We are a growing family
"One Church, Two Locations"
You’re going to need a lot of elbow room
for your growing family.
You’re going to take over whole nations;
you’re going to resettle abandoned cities.
Pastor Bill has been a spiritual son of Bishop Joseph Garlington for over 18 years. This included being sent out from Covenant Church of Pittsburgh to found Oasis City Church in Westerville, Ohio. Oasis City Church has become a thriving local church body impacting Central Ohio and providing a platform for Pastor Bill’s growing apostolic influence nationally and internationally. Bishop Garlington has been praying for a successor to lead Covenant Church of Pittsburgh into the future. Numerous prophecies have been given to both Bill and Bishop as well as both Oasis City Church and Covenant Church of Pittsburgh that have pointed to this being God’s plan. Multiple advisors have been included for wisdom and guidance who have also affirmed this.
Covenant Church of Pittsburgh and Oasis City Church are both apostolic churches that exist to build and expand the Kingdom of God in the United States and abroad. We believe the “one church, two locations” model is moving in the direction of our vision for a multiplicity of locations – whether planting new churches or adopting existing ones – as the Lord leads. Bishop Joseph Garlington and Pastors Bill & Lynne Themelaras, and Pastors Adam & Tara Stewart (co-founders of Oasis City) share a unique history with Covenant Church of Pittsburgh, and Oasis City Church, and we believe this is part of God’s plan.
Multiplication is a biblical imperative. We are multiplying. We are becoming one church in two locations. Our family is growing and God’s Kingdom is expanding in two churches, two cities, and two states under a unified apostolic vision.
Pastor Bill will share his time and the pulpit between these two locations.
Pastor Bill will remain the Senior, Apostolic Leader of Oasis City Church as well as the Senior Pastor of Covenant Church of Pittsburgh. Pastor Adam Stewart has recently been commissioned as the Campus Pastor of Oasis City Church and will assume more local responsibilities to care for the staff and congregation. Under Pastor Bill’s leadership both churches have mature leadership teams in place to care for both congregations in each of their respective locations.
The Elders of Covenant Church of Pittsburgh are being organized and equipped to fulfill many of the pastoral needs of the congregation. Pastor Bill with the support of the Senior Associate Pastor,and others share responsibilitiesfor equipping the Elders to shoulder the work of the ministry and caring for the church.
Both churches will maintain their current structure regarding finances. As we continue to move towards the model of “one church, two locations” we will take the appropriate measures of accountability and financial management to maintain and achieve financial integrity. The Board of Directors for each church oversees this process.
Both churches have budgets to manage this plan. They will share in any responsibilities to maintain staff and ministry expenses. Neither church is assuming undue liabilities. Both churches will continue managing their own operations cost, missions goals, and financial integrity within their own congregations.
Actually, most things week-to-week will not change dramatically. Except for Pastor Bill’s preaching schedule, some will only see that the change will feel more like an expansion of our family. Both churches will realize that they have family in neighboring states and cities. We will be moving towards the vision of “one church, two locations” and celebrate this expansion. Both churches will be blessed by one another’s resources and strengths.
Beginning April 1, 2021 Pastor Bill became the Senior Pastor of Covenant Church of Pittsburgh. The overarching goal of becoming “one church, two locations” will take time and the plan is proving to be successful over the past two years.
Bishop Garlington has had a renown ministry to the nations for over 45 years. At the age of 83 it is timely for him to assign the leadership of Covenant Church of Pittsburgh to one of his spiritual sons. He will remain as a guiding hand at the leadership level and continue ministering as schedule and opportunity and energy allow.
Yes! The goal for both churches is to have local pastoral leadership to cover the congregations. Pastor Bill’s plan is to raise up and strengthen the existing pastoral teams in both locations. Oasis City Church is blessed to already have Pastor Adam Stewart who has recently become the Campus Pastor of Oasis City Church. Covenant Church of Pittsburgh has long standing pastoral teams in place as well and Pastor Bill’s desire is to appoint specific leadership in both locations. This may take some time to reorganize and rebuild, and we trust God to guide this process.
Not at this time. Covenant Church Of Pittsburgh has a rich 40 year history with significant name recognition that will be important through the initial transition period. We are moving towards “one church, two locations” and are open to what God has in mind in the future.
Apostles build. Apostles send. Apostles are spiritual fathers. They are uniquely gifted at awakening people to discover who they are and helping them reach their potential. They build hubs and systems that are centers for God’s presence and for extending the Kingdom both inside and outside of the church. As both Covenant Church of Pittsburgh and Oasis City Church expand, Bill’s apostolic influence will increase accordingly to cover multiple locations.
Pastor Lynne Themelaras will help to establish Restore Ministry at Covenant Church of Pittsburgh. The Restore inner-healing ministries is a model that will integrate well into a consistent number of ministry opportunities for both locations. We look to implement more at Covenant Church of Pittsburgh in 2023 and beyond.
Bishop Garlington and Pastor Barbara Garlington are the founding Pastors of Covenant Church of Pittsburgh. Bishop Garlington is presently the presiding Bishop over all Reconciliation! Ministries International (RMI) churches, of which both Covenant Church of Pittsburgh and Oasis City Church are members. He will remain very visible and continue functioning as the Presiding Bishop of Covenant Church of Pittsburgh and RMI.
Oasis City Church Board Of Directors Statement
The Oasis City Church Board of Directors is excited about the expansion opportunity that we’re calling “Growing Family.” This union will empower a dynamic extension of the Kingdom here in Central Ohio and in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Through months of vision-casting, prayer, confirming prophetic words, and discerning discussions between key leadership in both churches, we are blessed to announce the pursuit of becoming one church with two locations –Oasis City Church and Covenant Church of Pittsburgh.
Pastor Bill Themelaras, a spiritual son of Covenant Church, has served as visionary church planter and, since its founding in 2012, the Lead Pastor of Oasis City. As part of the joining of ministries, Pastor Bill will expand his sphere of responsibilities to include the oversight as Senior Pastor of Covenant Church as of April 1, 2021.
We believe this transition will serve as a catalyst for greater ministry from and for both communities as this is in full agreement with the Apostolic calling on Pastor Bill’s life. Moreover, it is a realization of the oft-prophesied extending of the ministry, favor, and influence of Oasis City Church. Pastor Bill, along with his wife, Pastor Lynne, will share time in both cities to extend apostolic leadership and pastoral insights focused on building strong local pastoral care. This will call both churches to a new season of raising up and empowering local leadership to greater levels of anointing and responsibility. Most things week-to-week will not change dramatically. Except for Pastor Bill’s preaching schedule, some will only see that the change will feel more like an expansion of our family. Both churches will be blessed by one another’s resources and strengths.
We, the Board of Directors of Oasis City Church, extend our hearts and hands to this effort to see the Kingdom magnified in this unifying way. “Growing Family” captures the vision for God’s expansion plans as we continue to follow the leading of Holy Spirit, ever forward!