The Lord is using these sweet, sweet families to make us feel at home here. Justin said just today how Pearland is starting to feel like home because of the amazing people in our lives!

So Pearland, we are here for a little bit, and I am excited for what the Lord is doing and what we get to be a part of!

 

Covenant Update April 6, 2010

Filed under: Covenant — Sarah @ 5:33 pm

True to form, it’s been one month since my last posting. I truly had hoped to get “better about blogging” this past month, but alas, it did not happen. I won’t bore you with excuses, though I do want to thank my sweet cousin who gave me a gentle “nudge” with a kind email asking about what’s going on with our church (Thanks, Lissa!). Now, on with the update. 

There is so much going on in the life of Covenant. We are so excited about what God is doing. As I mentioned in a previous post, our first public service was on Valentine’s Day. I don’t remember the exact count, but there were over 70 people there. It was amazing! So many family members, friends, friends of friends, and members of area churches came out to support us for our first service. It was incredible to have our space packed out and to sing, hear the Word preached, take communion and fellowship with so many. 

As is to be expected, after the launch, most of the friends, family members, other area church members, etc. returned to their home churches, and our next several services have been much smaller, averaging around 40 people, sometimes a few more or less. Regardless of numbers, it is exciting to gather with our church family every Sunday. Serving alongside of one another in set up, tear down, clean up, children’s and connecting ministries and just generally doing all the work that goes into a Sunday morning has worked to knit our hearts even closer together as a church family as we do this task together.

Covenant is growing in other ways as well. When we started weekly services, we had two children’s classes – a 0-2’s class and a 3 and up class. Well, less than two months after the launch, we officially started a new children’s class- there is now a 0-1’s class, a 2-3’s class and a 4 and up class! It is so exciting to see how God is growing our church family- through new people coming in and through babies being born! It is also exciting to see how God is providing for our needs. The studio we are meeting in has one large room where we hold the service and three smaller rooms, all of which are now occupied by children’s ministry. We have exactly the amount of space we need, and we are so thankful for the woman who has generously opened up her studio on Sunday mornings to our church. God is so good! 

We also had our first community group multiplication! Our east side Pearland group was bursting at the seams, so they multiplied into two groups, bringing our total number of community groups to four! It is amazing to see how God is using these small groups that meet in homes throughout the week to accomplish so much. Community group members are rallying around to serve one another joyfully and generously: watching each other’s kids, delivering meals to those who are sick, providing monetarily to those who are in need. Wow, it is amazing to see what God is doing in each of these groups.

In addition, it is in these groups that we hash out how to live out the truth we hear preached every Sunday- in the process, sin is confessed, prayers are voiced, rebuke is spoken in love, encouragement and exhortation flow and change is happening in our lives. And to be clear, this change has nothing to do with us- God is at work in our midst, and He is using this time to shape, mold and sharpen us into the image of Christ. We are so thankful!

There is so much more to tell: we have been doing membership classes, growing in service and mission in Pearland, had our first Easter service. I will try to write another update very soon to fill in the rest of the details. As I sit here and look over what I have just written, I am absolutely overwhelmed to rehearse the story of what God is doing among us. To have written an entire page and still not have gotten out the half of it is just an amazing testimony to the magnitude of the work God has been up to. It is only by His power and grace that all of what is going on with Covenant could possibly be happening in and among a group of sinners like us. To God be the glory!

 

Shout Out For Sojourn April 5, 2010

Filed under: Community — Maggie @ 9:21 pm

Sojourn Community Church is where our 4 families met (Ainsworths, Gangers, Davis’, and Mullins’). This church is very dear to all of us and the Lord used this body of believers to shape us and ultimately shape our decision to come to Pearland. On their website, Sojourn is inviting those who have been transformed by the ministries of their church to write about their experience. After reading a few of these testimonies and finding myself in many of them, I felt compelled to write a testimony of my own. You can read it and the other testimonies here, but I’ve also copied and pasted it below.

Former Member Maggie Ainsworth (Attended 2005-2009)

When my husband Dave and I first visited Sojourn as newlyweds fresh out of college, we had no intention of staying. We had come from being highly involved in a college ministry full of young people, and as a result, we wanted to be a part of a multi-generational church. At that time, Sojourn’s average age was something like 27.5 and the “seniors” in the church were 36. Not exactly what we had in mind.

We were invited to Sojourn by former elder, Les Groce, who was the older brother of a good friend of ours from college. He and his wife Alison invited us to check out their community group, and since we had nothing else to do as unemployed, new-in-town newlyweds, we agreed.

After that first night at their community group, I knew there was something different about this church family. The group was made up of so many different “types” of people, but they all rallied around the gospel and the common bond they shared in Christ. There were mohawks (well, one) and tatoos (too many to count), parents of small kids and single dudes, and I was blown away by how well they all loved one another and us (in our Gap clothes)! The day after that first community group we helped one of the members move, and from that point on, we were pretty much sold on Sojourn. I remember telling my husband soon after that, that if we aren’t staying at Sojourn we need to leave immediately because I already feel myself growing attached to these people.

So, community group ministry was really central to our joining Sojourn, and it was also so central to our growth and change in the four years we were at Sojourn. The Lord used community group to constantly expose my sin and selfishness. I couldn’t hide my pride and self-righteousness as I was forced to confess sin to the members of the group.

Helping my husband lead a community group was all the more humbling, as we realized weekly our inability to care for others and our desperate need for Christ to enable us to do so. As scary as it was to lead a community group at Sojourn, we knew we had freedom to fail and we certainly exercised that freedom! We knew we didn’t have to have it all together or have all the answers. This was incredibly freeing for us! We learned to seek help and to acknowledge weakness, and the Sojourn body was faithful to point us to Christ and His strength in the midst of our weakness.

My husband and I grew up at Sojourn. We came as fresh-faced newlyweds without a clue about how precious the local church is. By God’s grace, we left in August 2009 as different people. We moved Pearland, TX to help plant a new church because we want others to know the same Christ who has become more dear to us, and to know the community of His church that we experienced at Sojourn. It was heart-breaking for us to leave dear friends and community at Sojourn, but just as Sojourn holds the tension between community and mission so well, we wanted to do the same and leave our community in order to pursue mission. People in Pearland are hungry for gospel-centered community and we are so privileged to share with them what the Lord taught us through the expression of His church at Sojourn!