I love the Covenant
"I Love the Covenant" has become, over the years, a semi-sarcastic way of tweaking denominational loyalists who uncritically support all things and everything Covenant. Those of you who know me, know that I'm not one of those. Though I have family roots going way back into the Covenant, I've been quick (sometimes too quick) to point out faults and take shots a leadership, programs, events, and initiatives.
Not this year. Why? Am I getting old and sentimental? Old yes, sentimental...no. What deeply and truly impresses me this year at the Midwinter is the spirit and quality of emerging leaders. Start with the worship team who leads us twice daily in worship. The creative blending and breadth of songs is rich. I look forward to each session of worship, knowing they will take me to the familiar, the ethnic and the new seamlessly. It's not about their musicianship and performance as much as about being servants leading us into the presence of God.
I love their embrace of technology. I went to the luncheon (above) composed of worship leaders who arranged to have it live-broadcast. Over 40 worship leaders around the country tuned in and participated in on-lince chatting over a wide range of topics. Technology is embraced to broaden and extend community, not "wow" us.
I love the focus on the local church and not the big initiatives. This conference blesses me over and over again for just being a local pastor. In past conferences big named pastors of mega-churches came out and showed us their formulas that we could bring home and be just like them (never worked). Now we have video testimonies of renewal and revival in a little church in North Dakota that has delivered over 150 meals to hungry people in a town of 80! Local faithfulness is valued.
The days of advocacy and pushing seems done and the time of conversations and questions is happening. I know the battles women and minorities have faced getting a place at the table in this formerly Swedish/white tribe of believers. It's so fun to see the blend and mix of men and women and multiple ethnicities on the floor, the stage and in leadership of all levels. Are we done? By no means. But I sense the direction is less about how the photo looks and more on the character and competence of persons.
This is a fun group to be a part of