Bob Petterson became the senior pastor of Covenant in the fall of 2002. He and his wife, Joyce, moved to Naples from New York City, where he was the East Coast President of Mastermedia International, a ministry to film and television executives in Hollywood and New York City. Bob earned his Masters of Divinity degree from Covenant Theological Seminary in 1974 and received his doctorate from Fuller Seminary in 1985. He has previously served as the Pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Tulsa, Oklahoma from 1974-1993 and later at Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Houston, Texas till 2000. Of his calling to come to Covenant Church, Bob says:
"On my first visit to Naples, I fell in love with the beauty of this paradise by the gulf, and sensed a deep call from God to bring his wonderful grace to the rich diversity of people who make up the mosaic of Southwest Florida. I have a particular passion to reach the next generation by connecting young people to deep relationships with the wealth of life experience from so many wonderful mature people here in Naples. I believe that the world life view of a gospel rooted in the Protestant Reformation is the best hope for generations yet to come."
When asked to explain the mission/vision of Covenant Church in his own words, Bob had this to say:
"There is an infinite gulf between people and God and a great gulf between people. Often churches are content to be islands, disconnected from the community. I believe that God has called his people to get off the island and live lives of irresistible influence before a watching world. In short, we are called to bridge the gulf, one heart at a time. Church does not take place on ecclesiastical islands. We gather at the sanctuary to worship together and be equipped to do real "church" in the community. In the words of St. Johns gospel, "Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory" In the same way, people behold the glory of Christ when Christians live his life among people who might never darken the doorway of a church."
Bobs Personal Testimony:
"I committed my life to Christ at a Campus Crusade meeting at Seattle Pacific University. From that moment on, I knew that I was called to give my life to fulltime ministry. A few months later I fell head-over-heels in love with a young woman who had an assigned seat next to me in chapel. It wasnt long before I knew that we were soul mates. Later, we became part of a popular folk rock band in the Pacific Northwest, and began to do youth ministry in a large independent church. After three years as a youth pastor, Joyce and I left Seattle for Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. We began our first pastorate in a small Presbyterian church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Those nineteen years were happy and productive as the church and the Pettersons grew. We later moved to Houston to pastor an Evangelical Presbyterian church. There we began a ministry to media people that later led us to New York City where we worked with film and television executives in both Hollywood and New York. After a rewarding time there, the Lord led us to Naples, Florida."
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.
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