12/17/08 — Father and son teaming up to build new church near Pikeville

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Father and son teaming up to build new church near Pikeville

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 17, 2008 1:46 PM

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Bill Showman, left and his son Justin, co-pastors of New covenant Church, go over plans for a worship service. The father-son worship team currently holds Sunday and Wednesday services in Justin's home but hopes as the numbers grow, to move into a church building.

Bill Showman believes in small beginnings.

He moved here with the military in 1980, where he met wife Paula, and the two have remained since his retirement.

He found his calling in the area of pastoral administration, starting churches from the ground up, sometimes with fewer than a dozen people.

"I like store-fronts, that's where I started," he said.

For a decade, it was his passion, watching the numbers grow and congregations of believers develop.

Then his life took a different direction.

"For two years I was on the shelf," he explained. "God put me on the shelf. There's a lot of mountains I kept going around and around until I finally got free."

The break proved beneficial. This past May, despite having grown impatient by the long pause in his ministry, he said he began to feel God's vision about starting a new church.

And at 56 years old, he hopes it will become a legacy for son Justin, 26, to carry on.

"Justin's licensed, I'm ordained," Showman said. "I have been a pastor of administration since 1998. Justin's new to being a pastor. But for five years we knew he had a call on his life."

The two recently joined forces to become co-pastors of New Covenant Church, a multicultural non-denominational church that meets at 10:30 a.m. Sundays and 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays.

"Our church will probably be on the far side, the western side of Wayne County," Showman said. "I feel there's a need in that area. That's why we chose to be toward Pikeville."

Currently, Justin is the main speaker while dad is church administrator.

The father/son concept appealed to them, as well as Evangel Fellowship International, which they aspire to become affiliated with.

"We're more than father/son. We're actually like brothers," Showman points out. "We get along better now than we ever have. Eventually Justin will also take over as spiritual authority of the church. I told him a long time ago I would be the administrator, or business manager."

Worship will be the cornerstone of the church, but Showman has goals for other programs and staff to be added -- which initially will include a worship and music leader.

For now, though, the first few months of the ministry are being spent working out the procedures, organizing an order of service and relying on word of mouth to help it grow.

In a region where churches pop up on every street corner, though, Showman is wary of causing anyone to leave their congregation for his.

"Justin has a saying I'll steal -- 'We don't steal sheep. We just grow grass,'" he said. "We teach the word of faith. We want to plant those people in that fertile soil and watch them grow."

And while Justin is quick to point out how "awesome" it is sharing pastoral duties with his dad, he is also keenly aware how daunting it is to build a church from nothing. Even though there may be evidence to the contrary.

"I found that Wayne County actually has the highest rate of churches per capita in the nation," he said. "The last thing this place needs is another church."

Despite that, this area still has problems -- homelessness and poverty, to name a few. So the need is definitely there if churches will take up the mantle.

Justin, however, says he and dad are not setting out to "just make another church."

Rather, he says, "I wanted to do something that this area has not seen before."

Measuring his words, he said it is likely that other churches have started with similar aspirations.

So what will make this venture different?

"It's going to be completely all about people," he said. "It's not going to be me and my dad trying to make a name for ourselves, none of that. You don't have to have your face on everything you do. God says (in the Bible) that He will reward you for the things you do in secret. ... I think if you really do things the way the Lord wants you to do them, you're going to benefit everyone around, not just yourself."

At the outset, it's pretty much bare bones.

"We don't have an office, we don't even have a building," Justin said. "We're meeting in my house."

Their efforts are geared more toward helping people discover their spiritual potential, Bill Showman said.

"My motto is, 'You have to walk by love before you walk by faith,'" he said. "If you don't love your brother or sister, or person on the street, then the faith doesn't work for you."

Besides, for him it has never been about the numbers, but rather the quality of the believers.

"I want to be able to do it so right and be the best that we can be for God, that God will let us reach the people that are on His heart," he said. "Of course, that's everybody that's not saved. But that's the people we want to reach, the people that are on God's heart."

He has faith that the God who led him and wife Paula, along with Justin and his wife Melissa, to found New Covenant Church, will provide for its growth.

"I'm pregnant with New Covenant Church and we're ready to give birth to the church so the community can see this as a happy, healthy, loving baby, a loving church," he said. "The way to see it is to come out and try us. Like the (movie) 'Field of Dreams' -- if we build it, they will come. If we worship God and show the love of God, they'll come.

"We're willing, no matter who comes through the door -- tattooed, prostitute, whatever walk of life comes through that door, we have to minister to them."

The church currently meets at 2459 Pikeville-Princeton Road in Pikeville. For more information, call 738-5696.