Increased Focus on Church Planting in Midwest Conference

FORT COLLINS, CO (May 16, 2012) – Multiple changes in conference staffing and an increased commitment to planting churches were announced during the Midwest Conference Annual Meeting held at the Evangelical Covenant Church here April 27-28.

Brent Thompson will assume the position of director of church health beginning August 1, said Superintendent Tammy Swanson-Draheim. Thompson has served churches in large and small contexts. For the past nine years, he has led the church in Wichita through a revitalization process that led the congregation to develop a new vision, change its name to The Journey Church, and move into a new building. Since then, the church has grown from 40 to 160 people. He also has served on the conference executive board over the last six years.

Brian Johnson, pastor of Hope Covenant Church in El Dorado, Kansas, will serve as the part-time director of church planting east. Johnson has planted Cornerstone Covenant Church in Turlock, California; Riverwood Covenant Church near Minneapolis, Minnesota, and in 2003, he returned to Kansas to plant Hope Covenant in El Dorado, a small city outside of Wichita. Johnson has coached other plants as well.

He started in his new role May 1. Johnson will continue to pastor at Hope with the help of a new person on that church’s staff.

Conference Associate Superintendent and Director of Church Planting Rick Mylander will remain in his current role, but will scale back to a three-quarter-time position. He will continue to work in church planting across the conference, but will focus the majority of his efforts in the western half..

Swanson-Draheim also praised the work of Dave Benedict, who resigned as associate superintendent and director of congregational vitality and hopes to serve in a local setting. “He’s been a wise leader, trusted friend, and champion of congregational vitality,” she said.

Delegates were told that the conference intends to plant six churches this year, double the three planted in 2011. The gathering also affirmed acceptance of Freedom Covenant Church of Kansas City, Missouri, into the conference. The 2012 Annual Meeting in Irvine, California, will officially vote on the church’s admission to the denomination.

Delegates approved a budget of $1,020,147 for 2013. That is an increase over the 2012 budget of $917,240.

There were 113 voting delegates at the celebration representing 54 churches and two fellowship groups, out of a possible 87 churches and six fellowships.

It was announced that Hillcrest Covenant Church in Prairie Village, Kansas, will host next year’s meeting slated for April 26-27.

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  1. Having grown up in the Evangelical Covenant Church and being on the outside looking in, I am very thankful for the foundation it gave me and my wife, Louella. We are very pleased to see how it is growing and while focusing a lot on compassion , mercy and justice, keeping emphasis on the main thing, namely forgiveness of sin and salvation only through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. I look forward to reading Gary Walter’s column in the Companion and also that of Jay Phelan.

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