It has been a full season at Mac Cov - Advent, Christmas, the search process for new staff, in addition to all the usual (and unexpected) contours of church life! Now here we are at the start of a new year and a new decade. What does God have in store for us? On Sunday mornings, we’re revisiting an important theme from our Mac Cov history: “God’s Co-Workers, God’s Field, God’s Building,” taken from I Corinthians 3:9. This verse is engraved on a plaque in our church foyer as an emblem of what God was stirring in this congregation 20 years when the new addition to the building was completed. As I was preparing for last week’s message from I Corinthians 1:10-18 on the message of the cross and the power of God, I felt a surge of deep emotion as I thought about us, the Mac Cov family, and all the stories of the power of God at work in the lives of this community over the past 20 years. As I looked out at the congregation on Sunday, I was again struck by how God has been deeply and powerfully transforming lives, often slowly, but sometimes with great immediacy and undeniable effect. Collectively, our church community bears witness to the amazing grace of God. Yes, we’ve been through some hard times as well, but as I think about the profound work of the Spirit in our church family, I am filled with gratitude and worship. As the Apostle Paul reminds us, we belong to Christ and to Christ alone, and the message of the cross is the power of God to those of us who are being saved (I Cor 1:18). Glory to God!
As I’m writing this, I’m reflecting from a hotel room in Chicago at the Covenant’s Midwinter Conference. I’m here with hundreds of other flawed, beloved, and called men and women, like me, who are serving Christ around North America and the world. Whenever I attend events like these, I’m reminded that we are God’s co-workers not just with our local church family, but with thousands of other Christ-followers who are seeking to love God and love their neighbors. The message brought to us this morning by Rev. Mike Guerrero was simply that the Holy Spirit cares about how we treat people, and as simple as that sounds, we never advance beyond that! So true. Loving God and loving people is at the heart of everything we’re created to be about. And truly what the world needs.
To that end, I am excited about the year ahead. God has brought us gifted pastoral candidates, John and Karen Olson, who are passionate about loving God and loving people. The church will get to meet the Olson family this weekend and hear their hearts. I trust that the Spirit will guide us as we discern together. Whatever happens with staffing, there are some things that I don’t want us to lose from this past year, things that we can build upon in 2020. During the past year of staff transition, Mac Cov rose to the occasion in so many ways, and practiced “Church at its Best.” In the wake of staff departures, people in the church gathered, prayed, planned, and re-invigorated many ministry areas. There was a wonderful “ownership” of ministry that unfolded in 2019, particularly in Children’s Ministry, Care Team, Small Groups, and Youth Ministry, in addition to the ongoing lay-driven ministries of Sunday Supper, Women and Men’s Ministries, Stephen Ministries, Sunday School/Christian Formation, Finance Team, Community Outreach, Retired Men’s, Worship Team, Choir, Buildings and Grounds, and other ministries. Thank you to all who serve and have shared your talents and treasures to make Mac Cov who we are!
My hope and prayer is that we will also move further in our vision to be a “Deep Roots, Wild Branches” church. We will continue to pursue deep, life-changing fellowship with God and with each other, AND we want to keep joining the Spirit of God outside the walls of the church building to point others to Jesus and the Kingdom of God. We don’t exist merely for ourselves but for the good of our neighbors. In a changing culture that is increasingly not interested in coming to church, let’s meet God in the community in people we meet and places we’re at - God is already present and inviting us to join in! God is faithful. God is good. God’s cares about our broken world. God has not let us go, and we are called again to be “God’s Co-Workers, God’s Field, God’s Building.”