Small Church – Big Impact on Ministry

Post a Comment » Written on March 21st, 2006     
Filed under: News
PORT ALLEGANY, PA (March 21, 2006) – The Evangelical Covenant Church here has a congregation of some 70 people – and three of them are in seminary, two of them from the same family.

Nicole Robinson is a first-year student at North Park Theological Seminary with a goal of working in youth ministry. She will serve part of her internship at the Port Allegany church this summer.

Seminary students Her brother, Nathan Robinson, is completing his studies at Boston University School of Theology in May. He is preparing for pastoral ministry.

Matthew Guncheon is in his final year at North Park Theological Seminary and hopes to become a U.S. Army chaplain upon graduation.

Nicole says attending a small church has been instrumental in helping the three be nurtured in the faith. “Due to the small numbers, we have a very close church family who support each other and are active in one another’s lives.”

Role modeling has been a major factor in the three attending seminary, Guncheon believes. “I think for my part, we had and have a ton of positive older mentors at that church – all of them lay people heavily involved in the work of that church. They have given us living examples of what it’s like to live daily as a faithful Christian and reasonably good human beings.”

Guncheon adds, “I think our families and the church family as a whole let us grow in faith while we were there, and gave us space to find our call. I know it took me some time to find mine.”

Guncheon says he sensed his call to ministry while serving in the Army. “I just looked around my unit of cavalry scouts and felt that those folks needed someone around like a chaplain, and that was something I felt I could do in the Army,” Guncheon says. “I also was rather tired of fixing my HMMV every five seconds, usually in the mud and rain.”

It was in the city that Nicole discerned her call while a high school freshman. “I decided to go into ministry, specifically youth ministry because of a senior high fall retreat with the Great Lakes Conference at the Pittsburg Project. The project brought students into the inner city to do ministry. “God truly met me here and convicted me about my future.”

Attending seminary with another Port Allegany church member has instilled confidence in Guncheon. “It gives me hope to know that when I’m off in the Army, someone with a small-town heart will be here to keep these city folks on their toes.”

(Editor’s note: the accompanying photo shows, from left: Nathan Robinson, Matt Guncheon, interim pastor Arnold Bolin, and Nicole Robinson.)

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

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