- Covington Declares the Glory of God.
In a city with giant magnolia trees, lakes, green parks, and an idyllic town square bustling with people, it’s little surprise that Southern Living named Covington one of the “prettiest small towns in Georgia.” And it’s not a well-kept secret. TV shows like The Dukes of Hazzard and The Vampire Diaries, and movies such as Remember the Titans have capitalized on the city’s charm and natural beauty. But Covington’s winsome spirit was designed for far more than Hallmark Christmas movies. Every towering oak, every river, and every rolling hill testifies to the greatness of its Creator. Covington is filled with God’s majesty, declaring His radiant glory. (Psalm 19:1, 33:5, 104:24) That means every morning commute through open fields and tall woods is a front-row view to God’s “eternal power and divine nature.” (Rom. 1:20) As a result, by virtue of dwelling in God’s glorious small-town creation, every unbelieving resident in Covington already knows God is there and is thus “without excuse” before Him. While they may not know who God is, they know that He is. Therefore, our evangelism begins with a message of salvation to a people who have suppressed the truth among Covington’s God-saturated beauty.
- Covington Bears Witness to Human Sin.
Like so many other cities in the American South, Covington’s historical beauty is also laced with a degree of sadness. The antebellum character of the city is, at least in part, representative of a time when image-bearers of God were enslaved in the name of wealth or tradition or even religion. By no means is this a reason to simply dismiss our history or forget it, as some would suggest. Rather, amongst the beauty, Covington’s Creator has given its residents plain reminders of human sin and our universal need for a Savior. Covington boasts a proud history, but like every nation’s past, it is also a history of sin. (Gen. 3:6-19) In his mercy, God has not left us without indications of human depravity and the very reason Jesus came to die for sinners. (Rom. 3:23, John 3:16) In a city surrounded with monuments to Southern history, every sinner is called to remember the reason for history: to unite all things in Christ. (Eph. 1:10)
- Covington is Growing.
From movie studios to Facebook data centers to new shopping centers, Covington is a small city with a big future. Atlanta’s industry is a centrifugal force, bringing new jobs, new neighborhoods, and new growth to the Covington area. And while some local residents remain nostalgic of the “good ole days,” the Christian sees the increase in population as an opportunity to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission. (Matt. 28:19-20) Churches are called to go and make disciples of Jesus Christ, and that means going where the people are. Christ did not call His church to be a thermometer of the local culture, dictated by the times, but rather to be a thermostat of the culture, saturating the community with the holy love of the Gospel and serving the lost. (1 Pet. 2:9) An increase in population may make some people grumble, but Christ calls us to go. God is bringing the nations to us!
- Covington is Diverse.
According to the last census, there are nearly the same percentage of Caucasians and African Americans living in Newton County. But that’s not all. In addition to other ethnic groups, Covington is also home to college students at Oxford College of Emory and the Georgia State Perimeter campus. Ethnically, demographically, and socioeconomically, Covington is a city that reflects the diversity of God’s kingdom. While some residents may lament the multicultural character of Covington, God’s ultimate design is that every tribe, tongue, and nation would unite as one redeemed people under the banner of the crucified and risen Christ. (Rev. 7:9, Phil. 2:9-11) The call to be “one in Christ Jesus” isn’t a mandate to sacrifice the unique local culture of Covington, but is rather a call to demonstrate the supremacy of Jesus Christ by worshipping a Jewish carpenter from Nazareth who transcends our tribal, cultural, political, and social allegiances. (Gal. 3:28) The church loves diversity not for diversity’s sake, but for the sake of showing the world how wonderful Jesus is!
- Covington is Broken.
No amount of culture, business, or industry can erase the sinister effects of the Fall. While Covington is one-of-a-kind for its friendliness and its beauty, it is, tragically, exactly like every other place in the world in one respect: Covington is full of sinners. (Rom. 3:10-20) Every beautifully landscaped funeral home and every generous food pantry is a memorial to the brokenness of our community and the haste with which the church is called to proclaim Jesus before He returns. There is sin in Covington, and because there is sin there is hatred, shame, guilt, racism, murder, theft, sexual immorality, and every other vice that comes with hearts that have turned away from God. (1 Tim. 1:8-11) Every single resident of Covington should be proud to call this town their home. However, our local beauty and our history and our culture can never atone for our sin and can never cancel the judgment that rightly falls on every sinner apart from the blood of Jesus. Covington needs Christ. And that’s where our mission begins.