Our Churches: Naperville Evangelical Covenant Church – Naperville, Illinois

1 Comment » Written on September 11th, 2012     
Filed under: Better Together, Local Church, Our Churches, Vocation and Call

Pentecost Sunday at NECC.

We have started a new series of posts here on the Worship Connect blog. In addition to our normal Friday posts, on occasional Tuesdays we’ll be profiling one of our Covenant churches. Our purpose is to celebrate God’s work in and through us, to demonstrate the diversity of approaches to worship in the ECC, and to prompt prayer for one another. We are better together.

Our third post comes to us from Dru McLeland, Director of Worship at Naperville Evangelical Covenant Church in Naperville, IL.

Naperville Evangelical Covenant Church (NECC) started about 35 years ago as a Bible study in the home of Larry and Diann Anderson. Several “Covenanters” gathered together and some others joined them and we were “born.” I came to the church in November 2000.  The first time I walked in and saw was the worship space, it was love at first sight. Since getting to know the great people that make up the church family, I have grown to love NECC more and more. I think a word that describes our church is transition. Like many churches we have and continue to live in times that call for transitions to better serve God and His Kingdom work. When I came, the church transitioning from “traditional” to “blended” worship.  Then we transitioned to an eclectic worship style. One Sunday we had the West Suburban Ancient Music Society (a recorder band) playing something from the 1500’s, hymn with piano, organ and four part vocals, and a rock and roll band. I have to admit that Sunday was a little bit like driving without the clutch, but it worked and people seemed to enjoy the variety. We have transitioned to a whole new sound system, projection on screens, and currently lean toward “contemporary” worship style with some traditional elements during holidays – Advent, Lent, Easter.

Christmas at NECC.

We are in our second year of Varitas. Pastor Scot Gillan is patiently and carefully leading us through the process. This spring we adopted a new vision statement. “Imagine an inviting community equipping people to go make a Kingdom difference.” From our vision statement we are working out a strategic plan in three focus areas: Inviting community – focusing on our Sunday morning experience, equipping people – an intentional plan for deepening disciples, making a Kingdom difference – focusing mission locally, regionally and globally. In response to this process we are working toward more intergenerational, experiential worship. An example of this was Ash Wednesday, when we all gathered in the Fellowship Hall for dinner (pizza), had several tables with different prayer activities – Visio Lectio, prayer card collages, repentance cards, crowns to decorate.  Following the interactive prayer time, we all moved to the sanctuary. The Visio Lectio elements were set on the communion table, repentance cards were burned in a fire pit outside and the crowns were laid in front of the communion table. We sang songs in the sanctuary, a variety of people shared their prayer collages with us, Pastor Diana Shiflett gave an Ash Wednesday meditation and invited people to come up for ashes. There was positive feedback from all generations about this service and the we enjoyed worshiping God all together.

Looking from the foyer into the sanctuary during VBS.

One of the wonderful, unique things about our Sunday mornings is the team of people who lead Sunday worship service at Alden Nursing Home. They have been serving the residents and staff in this way for about 15 years. We have seen several people come to Christ through that service.

As with any church, we have had our ups and downs but we continue to courageously make transitions together toward a preferred future as a continually healthy, missional church. I am looking forward to the great things God will do through us as we live into the vision He has given us.

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One Response to “Our Churches: Naperville Evangelical Covenant Church – Naperville, Illinois”

what a lovely article sharing your heart and your church. Naperville is my hometown. I live in Tulsa now. It is wonderful to hear what the covenant church is doing and how you are serving and learning, and worshipping together.

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