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.
January 16 2013 at 5:05 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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August 21 2012 at 6:35 pm 0 Comments
This month Crossway Church of Lancaster, Pa., marks its 30th Anniversary. Our own Robin Boisvert was the founding pastor of Crossway and preached at the church’s first official meeting in 1982. He travels to Lancaster this coming Sunday to preach and join in the celebration.
The above video from the Crossway Church blog notes Robin’s faithful work and investment in the church (see the 1:32 mark). Thank God for Robin and Clara and their long history of service in equipping God’s people for the work of the ministry!
Close on the heels of Robin’s visit comes the grand opening of Crossway’s beautiful new church building September 8 and 9. Let’s pray for this church as they continue to share God’s love in Lancaster and beyond.
August 12 2012 at 6:13 pm 8 Comments
Pastor Erik Sheffer sent the letter below to the members under his care last week. We hope it encourages your soul, too!
When was the last time you had a fresh encounter with our living God? If you are like me, sadly, these aren’t every day occasions. These moments are rare. And I want to share one with you to remind you that he does speak, personally and intimately still.
But first I want to remind us that they need not be rare. God is speaking powerfully right now. God is fully present right now. It’s our hearts, our seeing and hearing that is the problem. Romans 1:19-20 says,
“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”
So my prayer that I have been crying out to God is for him to help us truly see him and hear him, which I believe will lead us to love and worship him. How can a heart that has seen or heard the voice of God not melt before him?
Ok, so now the story I wanted to share. My newborn daughter, Jubilee, was in the NICU for a few days after her birth before I finally got the phone call from my wife, Jerusha, that she was ready to be discharged. As I was driving in, excited, yet weary, I thought I’d listen to a song to refresh me and help me worship with a grateful heart. I remembered the Sara Groves song, “He Has Always Been Faithful,” and than remembered I purchased her new album a while back, “Invisible Empires.” I really never listened to it, but the song, “Keep Your Eyes On The Prize,” grabbed my attention so I began to play it. What a great song!
Again, picture me 10 minutes away from Shady Grove Hospital ready to pick up Jubilee and Jerusha hearing this song. Without giving any specifics of the song away (you have to listen to it!), the way the song ends (the last 30-45 seconds, so you can skip to it if you don’t have 3 minutes) reminded me that God still speaks … not just corporately, but personally and intimately. He knew exactly what I needed at that moment AND I had the grace to slow down, listen, and worship.
Let’s keep praying for God to speak powerfully in and through our lives today, for he is a consuming fire!
Grateful to be your pastor,
June 7 2012 at 1:25 pm 6 Comments
We received this gracious letter of thanks from Jeff Purswell, Dean of the Pastors College, and wanted to share it here with everyone. Thank you, Jeff!
To the pastors and members of Covenant Life Church,
As the conclusion of the 15th year of the Sovereign Grace Pastors College approached, I asked for the opportunity to thank you for the inestimable contribution you have made by hosting and serving the college since its inception. It is a daunting task—but one which I relish—to attempt to express my gratefulness for the myriad ways Covenant Life has facilitated, strengthened, and enhanced the training of future pastors through the college.
One of the things that distinguishes the Pastors College from many pastoral training contexts is its connection to a local church, and it has been our privilege for many years to be connected to this particular local church. When I arrived here in 1997, I encountered a culture of servanthood that was unique in my experience, and to my delight that servanthood has been channeled into the Pastors College in countless ways. Some of you have served in the most personal way possible by opening your homes to students as host families. More than opening your homes, you have opened your lives to them, and in many cases life-long friendships have been the result. Scores of you have “adopted” students and blessed them in many and various ways through your care group. Stories abound of cookouts held, household goods donated, money (and frequent flyer miles!) given, babysitting offered—all of this and more has lightened the load and brightened the hearts of our students. Hundreds of you have served in numerous events held for the students, who have been unfailingly blessed and instructed by the joy, creativity, and effort that you displayed. I must make special mention of those of you who have served on the PC Administrative team over the years (affectionately—and accurately—known in the halls of SGM as the “Dream Team”). I’ve never worked with a more devoted, creative, sacrificial, and delightful group of servants—you will always hold a cherished place in our hearts. And to the pastors, thank you for supporting the students, teaching the students, and leading a church context that over the years has provided both a model of church life and a place where these students and their families can worship and be nurtured by God’s word during their time at the Pastors College.
My summary of your contribution has been written in the past tense, but there’s a “present tense” to your labors that I want to bring to your attention. Over the past 15 years, 243 men have graduated from the college, of which 175 are in full-time or part-time vocational ministry. These men serve in 84 churches in 16 nations. Thirty-two of these churches have been planted by PC graduates (in the current class alone, we have eight men slotted for future church plants). Sixty-one men serve as senior pastors. Such statistics only hint at the conversions given by God through these churches, the seeds sown for the gospel, the thousands of people cared for, the marriages healed, the families strengthened—eternity alone will reveal the fruit borne by the grace of God through these graduates. My hope is that you will recognize that the service you have given, the prayers you have prayed, the generosity you have expressed, and the kindness you have extended are having an enduring effect through the lives of these men and their families that continues to impact the world for the gospel.
As the Pastors College prepares for our transition to Louisville, we do so aware of the foundation that has been laid for us here in Gaithersburg—and we will not soon forget the names and faces of those of you who have given so selflessly to help make the PC what it is today. I am deeply grateful for you, and humbled by the privilege of laboring with you.
Our graduation ceremony will take place on Sunday evening, June 10, at 6 p.m. in the Covenant Life Auditorium. I would like to invite you to share in the celebration of that evening. It would be an honor to have you with us.
With enduring gratefulness,
“For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.” –Hebrews 6:10
June 1 2012 at 3:25 pm 3 Comments
Mark Dever, Tim Keller, Al Mohler, and David Powlison*
Last week Josh Harris and I traveled to Louisville, Ky., and the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary which hosted the Gospel Coalition Council Colloquium. This was a gathering of about 50 evangelical leaders (of various denominations and movements) and their guests from around the nation. What we all have in common is the conviction that the gospel message is of first importance. “Colloquium” is just a fancy word for academic discussion.
The limited number of participants made it possible for extended and stimulating discussions of a range of theological and practical issues. We covered current trends in such topics as the Trinity, homosexuality, pastors and politics, the historical nature of Adam and Eve, Islam, etc. The focus of all this was to determine how these matters will affect our churches.
The conference was led by Don Carson and Tim Keller, widely respected leaders in the church today. Because of the informal nature of the conference, there were plenty of opportunities for informal conversations with old friends (like David Powlison) and building relationships with new ones.
This was my first visit to the campus of Southern. The staff and people we encountered there could not have been kinder or more hospitable. One of the benefits for me was that Josh and I were able to enjoy unhurried times of fellowship together. We return excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for our church as we serve our faithful God and pursue the mission he’s given us to make disciples.
*This panel moderated by Mark Dever weighed the topic of homosexuality—how public opinion has changed rapidly against the traditional view and how new laws pose new challenges for churches. What should we expect in the coming years? What can we do, and what should we change? Image credit: Carl Larsen