reflections of mine others might find useful

What I love about my church.

Fall, 2017.  I wrote this list back in 2016.  Some of these things have changed over the past year, but I’ll always be thankful for them.


heart-1166557_640March, 2016.  There are lots of great churches in Cedar Rapids and we are by no means the best.  But there are some unique things about New Covenant that I really, really love.

One of those things is our commitment to being intergenerational.  Rather than targeting one demographic–being homogeneous–New Covenant functions like a wonderfully diverse family, where each member is recognized and valued.

Here’s how I’ve seen this intergenerational approach lived out in our church family.

  1. I love that every week we do songs that aren’t my particular style because that means my church is not about me. This shows that in healthy families we take turns.
  2. I love the variety of musical genres we utilize that reflect our diverse church family:  orchestra, big band, contemporary, rock, coffee house, brassline, acoustic, electric, and occasionally even classical opera!
  3. In our culture of “moralistic therapeutic, deism” (which views God as existing just to meet my needs) I love how our inter-generational approach teaches young people that the world doesn’t revolve around them, their style, and their way.  Instead of “me” it should be more about “we” and ultimately about “He”.
  4. I love how Pastor Gary utilizes the gifts of over 250 people in the leading of worship.  There’s a place for everyone:  flute players, violinists, timpani players, trumpeters like me, cellists, jazz saxophone and piano players, and even a harmonica player!
  5. I love how our worship teams include all ages:  currently from 15 to 75.  If you include our 4 choirs, people serve in Big Church worship between the ages of 3 and 94!
  6. I love how we all sing classic hymns as well as the latest Hillsongs praise songs.
  7. If a visitor walked into our church, it wouldn’t take them long to figure out that we’re a family of very ordinary people who take turns worshiping God in a variety of ways.  They wouldn’t experience a finely targeted service catering to their demographic demands.  I expect they would find the authenticity refreshing.  If they do, they’ll likely fit in here!
  8. I love how my own two daughters were raised in a church that recognized and called out their gifts and gave them opportunities to develop them.
  9. I love how we’ve said that our children and youth are not the church of tomorrow, but rather the church of today (as well as tomorrow).
  10. I love how children, middle school, and high school are each given 2 weeks a year to lead worship in Big Church.  I don’t know of any other large church that does that.
  11. There can’t be too many churches our size that allow children’s choirs to sing in Big Church.  I love how this shows kids their value and allows them to point us to Jesus.
  12. While it’s true we are age-segregated for teaching and training, I love the way the volunteers in these ministries come from all generations.  Middle schoolers helping in the nursery alongside of grandparents.  High schoolers helping in Children’s church with Pastor Mick and his team.  Youth sponsors from all life stages sharing what they’ve learned about the Christian life with teens.
  13. I love how Kids Camp and Fall Fest are staffed by teens and adults of all ages, each pouring into these young lives.
  14. I love how the Pathfinders (older adult) ABF has adopted our high school group and prays faithfully for them each month.
  15. I love when my elderly widow friend hands me a $100 check and then she tells me to apply it to a teen who needs help going on a summer trip.
  16. I love how the church budgets significant amounts of money to provide our children and youth ministry with functional facilities, reliable buses, and scholarships for trips such as Summit.
  17. I love how the MTAs and Blaze Teams bring together older, experienced mentors with young people who seek to be trained in ministry.
  18. I loved it when 90 year olds like Galyn Peterson, Jean Bauer, and Perry Jane came in and shared with our high school kids how they’d seen God work in their lives over their lifetime.
  19. I love how our Family eXperience nights bring families together to learn and interact with truth as a family unit.
  20. I love “people watching” on Main Street (our lobby) and seeing the melting-pot of ages talking, laughing, and playing together.
  21. And most of all, I loved how when my daughter Brenda was trying to decide who to invite to her wedding, she had to invite the whole church, because so many people of all ages had invested in her life and she wanted them to be there to rejoice with her on that special day.


  1. Well said Mark! I love how our High School Pastor is a mentor who has been there, done that, yet still is committed to loving Jesus and loving high schools students!

  2. And that is why we love you Mark! Always sees the best in people and surroundings!

  3. Thanks for reminding me of these 21 reasons why I feel so blessed to have “found” my church home at New Covenant back on March 17, 2012!

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