with Rev. Caressa Murray & Rev. Jonathan Murray of Covenant Presbyterian
What makes your church a home for those seeking the Lord?
Covenant Presbyterian is a place where all are welcome, no matter your stage of faith – whether you are new to the faith, grew up in the faith, or it’s been a long while. We are all seeking the Lord, but we find ourselves in different phases of our walk in faith. Covenant is a place where you can come and be yourself – whether you are at a good place in life or find yourself struggling or in need of healing. Covenant is a place of grace where you encounter God through worship and relationships with one another.
This issue of Peace Magazine is all about serving the community. What are some of the benefits of serving? As Christians, are we called to serve?
We are called to put our faith into action and be the hands and feet of Christ in the world today. This world is a broken and hurting place, and now, more than ever, Christians are called to serve so the world might encounter “Jesus with skin-on.” The benefits of serving are seeing peoples’ lives transformed, encountering God in new and different ways, and getting a glimpse of God’s kingdom here and now.
What is your favorite character in the Bible and why?
Rev. Caressa: My favorite character in the bible is actually a dynamic duo: Mary and Martha. I seek to be like Mary, carving out time in the daily “to do’s” to sit at the feet of Jesus to listen and learn. At the same time, I resonate with Martha in her diligent and heartfelt task-oriented ambition to serve. I seek to have a heart like Mary in the busy world of Martha!
Rev. Jonathan: Despite the brash personality quirks, I admire John the Baptizer, because everything he does points to Christ. He knows he is unworthy, and yet his role is to lead others to recognize and interact with God in the new Kingdom come and coming.
What impact has serving, either in church or in the community, had on you as an individual?
When I serve others, I am compelled to break through the cultural barriers and stereotypes and see people for who they really are – a beloved child of God, uniquely and wonderfully made in God’s image. I no longer see black or white, rich or poor, whole or broken, but my eyes are opened to a brother or sister in need. By serving others, I am humbled and reminded that I too am a child of God in need of God’s transforming grace.
What is the purpose of the local church?
The Church exists to gather the Body of Christ: the broken and the healed; the lost and the found; the haves and the have nots; the newbies and the veterans of the faith, to encounter God’s Living Word and give thanks and praise for who God is and what God has done, is doing, and will do. The church encourages people to learn and grow in their faith, and empowers people to discover their gift and niche for God’s ministry and put that into practice.
How does your church serve the community?
Covenant is committed to serving others through hands-on mission, sharing of resources, financial support, and prayer. Within its walls, Covenant provides facilities and resources for two Boy Scout troops and three Girl Scout troops, community groups, like the Brazos Valley Community Band, and provides a full-time childcare facility and a part-time day school for families in the surrounding neighborhoods. Covenant serves the young people of the community by providing a safe place for our youth to grow and learn in faith through experiences to serve others.
Jesus commands us to go forth and make disciples. How can Christians do this in their daily lives?
By being connected to God, the Vine, we are empowered to branch out. “Going forth and making disciples” must be a daily activity. As disciples, we are to be aware of God’s presence and seek to participate with God, who is at work in and around us. As Christians, we are to be intentional about finding ways to meet people where they are, hear their story, share our story, and welcome them into God’s story. When we do, we open the door for the story to be unfolded and God’s impact to be made in the lives of another, and that is when disciples are made.