Why a Small Church Choir in Dallas Is Winning Praise — and Maybe a Soul Or Two — in Spain

This is a tale of a small church from Dallas that's heading across the Atlantic Ocean to spread the gospel - through music.Oh, sure, the New Covenant Christian Fellowship Church choir has done this before.And because the chorale was so impressive last year, turning heads and converting souls with their Scripture-inspired lyrics, the gospel singers are being invited back to Spain - this time to help mark the 500-year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation."This choir will sing for the Baptist Union of Spain" and other groups in three cities, said Roy Cotton, director of African American Ministries for the Texas Baptists, aka the General Baptist Convention of Texas. "This is a big thing in Europe."It's a big thing for New Covenant, too, which is why its choir, band and other church leaders are paying the bulk of the 10-day mission trip - to the tune of about $2,600 apiece -- out of their own pockets."They are making a major sacrifice," said Josue Valerio, director of team missions for the Texas Baptists. "That is very admirable for a small church. ... For me, that is a good picture of what church should be."New Covenant isn't, by any measure, one of the colossal houses of worship for which Texas is known.Its senior pastor, Andre Byrd Sr., bills the nondenominational church in Oak Cliff's Red Bird area as "a force, not just a destination."Its congregation is just at 600 "active" members - "that includes children, dogs and babies," says Byrd.And it sits directly across the street from one of Dallas' best-known mega-churches, Friendship West Baptist Church, which boasts 12,000 members and a senior pastor, Dr. Freddy Haynes, who makes headlines for his social activism.New Covenant and its 51-year-old pastor is the new kid on the block.  Continue reading...

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