During our congregational meeting on May 19, we discussed an opportunity for Broadway to join together with other local Covenant churches and the Central Conference to help plant a new church seeking to reach the Latino community in Rockford. It’s an exciting opportunity for the Covenant, for Broadway, for Rockford, and most of all, for the Kingdom.
The Central Conference has not yet determined where the new church should begin its ministry, possibly at Broadway or at First Covenant, but each of the northern Illinois congregations has been asked to support this vision with finances, prayer and building relationships with the new church. Broadway will donate to the church plant up to $25,000 over the next three years, a sum that will be added to similar donations from the other local churches and matched by both the Central Conference and the national Covenant denomination.
Reaching the Rockford Latino community is a worthy and important goal. About one third of our city’s population is Latino, and while there are a few churches reaching into this fast-growing population, none of our existing Covenant churches have been effective at drawing Latinos into our congregations. The neighbor-hood around Broadway, including Rolling Green and beyond, is about 40% Latino. We believe that everyone needs to know Jesus and to be welcomed into the church. If a new ministry can reach this segment of our community better than we can, we should be grateful to support their efforts. All the better that this new church plant will be a Covenant ministry, sharing Biblical values and meaningful relationships with Broadway and our existing sister churches.
Should Broadway end up hosting the church plant, we will be called upon to open our doors and our hearts to new brothers and sisters, sharing our building and our lives with the church’s pastor and the people they reach. What a great gift we would be able to give to the new church, and what a gift their ministry and presence would be to Broadway! We trust that the Spirit will guide Superintendent Danny Martinez and his church planting team as they make important decisions in the coming days.
Joining in the vision and work of planting a new church also provides an opportunity for deepening relationships with our sister churches. We are not alone in ministry, and it is a great blessing to have several Covenant churches nearby. We can love each other in times of fellowship, join together for worship and service, and rejoice in seeing the Spirit move at each church and in the lives of all our members.
Please join me in praying for the Central Conference, for Pastor Danny and his team, and for the church plant pastor and his or her family who will soon be moving to Rockford to begin a new chapter in their lives. Every church that seeks to honor Jesus relies on the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, along with the blessing of God. Church plants, in particular, require tremendous faith, prayer and the steadfast commitment of God’s people to nurture the new church from a dream into the reality of a growing congregation.
Please also be in prayer for Gather 2019, the Covenant Annual Meeting in Omaha the last week of June. I will attend the Ministerium meeting and represent Broadway at the Annual Meeting. Several leadership transitions are underway in the Covenant and important issues will be addressed, including revisions to the clergy pension plan. It is also likely that issues related to the Covenant’s position on human sexuality and mar-riage will be raised. Life together in the church is not always simple, but it is a blessing worth working at and supporting.