NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Covenant Church sign on University Drive shows passers by the building once used to satisfy appetites is now for saving souls.
"We're fishers of men now. We don't serve seafood, but we still are interested in fish," commented Susan Pate, pastor at the church. She stands in front of etched glass that hung in the former seafood restaurant.
Pastors Jan and Susan Pate are inviting residents of all faiths to worship with them on Saturday nights. Sunday and Wednesday night services are led by their son. "We're in covenant with Churches In Covenant which is out of Carrollton, Texas which is actually a megachurch, but rather than just continue to build larger churches the concept came to build one church with many campuses," explained Susan.
But the real pattern for covenant church of Nacogdoches is the 47 year old church founded by Pastor Jan's father in Rusk, a church Jan continues to lead each Sunday morning.
"We have Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, Church of Christ. We have every denomination represented there in that sanctuary," said Jan. "People say, ' how do you do it?' well, we have something in common. What is that? We have the Bible."
The pate's were welcomed to the community with a chamber ribbon cutting. To express their gratitude the Pates conducted an open house and handed out free copies of their newest recording. The Pate family, including their grown children, record praise music. They devote most of their time now to preaching the gospel.
"We have a full blown worship on Saturday nights. We don't want to take people away from the church where they're accustomed to worshipping. At the community service we clap our hands and have lots of music," explained Susan.
The pastors lead the Saturday worship services beginning at 6:45. The 10:30 Sunday morning worship is led by their son. Bible studies are conducted on Wednesday.
Covenant Church created a blessing for Nacogdoches right away. It was achieved with a can of paint.
"Yes, it was what people called a big building that looked like a Cheeto," said Jan. The building was painted the color when it became a Mexican restaurant.
"The blessing we gave this town and everybody asked me, ' Are you going to repaint it?'. Absolutely! And so we repainted it just like that," said Jan while holding a paint roller for fun.
The change inside and out is worth singing about, something the Pates emphasize in their praise worship services.
The couple finish singing a heartfelt praise song. When completed, Jan exclaims, "Wow,that's the sound you get."
You can learn more about the ministry at www.janpateministries.org