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As Covenant moves towards relaunch we have been prayerfully seeking to discern what we should be emphasizing in our life together as a Covenant family. Over the past few years we have been guided in these directions:

  1. Collectively, we have a desire to share Jesus' love with Next Generations and invite them into a lifelong journey of walking with him. This was affirmed in our 2018 strategic plan, along with the desire of hiring full time staff to help guide us in this emphasis.
  2. We have adopted the words Beloved, Belong, and Become (from our Be In Christ Church of Canada) as three postures that we want to embody in our journey together as Jesus followers, inviting others to join us in them.

As Pastor Jon and the board have prayed, talked, and sought congregational input, we have come to recognize that our life together as a church family doesn't need to be as complicated as we are often tempted to make it. We want to create spaces where everyone has the opportunity to grow in the way of Jesus and be equipped to be all he longs for them to be. Using our three words and focusing on one environment for each helps to create a clear pathway for ministry and for individuals to join with us in growing as Jesus followers.

  • Beloved - In our Sunday gatherings (in person and online) everyone is invited and welcome to come together as we root ourselves in our identity as beloved children of God.
  • Belong - Growing in that identity happens best in the context of relationship. In our Covenant Groups people are invited to commit together in smaller groups where they receive support, learn, find accountability, and serve. These groups may have different emphases (Bible study, care groups, serving groups, etc.) but they will share common elements of support, learning, accountability, and service as a part of their life together.
  • Become - Sometimes we need to focus on a special area of growth and learning. Our Covenant Cohorts will offer short term learning and growth opportunities where we can invest in specific areas of our lives. Some cohorts will be created annually. Others will be delivered as needed or "on demand". Cohorts could be focused on topics such as what we believe, spirituality, prayer, relationships, finances, spiritual gifts, or mission.

Our hope is that these areas of focus - beloved, belong, and become - will be accessible and helpful for every age group - from next generations to seniors. Our expectation is that as people grow in the way of Jesus the mission of the church will continually grow as people are equipped to join God in what he is doing (or is preparing to do through us) to serve our community and the world.

The next question we considered is how can we best use our resources - time, energy, technology, facilities, and finances - to best create these environments and specifically accomplish our desire to invest in Next Generations.

Over the past couple of years God has been gracious to us in that while we have not received enough funds to meet our budget, we have also been able to limit our expenses and therefore we have built up a balance of undesignated funds. Since January our board has been prayerfully considering how to best use these funds for ministry purposes - the reason they were given in the first place. One element of the conversation has been the possibility of using some of those funds to allow us to expand our current part time Next Generations Ministry Director role to a full time position.

Our hope had been to hire someone as a full time Next Generations Ministry Director in 2019, but we didn't connect with the right candidate. Rather than seeing it unstaffed we hired Angie as a part time Next Generations Ministry Director. Angie has done an amazing job in a part time role over the past 10 months, but back in January we began to wonder what an expanded role could look like. We recognized that our current givings are not enough to allow us to expand our staffing budget, but we began to discuss designating some of our finances in order to add another 15 hours per week and create a full time staff role.

At our board meeting on August 21, 2020 the board passed a motion to designate $35,000 of our surplus monies into a fund that we will draw on for two years. These funds will allow us to pursue a full time (40 hours per week) Director of Next Generations and Worship. This hybrid position will work alongside volunteers to oversee our Next Generations ministry (children to young adults) and work alongside Pastor Jon (who will continue to oversee the preaching) and ministry team leaders to oversee our Sunday Morning ministry (our primary Beloved ministry environment). The full role description and directions for how to apply is available as an attachment below.

By hiring a good person in this role, Pastor Jon will be released to spend more time investing in developing Covenant Groups and Covenant Cohorts as we pursue effective ministry in this time of relaunch. Pray for us as we look for someone with a heart for Jesus, a unique set of ministry gifts, an alignment with our anabaptist theology, and an availability to serve in Penetang. It feels as though we have been in a steady pursuit for this second staff ministry person for some time and all along the way God has provided what/who we needed when we needed it/them. As we pursue someone for this role, we are trusting that God will again provide what and who we need.

As a final note, let me address Angie and the role she has played and will continue to play in our Next Generations ministry. Since the Limmers arrived at Covenant she has been one of our most active volunteers with both children's ministry and youth ministry. Various leaders have come and gone and she has been one of the constants. Her commitment to our kids and youth has not waivered. Even during this time when she has not been employed due to financial questions related to COVID-19, she has been active with both the children and the youth. The challenge has been, particularly with the youth, that there has been very limited volunteer help. As much as she loves our children and our youth the load has been heavy on Angie and on the Limmer family. In hiring someone to be the point person for Next Generations we will not be losing Angie. Rather she will be able to transition back to a key volunteer role without carrying the primary weight of things. She will be able to support the ministry director thus sharing the load in ways that are healthier for everyone. We thank Angie for her consistent love and support for Covenant, Covenant Kids, and Covenant Youth. She has been a great example of the impact one can have in the lives of our Next Generations. Please watch for opportunities where you can join in with current leaders like Angie and Joyce to partner in sharing Jesus love with our next generations.