Kingdom Highlight: Andrew Atkins

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It’s hard to believe it’s been one and a half years since moving to Atlanta from Jacksonville, FL. Leaving a home of over 20 years is never easy but our situation at the time made it feel almost impossible. Knowing it would be another four months before Jamie and the kids made the move, I remember feeling an overwhelming burden to seek out a community for us to get involved in. It wasn’t long before the Lord opened up an incredible door for us.

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I first heard of Christ Covenant during a discussion with Stephanie Withers. We were engaged in a conversation around personal finance, but the subject quickly turned when Stephanie unabashedly asked if I had found a church home in Buckhead yet. I shared with her my desire to find a church community for our family as well as a group of men to partner with for my own accountability and encouragement. The following Thursday I attended my first ever Spotted Cow meeting. It was through this meeting I had the opportunity to meet Pastor Jason and several other men who shared a similar desire to pursue a life rooted in the gospel and nurtured through intentional fellowship and discipleship. A week or two later, Jason and I were meeting over coffee, telling each other our stories.

During one of Jamie’s routine weekend visits to Atlanta we decided to attend our first Christ Covenant service. The gathering was small and the worship was intimate and, to be honest, somewhat uncomfortable. We grew up in churches that were focused more on the production than the people. We were used to not being known and could easily slip in and out without drawing much attention. We weren’t sure we could handle this new level of intimacy and were ready to slip out again until we went to the nursery to pick up our kids. Jason and Shauna Byars had been working the nursery that night and our 6 month old was fast asleep in Shauna’s arms. The kids had a blast and we ended the night with a great conversation with a couple that made us feel like we were already part of the family. A week or two later, Jason and I were at lunch, telling each other our stories.

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As the summer approached, Jamie and the kids finally moved to Atlanta.  We knew God wanted us at Christ Covenant. We had never experienced a group of people who were so intentional in gathering together, growing in godliness, all with a mission of making disciples. In addition to serving on the hands team and the lounge we found the best place to get involved was inside a group. We started out at the Dees group on Tuesday evenings where we met amazing young singles and couples over dinner at Jason and Paige’s house. Soon after, Jamie and I were both able to get involved in separate men’s and women’s groups for focused studies on spiritual discipline, worship, and kingdom living. Lately, we’ve been growing in our understanding of systematic theology through the on-site community group on Sunday mornings before the service.

After over a year of growing in our faith through the gospel centered teaching of faithful members and staff as well as our own personal time in word and prayer, we began to realize the need to faithfully disciple others in our community in North Buckhead/Brookhaven. Shortly after we began to think through this, Blake Rogers approached us with the idea of pairing up with Matt and Nicole Nolan to lead a group.  We jumped at the opportunity because we knew Christ was opening up yet another door. Just a couple meetings in, our group is beginning to form its own vision statement centered on belonging, continued growth in godliness, vulnerability, and accountability. Two years ago I would have never imagined the beautiful journey that Christ has ushered us into with this wonderful church; an amazing community of believers living out his kingdom as he reigns supreme over all things. Whether it be a cup of coffee, an intentional lunch, or through leading a group, our hope and prayer is that every member of Christ Covenant becomes a kingdom ambassador.

StoriesGraham Thompson