Hope Sunday Featured Church: First Covenant Church

Post a Comment » Written on March 20th, 2013     
Filed under: Featured Churches, Hope Sunday, News & Updates
The following is an example of how First Covenant Church in Youngstown, OH presented their Hope Sunday event. We hope it will inspire your church as you consider hosting a Hope event. More feature church stories are coming so keep checking back here. If your church has a story to share, email us at covenantkidscongo@covchurch.org.

Written by Marilyn Johnson, chair of evangelism and outreach commission

Hope Sunday announcement in church narthex.

We designated Sunday, March 10th as “Hope Sunday” here at First Covenant, and invited Jennifer Shaw, a Christian singer/songwriter, to join us, both as our guest preacher and to give a concert that afternoon. Jennifer is a member of Faith Covenant Church in the Columbus area, and her past album, “Love Broke Through,” had the #3 song on the national worship radio charts, entitled “Your Great Name.” The women of our church first met Jennifer when she spoke at our Great Lakes Conference Women’s Ministries Retreat at Mission Meadows, a Covenant camp, last September, and we all fell in love with her! Not only does she have the voice of an angel (and she writes her own songs!), but she also gave us an insight regarding her connection with World Vision and sponsoring children in the poorest of the poor countries. Several children were sponsored at the retreat by the women who attended. Since we knew of this connection, and that she personally made many mission trips to these countries, we couldn’t think of anyone better to make the short trip from Columbus to Youngstown to come and help us to promote Covenant Kids Congo on our Hope Sunday! When we called to ask her if she was available and willing, she was! The prayers and plans began!

Prior to our Hope Sunday, we used many resources that were made available to us through Covenant Kids Congo’s website. We used the videos and bulletin inserts for several weeks before our Hope event, along with some YouTube videos that introduced Jennifer to our congregation.

Tied into the same weekend, our junior and senior high groups decided to participate in the 30 Hour Famine, which began at noon on Friday, March 8th and ended with a celebration dinner the following evening. The kids, under the leadership of our youth pastor, Dave Brown, did several service projects while they were “locked in” for the weekend, one of which included going to the surrounding neighborhoods to collect canned goods for the local rescue mission. While they were hungry, they were working to provide food for the hungry! Members of the congregation were also invited to participate with the 30 Hour Famine as well, and then to join them for the dinner on Saturday evening.

On Sunday morning, Jennifer and her mother, Beth, arrived bringing with them the child packets for sponsorship. Our hopes were to sponsor at least 10 to 12 children, which she projected was average for a congregation of our size. God obviously had different plans! Upon her arrival, she informed us that she had brought 30 children! Well…by the time Jennifer spoke and worship was over, there was (in Jennifer’s words) “a mad dash to the sponsor table” and 24 children were sponsored at that time! But, that wasn’t the end!! That afternoon, Jennifer gave a concert at 4:00 p.m. which was open to the community. Friends & family were invited and the concert was opened by our own praise team “Ten Minas”, prior to Jennifer speaking and singing. Following the concert and receiving some calls from some that were not able to come, we ended up sponsoring 34 children total — almost three times what we had projected!!!

One of the most exciting things was that all 34 of these children are from the same area, so we hope to be both developing a relationship with them, and changing a whole village at the same time!

All in all, it was a great weekend and we praise God for the way we saw Him work throughout the weekend. We are planning to place each of the children’s pictures and names on a board in order to remind the congregation and keep them updated as we receive news.

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