Dear Covenant Family and Friends,

People I meet in Huntsville often ask me “What brought you here?” My response is always the same:

“The best job in the whole country.”

I really mean that. Thank you all for being such a welcoming church home to Alison, George and myself. What else makes this place the best job in the whole country?

Alison and I interviewed at a number of churches all across the country. We were looking for two things.

First, we wanted to find a Senior Pastor and a Pastor’s Wife who would mentor us and teach us how to be better pastors. Unsurprisingly, Hal and Jean were the most amazing couple we met. It has been a privilege and an honor to learn from Hal and Jean during our first three months.

Second, we were looking for was a congregation that was ready for “the future.” We believe that Jesus wants to invite new people – folks who don’t yet feel close to God – into our churches to come into a relationship with Him. But are we ready to welcome Jesus’ guests? Are we ready for this future?

Believe it or not, I learned that Covenant is ready for “the future” when I looked at our financial reports.

What did I see? I saw a church that took out a BIG loan – almost five million dollars. But I also saw a church that had built a building to welcome Jesus’s guests: a building for “the future.”

When I was interviewing, I looked at all the financial reports for all of the churches. I visited one church the same size and age as Covenant. They had done a big building project and had already paid off all of their debt. But when I visited, I saw that they had built the wrong building! They had built for “the past” rather than “the future.” Moreover, while this church gave much of their money away to missions, they spent very little on maintaining their building. It now looked rather shabby. They were not ready to welcome Christ’s guests. Their church had saved money, true, but they were not ready for “the future.”

In contrast, when I visited Covenant I saw a church that had spent five million dollars EXACTLY right. Every corner of our building impressed me – not too fancy, not too cheap. Like Goldilocks and the three bears, Covenant’s building was just right. Moreover, I was astonished to find that the building was eight years old and that much of the structure was from the 1960’s. BUT everything looked BRAND NEW. I now know that we budget very carefully and our trustees work very hard to keep everything in our building repaired and ready for Jesus’ guests.

When I worked on Wall Street, my specialty was working with companies that also had BIG loans. What did these companies have in common? They each had extraordinary discipline to focus on growing their businesses for “the future.”  Like those companies I think our loan keeps us disciplined on growing for “the future.

Those companies took out BIG loans because they had SMART plans.

I think Covenant has taken out a BIG loan because we have FAITH-ful plans.

Hebrews 11:1 tells us that FAITH means having confidence in “the future” even though we can’t see it yet. That’s what I saw when I read Covenant’s financial statements. I saw a Church that had the FAITH to invest in “the future” – even though we can’t see it yet. We had the FAITH to build a facility for guests we haven’t even met yet. It’s the same kind of faith that Jesus Christ “the author and the pioneer” of our faith had when he went to the cross to die for people not yet born (Heb. 12:2).

Are we there yet? Not yet. It will take some training. It will take some discipline. Important things often do. And together, we have the opportunity to do the most important thing: welcoming Jesus’s guests into His Kingdom. May God be with us on the road of FAITH as we run together into “His future.”

Yours in Christ,