I took a few moments today to finish 2015 by being grateful for the goodness which decorates my life. I thought I’d share some specifics with you:
1) Covenant’s Broad Worship Life: From deeply traditional to casual and interactive, Covenant has launched a broad worship life to reach our changing community. Each service is characterized by excellence in music, liturgy, and hospitality. And, it’s working! For the first time, each ‘worship platform” has seen an increase in average attendance across the year.
2) Wisdom of our Elders: When faced with the challenge of deciding on a wedding policy, Covenant’s elders designed an open, inclusive, respectful process that sought to honor God and the wide variety of opinions in our congregation. As a result, our congregation remained cohesive and set an example for many other large Presbyterian churches across the state as how best to address this important topic.
3) Expanded Residency: For the last eight years, Covenant has embraced the opportunity to become a ‘teaching church’ for those heading into ministry. In addition to summer internships and part-time seminary internships, we have now established two full-time residencies in which people new to ministry can learn, grow, serve, and refine their skills. We see this as strong investment in the future of the church and trust it will bear much fruit for years to come.
4) Bold Education Series: Both series “Education a Child: Transform the World” and “Race Still Matters” tackled important current topics from the perspective of faith and reminded us that Christian faith is to be lived in the public square. Both topics remain extremely important and will require considerable attention in the days ahead.
5) Sabbatical: Only the few fortunate get to take them, and this year, I was among those few. Thank you. I tried to use the opportunity for renewal and to return equipped to serve well.
6) Good funerals: We had a lot this year, but the privilege of honoring a life well-lived and walking with families during difficult days is one for which I’m most grateful. Covenant lost some highly generous, deeply committed, long-term members this year. Losing these leaders also caused me to ponder how well we’re transferring the mantel of leadership to the next generation and how seriously my own generation is embracing the privilege.
7) Christmas Eve Offering: You have to love a congregation that quadruples its typical generosity when you commit to giving 100% of it to mission endeavors serving vulnerable children. Thank you!
8) Exemplary Staff: Life’s too short not to enjoy your work, and I thoroughly enjoy working with Covenant’s staff. They’re disciplined, sacrificial, fun, and genuine in their commitment to serve God through their work at Covenant. I’m grateful for them every day.
So, thank you for a wonderful 2015. I look forward to all the good things God will do through our church family in 2016.