Midsouth Conference Welcomes Two New Churches

Post a Comment » Written on April 21st, 2008     
Filed under: News
NORMAN, OK (April 21, 2008) – Welcoming two new churches and a roundtable including pastors of three of the largest congregations in the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) were among highlights of the just-concluded annual meeting of the Midsouth Conference.

The two-day conference gathering was centered in Journey.tv, a Covenant church located in Norman. Activities began Friday with a meeting of the Midsouth Ministerium, where the roundtable discussion took place. To learn more about that discussion, see a separate story at Roundtable.

Worship timeA combined worship team led Friday evening worship, representing three Covenant churches – Life Church.tv, Westmoore Community, and Journey.tv. The accompanying photo shows four pastors sharing the stories of their congregations during the evening worship, including (from left) Ed Lee, pastor of Mosaic Covenant; Josef Rasheed, pastor of Crossroads Covenant; Allan Serrano, pastor of Iglesia Evangelica Misionera del Pacto; and Clark Mitchell, pastor of Journey.tv. Garth Bolinder (at right), superintendent of the Midsouth Conference, served as moderator.

Delegates to Saturday’s business session welcomed the two new churches as conference members – both will be officially welcomed into the ECC during the 123rd Annual Meeting in Green Lake, Wisconsin. They are Mosaic Community Covenant Church in Missouri City, Texas, an intentionally multicultural congregation pastored by Ed Lee, and Crossroads Covenant Church in DeSoto, Texas, pastored by Josef Rasheed.

Prayers were offered for two churches that were officially dropped from the conference roster – Brazos Covenant Church in College Station, Texas, which was started in the late 1990s, and One Covenant Church (also known as Cornerstone) in Midwest City, Oklahoma, which was planted in 1998-1999.

Average attendance at weekend worship services throughout the conference has shown marked growth during the past seven years the conference has been officially operating, going from 3,000 individuals to more than 25,000 individuals, reported Bolinder, who reflected on this year’s conference theme “While It Is Day …” in presenting his annual conference report.

“We learn, both from the Bible and life’s experiences, that there are times and seasons for good work to be done,” Bolinder notes, using as his text the John 9:4 passage. “This is the ‘day’ of which Jesus was speaking. There are also times and seasons when it is much harder for work to be done. This is the ‘night.’ As we look back on 2007 and ahead to 2008, it seems clear that the Midsouth Conference is still in the bright light of the Lord’s ‘day’ when we can do the work Jesus sent us to do.”

Bolinder shared numerous examples of the way in which God continues to work through the conference:
•    More than 4,000 people made first-time decisions for Christ throughout the conference
•    Combined weekend worship attendance grew from 24,254 in 2006 to 28,109 in 2007 – an increase of 16 percent – making the Midsouth the second largest conference.
•    Combined Midsouth giving to the denominational shared mission grew six percent, showing an increase of two percent to the conference shared ministries.
•    The conference camp, which uses rented facilities in Crockett, Texas, set a record attendance with strong support from new church plants.
•    Two new church plants were started last year – Rain Covenant in Dallas, a multiethnic plant reaching out to the growing Latino community, and Access Covenant on the west side of Houston, reaching an emerging multiethnic population. Four to six new plants are on the drawing board for 2008-2009.

An update on shared ministry at the denominational level was presented by Don Meyer, executive minister of the Department of Communication, with Dan Pietrzyk, director of the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence initiative, sharing highlights of that ministry.

It was announced that next year’s Midsouth Conference Annual Meeting will take place April 17 and 18 at Crossroads Covenant Church in DeSoto, Texas.

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