Team’s efforts help provide growth opportunities for CCC

By Mary M. Rall
Community Covenant Church

Congregational VitalityThe Strategic Ministry Planning Team has been meeting since May and has been working hard to use the information gathered by the Internal and External assessment teams and the PULSE assessment to help Community Covenant grow as a healthy missional church.

Some 199 people participated in PULSE in April, which gathered feedback on how those 12 and older perceived the church is doing on implementing the 10 Healthy Missional Markers.

The SMPT began meeting shortly after the assessment results were received and includes Lead Pastor Todd Michero, Kevin Halvorsen, Dave Wille, Denise Smith, Stephanie Eklund Stockhouse, Cary Moore and Mission and Discipleship Pastor Erika Whittington.

PULSE noted that Life Transforming Walk with Jesus, Centrality of the Word of God, Culture of Godly Leadership and Heartfelt Worship were among CCC’s strongest Healthy Missional Markers, Dave said.

“PULSE indicated we have a lot of people praying for their friends and neighbors, so this is a growth opportunity,” Dave said, relating prayer to the Intentional Evangelism Healthy Missional Marker. “We didn’t score high in that, but since we’re praying for others, we are one step away from reaching out to people who may be missing out on the hope and love we’ve found in Christ and at our church.”

According to Stephanie, PULSE also identified communication and small group ministries as areas in which CCC could further develop.

“Community Covenant Church has tried to increase the amount of information available to members of the congregation and visitors alike,” Stephanie said, noting that publishing The Community Covenant Calling is a new way for the church to tell its story. “There are also attempts to increase the information in the worship guide and eNews.”

The Vitality Pathways that offer small groups in both host homes and in class environments at CCC are yet another growth opportunity that’s developed through the discernment the Holy Spirit has provided the SMPT.

“The small group initiative that took place this fall was an attempt to provide more opportunities for people to get involved in homes for discussion and fellowship,” Stephanie said. “As we keep going in this process, the leadership of the church continues to look for ways to respond to ideas and needs that were expressed in the assessment.”

Dave said every member of the church can contribute to the team’s process of developing healthy missional ministries by being positive, being willing, being genuine and by showing they care.

“We need to invite the Lord to be part of the process—every moment—and wait, watch and listen. The Lord has so much to say in our hearts and through other people,” Dave said. “If we take our time and let the Lord guide us, we can’t help but get it right. And what we miss or mess up, the Lord is big enough and good enough to make the adjustments that are needed.

While improving church communications and establishing Vitality Pathways have made a difference, Stephanie said the team continues to prayerfully discern and act upon what the Holy Spirit communicates to its members.

“One of the things that has become increasingly obvious during the whole process of the Vitality Pathway is the importance of prayer. I used to consider prayer as something I did after I had tried to work things out on my own, or at best ask God to bless whatever it was that I or the church were planning to do,” Stephanie said. “Now I see the importance of prayer as crucial to the beginning, middle and end of any program or initiative. It’s truly the only way I can “keep my eyes on Jesus” as we learned in our biblical story in Matthew 14.”

According to Dave, some of the next steps for the team include developing Community Covenant’s mission and vision.

“We used assessments to objectively evaluate them and collect feedback so we could gauge support and refine them into statements we could all own together,” Dave said. “Next, we’ll be finding the words to articulate our values, and then we’ll develop church wide objectives that guide each ministry toward our goal of being a healthy missional church.”

Stephanie said she tries to keep the church’s past, present and future in mind as a team member.

“I’m the member of the group who has attended the church the longest, and I absolutely want to honor the commitment and vision that our ‘founders’ had 20-plus years ago,” she said. “However, I also think that God is calling us to go deeper in to our community, and we don’t want to stay where we are.”

Being a part of the team has been a memorable experience for Dave, who’s experienced and observed more than growth in the church.

“I’ve gained six friends that I love. I want to give them a hug when I see them, and I’m not normally a hugger,” Dave said. “My experience with the SMPT has been awesome. It’s amazing to see and hear the Holy Spirit at work.”

Although Stephanie mentioned nothing about hugging, she did say she’s found the experience of being on the SMPT rewarding.

“I’ve really enjoyed being part of this process and getting to sift through all the information brought forward to the church,” Stephanie said. “I love CCC, and I really do think we are ‘shifting’ into a deeper knowledge and relationship with God and His mission in Eagle River and beyond.”

Dave added that God has helped him see that Community Covenant is indeed part of His design for the world.

“I know God has got big plans for us. He’s given us a glimpse,” he said. “I can’t wait to hear about and see the things God does in and through our church. It will be great. We’ll get a glimpse of His glory, and get to feel life as it’s meant to be.”

More information on the Healthy Missional Markers is available at https://communitycovenant.net/church-vitality.