It’s a new year and a new chapter at Mac Cov has begun. After fourteen years of faithful ministry, Mark and Anna Carlson completed their assignments at our church on January 6, 2019. It was hard to say goodbye after being staff teammates and friends for fourteen years. But God’s fingerprints are clearly on Mark’s new call, and I trust that the Carlsons are following the Spirit’s leading to Cascades Camp where Mark will serve as Associate Director.
So now we move forward and seek the Spirit’s guidance for us as a church. Let me name the obvious: we’re in a significant transition and change can be hard. Moving into the unknown can make us anxious, and there are times that I feel that! But let me also share what gives me confidence. As clearly as the Spirit has led the Carlsons to a new assignment at Cascades, the Spirit is going to guide us into our new chapter if we seek God’s direction, trust, and follow. I’m confident of this: the Lord Jesus loves the Church and demonstrated his love for us by his self-sacrifice on the Cross. Jesus has a vested interest in helping us to flourish!
As a 45-year-old congregation, Mac Cov has a long history of being a Christ-centered community that studies God’s Word, cares for one another and for our neighbors. We will continue caring for and discipling those who are already part of our church community. Our commitment to children and youth ministry remains strong. Our Children’s Ministry Team is doing a great job covering children’s ministry and is organizing Bible Day Camp in this transition. Laura Rudeen is in her fifth year ministering to our middle school and high school students - what a blessing she is to have on our staff! We continue to be attentive to the needs of the congregation through Stephen Ministries and a reactivated Care Team, in addition to all the loving care that happens organically through relationships. Discipleship - Jesus’ emphasis throughout the gospels - occurs on Sunday mornings during Christian Formation time, as well as through multiple small groups, Bible studies, and discipleship groups that meet during the week. Care for our neighbors is expressed through Sunday Supper, City Outreach, McMinnville Free Clinic, and a variety of other community ministries. We are connected to God’s global mission through Tara Lepp in Kenya, Nancy Jo Hoover’s work with MENA (Middle East North Africa) and our other missionaries. Our hearts grow in God’s concern for justice through ministries such as New Day for Children, Covenant World Relief, and Water 1st.
While the city of McMinnville continues to grow and our landscape is always changing, the good news of Jesus remains the same. One of the questions I ponder for this new chapter is how we live out and share the gospel to generations that are increasingly disinterested and distrusting of “church?” One of our primary strengths at Mac Cov is being a loving community. The love of Christ compels us to extend to those who have yet to experience the love of Christ. I’m praying that the gospel-shaped love that we experience at Mac Cov will extend to more people in the coming years, whether this happens inside or outside the church building.
I believe that the Spirit has given and will continue to provide the spiritual gifts and resources we need for the next chapter at Mac Cov. We will take our time to listen to one another and most importantly, to the Spirit for direction. In this season of prayer, join us on Tuesdays at noon to intentionally seek the Lord together for our church. Pray in your small groups and families for the Spirit’s direction. Staffing is one important area for us to discern, but this transition also provides a wonderful opportunity for us to collectively reflect and reimagine who God wants us to be as a church in 2019. This is a prime season to more fully activate the gifts and talents that are already present in our congregation. Thank you to all of you who are being faithful with your time, talent, and treasure. We flourish when all the parts of Christ’s Body, the Church, are healthy, growing, engaged, and sharing their gifts. Let us come together towards this end.
While I don’t know what the future will bring, I do have this clarity: Jesus loves the Church and deeply desires to guide and empower us for the next chapter. I am so grateful for you - the people who are McMinnville Covenant Church. Together, may we continue seeking the heart of God for our church, and may we have the faith and courage to follow Jesus faithfully in this new chapter.