Selecting Songs for Worship

By Nate Green, Worship Pastor

There are so many worship songs that are widely available and accessible to the church these days. This is good because God’s Word encourages and commands us to “sing a new song to the Lord” (see Psalm 96:1, 98:1, 144:9 and Isaiah 42:10). The challenge for worship leaders is which song to choose with so many great options available. Choosing which song to sing is kind of like going to a Mexican restaurant with 300 options on the menu and struggling to make a decision because it all looks so good! Here at CVC alone (within all the different ministries) we have used over 1000 different songs in the last 10 years. We also highly value the congregation’s ability to participate and sing along, and for that to happen, they need to know the song. So, we have decided to not introduce more than 1 new song on any given Sunday so that at least 3 of the songs will be ones that we have sung before and that our congregation should know.

There are 3 main criteria I use to filter songs for Sunday worship services:

1. Theologically grounded in the truth of God’s Word

2. Congregational – Is the song singable and memorable?

3. Style – Does the song fit within the overall genre of our CVC music culture?

Obviously, the most important of these three is the first criteria.  If we don’t get the first one right, we’ll be doing more damage than good in our spiritual growth and singular focus on what God desires from us in the area of worship – that we worship Him in Spirit and Truth (John 4:23).

Being Theologically Grounded in the Truth of God’s Word

The question is this. Do the song lyrics find their source in God’s infallible, inerrant, inspired, unadulterated Word? If worship song lyrics contradict God’s Word, or muddy the waters and are hard to interpret, then we should not be putting those lyrics in our hearts and minds. The following verses remind us how powerful God’s Word is:

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

  • John 6:63

“As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?’ So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

  • Romans 10:15-17

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

  • Hebrews 4:12-13

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17

We can all agree that the Truth of God’s Word and His Holy Spirit lead us to Worship Him rightly. But, what if song writers don’t live up to the truth they profess?

Let’s be honest, a lot of the current discussion around song selection is being fed by this question. Should we keep singing songs written by people and churches that don’t live up to God’s perfect standard? This isn’t a new dilemma, it’s something we’ve wrestled with since sin first entered our existence and has been passed down from generation to generation.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as ka propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

  • Romans 3:23-26

Yes, we are included within the category of those who fall short of God’s glory and standard. We must be very careful when taking a position of judgment over others.

A closer look at some of the hymn writers and church denominations of their age had similar issues to our modern day church. I find some great insight in God’s Word to help me navigate these issues.

Romans 3:3-4 puts it bluntly:

“What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?  By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar…”

The context of Romans 3 powerfully speaks to the differences between God and man. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We must be very careful to not become like the Pharisees and hypocrites by looking down on those who have fallen.

500 years ago, when Martin Luther helped spark the reformation, it was necessary to define authority within the church, especially since Luther had repudiated the authority of the Pope and other church officials. “What was left,” Luther wrote, “was the Holy Scriptures themselves.” The only inspired and authoritative Word of God. According to Luther the Word of God was the single source of doctrine and the only infallible guide to salvation. The Latin term he used, “Sola Scriptura,” has served to express this theological position ever since.

There is one who embodies perfect truth, Jesus Christ.  He is our example and one to be followed!

By singing songs written by imperfect people (myself included) who at times don’t have perfect theology/doctrine, we do not endorse everything the songwriter believes or does. We do endorse the truth within a song that is sourced from the Word of God. We endorse songs from God’s Word because it’s the only infallible source.

In Philippians 1:15-18 Paul says,

“Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.”

The principle Paul states here is to rejoice and agree with the truth. We can endorse the truth without endorsing the person that is proclaiming that truth. Paul is also the one who warns us the most about the dangers of false teachers and he encourages us to discern and know the truth. In Acts 17 we see that Paul and Silas commended the Bereans for examining their teachings against the Word of God to verify their teaching.  We are encouraged in God’s Word to not blindly follow leaders, but to test and examine teachings to see if they find their source in the truth of God’s Word.  Later in Acts 17 Paul addresses philosophers in Athens and uses the platform of their “unknown God” to proclaim the gospel to them. In doing so Paul is not endorsing worship of their “unknown God,” but he is seeking to make known to them the one true God so that they may worship Him.   

We will never be able to silence the lies that exist in this world (and that infiltrate the Church), however we can be girded with the belt of truth as we battle the father of lies (Ephesians 6:14). I would rather see that we shepherd our people on how to navigate these waters than to censor everyone we disagree with, because that is truly impossible.

Our job is to help equip others as stated in Ephesians 4:12-14:

“…to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

As many of you know, looking for the counterfeit will not help us positively identify the truth. Instead, we must focus on knowing what is True and this will help us identify and weed out a counterfeit (belief, value, action).

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

  • Philippians 4:8

Let us declare through song what we know to be true about our God!

Pastor Dale’s Message Notes

Blessings promised to those that fear the Lord

A blessed life. Proverbs 28:14
Divine Wisdom. Psalm 111:10
Spiritual Knowledge. Proverbs 1:7
God’s Mercy. Luke 1:50
God’s friendship. Psalm 25:14
An aid in our Fight against Sin. Exodus 20:20

Characteristics of the God-fearing person

1. Intimacy with God.  Psalm 25:14
2. Never speaks disrespectfully about God. Malachi 3:16-17
3. Honor the Word of God.  Isaiah 66:2; Matthew 7:24-27
4. Live a holy life. 2 Corinthians 7:1
5. Obey no matter what. Genesis 22

Characteristics of the Heart that God Revives

Humility.  The Scriptures explain that “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).  In humility, therefore, we seek His grace by admitting our own great need, throwing off our self-sufficiency, and bowing prayerfully before our Lord.

Honesty.  Confession of sin avails us of the forgiveness and cleansing of God (1 John 1:9).  Experiencing personal revival always involves honestly dealing with our sins—both those committed against God and those committed against other people.

Repentance.  Seeking God’s face is not merely an exercise in rituals or words; it is really a change of direction.  Repentance involves turning from our sins so we can obey God instead of self.  As Paul wrote to the Ephesians, we must “put off” the old self and “put on” the new identity Christ died to provide for us (Ephesians 4:17-24).

Forgiveness.  Experiencing God’s forgiveness is one of the greatest blessings of the Christian life, and God requires that we pass that same blessing on to others who have offended, hurt, or taken from us (Ephesians 4:32).  As we come close to God for spiritual renewal, we must release the bitterness we hold and clear our sin accounts with others, extending forgiveness to those who have wronged us and seeking it from those we have wronged. 

Obedience.  From a position of humble repentance, we are now ready to say yes to Jesus in every category of our lives.  He is worthy of our obedience in everything from daily habits to major decisions.  Even our thoughts and motivations are important to Him (Luke 6:46).

Seeking His Kingdom First.  Obedience to God leads us to a complete reprioritization of life.  The ultimate aim of spiritual renewal is that each of us would walk with God, that we would demonstrate His love in a dark world, and that we would be a part of fulfilling the Great Commission task in our generation (Matthew 6:33; Mark 16:15).

Taken from Life in Action: 365 Days of Discovering True LifeThrough Abiding in Christ by Life Action Ministries

The Benefits of God’s Attributes

Because God is a personal Spirit, I will seek intimate fellowship with Him.

Because God is all-powerful, He can help me with anything.

Because God is ever-present, He is always with me.

Because God knows everything, I will go to Him with all my questions and concerns.

Because God is sovereign, I will joyfully submit to His will.

Because God is holy, I will devote myself to Him in purity, worship, and service.

Because God is absolute truth, I will believe what He says and live accordingly.

Because God is righteous, I will live by His standards. 

Because God is just, He will always treat me fairly. 

Because God is love, He is unconditionally committed to my well-being.

Because God is merciful, He forgives me of my sins when I sincerely confess them.

Because God is faithful, I will trust Him to always keep His promises.

Because God never changes, my future is secure and eternal. 

Taken from Discover God’s Character: 13 Key Attributes of God by CRU. https://www.cru.org/content/dam/cru/train-and-grow/life-and-relationships/13-key-attributes-of-god.pdf

A Statement on CVC’s Response to Sex Abuse Allegations in SBC Churches

Elders, staff, and members of Cuyahoga Valley Church have rightfully been concerned about the response to sexual abuse among the 47,000 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) churches that make up the Convention in North America. 

A seven-month investigation was carried out by Guidepost Solutions, an independent company hired by the SBC Executive Committee (EC) after delegates at the 2021 national meeting called for an outside investigation.

The investigative report said that leaders at the Southern Baptist Executive Committee failed to respond with compassion to survivors of sexual abuse. Instead, these leaders cited the local autonomy of the local church as a reason for not reporting the sexual abuse and holding the abusers accountable.

The report concluded that allegations of sexual abuse and assault were filed confidentially at SBC headquarters in Nashville. The result was that some pastors with credible allegations of sexual abuse were able to move from a church where the abuse occurred to another church that knew nothing about the previous abuse.

The report from Guidepost Solutions was heartbreaking. SBC churches rightfully expected more, and deserved more, from our leaders.

The failure to report abuse put survivors in a position where they were forced to fight for themselves when the leaders of the SBC Executive Committee should have been fighting for them. As North Carolina pastor J.D. Greear said, “The church should be a place where people know they are safe and where leaders are who they say they are. Protecting the vulnerable is not a distraction from the mission, it is our mission.”

After the Guidepost Solutions report was made public, the CVC Missions Development Team (MDT) and the CVC Elders made the decision to withhold CVC funds given through the Cooperative Program to SBC mission causes. The MDT and the Elders wanted to make sure that proper actions would be taken by the SBC leadership to take measures to protect church members and attenders from further abuse, to hold sexual offenders accountable, and to support and care for survivors.

At the 2022 SBC Convention in Anaheim, the delegates almost unanimously voted for two recommendations related to sex abuse issues. One, a task force was created to oversee sex abuse reforms and to make additional recommendations to the 2023 Convention that will meet in New Orleans. Two, a database has been established – a “Ministry Check” website – to list credibly accused offenders associated with SBC churches in order to prevent abusers from easily moving to other congregations. In addition, leaders and advisors to the EC who were complicit to sexual abuse are no longer leading the EC. The new leaders of the EC have pledged to work to eliminate sex abuse within the SBC.

At a press conference following the session at the Convention in Anaheim, attorney and sexual abuse survivor Rachael Denhollander said the passing of the recommendations is the result of the “tireless efforts of the survivors” who “didn’t give up.” 

The delegates to the 2022 SBC Convention heard the cries of survivors for justice. Abusers have been held accountable. Steps are being taken to protect the vulnerable. Complicit leaders have been removed. Repentance is occurring. Change is taking place.

For these reasons, the CVC Elders and MDT feel confident that it is wise and good stewardship to release CVC funds to the Cooperative Program – funds that are used to support the missionary personnel of the International Mission Board, the North American Mission Board, 6 SBC seminaries, and the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio.

Read the International Mission Board report here

Read the North American Mission Board report here

Read the key resolutions from the Convention here

Read Christianity Today’s take on the Convention here.

If you have additional questions, you may email us at: connect@cvconline.org.

A Historical Moment

Those of us who remember 911, remember  where we were when we heard the tragic news and watched the traumatizing videos.

May today be a day where we remember where we were when we heard the good news that Roe V Wade was overturned!  What a righteous and historical win after decades of faithful prayer and hard work of all pro-lifers who have labored in one way or another for this cause.  The fight is not over but we need to rejoice in this win.  We believe the Lord is pleased by those who, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.” (Prov.31:8 NLT)

May we not only continue to support pro-life efforts through prayer, giving, serving and supporting local ministries like Cleveland Pregnancy Center and Human Coalition, but even increase the way we engage by lovingly supporting, resourcing, and encouraging women who have unplanned pregnancies, who need post-abortive healing and care, and even seeing more CVCers back up their pro-life value by adopting, fostering, or mentoring.  

I found this brief little video encouraging. I hope it helps encourage you as well.

https://www.humancoalition.org/films/roe-is-overturned/

We know there’s still more work to be done, but we praise God today for the victory that has taken place in our nation.

Live new!

Chad Allen

WORSHIPING GOD ON HIS TERMS, NOT OURS

By Pastor Nate Green

How we worship God, or in other words, the “style” in which we worship God is an age old issue that we still wrestle with today. But God’s Word gives us clarity on what He desires from us.

One of the first Biblical glimpses we get of this is in Genesis 4 in the story of Cain and Abel.

“In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell.  The LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen?  If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.’ ” (Genesis 4:3-7)

Hebrews 1:4  gives us additional insight into this story as well.

“By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.”

The offering itself was not the issue here (fruit or meat). The issue was within the hearts of Cain and Abel. The hearts expressed their faith and obedience (or lack thereof) to God. God discerned their hearts and allowed their hearts to be tested. The Lord warned Cain that sin was crouching at the door of his heart and that he needed to rule over it. But instead of obeying God, Cain gave into sin and killed his brother Abel. Abel on the other hand was commended for his faith and it was counted to him as righteousness. 

Fixating on the quality of the offering, or style of worship, can be very dangerous if we miss the heart behind it. We could easily become idolatrous by placing our own preference above what God desires from us.

So what does God desire from our worship of Him?

Let’s lay the groundwork.  We must worship God on His terms, not ours. When we read through the four gospels we see a lot of religious people believing that they were worshiping God, but in actuality were deceived and not worshiping Him at all! In fact, Jesus called some of these religious people “sons of the Devil” (see John 8:44). Jesus harshly rebuked them because their worship was not based on truth and did not recognize God for who He is. We must realize that we are all in danger of false worship and have a tendency to focus on the external methods of worship and forget what true worship is. John Piper, pastor and theologian, says the following about worship in his book written to fellow pastors titled Brother’s We Are Not Professionals:

“The New Testament reveals a stunning silence about the outward place and forms of worship and a radical intensification of worship as an inner, Godward experience of the heart manifest in everyday life.”

The Bible has much to say about the dangers of external worship devoid of inward heart transformation expressed through obedience to Him. Here are a few examples from God’s Word:

“These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” (Isaiah 29:13 + Matthew 15:8)

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” (Matthew 23:25)

Reading these passages cause a check in my spirit. They are a healthy dose of questioning my fear of the Lord and my fleshly desire to look good on the outside. What is the condition of my heart worship before God? Am I seeking to please God or people?

We need to be very careful not to place too much emphasis on our worship environments or style! The early church was never commanded to build nice buildings and create beautiful settings for worship to take place. When the religious leaders of Jesus’ day asked Jesus for a sign, Jesus answered “destroy this temple and I will rebuild it in 3 days.” Jesus was speaking about His bodily resurrection, but they were fixated on their earthly temple. The point is this, Jesus should be the focus of our worship… let’s not glory in earthly temples or places of worship, or styles of worship.

Jesus said, “The day is coming when you will neither worship on this mountain or that mountain but God is seeking true worshipers, those who worship in Spirit and Truth.” (John 4:23)

God is seeking true worshipers, those who worship in Spirit and Truth.

How do we worship God in Spirit and Truth?

First of all, our hearts need to be transformed by Him, and that is something only He can do!

Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…” (John 6:44).

We must realize that we are all spiritually dead in our sins. We are born as enemies of God in need of reconciliation with Him.

“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard” (Colossians 1:21-23).

Once we receive grace from Him to know Him, we can then worship Him rightly – in Spirit and Truth. A huge factor of worshiping God in Truth is to “draw near to Him with a true heart in full assurance of faith.”

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus,  by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  (Hebrews 10:19-25)

The Reformer Martin Luther loved music and introduced music within church worship services during the reformation as a way of declaring and internalizing Biblical truths. He loved the music of his day, pipe organs, flutes, trumpets, and choirs. Likewise, we use the prevalent forms of music in our day (drums, bass, electric guitars, pianos) to express our praise to God. There will always be people that have issues with the style we use. For example, Andreas Karlstadt, another theologian during Luther’s age believed music had no place within the church and told his followers to “relegate organs, trumpets and flutes to the theatre. The lascivious notes of the organ awaken thoughts of the world.”

Churches are still arguing about this stuff. There are people within the church that do not like electric guitars and drums and think they are “worldly”. Let us clear the air, instruments in and of themselves are not sinful! The person using the instrument is who God is looking at. He is looking straight into our heart, not the outward appearance! The Psalms encourage us to use a variety of instruments in our worship of God. As Psalm 150 so beautifully states:

Let Everything Praise the LORD

Praise the LORD!

Praise God in his sanctuary;

praise him in his mighty heavens!

Praise him for his mighty deeds;

praise him according to his excellent greatness!

Praise him with trumpet sound;

praise him with lute and harp!

Praise him with tambourine and dance;

praise him with strings and pipe!

Praise him with sounding cymbals;

praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!

Praise the LORD!

I’m so thankful that God allows us tons of freedom to express our worship and praise of Him! But, ultimately, He is interested in our hearts. He is interested in our obedience to Him.

Next time you have a conversation with someone about the musical style of worship, try bringing the conversation back to what God cares about. The heart.

CHURCH ON THE LAWN IS COMING BACK!

We’re bringing back Church on the Lawn this summer! We’ll hold Church on the Lawn the last Sunday of each month from May through August. Our goal as a church this year to become a UNIFIED FAMILY of believers who are motivated by the Great Commandment and devoted to the Great Commission. One of the ways we hope to accomplish this goal is to bring our entire church family together for ONE SERVICE once a month on the lawn. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do!

On the days when we have Church on the Lawn, we want EVERYONE to come together at 11 AM. That will be our only service time on those days. These will also be “Family Sundays” where families and all ages will worship together. We won’t have childcare available because we want to worship together as one family. So bring your lawn chairs and blankets and let’s worship together under the open sky!

We’re also inviting you to stick around after Church on the Lawn so we can all share a community meal together! We’ll do something different each month. On May 29, our CVC Elders are going to fire up the grills and cook for us. We’ll also have a food truck from East Coast Custard onsite where you can buy ice cream for dessert. Cornhole and other lawn activities will also be available.

For the most up-to-date information, check out www.cvconline.org/lawn. If you’d like to receive text updates about Church on the Lawn (including weather alerts), text the key word “lawn” to 440.276.5575.

If there is inclement weather, our service will move indoors with two service times at 9 AM and 11 AM.

Announcement from Pastor Chad Allen

Dear CVC Family,

I have always marveled at how God designed seasons into His magnificent creation.  Four seasons, each with their own distinctive and necessary nature.  Have you noticed that when the seasons change, you need to sacrifice something you like about one season in order to embrace what you appreciate about the next?  I absolutely love the vibrant colors, distinct fragrances, and comfortable temperatures of the fall here in Ohio, but it requires saying good-bye to the warmth, outdoor activities, and fireflies of the summer that I also enjoy in order to experience the fall.  Seasons change and we must adjust to the changes ourselves.

The changing season principle is now a reality for Cuyahoga Valley Church and the Allen family.  As many of you know, Rica and I, along with our family, came from California to Cleveland over 11 years ago to be part of this church.   We left family, lifelong-friends, and our previous church and ministry behind at God’s leading for me to be Lead Pastor of CVC.  During this season, we have experienced the knitting of our hearts to yours and shared in the joys and challenges of trying to build Christ’s kingdom side by side here in Northeast Ohio.  We look back over the past 11 years and celebrate the smooth transition from Founding Pastor Rick Duncan, increasing our church’s prayer culture, launching a new campus in Brunswick, hosting a Chinese partner church in our Broadview Heights location, planting churches such as Refuge Church in Old Brooklyn, seeing our ethnic diversity grow, the launch of our CVCGO ministry, eliminating our debt through the Unleash campaign, helping translate a Bible for our adopted unreached people group in Southeast Asia, growing our budget and generosity, kicking off Church on the Lawn, increased reengagement and attendance post-pandemic, the numerous people that have placed their faith in Christ and have been baptized, and more new people taking their next steps to grow in their faith.  These are just some of the celebrations and examples of momentum that we can all joyfully celebrate and thank God for!

The Allen family is now needing to embark on a new season, one that leads our family to begin transitioning back to the west.  With multiple unplanned trips back to California in the past 16 months, and with the sudden passing of Rica’s mother, we’ve been reminded of the brevity and unpredictability of life, and the importance of proximity to family.  Therefore, Rica and I believe God is leading us at this time to explore opportunities for our next ministry season in a location within striking distance to our family.  We are not sure exactly where that will take us or when that will be, but we want to operate with openness and integrity so that you can be praying with us as we explore, and that CVC can freely begin the needed planning to find the next Lead Pastor.  We do not want to go, but we feel that we need to go.  It makes our decision easier knowing that CVC is in a healthy place, growing, and gaining momentum.  Praise God!

By communicating now, it helps us both take our next steps of faith and trust in the Lord together and do our best to coordinate a leadership transition that will glorify God and help the church maintain momentum. Our prayerful desire is that the Lord will line up our next ministry post by fall of 2022 so that our children can begin their next school year/jobs at a natural starting point.  Until that time, I will continue to be your Lead Pastor.  I have already started working with our Elders to begin the early stages of a transition plan for the next Lead Pastor. We will be updating you as our plans come online and when we have more information. This will probably not be a short search process, but we have an outstanding Leadership Team who continues to advance God’s kingdom in greater Cleveland and around the world as evidenced by some of the wins mentioned earlier, as well as what was published in our recent 2021 annual report.

I’m aware that this news may produce shock and sadness for many of you and that you will need time to process this information and your feelings.   I assure you that CVC is in great hands.  The church belongs to the Lord, we have passionate and capable leaders driving our ministry vision and strategy, and we have incredible men and women of God such as yourselves who are praying, serving, and giving so that we can stay on mission for Christ.

In Isaiah 43, God says, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:18–19).

God doesn’t want us looking backward.  He wants us to lean into what He has for us in the future.  I believe He’s preparing to do a new and beautiful work in both the next season of CVC and the next season of the Allen family.

For now, I ask you to be praying for our family as we explore opportunities.  Please be praying for CVC as we initiate the process of finding the next Lead Pastor God has for CVC.  God has been doing a great work at CVC for 35 years, and He’s far from done!  Please continue to grow as a united family of believers motivated by the Great Commandment and devoted to the Great Commission who is focused on our mission of inviting people to new life in Christ.  Protect the unity of our church. There will be some people who will be tempted to use this news to cause division, discouragement, and distraction.  We can’t allow that to happen.  We have to focus on the mission, stick to our ministry strategy, and keep surging forward to take new ground for Christ.  Let’s be mutually committed to honor God, and honor one another through this transition as we mutually seek out what God has for us both in this next season.

There are not enough words to accurately describe how meaningful these years have been to me as your Pastor.  It has been a joyful honor.  I have, and will always have, an immense love and appreciation for this church community.  We are forever family.  Please know that wherever God leads the Allen family, our hearts will be near to the people and ministry efforts of CVC.  We look forward to return visits to CVC so that we can see you and personally experience the great work God will continue to do through you in CVC’s next season of fruitful ministry for Christ’s Kingdom.  I love you, I’m grateful for you, I’m grateful for the past 11½ years, and I’m grateful in advance for what’s to come for both of us.  To God be all the glory!

If you have any questions, please contact us at connect@cvconline.org.

Live New,

Chad D. Allen

Honoring Moms

Ephesians 6:1–3Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. [2] “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), [3] “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” (ESV)

Proverbs 23:25 Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice. (ESV)

Below are responses from CVC Moms as to how they prefer to receive honor.

I feel honored when my children:

  • Spend quality time with me
  • Offer me words of encouragement
  • Give me a heartfelt note or letter
  • Do what I asked the first time and do not give me any grief
  • Tell me they love me
  • Show gratitude and appreciation
  • Make a card, make a meal, or do something nice for me
  • Confide in me and share what is going on in their heart (hurts, struggles, goals, failures, achievements)
  • Choose time with me rather than just in their rooms or on their devices
  • Show godliness, kindness, and empathy towards others. It’s a sign to me that I did my job well raising them in the way they should go.
  • Are following Christ.  It brings the greatest joy because I know we will live together in eternity. It is honoring to me because, despite my many shortcomings and mistakes as a parent, they still somehow see Jesus in me and believe.
  • Listen to me and when I don’t have to repeat myself 100 times.
  • Hugs, always hugs
  • Call for no other reason than to just connect, and say “love you” before hanging up

Below are a few thoughts from CVCer’s on how they have tried to honor their moms despite abuse, addiction or absence. 

I try to show them honor by:

  • Reaching out at holidays even if it’s not appreciated or received well
  • Remembering the things I learned from the good times and laughter
  • Viewing her mental illness as a cause for her behavior vs her behavior as an attack on me.
  • Still buying and sending a card for special occasions or “just because”
  • Forgiving them
  • Not speaking ill of them, and praying for them with hope that one day we can have a restored bond.
  • Still praying God sends someone else to share the Gospel with her despite my somewhat hard heart, and God faithfully answered my prayer!
  • Caring for them in their sickness and final days
  • Forgiving her and remembering she was struggling just like we all are.
  • Being a good representative of the family name.
  • Making sure my words and actions are respectful, regardless of past abuses.
  • Maintaining a relationship, take her out to dinner, call regularly, let her know I love her.  All these activities are done with set boundaries in place. My mom still deals with issues but my wife and I show her that we love her without putting ourselves in harm’s way.
  • Staying in contact, doctor visits, nursing care, holidays despite betrayal, despite condemnation.
  • Being a good mom to my kids