By Pastor Rob Bloss
Our ministry year comes to an end this weekend. It seems like forever since we’ve been afforded a “normal” summer rhythm at Covenant. In the Lord’s strength we have kept on keeping on in the face of the chaos and confusion, obstacles and distractions. Without question, it’s definitely been one of the more challenging years to be a leader or volunteer. We’ve had to adjust and adapt, to let go of familiar practices and processes and try new things. Our load has often outweighed our limits, revealing our poor boundaries and testing both our patience and perseverance. And often, by fire, motives have been rightly refined, and better methods forged.
The year has taught me a lot about God, myself, and Covenant. I won’t unpack all of that here, but I’m looking forward to carving out a window of time to reflect more deeply on how God has and may use this season to mold and make us. I encourage you to do the same with gratitude for God’s uncanny ability to take and use even the most difficult things in our lives for our good and His glory.
This weekend we want to celebrate all those who have served as leaders and volunteers at Covenant. While we can’t throw the kind of party for you we would want to, we are looking forward to seeing many of you at the church picnic. Food and fellowship is our way of saying thank you!
I also asked our staff to put their appreciation into words that I could pass along in this week’s blog. Here’s what they want to say to those serving in each of their departments…
"This past year presented the creative team at Covenant with a unique set of both challenges and opportunities. We are so grateful for all of you who serve as musicians, singers, sound techs, camera operators and everyone else who gives so tirelessly of your time and talents. Your commitment to serve with both generosity and excellence is what makes the worship experience at Covenant (in person, and online) something that is engaging and relevant to so many people and glorifying to our Heavenly Father."
"I am full of gratitude for the thorough response of our Community and Care Group leaders to the needs of group members during the pandemic. On top of the meaningful ministry they already offer, they learned new technology and extended their calendars and their hearts to make themselves accessible for connection. Outward transformation was not an option this year; thank you to our leaders for embracing the outward changes for the sake of the inward transformation of your group members."
"I want to thank and honor those amazing volunteers who turned up last September to serve in Children’s Ministries during this pandemic – coming out to welcome the children who were returning to the building for church. Not only did these wonderful volunteers show love and care to the children, they went above and beyond the “call of duty” by taking steps to ensure health and safety protocols were followed. In the end, these faithful servants pointed the children to Jesus by adapting to the “new norm” but never stopping in sharing the Gospel in engaging and creative ways! I am SO grateful for this amazing crew of men and women who dedicated time and energy to Children’s Ministries this past year!!! Thank you!"
"From staying late to shovel and salt between services during a snowstorm, actively looking to engage and connect with a new individual they have not yet met each week, and frequently offering to help with cleaning between services, I am super excited when I see the culture and mission we're trying to develop here at Covenant on display in this team's desire to do more than what is asked on an individual level."
"We would like to express our gratitude to Safety Ministry volunteers for their efforts in maintaining a safe and secure church campus. Thank you for your commitment and service. In addition to this we are truly grateful to all the volunteers who have stepped up and assisted in the COVID-19 cleaning protocols. This is a tremendous help to the facilities team, and we appreciate the help. Thank you."
"This past year has brought on unique challenges for our middle and high school students. It has been incredible to watch our leaders go above and beyond to care for their small groups in creative ways as they walked through this difficult season together. Our leaders rolled with the punches and showed up in the lives of their students in a way that makes a difference."
"I would like to acknowledge the many volunteers who have extended practical care to those in need within our church and community this past year, including those who directed or contributed resources to a food drive, the Backpack to School project, by sponsoring a D-Kid, or offering to deliver groceries, provide transportation, or to sit and pray with someone."
Before I close, I want to express my thanks to the members of the Lead Pastor Search Team who are laboring on their knees as they seek after the person God is calling in His time to fill this important role. I’m also deeply grateful for all of our Shepherding Elders, including the members who serve on our Elder Board. It has been an especially challenging year for these men, but I’m grateful for their humble posture before the Lord and their commitment to serving and governing His church well. And finally, I want to thank our entire staff. It is a joy and privilege to partner with the gifted men and women who have been entrusted with the responsibility of leading our church. They have done everything this season has required of them and much more.
I’ll be talking about Uncommon Leadership this weekend. It is something I have seen exhibited time and time again this past year by so many at Covenant. We will also be celebrating one of our most influential leaders over the past decade at Covenant, as we recognize Mary Elzinga who is retiring from her role as Women’s Ministry Director at the end of June. Please take the time to thank her and to extend a special blessing to her and Paul as they prepare for the next chapter in their lives.