Each Sunday during our worship services the Holy Spirit moves on the hearts of different members to share words of encouragement with the congregation through the Ministry Mic at the front of the auditorium. To help clarify the biblical foundations for this practice and elaborate on how the Ministry Mic operates, the elders have written a paper called "Understanding the Ministry Mic."
The paper looks at:
- The Purpose of Sunday Mornings
- What We Believe About Spiritual Gifts
- What We Believe About Prophecy
- What Should the Use of Spiritual Gifts Look Like at Covenant Life Church?
- Answers to Common Questions
- Resources for Further Study
We hope this resource serves you and builds your faith for God's work in and through our Sunday gatherings.
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June 23 2015 at 9:28 am 1 Comments
This school year just wrapped up, but Discovery Land, our children’s ministry, is already busy preparing for the fall. The season to sign up to serve with the kids is here! Cara Wilcox gives us a joyfully honest look at serving with the 1st-5th grade class:
Just over two years ago, I received an email from Josh Cooley asking if I would consider serving as a Tree House Gang director in the 2013-2014 Discovery Land year. Tree House Gang is the student drama team that does skits to help illustrate the lesson in the first through fifth grade Adventure class each week. I was already acquainted with the responsibilities of a Tree House Gang director, which is why my immediate mental response to Josh’s email was: No. Way.
Let me explain my exemplary attitude. First, I had just completed a seven-year stretch when I almost never participated in an entire church service. Because of my husband’s work responsibilities here at church on Sunday mornings, and because we had four children in just over six years, I was usually either feeding a baby, strolling a baby, or trying to coax a terrified toddler to stay in his or her classroom. Serving? I’d been serving my family nonstop for a looooong time. So I was looking forward to some down time at church, some me time, some spiritual replenishment time.
Second reason for my “no way” outlook? Being a Tree House Gang director would require several hours of scriptwriting and rehearsal in addition to showing up very early on Sunday. And because of my husband’s work schedule, I would need to bring my four, small, energetic children with me to rehearsals. How was I supposed to juggle parenting little ones and directing teenagers at the same time?
Oh, and speaking of teenagers, I was flat out scared of them. I had no experience with teens! I’m not cool! Would they like me? Would they listen? Lastly, if I was going to serve in Discovery Land, I wanted to be in the nursery, loving on some babies. The first through fifth grade class was huge, noisy and rambunctious. And I felt like my noisy and rambunctious quota was pretty much filled at home.
So when I got Josh’s email, I felt vaguely justified in ignoring it, which is exactly what I did, all summer long. I did not reply when he sent a follow up email many weeks later, though I did start to consider it and pray. And then, late in August, in God’s sense of humor, I ended up in a small room where I could not help but overhear some women who were in all innocence talking about… what else? The desperate need for Tree House Gang directors and the fact that nobody was stepping up. “Ok, Lord! I get it! I hear you! I’ll obey!”
With no slight trepidation, I filled out my volunteer application and became the official Week 3 Tree House Gang director. I showed up that first weekend, wrote my script at home, rehearsed on Saturday, rehearsed again on Sunday, and oversaw the performance during class and it was love at first serve. I went home on Sunday afternoon exhausted and high as a kite. God met me with such joy in serving those children that I’m still marveling. Everything about it was fun and fulfilling for me: my team of irrepressible teens, the laughs we shared in pulling off our first skit (it involved a magic act and a dead parrot), and the first graders I led during breakout time at the end of class. Suddenly that noisy and rambunctious class of elementary kids had become a passion, and I wanted to help make the class better and better. It was a simple instance of Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I had begun to invest time and energy in Discovery Land, and where I invested, my heart quickly followed. In another year, in fact, the Lord opened a door for me to work part time planning the Adventure class breakout times.
Now is it always as glorious as that first week I served? No. We have weeks where my scripts aren’t funny or actors forget their lines, weeks where I’m running late and my children are challenging, weeks where the class seems unresponsive. But when the work is dull, or the outcome seems dubious, I take heart from Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15:58: “My beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
One other benefit of serving has been the relational encouragement and stability it provides. In the last five years, many of my closest friends have moved away or found other churches, and that has been difficult. Building friendships with others who serve in Discovery Land has been an anchor for me. My serving friends are not my closest relationships, but when I see their faces, I remember how we have labored and laughed together. And that makes them feel like family.
I asked to be able to share this story with you today in hope that you might be persuaded to join me. Please come serve with us in Discovery Land. We need many hands for this good work. Now maybe you’re already maxed out. Maybe you have legitimate reasons not to serve. Or maybe you’re like me, and God is extending his hand to you, inviting you to be part of what he is doing among our children. If so, if there’s even a little stirring within, may I challenge you to act in faith? I don’t promise that your experience will be just like mine, but unless you sign up, how will you ever know how God may meet you, or what good works He has prepared for you there?
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June 9 2015 at 1:52 pm 0 Comments
Last Sunday, guest speaker David Platt, President of the International Missions Board, shared a stirring message on the biblical call for Christians to share the gospel with unreached peoples around the globe. But before his sermon, Platt had a powerful word of encouragement for the members of our church. Here you can review both Platt's word of encouragement and his sermon as a whole.
Encouragement to Covenant Life:
David Platt: "We Owe the Gospel to the Nations" (Romans 1:1-17)
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May 19 2015 at 4:36 pm 0 Comments
To help friends near and far share the day with others, here's the recording of Sunday's program to thank Joshua Harris and family plus a slideshow of photos from the program and reception. Enjoy!
We invite everyone to keep the Harris Family in your prayers as they prepare to move to British Columbia. Here are their requests:
- For the Lord to lead us to the right church. And give us real friendships and community.
- That our kids would get settled in their new schools, make good friends and grow in their love for God and each other.
- That Josh would learn and be stretched through his classes at Regent.
- That Shannon would find opportunities to use and develop her gifts in new ways.
- That we would learn to rest, wait on the Lord and trust him in a season of uncertainty.
- That God would use us to bless the city of Vancouver in some small way and demonstrate the love of Christ to our neighbors.
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February 20 2015 at 3:52 pm 3 Comments
In 2013, Discovery Land changed the format some in the Adventure class (1st-5th grade) and implemented small group table time for the last 20-30 minutes of class each week. The goal was to provide the kids a more personal, hands-on time to interact with that dayâ€™s lesson through questions, crafts, activities, etc.
That first year (2013-14), a team of 4-5 wonderful volunteer ladies created each weekâ€™s activities midweek and implemented them on Sundays. It became clear that this was too large a load for volunteers (typically, busy moms with young kids). So we hired Cara Wilcox in October 2014 as our part-time small group planning coordinator. Since then, Cara has made me look brilliant as a hiring manager :)! She has brought fantastic enthusiasm, dedication and imagination to her role. Here are some recent examples of her creativity and outside-the-box thinking:
1. To supplement a lesson on being made in the image of God, we rearranged the class schedule so the kids could make thumb imprints on pliable polymer clay discs after the first teaching segment. Then we baked all the discs in the kitchen ovens to harden them while the rest of class went on, allowing the kids to take home their imprint necklaces at the end of class.
2. To supplement a lesson on creation, Cara collected dozens of nature magazines and assigned various small group tables to cut out pictures that represented the amazing variety and beauty of Godâ€™s creation. Then the kids glued the pictures onto a huge collage sheet that we displayed for kids and parents the following Sunday.
3. To supplement a lesson on the Trinity, Cara had the kids make a simple, yet very effective, Trinity diagram and Trinity pyramid to help kids grasp the difficult three-in-one concept.
I think the 1st-5th grade class has always offered lots of fun, unique learning experiences for kids. But when I consider where the class was two years ago and where it is today (making and baking 150 polymer clay necklaces in class to illustrate â€śbeing made in Godâ€™s image,” I am so excited about the level of hands-on activities that the kids are enjoying to help reinforce the teaching theyâ€™re hearing from Godâ€™s Word! Cara, Becky Ferleman, our four once-a-month volunteers who implement Caraâ€™s plans each week (Jessica Kendal, Charlotte Deibel, Angela Patarozzi and Dienny Hooper) and many other volunteers have all done a great job in making small group activities happen each week!
Discovery Land Director
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February 18 2015 at 10:43 am 2 Comments
Written with contributions from Beth, Rebecca Duberstein, Valori Maresco, and Sarah Stogsdill. Photos by Pam, Hannah Moore, and Hannah Stogsdill.
If you happened to walk into the church building last Saturday, you were couldn’t help but notice the Womenâ€™s Mission Teahouse, a true cross-cultural experience for the ladies of our church. Beth Kraatz and Hannah Stogsdill led the team that transformed the lobby into a Central Asian Teahouse.
The church lobby was dressed with vibrant colors of tablecloths, oriental rugs, floor pillows, more than 50 teapots and hundreds of teacups, all volunteered by different ladies in the church. It was apparent this event was a labor of love for so many. Close to 200 women gathered and lounged around low tables set with a variety of teas and treats including Turkish Delight, dried fruit, almonds, and pastries. The mismatched china was a perfect reminder of the many different homes that had contributed to make it special. Hannah Stogsdill used her artistic eye to combine all these elements to create a beautiful, inviting space in the lobby for learning and fellowship.
“I was blown away by the sense of community I experienced as the women of Covenant Life came together to share their teapots, delicious food, sweet fellowship and prayers.” â€”Beth
On the morning of the event, the lobby was bustling with ladies of all ages who had arrived early to help. They were filling teapots, stocking hor d’oeuvres, arranging the potluck dishes on the tables. You could feel their excitement and their ownership of the event.
After a time of worship, a missionary from Central Asia, shared about the many challenges facing the Muslim women she knows in the region where she and her husband live and work, and then led us as we prayed together for God to work in the lives of the women of Central Asia.
Following the talk, a magnificent buffet lunch of regional foods was waiting, and while eating, we heard about the experiences of the worship team who had recently traveled to Central Asia.
“The ladies also enthusiastically answered the call to contribute to the potluck lunch. Covenant Life Church is full of good cooks! Nine tables were practically sagging under the weight of the appetizers, entrees, and desserts these ladies brought. Every dish was unique and so tasty! â€”Rebecca
The testimony of the missionary from Central Asia provoked hearts as she shared about the challenges the women of Central Asia face, but many were encouraged knowing they could help by praying for them. The ladies were also reminded of the number of unreached internationals right here in Gaithersburg, and the opportunity to reach out by extending kindness and hospitality to the unreached in this area.
“It was a beautiful environment that fostered fellowship and gave us a glimpse of another culture. Interacting with the ladies there was so uplifting and inspiring to me. The Lord deeply met me during the extended prayer time and I walked away with fresh conviction to pursue evangelism.” â€”Sarah
The atmosphere helped the ladies to lift their eyes and see the fields that are ripe for harvest in the community around us. Not everyone can or will go to these fields like the missionaries who spoke, but we can all take part in reaching the unreached. We can pray for those who are far off and about how we can reach the multitudes that God has brought to our front door!
“I left both refreshed by a sense of rich community at CLC, and excited to see how God can use that community to extend the good news of Jesus Christ to those who do not know him.” â€”Rebecca
The time ended with another talk by a missionary with Global Gates, an organization working to bring the gospel to internationals in our own country. She shared about the amazing opportunity we have to reach women from unreached people groups right here in our community and ended by giving us ideas on how we could be more aware of opportunities around us.
We are so grateful for how the Lord worked through the teahouse! He lit new fires of faith and boldness to reach out and pray for the lost around us, so that all “may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing [all] may have life in his name.â€ť â€”John 20:31
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