Laboring to help start a new congregation often requires patience. Consider Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church in Crystal Lake, Illinois.
A group of people approached the Presbytery of the Midwest in 2007. They wanted help to start a church. An effort by a sister denomination to begin a new church had brought them together. That effort did not result in the planting of a congregation. But some had developed bonds of affection for one another and continued to have a strong desire to see a Reformed and Presbyterian church in their area.
The Presbytery took the group under its care. The session of Hope Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Grayslake began to provide oversight. Pastor Dennis Disselkoen and the congregation gave their love and assistance. The worship of God, including the ministry of the Word, was carried on weekly.
The years passed, and the group developed in many ways. But numerical growth and ﬁnancial stability were slow in coming. Finally in 2010 the session believed it was time to seek a full-time organizing pastor for Christ Covenant Church. In 2011, licentiate Brandon Wilkins was called to be the organizing pastor.
Brandon grew up in a Christian home. He attended a college that originally had a church connection, but had left the historic Christian faith behind. In that environment, Brandon was challenged to go deeper into the Scriptures and theology. As he did, he matured in his faith and discovered a greater love for the Bible. A desire to teach others developed in him. He became a Bible study leader in Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship. Over time, he found that God had given him a gift to teach. As a result of this experience and the encouragement of his church, he decided to attend seminary.
Looking back on his college experience, Brandon observes that it was proﬁtable for him to have been in a setting where people claimed to be Christians but had departed from the Christian faith. He only wishes he had read J. Gresham Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism prior to going to college. Christ Covenant OPC is seeking to do the work of the church. The worship of God is central. The people are devoted to encouraging and edifying one another.
They have a passion for gospel outreach. Several families have been active in witnessing of Christ to others. Crystal Lake is a far northwest suburb of Chicago. Despite rapid growth in the last few decades, it maintains the feel of a small town. Residents have the advantage of living near Chicago and yet enjoying a country setting. Most of the people of Christ Covenant Church live in Crystal Lake and in nearby McHenry.
The body is still small. Twenty-ﬁve to thirty people usually attend morning worship. The meeting facility is less than ideal. There is no place for parents to step away from the worship room to care for a fussy child. This has been a challenge for families with babies and young children. A search for a more suitable facility has been under way, but another option has not yet been found. Please join the congregation in asking God to supply this need.
Brandon is a young pastor. He passed his ordination exams before the Presbytery in September and was ordained on October 7. He asks for your prayers as he seeks to be faithful to Christ in developing his pastoral gifts and leading Christ Covenant Church.
Pray too that Christ would bless the gospel witness of the congregation by drawing many to faith in the Savior and adding them to the church.
Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. — James 5:7–11
As James calls us to patient endurance, he assures us “that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” Praise God for the compassion and mercy he shows to our mission works across North America.