Posts by Mark Prater

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Holy Week Resources

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For us, as Christians, this week is unique because it provides us an opportunity to reflect again on the substitutionary death of Christ on our behalf, and on his victorious resurrection 3 days later. While these glorious truths are timeless, they will only affect and shape us if we take time to look deeply at Calvary and the empty tomb again. My friend, Jeff Purswell, wro...

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2017 Mission Video #1: New England

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Sovereign Grace is a family of churches that exists to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ by planting and strengthening churches for the glory of God. One expression of our mission can be found in the churches we have planted in the New England region of the U.S.: Crossway Church in Franklin, MA (2001), King of Grace Church in Haverhill, MA (2002), King’s Cross Churc...

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Seven Hopes and Prayers for Sovereign Grace Churches

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Recently I’ve been meditating on a verse in 1 Samuel 12 for my life, and for our lives together in Sovereign Grace Churches. The context of 1 Samuel 12 is that Samuel, who describes himself as “old and gray” (1 Samuel 12:2b, ESV), is giving his farewell address to the nation of Israel. Near the end of his discourse, Samuel says this, “Only fear the ...

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Jamaican Pastors College Students Update

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In July, I introduced you to some friends of mine, Sheldon Campbell, Joel Bain, and Sean Taylor who, along with their families, were in the process of moving from Kingston, Jamaica to Louisville, KY to attend the Sovereign Grace Pastors College. Upon graduation from the Pastors College in June 2017, it’s our prayer that each of these men will complete a 9-12 month Pa...

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Dealing with Darkness at Christmas

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It's a season for celebration and memory making. Christmas is a time of year that is steeped in tradition and for many, time with loved ones and friends. But amidst the joyous chaos, there are those of us who are walking in the shadows of trial, fighting to see the light the Savior's birth provides. My friends, Bob, Brittany, and Mackenzie Kauflin recorded this song recen...

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Don't Miss Humility this Christmas

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Growing up, I often heard a phrase around this time of year: “Don’t miss Christ this Christmas.” It’s a true statement intended to jostle us out of the busyness of this season and remind us of the true meaning of Christmas. But like any cliché phrase it can’t adequately capture the depth, astonishment, and meaning of the incarnation. So...

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C.J. Mahaney Interviews John Piper

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Proverbs 4:7 says, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.” (Proverbs 4:7 ESV) One of the ways we “get wisdom” is to listen to and learn from experienced, wise pastors. That’s why I hope you’ll take the time to listen to an interview done by two wise, experienced pastors and leaders, C.J. Mahaney,...

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Stories from the Sovereign Grace Pastors Conference

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The last week of October I had the joy of leading our annual Sovereign Grace Churches Pastors Conference. It’s my favorite conference because I get to be with people I love and respect so much, the pastors and wives of Sovereign Grace. You see, our time together is more like a family reunion than a conference. We sang God-glorifying songs together. We heard soul-stre...

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Pray for The Bahamas

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Hurricane Matthew, presently a category three hurricane, is making its way through the Caribbean and leaving destruction in its path. Knowing this historic storm is bearing down on the Bahamas, I reached out to Cedric Moss, Sr. Pastor of Kingdom Life Church a Sovereign Grace church in Nassau, and asked how our family of churches could pray for him, his church, and his coun...

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Pray for Charlotte

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The city of Charlotte, NC experienced the second night of protests last night after a deadly police shooting earlier this week. On Tuesday, Keith Lamont Scott, an African-American man, was shot and killed by a police officer while waiting for his son to get home from school. At this point, the specific details of the shooting remain unclear while police conduct their inves...

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An Incredible Day of Gospel Partnership

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God in his sovereign goodness allows our lives to intersect with others at specific times to reveal His work in advancing the gospel. This past Sunday (August 7) was one of those incredible days that revealed God’s activity and was a picture of the gospel partnership we share in Sovereign Grace. On Sunday morning, I was at Christ Community Church in Reading, PA wher...

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Preparing to Church Plant in Jamaica

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I want to introduce you to some friends of mine. Sheldon Campbell, Joel Bain, and Sean Taylor along with their wives and children plan to move from Kingston, Jamaica in a couple of months to attend the Sovereign Grace Pastors College in Louisville, KY. It’s our collective hope that upon graduation they will return to Jamaica and plant a Sovereign Grace church in the ...

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Sovereign Grace Churches Granted ECFA Accreditation

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Recently the Sovereign Grace Leadership Team was contacted by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) informing us that Sovereign Grace Churches was approved as an accredited member of ECFA. Dan Busby, President of ECFA, said this in a press release, “We are pleased to accredit a ministry committed to planting and strengthening churches, training ...

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Praying for Orlando

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The tragic news on Sunday morning of a mass shooting in an Orlando nightclub, frequented by the LGBT community, remains almost incomprehensible. In an act of terror, 49 people were killed and several more injured in what we now know to be the deadliest mass shooting in United States history. As authorities investigate, we, as Christians, wrestle with questions like “...

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Making & Maturing Disciples

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Right before his ascension, Jesus calls us to join him in his mission, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commended you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20, ESV). Jesus commissions us, the ...

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Be Pastors and Churches Who Advance the Gospel with a Sense of Urgency

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This blog post is part five of a five-part series entitled “Four Areas of Growth for Sovereign Grace Churches.” A recent report found that suicide rates are at an all-time high in the United States. Hopelessness, by nature, doesn't discriminate. It touches the young and old, the rich and the poor, the successful and the less successful. Not long ago, the headl...

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Build and Lead Racially and Ethnically Diverse Churches

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This blog post is part four of a five-part series entitled “Four Areas of Growth for Sovereign Grace Churches.” Jesus calls us to join him in his mission saying in Matthew 28, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded ...

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Be Theologically Vigilant Pastors and Churches

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This blog post is part three of a five-part series entitled “Four Areas of Growth for Sovereign Grace Churches. In his farewell speech to the Ephesian elders, Paul exhorts his friends to remain alert and protect their church from false doctrine, “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own...

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Be Praying Pastors and Churches

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This blog post is part two of a five-part series entitled “Four Areas of Growth for Sovereign Grace Churches. If you’re like me, when you see a book or a blog post on the topic of prayer, you instinctively cringe because prayer is one of those areas where you typically feel inadequate. Guilt immediately sets in because who among us “prays without ceasing...

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Four Areas of Growth for Sovereign Grace Churches

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The New Testament consistently speaks about growth. Fueled by grace, we are to pursue growth, not only as individual disciples of Christ, but also as local churches, and even as a family of churches. Paul says it this way in Ephesians, “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, ...

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A Week Learning from Sam Storms

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A wonderful feature of the Sovereign Grace Pastors College is the strategic way scholars are scheduled to teach specific courses that fall into their area of expertise. For example, right before the Christmas break, Dr. D.A. Carson taught the book of Revelation, and in January Dr. Ian Duguid spent a week teaching on the Old Testament Prophets. These courses provide unique ...

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In My Place Condemned He Stood

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“Bearing shame and scoffing rude,in my place condemned he stood,sealed my pardon with his blood:Hallelujah, what a Savior!” I was singing these words this morning from the hymn “Man of Sorrows-What A Name” (you may also know it as “Hallelujah, what a Savior”). No doubt these words, and this hymn will be sung in churches throughout the w...

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2016 Mission Video #1: Asia-Pacific Region

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It’s a 20-hour flight from my office to Dave Taylor’s office in Sydney, Australia. And despite the distance, we share a similar, very closely tied mission. We are both seeking to share the gospel with our neighbors. We both help to lead our local churches. We both invest in the mission of our family of churches with a desire to see more churches planted for the...

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Meet Our Regional Leaders: Jason Hansen

What local church do you pastor? I am a pastor at Sovereign Grace Church Gilbert, Arizona. How long have you been a pastor? I've been a pastor for going on 7 years. I graduated from the Pastor's College in 2009 and have been at Sovereign Grace Gilbert ever since. How long have you been a part of Sovereign Grace? I came to Sovereign Grace in January, 2005 from East Val...

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Giving God Glory for His Faithfulness in 2015

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The Psalmist writes, "Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness” (Psalm 115:1). This expression of worship springing from the Psalmists experience of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness captures the response I have to God’s faithfulness to Sovereign Grace over this past year. I w...

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Our DNA: Rooted and Defined

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You see them in annual reports, or on an organization's website under the heading “Our Values.” Words like integrity, honesty, innovation, and collaboration. Those words are intended to capture the way an organization conducts itself, and the business they are involved. But values are not simply words that we write on a piece of paper, or some marketable langua...

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Different Language, Same Gospel

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A couple of weeks ago at the Sovereign Grace Churches Pastors Conference, Songhwan Kang, Sr. Pastor of Lord’s Grace Church in Seoul, South Korea, gave an update on his church and their efforts to advance the gospel in South Korea. It was encouraging to hear specifically how the gospel is at work in the people in Songhwan’s church. And we rejoiced in the news th...

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Rooted & Built Up - Kingston, Jamaica

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I want to introduce you to two friends of mine, Joel Bain and Sheldon Campbell. I met Joel and Sheldon a year ago in Kingston, Jamaica. These two, gospel-centered, theologically-discerning young men reached out to Sovereign Grace, asking for a meeting so we could get to know one another. They wanted to explore what it would look like for them to be equipped to plant a Sove...

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2015 Mission Fund Video #3: Grace Church Bristol

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Dear friends, I am eager for you to see the third quarter Sovereign Grace Mission Video for 2015. This video captures some of what God is doing in our church in Bristol, England, as well as how He met the pastors and people gatherd in Bath, England for WorshipGod UK several weeks ago. I hope that as you watch this video, you are reminded of how God is at work all over our...

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Celebrating God’s Work in Mexico

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Last week an important and strategic pastors conference was held in Juarez, Mexico. The Fieles a Su Llamado 2015 conference was held at the Sovereign Grace Church (Iglesia Gracia Soberana-Jaurez) led by Carlos Contreras. I’m eager for you to hear about some of the highlights that reveal God’s activity in Mexico. And as you read these updates let us give God all...

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Check Out Our New Website

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Over the last several months the Sovereign Grace Leadership Team has been at work redesigning our new website. Our desire has been to serve you by looking to create a website that is more user-friendly, easy to navigate, and captures the doctrine, values, and mission we share as Sovereign Grace Churches. One of our goals with this website is to highlight the people in our...

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Meet Our Regional Leaders: Jim Cannon

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Several months ago, we did a series on this blog entitled “Meet Our Regional Leaders.” According to our polity, our family of churches is organized into geographic regions. These regions are led by Regional Leaders, who you’ve been introduced to through this blog series. Recently, Sovereign Grace has had some encouraging developments. One of the many goo...

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How Do We Respond to the Supreme Court’s Decision?

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Earlier today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples can now legally marry in all 50 states. In making the 5–4 decision the court overturned same-sex marriage bans in 14 states. The decision is another reminder that we live in a shifting culture that is moving away from the solid truth found in God’s Word. How are we as Christians, and how do our ch...

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2015 Mission Fund Video #2: Sovereign Grace Church of Orange

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Dear friends, A couple months ago, I wrote that Sovereign Grace would produce quarterly Mission Videos in 2015 as one means to keep you updated on the good work God is doing in and through our family of churches. As you watch these videos, my prayer is that your faith would be stirred and your commitment deepened for our shared mission to advance the gospel of Jesus Chris...

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Welcome to the Family, CrossHaven Church

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I am excited to inform you that CrossHaven Church in Belleville, IL has been adopted into the Sovereign Grace family of churches! Last month the Midwest-Northwest Regional Assembly of Elders unanimously voted to adopt CrossHaven and in doing so receive their elders, Chris Oswald, Rodney Fickas, and Victor Chininin Buele into Sovereign Grace. We asked Chris Oswald to brief...

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How You Can Help People in Nepal

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I’m sure you have seen the pictures and read about the devastating effects created by the recent earthquake in Nepal. The images we see and the stories we hear move us to pray and to ask, “What can I do to help?” Providentially, we had a member of one of our churches in Nepal when the earthquake hit. Paul Michaels, a member of Living Hope Church in Harris...

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God Still Saves

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Over the last several months I’ve traveled to 12 Sovereign Grace churches. One of the things I’ve been affected by is the number of new believers that I’ve met—men and women from different backgrounds and ethnicities who now trust Christ as their Savior. I’ve walked away from these conversations reminded that our God still saves! We must be re...

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Meet Our Regional Leaders: Ken Mellinger

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Two weeks ago the Northeast Regional Assembly of Elders made the unanimous decision to form a new region known as the Lower Great Lakes Region. The formation of this region includes churches in Indiana, Ohio, western Pennsylvania, upstate New York, and Toronto, Ontario. This new region not only reduces the Northeast Region to a more manageable size, but also helps us be mo...

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An Update on Our Shared Mission

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Dear friends, As I’ve traveled to our churches over the last year and a half, I’ve heard so many good stories of how God is using the churches in Sovereign Grace to advance the gospel to reach the lost with the good news of Jesus Christ. I am eager for you to hear some of these stories. So, over the next year we are producing quarterly Mission Videos that will...

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Celebrating God’s Faithfulness in 2014

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As most of us do this time of year, I’ve spent some time reflecting on 2014. As I’ve pondered this past year, these verses from Psalm 111 came to mind: The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. He sent redemption to his people; he has...

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An Open Letter to Members of Sovereign Grace Churches

Dear Friends, On September 22, Maryland’s highest appellate court denied the plaintiffs’ request for the court to review the lower appellate court’s dismissal of the civil lawsuit that was brought against Sovereign Grace in October 2012. The dismissal of this case is a significant moment for everyone involved, and may be the subject of much conversation ...

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Meet Our Regional Leaders: Keith Collins

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What local church do you pastor? Lakeview Christian Center in New Orleans, LA. How long have you been a pastor? I have been a pastor since 1993, so 22 years now. I was saved out of a Catholic background as a teenager, was educated as a mechanical engineer, and was eventually raised up from within the church and brought into full time ministry as a pastor. How long have...

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The Surprise Retirement Of A Professional Athlete Is Proof That Our Words Matter

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On Sunday, the Huffington Post published an article written by Rashard Mendenhall entitled “Why I Retired at 26”. After playing 6 seasons as a successful running back in the NFL, Rashard announced his retirement at the young age of 26. Being a Steelers fan, the article caught my attention because Rashard played for the Pittsburgh Steelers for 5 seasons, winning...

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Meet Our Regional Leaders: Tim Shorey

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What local church do you pastor? I am an elder in Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, and Lead Pastor of our Risen Hope Church campus. Risen Hope, in Drexel Hill, PA, is a campus of CFC designed to become a plant in the next few years. How long have you been a pastor? I became a senior pastor in 1982 when I was 23 years old and have served in pastora...

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Meet Our Regional Leaders: Mickey Connolly

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What local church do you pastor? Crossway Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. How long have you been a pastor? I’ve been a pastor for 29 years. I was a P.E. major in college and got saved later in life, when I was 28. I had an immediate desire for full-time Christian ministry, but I was raised Catholic and attended a Catholic church, so I had do idea wh...

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Meet Our Regional Leaders: Billy Raies

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What local church do you pastor? Sovereign Grace Church in Midland, Texas. How long have you been a pastor? I have served as the senior pastor at Sovereign Grace Church for 20 years, and prior to that, I served for six years as an associate pastor at Lakeview Christian Center in New Orleans. How long have you been a part of Sovereign Grace? We were adopted into Sovere...

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Meet Our Regional Leaders: Rick Gamache

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What local church do you pastor? I am a pastor of Sovereign Grace Church in Bloomington, Minnesota. How long have you been a pastor? Fourteen years this March. How long have you been a part of Sovereign Grace? Our church was adopted in April 2003. Which churches are in your region? Covenant Life Fellowship in Roseburg, Oregon (David York, Bill Heard, and Mike Kell...

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Meet Our Regional Leaders

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The pastors of Sovereign Grace ratified a new polity and Book of Church Order in April 2013. The new polity called for our family of churches to be organized into geographic regions. Each region forms a Regional Assembly of Elders, which simply means that every ordained elder in those regional churches is a part of the Regional Assembly. The Regional Assembly of Elders in ...

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Mark Prater: Introducing the Sovereign Grace Leadership Team

After being affirmed as the Executive Director of Sovereign Grace in May, one of the first things I set out to do was to work with the Executive Committee to form a Leadership Team. Leading Sovereign Grace is not a one-man job. I need a team of qualified men to serve our churches. After interviewing a number of qualified men and gaining the affirmation of the Executive Com...

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