Photos by Libby Rogers
Covenant Fellowship Church was founded in 2008 by a group of people who felt led by the Lord to begin a new church in Huntsville, and the good works of this church have only expanded since their founding. Senior Pastor David Valentine is a humble and gentle-natured man, with a temperance that puts you at ease just talking with him. This group followed the calling they felt from God to start and stay committed faithfully to successfully form a unique, family-based church. The staff and members of Covenant Fellowship add further to the good and faith-filled hearts that reach out to our community every day. Covenant Fellowship is led by Senior Pastor David Valentine and his staff: Jana Carlson-Ministry Assistant/Secretary; Amanda Largent-Children’s Minister; Billy May-Worship Leader; Jerry Phillips-Missions and Education Pastor; and Scott Williams-Youth and College minister.
The church holds services at Alpha Omega Academy, and staff have meetings in a very nicely furnished double-wide office space, sitting on a piece of property the church bought at its beginning. Covenant is a part of both the Tryon Evergreen and Union Baptist Associations. Postcards sat in on a Covenant Fellowship staff meeting, where we discussed the mission, goals, and many endeavors by this church to build God’s kingdom by ministering to all kinds of people. Come in jeans, come in slacks, come in whatever you want (as long as you’re presentable). The goal of Covenant Fellowship is to make each person they come in contact with feel God’s love through them and feel comfortable and confident to be himself or herself in a setting of people who all have one common interest—learning how to live their lives to honor and serve the Lord.
The Covenant staff consists of a diverse team whose personalities and strengths complement the other, creating a balanced and well-oiled machine. The team begins every meeting in prayer, going in a circle, each person praying individually over the ministry and for prayer requests submitted by church members. The discussion begins about the unique programs and ministries important to the church that reflect their mission and purpose. Grounded is a family Bible study that focuses on the family growing spiritually as a unit, as opposed to separately, and incorporating Bible teachings into everyday life. Amanda Largent stresses that it doesn’t have to be a specific hour set aside every day for church; all day every day, kids and families can learn together when you incorporate teachings into everyday situations like car rides and meal times. Their mission is to properly train parents to bring up their children in a Godly way, implementing church and Bible teachings into daily life. With 40-hour school weeks and demanding schedules, they believe not enough emphasis is placed on children’s discipleship when you limit it to one hour a week at church. The purpose of Grounded is to teach families together, strengthening their spiritual bond as well as creating a comfortable atmosphere to be open about their faith with one another.
The church, like any new business or organization, faced many challenges at the beginning, but has successfully become debt-free, with their office and land paid for. The organization works on an “elders” system as opposed to “deacon oversight” with many churches in the Baptist organization. The five active and three retired elders meet to agree upon business decisions and make big choices on behalf of the church.
Five out of seven nights a week, the church holds life group Bible studies and two held on Sunday. Their life groups are based around both service and learning, with set curriculum and frequent mission projects. One of the main endeavors of the church is participation in the Good Shepherd Mission. On the last Sunday of every month, life groups feed the group a meal at 6:00 pm and a service is held at 7:00 pm. Because not everyone feels comfortable going to church for various reasons, Covenant Fellowship wants to “take the church to the people,” and that is exactly what they do. This project turned out to be an incredible merger for the two organizations and brought people over to join the church. Covenant Fellowship holds “hands-on work” at the highest importance, showing their love for others through their actions and not only their words.
The church is involved in many other ministry and service opportunities, such as the Celebrate Recovery Ministry, volunteering at the Special Olympics, jail ministry, and Adopt-a-Cop. For seven years now, a volunteer team of 30-40 from the church has traveled to Lufkin to man the softball games at the Special Olympics. The church recently helped with Hurricane Harvey relief, taking countless cases of water and supplies to the people who needed it, via their bus. They decided to “stuff the bus” with toiletries, water, and supplies and drove to both College Station and Madisonville to sit in parking lots and distribute supplies to those in need. People thanked them and joined the cause by dropping off food and toiletries from Sam’s, because they could not travel to Houston to help. The church bus also made a trip to Dickinson, my hometown, with 360 cases of water, canned goods, and diapers to help provide relief to one of the places hit hardest by the storm.
Covenant is actively involved in jail ministry, their main audience the correctional officers and inmates at the facilities in Huntsville. Jerry Phillips is a volunteer chaplain with the Huntsville Police Department and helps lead the ministry team at the Wynne Unit. The church has successfully started many house churches by inspiring former inmates to hold church in their home when they are released. Eddie Harmon, the lead elder, serves at the Wynne Unit twice a week, ministering to close custody offenders and building a trustworthy relationship with the state. Since 2009, he has baptized over 1,000 inmates and staff. The church helps connect men to the faith community, which is proven to benefit them and cause their lives to make a turn for the better. At Christmastime, Scott dresses as Santa and takes snacks to the staff inside the units, always guaranteed to raise spirits and get some laughs.
The church does “Adopt-a-Cop” and “Adopt-a-School,” where a family adopts a police officer for the year and actively prays for him. Covenant has adopted Scott Johnson Elementary, where they feed teachers, fill needs as they come along, and provide a wi-fi hotspot on multiple campuses kids can access outside of school hours. The church maintains a servant heart for the community by always taking on new service opportunities and projects. On October 29, the church will hold a fall festival for families in the office parking lot from 5:00-7:00 pm, at 606 FM 1791 N in Huntsville. Covenant also has a women’s beach retreat coming up, an opportunity to escape for a few days to relax and to grow their intimacy with the Lord and each other. The beach retreat will be October 19-22, the purpose being to “refresh, reconnect, and refocus” on your spiritual walk. To inquire about the trip, call the church office (936-435-0993) or Jana’s cell (936-661-3816).
“We want to build up lighthouses that block out the darkness.” ~David Valentine
Worship: 3891 Hwy 30 West
Office: 606 FM 1791 N