Hi Buffalo Covenant!
Just got back from the National Covenant Conference in Irvine CA last night.
It was my and Melodie's privilege to represent the Buffalo Covenant Church at the National Covenant Conference this past weekend. It was a good three days of spiritual inspiration and great worship.
I would summarize the week with the following eight phrases:
1. Vibrant worship
Very good worship, incorporating both contemporary and old classics.
2. Loving fellowship
Good spirit and lots of humor. Even though Melodie and I were new, we were warmly welcomed. There were about 600 people there.
3. Ethnically-diverse body
In comparison to the Free Church, where I have spent most of my ministry, the Covenant has done a great job of reaching out across racial lines to include many ethnic groups into the church family. Just to give you an example: They had a tremendous worship team composed of a mix from many churches; an African American worship leader from Texas, accompanied by a female Hispanic singer who led us in both English and Spanish worship songs and prayers, an African American woman singer, and a number of Anglos playing various instruments. It felt like a nice picture of the diverse mixture of worship styles we will have in heaven.
4. Infectious focus on missions
The global missions focus of the Covenant is amazing. More than 47% of the Covenant "Mission and Ministry" budget is focused on Missions.
5. Biblically-based preaching
Every worship session began with an extended reading of God's Word, followed by teaching from that same passage.
6. Jesus centered
The name of Jesus was prominent in all presentations, and clearly the motivation for service flowed from a living and vibrant relationship with Christ. Impressed by all of the amazing work done boldly and unashamedly in the name of Jesus. Many Covenant churches are being planted all around the country, one every couple weeks. The National Covenant Properties (from whom we have borrowed) had a big display featuring the Rockford MN Covenant Church building. (And if you looked carefully in the windows, you could almost see the 100 chairs which we gave them! ;) )
We met pastors serving around the country who are faithfully trying to serve Jesus in their local churches. First couple we met coming over from the airport is the brother of a man I know from the church down in Albert Lea!
7. Emotionally moving
The president's report and ministry round table was emotionally moving and very powerful. He contrasted the amazing medical care which we provide for our children in America vs. the needs of children in Congo. The Covenant Church is doing a great child sponsorship program in partnership with World Vision in the Congo, called “Covenant Kids Congo, powered by World Vision”. It looks great. One local Covenant Church presented them with a check for One Million Dollars (that’s from just one church).
8. Spiritually uplifting
I grew in my love for Jesus, by listening to and being challenged by Christian leaders who also love Jesus and are serving Him faithfully. Most personally challenging was Pastor Labib Madanat, a Palestinian Christian who talked of loving Muslims, but also loving Jews with who are taking his homeland. His theme was to serve, not survive.
Thanks for the opportunity to go. It was great to get to know the Covenant Church better, and has given me a much better appreciation for the larger body to which we belong.
Pastor Bill & Melodie
Wed, June 27, 2012 @ 4:51 PM
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1601 Highway 25 North
Buffalo, Minnesota 55313