Just got back from the Midsouth Annual Meeting (we call it “Family Reunion”) of the Evangelical Covenant Church. I had my children’s pastor with me, as well as my family, and we got to celebrate for two wonderful days with a very diverse group of pastors and church leaders from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Arkansas. Now I am no stranger to the Covenant; but my children’s pastor is – and it was very poignant for her that someone whispered in her ear towards the end of our time together:
“Go where God is moving.”
This coming from someone leaving another denomination to join the ECC. In fact, just this past annual meeting we had three churches leaving other denominations to adopt in. Now that’s not a slam against all other denominations; but rather a testimony to the container that is the ECC; the Holy Spirit moves as He will, but will choose various vessels during different seasons. There’s a reason why the denomination is experiencing its 20th consecutive year of growth, and why churches from different heritages are finding a welcome home in the pietist ECC.
In particular, the Midsouth Conference of the ECC has been experiencing rapid growth in many areas; from just a handful of churches a decade ago it has now grown to about 20 with more on the way. Worship attendance conference-wide used to be a few thousand on any given Sunday, now the Midsouth ministers to over 40,000 people week after week. It continues to grow more and more ethnically diverse with a cohort of pastors from many different ethnic groups and social backgrounds and ministry contexts. And when we break bread together, it is truly a family reunion.
I continue to experience the Midsouth Conference of the ECC as a place of welcoming, belonging, and care for me and my family. This sense of belonging and care extends to all of our congregations, every minister who returns home this weekend. May you all be richly blessed for it.