In case you weren’t able to make it, here’s the full video of our brief Members Meeting held on Sunday, February 23.
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February 18 2014 at 1:53 pm 0 Comments
Thank you for praying and participating as our church walks through the process of nominating and choosing non-staff elders. We have received a large number of nominations, and it is clear from the supporting comments that members have taken the charge to nominate biblically qualified men very seriously.
As the nomination process has progressed, we have grown freshly aware of the grace of God on our church. God has indeed placed many biblically mature men in our midst who have selflessly served our congregation in many ways for a very long time. It is a great testimony to the kindness of God that we have many such men rather than too few!
The pastors will review the nominations on our retreat scheduled for February 25-28 and prayerfully select the men who seem at this time to be most qualified based on the relevant biblical passages (see our elder profile). We will also consider whether each man has demonstrated firm support for, and willingness and ability to teach, Covenant Life Church’s Statement of Faith. In addition we will be looking for men who share the vision and mission of Covenant Life Church, and who possess a history of fruitfulness in shepherding God’s people.
It is important to note that this is the only time non-staff elders will be chosen solely by the full-time pastoral staff. Hereafter, non-staff elders will be chosen by both the full-time pastors and the non-staff elders affirmed by the congregation.
Please pray that the Lord will lead the pastoral staff as we undertake the selection of this first group of non-staff elders. We want to proceed with sober judgment and hearts poised to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Thank you again for your prayers and your engagement in these important matters.
On Behalf of the Elders
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February 9 2014 at 12:26 am 0 Comments
With the deadline for recommending non-staff elder candidates just a week away, we wanted to repost the relevant information to make sure it’s readily accessible for everyone. If you’re not informed about this initiative, please follow the links below.
Doctrinally competent, godly leaders are critical to the health and well being of this and every church congregation. Over the course of 2014 we are engaging a process to bring non-staff pastor/elders on board at Covenant Life. This presents an opportunity for every member of the body to participate in the life and future of our church by praying, submitting recommendations and supporting the affirmation process. The final day for recommending candidates as non-staff elders is Sunday, February 16.
• You can review Kenneth Maresco’s letter from January 9 announcing the process
• Check out Ben Wikner’s and Kenneth’s sermons on elders
• Read the elder profile (describing elder qualifications and the nomination process).
• Recommend a member who meets the qualifications by using the simple recommendation form.
Thank you. members, for praying and playing your important role.
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November 21 2013 at 10:45 pm 0 Comments
This is our fourth post recapping what various pastors shared this past Sunday evening at Members Meeting. Previous posts:
Isaac Hydoski on “Small Group Ministry” – Sunday, Nov. 17
In concert with our work on organizational structure and the role of a pastor, a third project team consisting of myself, Adam Malcolm, Joe Lee, Kenneth Maresco and Angel Cabrera was tasked by the elders of the church with the important work of evaluating our existing small group ministry.
From the earliest days of Covenant Life Church, small groups have played a vital role in our life together as a congregation. Relationships have been developed, believers have matured in the faith, unbelievers have come to know Jesus, and we have provided care for one another for many years. As pastors we recognize this fruit and are deeply grateful to God for what He has done through our small group ministry.
Through the years, we’ve seen much fruit, but we recognize that our practice of small groups has had its weaknesses. We believe an honest look at both strengths and weaknesses of the past will help sharpen our direction for the future.
As we began our work in earnest back in September, it was our conviction that our church’s purpose and approach to small group ministry would remain first and foremost rooted in Scripture in both purpose and methodology. A particular area of interest related to this conviction are the “one anothers” of the New Testament.
When studying the dozens of “one anothers” in Scripture it becomes clear the body of Christ is called to be in close relationship with one another so that we can live out the fellowship we share in Christ. Verses such as “instructing one another” (Romans 15:14), “serving one another” (Galatians 5:13), “bearing with one another” (Ephesians 4:2), “forgiving one another” (Ephesians 4:32), all share the common trait that Christians should be helping each other live out the plan God has for each of us and the church overall. We believe that being in small group fellowship is a vital way we can live out the “one anothers” together.
There are many models and ideas for small groups in the body of Christ. And with the diversity of models that exist, it would be easy to simply adopt a structure that seems exciting, innovative or compelling. Instead of taking a purely pragmatic approach, we want to focus on the values we see in Scripture. That means making small groups a place where we are helping each other worship God in all aspects of our individual lives, love one another as Jesus loved us, and make more disciples of Christ.
And so our approach has been with these values in mind as we prayerfully pursue a renewed vision and direction for our small group ministry that is pastorally wise for our particular church in this particular time.
Here’s some of what we have done to date to sharpen our thinking:
• We began by studying the 45+ verses earlier referred to as the “one anothers” in Scripture to help bring definition to what the church is and how the church is to interact together as the body of Christ.
• We are seeking to learn as much as we can from other evangelical churches that are committed to small group ministry. We are currently speaking with leaders from eight different churches that cover the spectrum of small group ministry approaches, from Bible study groups, to fellowship groups focused on sanctification, to missional communities focused on outreach. We are learning a lot by looking at the strengths and weaknesses of these various models.
• And finally, we are listening to you! This fall we invited the entire church to attend two meetings where the goal was to solicit your ideas, input and feedback about our small groups. Over 160 of you attended and had in-depth conversations with each other, led by a group facilitator, on topics such as the purpose of small groups, present small group experience, role of leaders and members, role of pastors, how a variety of biblical values should function in a small group setting, to a simple final question that we wrapped up with: “What is the one thing you’d like to say to the pastors about care groups?”
The result of these brainstorming sessions was a 30-page report capturing your ideas and input as members. This has helped us to understand both the strength and the diversity of opinions that exist within the church. Your feedback, thoughts and counsel are helping shape our work in an ongoing way, and your participation is making our partnership together tangible.
While our research and discussions are ongoing, there are a few key categories we have settled on, and even referred to in my brief summary tonight. Moving forward we’re likely to include these in our final presentation to the elders:
• We believe small groups are a vital component to the overall health of Covenant Life Church. Small groups are one of the primary ways we fulfill our purpose and mission as a local church overall.
• We believe that our church family will need clear and ongoing biblical vision for what true community life in the church looks like, and the role that small groups will play in this.
• We don’t believe it necessary to do a church-wide reorganization of all our small groups. Rather we will be seeking to widely and systematically influence and equip our groups in a more concerted fashion.
• We believe that more training and more consistent equipping for our small group leaders is a vital means for us to be an effective discipling and equipping church.
• We believe that the study of the Scriptures should be a vital aspect of every small group’s fellowship together.
We will be keeping you updated in the days ahead and making you aware of the progress we are making. Thank you for praying for us!
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January 22 2013 at 4:58 pm 0 Comments
Mark Lauterbach brought greetings and thanks from his home church when he preached here this past Sunday—on video. The clip featured Mark and fellow pastor Ken Burdette sharing their thanks for Covenant Life’s partnership, especially in helping make it possible for Grace Church San Diego/North County to multiply and send roughly a third of their people to plant a new church in San Diego’s East County area last fall.
We thank the Lord for these brothers and sisters and for the gift of our cross-continental preaching exchange! Read our post from October of last year for more on the relationship between our churches.
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January 16 2013 at 4:05 pm 0 Comments
We’re writing to update you on a new development in the legal process that began unfolding last fall. The lawsuit that was filed in October has been amended. It now names our church and our school as defendants. In addition it alleges sexual abuse by an unnamed “pastor and teacher” and “children’s ministry worker” (though it does not make clear what institution these persons are connected with nor when the events allegedly occurred).
We’re currently working with legal counsel to investigate these allegations. But our counsel has confirmed with counsel for the Plaintiffs that these unnamed persons are not current employees of the school or pastors at the church.
It will take time for us to review and investigate these new allegations. We ask for your patience—it’s very likely that this is going to be a lengthy process. Please continue to pray.
We are sickened by the thought of such abuse—sexual abuse in any form is evil and unconscionable. We are grieved by these allegations. We also recognize that we don’t have all the facts. We would encourage everyone to withhold judgment until an appropriate legal process can be completed.
We want you to know our commitment is to do what is right before the Lord throughout this process. We want justice and truth to prevail—whether this indicts past actions or vindicates them. If wrong has been done, we want that to be revealed and for there to be appropriate accountability. We also know that it is possible for people to be wrongly accused, and so we pray that God will protect anyone from inaccurate or distorted or false accusations.
Please join us in praying for God’s will to be done and for our church to walk through this difficult process in a manner that demonstrates our hope and trust are in him. Let us pray that this testing will make us more dependent on God, more compassionate to the hurting, and more effective in sharing the love and tender care of Jesus Christ with others.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1 ESV)
The Pastors of Covenant Life
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