Celebrating 5 Years – Jay Gregory


I moved to Tampa almost five years ago. I moved here to be a part of Covenant Life Church. I moved here because I wanted to see God do a radical work in this city. I moved here to see God raise up laborers and send them out for his glory to the ends of the earth. I had big hopes and big dreams. But yet there were no faces to those hopes and dreams. There were ideas of faces. There were dreams of faces. But no real faces.

About nine years ago, I met Drew Tucker and Justin Perry. I was visiting a small group from North Wake Church in the apartment of Drew Miller and Doug Brown (now a member of CLC). Within that small group I became close friends with a handful of people who would eventually move to Tampa to plant what would become Covenant Life Church. At this point, Drew and Justin had no idea they would movie to Tampa to plant a church, or that they would go as a team, or even if anyone else would join them at all when they came. Because of this, a few others and myself have had the unique opportunity to see this church take shape from not only the beginning, but from before the beginning.

Over time, God began to work in their lives and prepare them and their families to come to Tampa. And the elders of our church invited all of us to consider joining them. And some of us felt that call. And yet homes had to be sold in one of the worst housing markets in recent history. And new homes had to be found, sometimes in sketchy neighborhoods. People needed to find new jobs. And to cut corners financially until they could find solid ones. We had to leave families and security and comfort. We had to leave familiarity and cool weather and actual barbeque. But we came.

And once we arrived, God began to grow his church. It wasn’t just the handful of us from Wake Forest, North Carolina any longer. We were soon joined by others in our new city who wanted to join in this mission to display God’s glory by becoming a gospel-centered community that works for the gospel renewal of Tampa and all nations. And long before we outgrew the chapel and moved to the gym, we outgrew the Perry’s living room and our one missional community became two, then three, until eight were scattered across the Bay Area. And all of those MCs are filled with people buying into this mission, growing as a family, becoming missional servants, and seeking to make disciples who make disciples.

So now I close my eyes and I can’t stop seeing faces. The faces of people whose lives have been radically transformed by the gospel. The faces of countless children who are being raised in families where Christ is exalted and who will one day, God willing, be the pastors and deacons and leaders of this church. The faces of men and women who have challenged me by their own personal pursuit of Christ and their encouragement in my life in word and deed. The faces of people who have become family.

As I sit here right now I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all the many blessings God has provided me in the last five years through Covenant Life. I rejoice to think where this church will be in another 5 years or 10 years or 50 years. I dream about the faces that, 50 years from now, will be as precious to me as those from these first 5 years. And the faces that millions of years from now, as we gather in worship around the throne, I can give a quick wink to as we remember all God’s blessings in these first 5 years.

Jay Gregory

Posted on: April 18, 2015 - 8:00AM

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