God has recently brought Southbridge Fellowship and Covenant Church to an exciting new chapter!
The elders and leaders of Southbridge Fellowship and Covenant Church believe the Lord is leading us to join together as one church. This decision is the result of months of prayer, fasting, conversation, and deep consideration of the mission, vision, and direction of each church.
We believe that joining together as one church will allow us to strengthen our impact and propel us forward with the mission of connecting more people to Jesus for life change.
Why We Are Better Together
Joining together allows us to:
Mobilize Vision – We have the ability to bring together our leadership and resources to provide a more vibrant church family that the greater Raleigh-Durham area can join with as we connect people to Jesus for life change.
Multiply Impact – Because of the resources that each church brings, we can together make a more significant impact for God’s Kingdom.
Model Unity – We believe this will serve as a testimony of how churches can come together to better serve their communities and the world.
HOW DID THE IDEA OF JOINING TOGETHER COME ABOUT?
Southbridge has been a growing church in search of a permanent facility for eleven years. Covenant Church has experienced declining attendance over the same period and has been seeking the Lord’s direction in response. When Southbridge inquired about the possibility of purchasing the Covenant Church campus, the Covenant Board responded with a bold idea— joining together!
ARE THE BELIEFS AND IDEOLOGY OF THE TWO CHURCHES COMPATIBLE?
Our beliefs and values are in fact very closely aligned and compatible. Besides sharing a common corner of Raleigh, we share the same commitment to the Good News of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible. We are excited that each of our churches has a deep desire to see people connected to Jesus for life change. Additionally, Southbridge and Covenant are committed to serving both locally and internationally. We look forward to seeing how much greater an impact we will have by joining together.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME AND MY FAMILY?
Both congregations are invited to continue the journey together as one church. In addition, Ministry Transition Teams will be formed, with leaders from both congregations, to build relationships, create a transition plan, and pursue making each ministry better together.
WHAT WILL BE THE NAME OF THE NEW CHURCH? WHO WILL BE THE PASTOR?
As Southbridge is the lead church in this mission-driven integration, Scott Lehr will continue to be the Lead Pastor. Both congregations will come together as Southbridge Fellowship.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE COVENANT STAFF?
Pastor Lee, Covenant’s Lead Pastor, has been offered the opportunity to assist in the transition of our two churches through this summer and given generous support from Southbridge to accelerate his ongoing studies toward the completion of a seminary degree beginning this Fall. Both Tammy Singleton, Covenant’s Ministry Director, and Scott Mason, Covenant’s Youth Pastor, will become staff members of Southbridge Fellowship. However, Tammy desires to retire from full-time ministry in the Fall and will move into a volunteer role at that time.
WHERE IS COVENANT CHURCH LOCATED? HOW CLOSE ARE THE TWO CHURCHES GEOGRAPHICALLY?
Covenant’s campus is located at 12621 Strickland Road in Raleigh, about a mile from where Southbridge currently meets at Pine Hollow Middle School (5365 Bartram Pl).
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO COVENANT CHURCH’S FACILITIES?
Southbridge Fellowship will initially pay off Covenant’s remaining mortgage of about $800,000 and plans to upgrade the facilities in several phases. Both congregations will meet at Pine Hollow Middle School through the summer while minor upgrades are being performed, then relaunch back together in the fall of 2018.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO COVENANT'S SUPPORTED MISSIONARIES?
Southbridge will continue to support and care for Covenant’s six current missionaries for at least one year with a goal to fully incorporate them into the missions strategy of Southbridge.
HOW WILL COVENANT’S CURRENT MEMBERSHIP BE TRANSFERRED TO SOUTHBRIDGE?
Over the next few weeks, Covenant members will be given opportunities to fully understand the mission, vision, strategy and beliefs of Southbridge Fellowship. Current Covenant members can choose to have their membership transferred to Southbridge on Sunday, May 20, 2018.
WHAT WILL BE THE WORSHIP SERVICE TIMES?
Throughout the summer, Southbridge will continue to offer services at 9am and 10:30am to best serve the needs of the community and allow the church family to worship during one service and serve in another. For more information on serving in your area of interest, click here.
WHAT ARE THE STEPS TO FINALIZE THE JOINING OF THE TWO CONGREGATIONS?
Both Elder Boards have unanimously approved Covenant joining Southbridge, and after a month of public meetings and conversations, both congregations will be given the opportunity to affirm the decision of the Elders on Sunday, May 20, 2018.
WHAT IS THE TIMELINE MOVING FORWARD?
April 22 – Announcement Sunday for both churches
April 23 – Family Meeting for Covenant Church members at Covenant Church
April 29 – Family Meeting for Southbridge members at Pine Hollow Middle School
April 30 – Family Meeting for Covenant Church Members with Southbridge’s Leadership. The meeting will be at Covenant Church.
May 20 – Both congregations will be given the opportunity to affirm the decision to join together. Ballots will be given out during Sunday services.
June 3 – Covenant Church will hold a final Celebration Service at Strickland Campus.
June 10 – Covenant’s first service as part of Southbridge at Pine Hollow Middle School. Welcome Fellowship Event after second service at Pine Hollow Middle School.
June – July – Southbridge worshipping at Pine Hollow Middle School during renovation of Strickland Campus.
August – September – Lord willing, Inaugural Relaunch Service of Southbridge Fellowship at Strickland and Grand Opening of Southbridge Fellowship at Strickland.
WHAT ARE MY NEXT STEPS?
Pray – for God’s continued leading and direction of both churches. Pray for the leadership of Covenant and Southbridge as they work towards integrating the two congregations into one.
Engage – Attend congregational Q&A meetings. Ask questions. Be open and honest with any concerns you may have. Email any questions or comments to [email protected]
Celebrate – God is clearly at work in our city and in our churches, and we have the privilege to take part!