Northwest Conference Annual Meeting April 2016
It’s a real treat in this day and age when you can be part of an event that showcases example after example of God’s great power and love in this world. We want to share how blessed we were to represent Redeemer at the Northwest Conference (NWC) Annual Meeting in Duluth at the end of April 2016. (You can also find details on the Delegate Summary report, which was placed in church mailboxes on May 22, or get a copy from the church office.)
The Northwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) is made up of 146 churches in Minnesota, parts of North and South Dakota, western Wisconsin, and one church in northern Iowa. These churches have 500 clergy; 1,800 lay leaders; 26,600 people; and 18,600 members. By pooling our efforts the NWC can do ministries beyond the ability of the local church. We have at least one full-time staff in each of these vital areas:
- Congregational Vitality – Helping churches toward more faithful and fruitful ministry. Programs include Veritas, Navigate, Pulse, and Epic.
- Church Planting – four new churches in 2015. We have a goal of 50 new ones by 2025. Thirty percent of NWC churches are less than 20 years old!
- Children, Youth, and Family – MUUUCE, MOVE, Youth Pastor’s Connection, GO:Serve (Miss Amy led the one here at Redeemer in 2014 and 2015 and was involved this year as well).
- Pastoral Care and Development – Pastors undergo huge challenges in their professional and personal lives. This is a great investment in undergirding and supporting our pastors.
- Covenant Enabling Residences – Two in the Duluth area.
- Minnehaha Academy – Pray for our K-12 Christian school that has had a downturn from 1,200 to 800 students due to economic climate and demographic changes.
- Solid Rock Bible College – A year of intensive study of the Bible.
- Camping – NWC has 5 of the 22 nationally, most of any conference.
- CHET – Centro Hispano de Estudios Teológicos. This is the Covenant’s Hispanic Leadership training center. Pastor Juan and Martha, from La Bendición, are on the board and, in fact, Martha is the first graduate of the “Programa Ministerial.”
We did some business, such as passing the budget and hearing reports. But the exciting part was the theme of Serve Globally. Pastor Al Tizon, Executive Minister of Serve Globally for the Covenant, led a workshop on Missional Worship. His main point is that we need to stop treating worship and mission separately; they are interdependent, two sides of the same coin. Amos 5 is a stern warning from God to a people that are focused on themselves and not serving others; their worship is offensive to Him.
In the Friday evening worship service we heard reports/testimonies from several missionaries including Julio and Katie Isaza and Randy Bevis. We saw a very moving video on Pastor Soudinh Penkhay, who was the pastor of the Laotian Covenant Church in Brooklyn Center until this past year when he was sent as a Covenant missionary to Thailand. The report from Soudinh was incredible; it sounded like he had been back in Asia six years, not the actual six months! We took an offering for Soudinh’s work; for the offertory, a choir from a Chinese Covenant Church choir sang (they meet at Lakeview Covenant in Duluth, just as La Bendición does here). God is working globally, right here in Minnesota!
Finally, if you can, serve as a delegate to the NWC Annual Meeting—you’ll be blessed by the exciting work that is being done by God through faithful servants, including those of us right here at Redeemer. And let’s keep supporting the NWC through our budget, through our prayers, and through our involvement.
Submitted by Redeemer delegates Tom and Pat Trautman