Church Highlight: SALT Covenant

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Your name: Keith Louthan Your spouse and children’s names:

Amy (married 12/22/1990), Austin (22), Hunter (19), Ellison (16)

Name of your church:

SALT Covenant Church

Location of church:

Wilmington, NC

Date church was planted (if your church is a plant):

Hard to identify a date.  Began praying as a core group in November of 2015.  Seeking the Lord’s healing after a difficult conflict which resulted in a breaking of fellowship in a previous church the previous summer.  Also seeking the Lord’s direction for those who had not yet found a church home.  We began worshiping together February 7, 2016.  Named SALT Covenant Church in May, 2016.  Began worshiping at the Wilmington Baptist Association June 19, 2016.  We have not yet launched publicly for several reasons.  But we have faithfully worshiped and prayed and given and begun serving our community

Name of partnering church(es):  

None yet, but none yet sought directly.  We are partnering with Pillar and consider the churches in our network partners in ministry and prayer.  We are members of the Wilmington Baptist Association so there may be partnership potential within that association.  We need church partners who could support us in the beginning stages through prayer, possibly through providing us partnering couples who would join our effort on the ground, and financial resources to allow us to broaden our ministry and staffing capabilities.  

What are the reasons you decided to plant a church in your city (if your church is a plant)?  

We saw in prayer and through searching the scriptures that the Lord’s desire for the church was not being fulfilled in our church experience.  God desires for the church to actually function in the same way our bodies function… complete interdependence, selfless and forbearing love, facilitating and encouraging growth to maturity in Christ as a stated and pursued priority, nurturing healthy habits both personally (prayer, Bible Study, accountability, rest) and corporately (forgiveness, repentance, patience, love).  We believe that our experience in the church had not been what Jesus meant when he said, “Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”  Too often by experience, internal conflict paralyzes the church from mobilizing against the gates we are meant to destroy.  We felt that an expression of the local body which emphasizes personal growth to maturity in Christ, moving concentrically out from the personal life into the life of individual families and from individual families into the fellowship of the church and from the fellowship of the church to the local community, and ultimately to a global participation in the great commission was needed in Wilmington, our home.

What have you seen the Lord do in and through your church/church plant?

We have seen the Lord demonstrate his faithfulness as we slowly move in the path of obedience.

We have seen the Lord give us, even in a small core of 20-25 people, a wide range of age (5-92), racial diversity, and a range of church/family background that is surprising for a church our size.  We have seen the Lord open doors for community service.

What do you hope to see the Lord do in and through your church in the future?

We hope to see the Lord open our eyes to the UNCW across the street, the apartment complexes and governmental housing units nearby, and to each of our immediate neighbors, work associates, and family friends with real love that does not see them as a conversion project but as a person and potential friend.  We want to prioritize face to face service to the needs of our community.

What advice do you have for current or future church planters?  

Be patient.  Actively seek and accept help.  Take care of your health through prayer, sleep, and rest (sabbath is necessary).  Note that sleep and rest are not the same thing, you need both.  Also realize that God will do what he wills to do, in the time he wills to do it.  We are not smarter than him, nor does our work ethic impress him.  Let God be your confidence, which will set us free to work hard for his glory and not our own, without exhausting ourselves in the effort to prove something, or to have something to offer him that we have done.    

What else would you like to share with the readers of our blog?  

Do not get discouraged, but if you do, seek help from the Lord and from others.  One thing God will not do, and I know this in my life:  He will NEVER let go of you, not ever.  He will bring and/or allow many overwhelming difficulties and many dark days, but nothing overwhelms him, and the darkness of midnight shines like the noonday to his eyes.  But he will also bring many joys in the fellowship of the body, the shared burden of the gospel, and the shared passion for being built, as mutual living stones into a formidable expression of his grace through the church.    

What are your 3-4 main prayer requests?  

  1.  SALT Covenant needs someone who can take on the responsibility of leading our worship through music and creative arts.  We need a worshiper who does not mind beginning with a small group and building from there.
  2.  We need to define our membership process and participate through it as a core group in anticipation of a formal, public launch.  
  3.  We need to identify how we are going to minister to our neighborhoods of influence, individually and corporately.  We need to be intentional with the cross (dying to ourselves), and with the great commission (making disciples of all nations)

Newsletter:

We send a weekly email update.  People could email klouthan65@gmail.com if they would like to be included.