of the Evangelical Covenant Church

Churches working together to transform lives and communities by starting new churches, strengthening existing churches and developing missional leaders.

We exist for others

e-News • August 2016 •

Welcome, New Life Covenant!

On Sunday, July 31, leaders from seven central Kansas churches gathered at The Journey Covenant in Wichita to celebrate the start of New Life Covenant, the Midwest Conference’s newest church plant. Along with The Journey Covenant (1994) and Life.Church Wichita (2014), New Life Covenant will seek to reach some of the over 250,000 unchurched people in Kansas’ largest city.

Church Planting Pastor Chad Pickering believed the ECC might be a good fit both missionally and theologically. But attending the MWC Ministry Celebration in April and the Church Planter Assessment Center in July strongly confirmed God’s call for him and his wife, Shauna.
New Life Covenant’s mission is to make fully devoted followers of Jesus. The church’s core values include:

  • It’s all about Jesus: Everything we do and say must point to Jesus.
  • Radical Love: If we don’t love, nothing else matters.
  • Grace and Truth: We are to be full of both grace and truth.
  • Irrational Generosity: We will maximize our resources for Jesus.
  • Church is Not a Building: We don’t exist for ourselves. We exist for others.
  • Authentic Community: We were not designed to do life alone.
  • Incredible Joy: No one should have more joy than those given new life.

Chad and two of his leaders will attend the Church Planter Training Intensive in September. New Life is growing and equipping their launch team in anticipation of preview worship later this fall. 
The central Kansas churches are partnering in this new mission. For more information, email Chad at

Two New Church Planting Residencies Launched

This August the Midwest Conference has launched two enhanced, six-month church planting residencies in partnership with two of our Regional Church Planting Groups. Jeremy Kolb has begun a residency at Celebration Covenant in Omaha, NE. Jeremy, who grew up in Mexico, is preparing to plant a bi-lingual church in Omaha. Mark Hawke has begun a residency at Grace Place in Berthoud, CO. Mark is a native of Boulder, CO, and is preparing to plant a church in Erie, a fast-growing community north of Denver. 

Both Celebration Covenant and Grace Place are thriving churches with apostolic “DNA.” Their respective pastors, Andrew and Dawn Burnett and Clay Peck, are gifted leaders with a passion to share Christ with the world around them. These residencies will help us to start stronger new churches by leveraging the leadership culture and ministry systems of healthy, missional churches.

2016 MWC Fall Pastors Retreats

Western Retreat
Franciscan Retreat Center
Colorado Springs, CO
October 10-12, 2016
Speaker - Cecilia Williams

Eastern Retreat
Carol Joy Holling Retreat Center
Ashland, NE 
October 17-19, 2016
Speakers - Steve and Marti Burger

Registration brochure

Walking Alongside our Refugee Sisters and Brothers (cont.)

Below is the second installment of our series highlighting a few of the MWC churches serving and partnering with refugee populations in their communities.
Cross-Cultural Ministry at Home and Abroad
by Scott Vair, Refugee Ministry Leader and World Orphans President (member of Castle Oaks Covenant Church in Castle Rock, CO)

Through its outreach and missions efforts, Castle Oaks Covenant Church in Castle Rock, CO, is serving refugees locally, in Colorado, and globally, in Iraq.
Castle Oaks began working with refugees in the Denver area in December 2013. Through Lutheran Family Services’ Refugee and Asylee Program, volunteer mentor teams come alongside refugee families to help them resettle into a secure, stable environment on their way to self-sufficiency. It’s an opportunity for cross-cultural ministry—much like a short-term missions trip—without traveling!
Teams of 6-8 volunteers commit to weekly visits for six months. Mentors help ensure basic needs are met while helping the family gain practical, social and cultural life skills. Communication is one of the first barriers, so mentors help navigate practical things like employment, medical visits, school, banking, bus access/driving, etc., all while teaching English—key to daily life.
The most beautiful result is relationship. Mentors become trusted friends, as teams invest themselves in the lives and success of these families.
Serving this family, being in their home, walking with them, has been an incredible gift. It feels a bit risky, you never know what a visit will hold, but I have seen Jesus provide in so many ways. I’ve experienced love, humility and grace beyond measure. What a privilege and honor to come alongside these dear families. – Mentor Team Member
Castle Oaks’ global work includes support for World Orphans’ five refugee micro-camps in the Kurdistan region of Northern Iraq. Each micro-camp is self-governed and consists of 20-25 families living in cinder block homes, totaling 700 people/125 families. Camps are kept small and dispersed around a larger community, allowing the men to find work, avoiding dependency. World Orphans currently provides schooling at their centrally located Community Center for 150 refugee children who would otherwise not be allowed education. World Orphans is building a new school to house up to 500 refugee children, returning the Community Center to its intended use—vocational training for widows in the community. Click here for more information.
Contact to share what your church is doing to partner with
refugee groups in your area!

Churches Working Together to Transform Lives

by Andrew Burnett, Pastor, Celebration Covenant Church in Omaha, NE

I can't help but feel a little down
A little worried when I look around
That's why my hope is in
My hope is in the Lord
VBS is a great way to reach kids in our communities with the love of Jesus Christ. And it can be crazy fun, not just for the kids but also—maybe especially—for the adults and youth who serve on a VBS team.
Doing VBS with excellence and a community outreach focus is also a big investment that can stretch the financial and volunteer resources of a congregation.
For the past few years, Community Covenant and Celebration Covenant in Omaha have teamed up in the VBS "preseason" to plan and purchase supplies and work together on decorations, with decorative pieces taking their turn at each location. This summer, the partnership got both wider and deeper, including a third congregation (Hope Presbyterian) in the supplies and decoration partnership, and merging Community and Celebration VBS teams to put on a joint VBS hosted at Celebration. Team leaders and volunteers fundraised together, trained together, ate together, prayed together, served together and celebrated together as kids and families came together to experience Jesus, the Light of the World. 
Joy overflowed as 28 kids said their YES to Jesus for the first time! And each child heard, personally, that Jesus loves them and is for them. 
It's awesome to experience what the Holy Spirit can do, together.
Jesus, He loves me
He loves me, He is for me
Jesus, how can it be
He loves me
He is for me


A Conversation on Race

Join us for a conversation/workshop with Robert Owens, Superintendent of the Covenant's Southeast Conference, where we will talk about the Black Lives Matter movement, historical and biblical perspectives on race and how we as a church are called to respond to race and violence. Co-sponsored by Bethlehem Covenant Church and the Midwest Conference. Please share this flyer with your congregation. 

October 6, 2016
Bethlehem Covenant Church, Waverly, NE
1:30-4:30 pm - Workshop for pastors/ministry staff*
6:30-8:30 pm - Service open to all pastors and Covenant congregations - Q&A to follow

*Dinner will be provided for pastors/ministry staff following the afternoon workshop. RSVP to Dan Olson at or (402) 785-5685 by Oct 5.

Iowa Missional Leadership Development Workshop

October 8, 2016
Twin Lakes Bible Camp, Manson, IA
9:00 am-3:00 pm

Iowa churches are invited to a workshop on Missional Leadership Development with guest speaker Dave Olson, Director of Church Planting for the Pacific Southwest Conference. Dave previously served in a similar role for the ECC nationally, as well as Executive Minister of Church Growth and Evangelism. Dave's consistent focus has been developing healthy churches that advance the Kingdom of God—through starting new churches and coaching churches for ministry and leadership development. Click here for additional details and registration.

Did you know...?

A lot is happening in the Midwest Conference. Catch up on recent changes and events below!

Maple Joy was born July 28 to parents Mike and Joyce Bingeman. Mike serves as chaplain with Bryan Health in Lincoln, NE. Welcome, Maple!

Staffing Changes
Congratulations to Pastor Rich Murray on his retirement this August! Rich retires from the position of Spiritual Resources Coordinator at Opportunity Village in Clear Lake, IA, after 13 years of service with Opportunity Village.

We would also like to thank the following pastors for their service to MWC churches and communities as they transition out of their current ministry settings:
  • Mike McInnis, Interim Pastor of Brantford Covenant in Clyde, KS. Mike has accepted a call at Wimdom First United Methodist Church in Windom, MN.
  • Tamara Hutsell, Youth Ministry Director of Brantford Covenant in Clyde, KS
  • Elise Hawke, Chaplain, Covenant Place of Lenexa in Lenexa, KS
We wish to welcome the following pastors to their new ministry settings:
  • Linnea Ek will begin serving as Interim Pastor at Wakefield Covenant in Wakefield, NE, in mid-September.
  • Chad Pickering began serving as Pastor of the conference's newest church plant, New Life Covenant in Wichita, KS, in August.
Making the News!
Check out this article and video about the Worship Wagon, run by Pastor Bruce McGregor of Freedom Covenant in Kansas City, MO! 

Learning Together
This August, Covenant Orientation offered Vocational Excellence in Colorado Springs and the MWC made a great showing! Congratulations to the following ministry staff and lay leaders for completing the course:  Ryan Ashley (Restoration Cov, Arvada, CO), Daniel Brinkman (Arvada Cov, Arvada, CO), Tracy Hilts (Pikes Peak Hospice, Colorado Springs, CO), Scott Vair (World Orphans, Castle Rock, CO), Grayson Daganaar (Community Cov, Kearney, MO), Alfreda Jones (Relevant Word, Colorado Springs, CO), Nathan Burdick (Grace Cov, Lakewood, CO), Scott Parr (Christ Community Cov, Arvada, CO), Marc Jefferson (Aurora Community Cov, Aurora, CO), Bill Stephens (Ascent Community, Louisville, CO), Eugene Kiruhura (Shalom, Des Moines, IA).
Do you have big news to share? Contact to have your important event published in the e-News.

MWC Presents...

Thank you to those who volunteer their time to serve on the MWC Executive Board!

Name:  Jon Black
Position on board:  Vice-chair
Current church:  Countryside Covenant Church, McPherson, KS

What do you enjoy most about serving on the Executive Board?  I enjoy the great camaraderie with the leaders who serve on the board.

Where are you sensing God’s leading in the MWC? God is leading our conference in direct correlation to our MWC mission statement.
In what ministries do you serve in your local church? As lead pastor, I meet with several teams.

Tell us about your family. Lynn and I have been married for 26 years. We have three children. Micah is a junior at Sterling College, Molly is a freshman at Kansas State and Mattea is a junior at McPherson High School. Each of our children enjoys using their gifts of music and drama. Lynn has her master's degree in Christian Education and has served alongside me in many capacities in the church. Currently she is serving as our Interim Worship Director and offers leadership in Christian Formation.

What are your hobbies? Unlike much of ministry, it is gratifying to see tangible and immediate results from physical activities, such as mowing the lawn. I also enjoy taking regular walks around the neighborhood with my wife and playing tennis at least once a week. These activities have proven to be indispensable to maintain my emotional sanity.

What is your favorite Bible story and why? I appreciate many of our biblical heroes of faith because they struggled with many of the same issues that leaders do today. When God initially called his people to their leadership roles, they came up with excuses:  Moses—too inarticulate; David and Jeremiah—too young; King Saul—too inexperienced; Mary and Joseph—too poor; Gideon—too afraid. Each of these would learn that God could be trusted to accomplish the impossible.

What is your favorite vacation spot? My favorite vacation spot is wherever extended family members reside. My wife and I grew up spending significant time (holidays, etc.) surrounded by family. Since we've begun in full-time ministry, we have never lived very close to relatives; therefore, we have spent many vacation times through the years traveling to them. I also enjoy returning to my hometown, Jamestown, NY, even though most of my extended family members have since moved on. There is still no place like home.
Churches working together to transform lives and communities by starting new churches, strengthening existing churches and developing missional leaders.

From Our Superintendent


What an exciting time in our conference as we celebrate the start of New Life Covenant Church in Wichita and the launch of two church planting residencies! MWC churches take our shared mission seriously as they work together to start new churches. I am especially struck by New Life’s core value that states, “Church is not a building:  We don’t exist for ourselves. We exist for others.” That is our calling as Christ’s Church.  We have the privilege of joining God in his adventurous mission to reach people who are not currently in our churches but need to know that God loves them. 
In this issue, you will also learn how Castle Oaks Covenant Church in Castle Rock, CO, lives out this value of existing for others as they serve refugee populations in their community. The fruitfulness of this ministry stems from a focus on relationship as team members invest in the lives of those they serve.
Planting a church or developing a community-based ministry like that of Castle Oaks can be challenging if you aren’t sure how to pursue available resources in your area. If you are serving an under-resourced population or seeking ways to develop community partnerships, I invite you to join us for the Ministry Development Workshop hosted by the Midwest Conference and Freedom Fire Ministries September 26-28 in Prairie Village, KS. This workshop will encourage you and provide practical tools for sustainable ministry.
It is always exciting to witness how God is using MWC churches to further his kingdom, and I look forward to seeing what else he has in store for us.

To God be the glory!


Ministry Development Workshop

The funding of local ministries can be challenging, especially for young churches, ethnic churches, and churches in urban and rural contexts. In this workshop, Dr. Bruce McGregor shares how he has identified multiple funding streams and networks that have been essential for the sustained development of ministries in under-resourced contexts. Click here for workshop details.

Online Registration

Covenant Community Bible Experience

The Evangelical Covenant Church is excited to announce a Covenant-wide effort launching in 2016 to be “People of the Book” together! We encourage you and your church to join us on an unforgettable journey–to reignite our passion for the Scriptures. Sponsored by Make and Deepen Disciples.

Bible Study Resources Needed

Resonate Discipleship Experience, located at Covenant Cedars Bible Camp in Hordville, NE, is scheduled to begin classes August 27. Staff is working to build a library of Bible commentaries and other study materials for use by students. If you have any such resources that you would be willing to donate to the Resonate program, please contact Resonate Director Jim Eaton at


We invite you to consider a special gift for the mission of the Midwest Conference. Visit Midwest Conference Donations.

Prayer Calendar

Download the July-October 2016 Prayer Calendar, also available on our website.

Free m&m's!

Pastors, Superintendent Tammy would enjoy meeting with your leadership team to share about the MWC Mission & Ministry. She'll even provide a tasty visual that will encourage leaders to learn the conference mission statement! Contact Tammy at to invite her to an upcoming meeting.

Upcoming Events

Cluster Meetings
Sept 1, 11:30 am
The Well, Des Moines, IA

South Metro Denver
Sept 8, 10:30 am
Centennial Cov, Littleton, CO

Blue Valley
Sept 14, 8:30 am
ECC, Clay Center, KS

Sept 15, 9:00 am
LaPeep Pepperwood, Omaha, NE

Northern Colorado
Sept 22, 11:45 am
LifeSpring Cov, Loveland, CO

Kansas City
Oct 5, 10:30 am
Hillcrest Cov, Prairie Village, KS

Church Planter Training Intensive
Sept 14-19, Chaska, MN

Latino Leadership Gathering
Sept 24, 8:30 am-1:30 pm
Hillcrest Cov, Prairie Village, KS

Ministry Development Workshop
Sept 26-28, Hillcrest Cov, Prairie Village, KS

A Conversation on Race
Oct 6
1:30-4:30 pm - Pastors event
6:30-8:30 pm - All ECC congregations
Bethlehem Cov, Waverly, NE

Iowa Missional Leadership Workshop
Oct 8, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Twin Lakes Bible Camp, Manson, IA

Journeying Together:  A Faithful Response to Addiction

Nov 12, North Park University, Chicago, IL

Addictions, from drugs to alcohol, food to sex, are impacting our communities and churches, cutting across age, race and socioeconomic status. Explore how healthcare professionals and congregations can collaborate to respond faithfully to the challenge of addiction. Click here for more information or call 773-244-6214.
Sustaining Pastoral Excellence
Stepping away from ordinary rhythms...

Check out and apply for 2016 SPE opportunities here.


Covenant Orientation 2016

Click on the class name to register.

Vocational Excellence
Nov 7-11, Calgary, AB, Canada
Nov 16-19, Bethel, AK

Mission & Ministry of ECC
Oct 16-18, Minneapolis, MN

Employment Opportunities

Seeking employment? See if any of these opportunities within the denomination are right for you.

Check out this new posting for a Youth/Worship Pastor at Alert Cov in Leonardville, KS.

Crossroads Cov in Loveland, CO, has recently added the position of Campus Pastor. Interested applicants should view the opening on CovConnect and contact Superintendent Tammy to discuss the position in further detail.

What's Happening?

Are you celebrating an epic moment in the life of your church? Email with pictures of your event to be shared on Facebook and/or in the e-News!

Spanish Translation Needed

The MWC would like to provide essential notifications in Spanish, when possible. If you or someone you know would be interested in joining a volunteer task force to help with this need, please contact the conference office at or 888-871-3020.

Personal Retreats Available

Covenant Heights Camp and Covenant Cedars Bible Camp offer lodging and meals to full-time church staff of the Midwest Conference for personal retreats and family weekends at no cost. Availability is dependent upon season and camp schedule. For more information, contact Covenant Heights Camp at 970-586-2900 or and Covenant Cedars Bible Camp at 402-757-3241 or

Twin Lakes Bible Camp provides free use of Haven 23, a house with full amenities, to anyone in ministry. Take advantage of this opportunity to relax and refresh! Contact 712-297-7714 or for more information.

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Copyright © 2016 Midwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church, All rights reserved.

Phone: 402-334-3020 or 1-888-871-3020
The Midwest Conference is a mission association of Covenant churches in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, western Missouri, Nebraska, Wyoming
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