THIS IS OUR STORY

Covenant
Connection
Support
Mission

Our Campaign will run from Sunday, February 18 – March 10.

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Living into
Covenant

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Living into Connection

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Living into Support

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Living into Mission

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This is Our Story:

 

Mission Fundraising Campaign

Theological Framework

Rev. Dr. Nadine Burton
Executive Regional Minister

 

“When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up – the flames will not consume you.  For I am the Lord your God, your Savior, the Holy One of Israel. Is. 43:2-3a (Living Bible)”

 

We were born in 2002 as Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana faced questions of vision, mission, and financial sustainability.  We came together as one, after many months of strategic planning with task teams, decisions around staffing, organizational development, and resource allocations. Our ancestors made huge sacrifices for us to become one region.  They walked this path not knowing what our future would be. Some came on board with excitement, others came with uncertainty.  And then Hurricane Katrina happened.  One storm changed the trajectory of our future, forcing us to face our will to survive and rebuild, to bring hope to a damaged state. Members in Louisiana congregations made difficult choices about where they would live, and how they would survive.  Our partners came from all over the world to provide relief.  And we were grateful.    

Over the past eight years, we have done some amazing things together. We walked with congregations who needed a regional presence, and we became presence for each other.   Whereas we were once separated, disjointed, aloof about our identity, we are now in better spaces spiritually, geographically, and relationally. We are living into Connection (staying close while spread apart), Covenant (saying yes to be the church), and Support (allowing God to provide a way, through our generosity, when there seems to be no way).

At the Annual Gathering in November 2023, we considered our preferred future story. We heard a story of continued inheritance in Disciples Women’s event from Patricia. We heard a story from Nearline, who confronted how death kept showing up, only to get fooled and lose again.  We heard Kim, who shared a 4th of July miracle with her children wanting to have a good holiday.  David survived the tornado in the middle of the tornado.  Sara told a story around vocation and calling, sharing her confidence in the ways God calls us to serve.  Ryan showed us the innocence of a young person struggling with a call to ministry, the death of a friend, and spiritual trauma.  Finally, Donna shared a story of a miracle salvation and revelation that God is truly in control.

What is unfolding in God’s future for us? What are we seeing or experiencing that cannot be explained by the problems that we see in our churches and communities? Deeper relationships with God and each other and increase in ministry capacity through those same relationships. Trust is showing us that God is up to something.  There is a desire to connect on deeper levels.  We want the Word of God to be seen and taught as relevant. Young people are continuing to make room for God in their lives, and they are coming to church.  They are going to camps from all three states.  

We know that souls are at risk, so we take this ministry seriously. We fall short and still move in deep conversations. We envision hubs throughout the states for distribution of disaster relief resources.   There is a growing sense of grace at the core of who we are, and choose to create spaces of grace, hope, and curiosity.   We have a heart for education within the body of Christ. Churches are praying together, connecting, and trusting God and one another.  There is a commitment to live into covenant, connection, and support together.  Connection, Covenant, and Support. We live in the already and not yet to make God’s mission our mission.  We embody that call to live and be the body of Christ.

We acknowledge a future story that we affirmed six years ago, accomplishing strategic goals in that story.  We have a bright future as the Great River Region!   Dr. David Anderson Hooker, Transforming Communities Conferences, and consultant for the Narrative Project, asked, “Will you believe that the realm of God is at hand here in the GRR, so that this new narrative becomes your work?  We are small enough to change and large enough to change the world.”

Lovett Weems in “Generosity, Stewardship, and Abundance” helps us to articulate our spiritual grounding as stewards of God’s resources:  “We embrace the empowering spirit that God breathed into the church on the day of Pentecost.  We are instruments of God’s purposes in the world, inviting all to participate in God’s generosity.  We have the privilege of being partners with God in God’s redeeming work in the world, God’s agent in counteracting greed and scarcity, bringing forth the abundance that Jesus Christ promised.”[i]

We are seeking out those who want to do more, challenging those who have time, talent, and treasures to give, but for whatever reason, have not made the leap of faith.  If you can see yourself in this future story, please join us in what we already see happening in the realm of God. We open our hearts to share bountifully as stewards of generosity and abundance.  We hope together to be water in the desert, abundance in the face of lack, and hope for those without hope.  “We to reach, teach, and transform lives through the love of Jesus Christ.”


[i] Weems, Lovett, Generosity, Stewardship, and Abundance:  A Transformational Guide to Church Finance.”  Lanham:  Rowman & Littlefield, 2021.

Living into
Covenant, Connection, Support, and Mission