"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord."
There are primary issues of the Christian faith, statements of faith that are absolutely critical to the definition of what is a "Christian" church. These primary issues are God's Word, his Persons, his salvation and his church.
As a Church, Covenant identifies with and agrees to the following confessional beliefs.
The Gospel Coalition Confessional Statement
(The Gospel Coalition is a fellowship of evangelical churches deeply committed to renewing our faith in the gospel of Christ and to reforming our ministry practices to conform fully to the Scriptures.)
To read the confessional statement or to learn more about The Gospel Coalition, click the link above.
Doctrinally, Covenant church is rooted in the rich tradition of the Reformation. By definition, we are reformed. The word reformed is in reference to the 16th century Reformation begun by Luther and built upon by Calvin. The reformers, after careful reading of the Scriptures, stood in opposition to the popular teaching of their day. They encapsulated the truths of the Bible that were against the popular beliefs of the times as the five Solas. They are:
Sola Scriptura: (Scripture Alone) Scripture alone is the sole source of God's written revelation to us.
Solus Christus: (Christ Alone) It is through Christ alone that our salvation is accomplished.
Sola Gratia: (Grace Alone) In salvation, we are rescued from God's just wrath by His grace alone.
Sola Fide: (Faith Alone) "...justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone"
Soli Deo Gloria: (To the Glory of God Alone) It is to God alone that the glory for our salvation belongs.
Not only are we Reformed, we are also Baptistic. We believe that Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior, gave two sacraments (visible manifestations of the new covenant). One is baptism, the symbolic participation in the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. As Baptist, we recognize the importance of believer baptism and practice baptism by immersion. Baptism signifies inward cleansing and remission of sins, regeneration by the Holy Spirit and adoption into the family of God. It is not a work in which a person is saved by. We are members of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
As people who are both Reformed and Baptist, we believe the fullest expression of our faith is the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689. The ultimate authority in all matters of faith, order, and morals is and must be the Bible alone, as articulated in the opening article of the Confession itself. This historic document is, however, an excellent summary of "the things most surely believed among us." We accept it not as an infallible rule or code of faith, but as an assistance to us in doctrinal definition, a confirmation in faith, and a means of edification in righteousness. Here the members of our church will have a body of theology in compact form and, by means of Scriptural proofs, will be ready to give a reason for the hope that is within them (I Pt 3:15).
Joe Hillrich is our lead pastor and one of our elders. He has been married to his wife Abby since 2000. They have 6 children (5 boys and 1 girl). Joe is an Ohio native, born and raised. He graduated from the University of Toledo with his bachelors. Upon graduating he served as a local youth pastor. During that time God began to stir a passion and desire to plant a church in Northwest Ohio. With that goal in mind, Joe attended Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) in Jackson, MS. He received a Master of Divinity in 2005 and moved back to Northwest Ohio shortly thereafter. That summer Covenant church was born. Since then, Joe has helped plant and pastor our church.
Besides Pastor Joe, our leadership team includes four other elders (Joe Widman, Ryan Kasza, Brian Koralewski and Adam Rice). Scott Timberman is our current youth pastor and is also an elder in training. We believe the Bible teaches a plurality of elders. We believe also in the position of deacons. Both categories are leaders ordained by God to provide leadership to His people. They are servant leaders serving Jesus Christ selected over a period of time with character the deciding criteria (1st Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-16). As we grow as a church, we will continue to maintain Biblical church government and add God appointed leaders as opportunities and needs arise.
We have been created in Christ Jesus for good works. Part of the transformational process then is Christian service. Being leads to doing. So we are constantly looking for opportunities to live out the Gospel near and far. That includes supporting missionaries, serving at a soup kitchen, helping a needy family at Christmas . . . you name it . . . you think of it . . . and it might be a way that Covenant Church helps to make the gospel look real in this world that needs Jesus.
We believe God wants us to have healthy intentional relationships with one another. In other words, we want to know you and for you to know us. We want to share our messy lives together in community. One way that we foster such an environment is through smaller settings. We offer life groups that meet with differing frequencies depending on need and availability. We also have some who meet one to one to read and study the Bible. Covenant is a place where we won't let you get lost and ignored. We will seek to share not only the gospel, but our very own lives.