Key Concepts

Adoption Experience:
Covenant Presbyterian Church

David Henderson is associate pastor of Covenant Presbyterian, a 300-member PCUSA church in Colorado Springs. He brought a perspective on how to initiate an adoption from Joshua's preparation to take the land.

  1. Gather key leaders to walk through the people and tell them to get ready for something new. (principle: begin with the leadership)
  2. Go to the least likely to be supportive, those tribes which already had land on the East side of the Jordan, and ask for their commitment (principle: get the support of the choir)
  3. Send in spies--even though they already knew what they needed to know (principle: do research to create excitement).

Henderson described Covenant's adoption of a Central Asia people, who were selected partly for very pragmatic reasons. The pastor would do a prayer journey to an unreached people if he could also visit some missionaries in Moscow.  So he ended up going to this group in Central Asia. He returned from the prayer journey totally enthused. Henderson emphasized that there was nothing better to secure an adoption than to send the senior pastor.

The church session then voted to adopt the people, spawning many initiatives. Cathy B. is a Covenant church member who is moving from adoption coordinator to missionary. She and her husband and children are now preparing to live among the people. Cathy shared practical ways in which they have kept the adoption alive for the church.

  1. A shadow box in the worship room displays the adoption certificate surrounded by crafts and a map.
  2. Every room in the church has posters showing the faces of the adopted people
  3. Every Sunday school class sponsored a day where they learned about the people, including eating the food and trying on the clothes. Polaroid pictures of each child wearing the national dress were sent home to remind them to pray.
  4. A suitcase full of books, videos, money, magazines, clothing, and recipes allowed each church family to create their own people-group experience at home.
  5. Every missionary furloughing from the country was invited to speak and often share a traditional meal with the congregation. "Dinner on the grounds" took on new meaning as the all-purpose room was cleared and members ate a traditional meal on the floor and listened to stories told by guest missionaries.

There were not many dry eyes in the room as Cathy shared her own emotions at seeing a video of the first public baptism among the people. When the church started the adoption, there were no documented believers. Last month, over 400 came to Christ. "This is great that God has let us be part of this."

Rev. Henderson concluded with the three biggest blessings for the church

  1. Missions  became important. Before the adoption, it was a lofty but idealistic concept. It was normal to be self-consumed.
  2. Missions has moved from a concept to reality. We know the team members writing about the work. It became human. Elders and other members have visited on prayer journeys and been able to provide critical counsel and encouragement to team members who were experiencing discouragement and division.
  3. Missions became a viable option for ordinary people. The thought "this could be me!" was a new concept to many. In the past, hero stories of great missionaries had tripped up people who thought they weren't missionary material. This "crisis of possibility" is a healthy development in the life of any believer. "Could it be that this is what God would have of me?" The resulting receptiveness has led several to other mission fields.

(from a presentation during the Mission America Joshua Project Consultation, Colorado Springs, CO, May 1997)

Menu Words Home
Beginning<> the Adoption | Prayer |<> Research | Sustaining the Adoption

AGP<> Introduction | Adoption |<> Cooperation | Individual Involvement |<> Resources