2023 Ministry Updates


Attendance & Assimilation

When you look around on Sundays have you noticed the many new visitors who continue to check out Church of the Saviour each week? We have continued to work toward improving and strengthening our process of both welcoming and assimilating new visitors so that they quickly feel connected to the COS family. Our assimilation process looks like this: When someone visits COS and fills out a connect card, they get at least two follow-up letters, including a warm welcome from Pastor Kevin and either a letter from Pastor Drew or a ministry-specific follow-up (kids ministry, women’s ministry, etc.). The letters provide important information about how to connect at COS. But even more effective are the relational connections that are made with real, warm-hearted people. Whenever you reach out and say hello and engage in conversation with someone new, that is the absolute best way to help people feel at home. Our First Impressions team, including greeters and ushers, does a fantastic job making visitors feel welcome. We also host a monthly "brunch and learn meet and greet," called, ‘Discover COS’, to introduce visitors to other new attenders as well as to staff, elders, and the many COS ministries. Two adjustments to DCOS that we made this last year included hosting this meeting after both the traditional and the modern service so that more visitors have an opportunity to attend. We also had DCOS every Sunday last August when we realized that many people experience life transition (School, Employment etc.) and move to the area and look for a church, toward the end of the summer. During the last 9 months, we have had 55 visitors learn more about COS by attending DCOS.

In a large church like ours we understand that it is easy for new visitors to fall between the cracks. The assimilation process encourages people to move into a community group. The sooner visitors connect with a group and make friends the more likely they are to feel that sense of belonging that is essential to participating in a process of discipleship. Last year COS had 37 community groups with roughly 357 participants. We have kept two groups open beyond the registration process so that those who miss the open enrollment period have a place to land relationally before the next open registration. We look forward to Wendy Walters giving our vital community group ministry more focused attention and leadership when she begins this fall. Finally, when COS really becomes home, regular attenders and participants in COS church life want to take the step of membership. We’ve been offering New Members Class twice a year on Saturday mornings for the last several years. However, we were getting a strong sense that we needed to offer the class more often to meet the needs of all of the new people now attending our church. In 2022 we officially moved from Post-Covid Zoom membership classes to completely in-person. In 2023, we started to experiment with offering the class on Sunday mornings as a 2-part class as another option to the Saturday classes in the spring and fall. Our ‘experimental’ Sunday morning class had 18 participants this past winter! This year we have welcomed 32 new members to COS! We plan to offer it again as a Sunday class this Summer 2023.

Worship Arts

We continue to thank God for the work He is doing in our lives as we pursue the whole-life practice of worship: loving Him with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. We rejoice in the spiritual growth we have seen within our staff, volunteer teams, and the community groups within our ministry.

We also rejoice in numerical growth we have seen in our attendance on Sundays with our weekly attendance growing by over 150 people throughout the year. (This increase was also reflected in attendance in our Kids Ministry and Adult Equipping classes.) We are thankful to God for bringing new volunteers to our music and A/V teams. We view serving as an important act of worship and are pleased that more of our body is engaged in this type of “rubber hits the road” kind of worship by serving on an inter-generational team that supports our Sunday services.

You may have noticed the occasional intermixing of musicians and vocalists between our services. We have a high value on unity in our ministry and recognize that it always takes work to achieve it. It’s a joy for us when we can set our musical preferences aside and serve the Lord together. You may have also noticed the addition of more acapella moments as we sing on Sundays. We have been intentional about this, wanting to create a balance between big moments in the music and clearly hearing the beauty of our voices lifted together in worship to our worthy God.

Our team is active not only on Sunday mornings but also throughout the week and the year, creating and supporting opportunities to praise our Savior. This year we specifically focused on building opportunities for the next generation to be musically and spiritually equipped. In the Kids Ministry, we began a new type of children’s choir with a sharp focus on singing and musical training. They sang at our choral advent concert in December and will sing again this June! In our Student Ministry we got the student worship band back up and running. A dedicated group of about ten student musicians has faithfully attended Wednesday afternoon rehearsals before youth group and has led their peers in worship twice this year.

We also focused on tapping into the creative gifts of many of you! We have so many talented people in our congregation. We wanted to have a night to worship God through original praise. We put out the word to those songwriters, poets, painters, photographers, etc. to come and share their gifts, and we’ve had two amazing evenings, simply called CREATIVE, where our sanctuary was filled with beauty, and God was worshiped through original art as well as through many of the familiar songs and scriptures.
As we look ahead, we’re excited to engage with the 2023-2024 vision of “Daring Greatly” to see God continue to transform lives as we generously use our time and talents to serve Him. We’re looking for ways to expand the reach of the Christmas concerts and CREATIVE nights and to partner with our outreach ministries to reach the nations. We feel that God has placed it on our hearts to go deeper with our volunteer teams on what Biblical corporate worship looks like on a practical level. We hope to continue to bring our best as we serve him on Sundays and beyond. Above all, our prayer for this next year is that God receives more worship from us and from this awesome community He has placed us in. It is a great privilege of serving the Lord with you.

Local Outreach

We are so excited to share our 2023 ministry updates with you! We will continue to update this page, so make sure to come back to see all that God has done at and through COS!

Global Outreach

Welcome Haig

Haig Shishmanian – Joined our team on May 8th as our new director of Global Outreach. Haig, his wife Natalie, and their 10-month-old son Isaac, moved to Pennsylvania from California. Haig has begun meeting with his Missions Leadership Team (formerly called GOCT) and during the next months will begin to get acquainted with our global partners by having several zoom meetings. We thank the Lord for answering our prayers and sending the Shishmanian family to COS. Please keep them in your prayers as they adjust and settle into their new life on the east coast. 

Afghan Resettlement

As a church and Mission Leadership team, we have been praying that God would show us the unreached people group where we should focus our ministry. God answered by divinely directing our plans and world affairs, leading us to the Hazara people. Since November 2021, two Afghan resettlement teams, primarily formed by COS members, have resettled five single women and helped reunite and resettle a family of seven. Miraculously, every Afghan directed to the resettlement teams has been from a single persecuted Afghan ethnic minority people group, the Hazara.

In April of 2022, our church was encouraged to pray for Muslims around the world during Ramadan, following the "30 Days of Prayer" guide. On day 1, we prayed for Afghans. At the conclusion of Ramadan, a resettlement team celebrated Eid holiday dinner (the "Festival of the Breaking of the Fast" after Ramadan) with our first resettled friend. She shared that she had a dream that one of our team would "adopt a young Afghan girl." That challenged us to pray for opportunities to become spiritual parents...possibly to more Afghans that would come to the Philadelphia area. In June, two more Afghan women arrived and were hosted by COS families. One was resettled with former coworkers in West Philadelphia. And one was an 18-year-old unaccompanied teen, who was "fostered" by a COS family until her sister's arrival and their resettlement in Ardmore. Through resettlement, we have become a tight knit community, like a family. We can extend Christ's love by holistically meeting physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. It is exciting to see God’s hand at work. Everyone that we have helped resettle is now employed and completely independent! Currently there is another family of five that we are considering assisting in resettlement over the next few months.

What is also very exciting is that God's divine direction in the lives of these Afghans and our resettlement teams has brought us to a missions focus point. We believe that the Lord is leading COS to strategically invest in sharing Christ’s love with the Hazara people through resettlement. As a result of ethnic and religious persecution in Afghanistan, God is bringing them to the Philadelphia area where they are very receptive to us and to the Lord!

Conversational English Classes

Conversational English classes take place from September to November every Fall and February to April every Spring weekly on Saturday mornings. In Fall 2022, there were 79 ESL students registered. In Spring 2023, there were 64 students registered. This was also the period of time when we were in the search process for our new missions director. Therefore, All ESL classes this year were totally operated by our amazing team of 17 dedicated, hardworking volunteers with wonderful support from our ministry coordinator, Katarina skipper. It is amazing to think about 143 people seeking to learn English coming to church of the Saviour each week for education….and at the same time building friendships with Christians and experiencing the love of Christ!

Kids Ministry

Our Kids' ministry team is blessed to work with all our kids and their families in our church and community. We get to love our kids every week, during Sunday School, at AWANA on Tuesdays, and our yearly events & summer camps! Their energy, curiosity, and enthusiasm can be contagious!

Kids are vital to our Lord Jesus (Matthew 19:14), and they are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3)! At COS, we teach and show His unconditional love to the "little" ones and teach them from a young age His ways and His path for their lives. Kids ministry is not babysitting or childcare. Kids are most receptive to the Gospel, as statistics tell us that up to 80% of people come to Christ as a child (Barna Group). According to Barna, our worldview is established between the ages of 18 months to 13 years, so it is a high priority to build a biblical worldview into their lives from a young age. We often call children the next generation, but kids ministry can come alongside our families to equip children to see their life's calling and make a difference now!

We are excited to see our families back at COS, and our numbers have almost doubled since we opened in May 2021 in Sunday School, AWANA, and summer camps!

Sunday School

Our Sunday School classes are getting back to pre-Covid numbers during the 9:00 am and 10:30 am worship services.


Our AWANA program started with 45 students in the fall of 2022 and finished successfully on May 2, 2023, with 95 students!

Vacation Bible School

Our Vacation Bible School, new this year, combines our students from nursery to elementary and is already full! 

Adventure Camp

Our Adventure camp has always been detrimental to changing kids’ lives and continues to do so in the campers and the teenagers who serve during the camp week.


We welcome you to join our volunteer team as we build our ministry back from COVID. We pray that the values we instill in them will remain forever and encourage them to be tomorrow's leaders!

Our goal for 2023 is to continue reaching and serving the families in our church and our community in Christ Jesus!

Student Ministry

Highlights for Student Ministry in 2022-2023

In the student ministry we seek to develop healthy individuals committed to following Christ, for life! After a long season of instability and difficult changes, this past year called for a focused and intentional restructuring of the student ministry to reflect the current culture, needs, and realities and our students. God has been faithful to move within our midst and we’ve experience a multitude of blessings that would be impossible to capture in a few paragraphs, but here are a few of the greatest highlights from this past year.

Sunday Youth

On Sundays the students gather in C200 from 9:00 to 10:15 am. Though we spend a few minutes fellowshipping and playing games, the main focus of the morning is biblical teaching. In the fall we studied the Book of Acts. As we considered how the first generation of Christians were figuring out how to put Jesus’ teachings into actions, we too discussed how Jesus’ mission and message should be lived out in this next generation. In January, we launched a series on Song of Songs that focused on healthy relationships and God’s good design for marriage and family. After that, we had a short series on Deconstructionism and how to approach our doubts and questions without losing our faith and seeing it as an opportunity to strengthen our faith. As we wrap up the school year with a study of the parables, we are reimaging Jesus’ parables through the lens of what they say about his identity and his mission. These weekly meetings are helping equip the students to engage and interpret the scriptures while also learning relevant lessons that can be applied to their everyday lives.

Small Groups

On Wednesdays the students meet in the gym from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Small groups is the biggest transition we made in student ministry, and it has proved the most fruitful. Prior to the Fall, the middle and high schoolers met on separate nights. Now, they meet altogether for a brief time of fellowship and games before heading off to small groups based on age and gender. During small groups, students are mentored by adult leaders, develop deeper friendships, open up about what’s going on in life, and most importantly, dive deeper into the significance of Sunday’s message. On special Wednesdays, we take a break from the regular routine and having small group “family nights” where small groups choose a fun activity to do together, usually off campus. Additionally, some Wednesday nights we have “Block Parties” or “Faith In Action” nights!

Outreach & Service

About once every 6 weeks we throw an outreach focused Block Party in place of small groups on Wednesday night. These special themed nights help students bond together across small groups, and it’s a great way to invite new friends to visit for the first time. Some of our most fun Block Parties include the “COS Open” (a make-your-own mini golf course competition), Café Night (complete with a *decaf* coffee bar and open mic night), Game-Show Show-Down, and Live Clue! Each Block Party ends with a time of worship and a gospel invitation.

Summer Highlights

There is nothing like student ministry in the summer, and summer 2022 was no exception! We welcomed two all-star interns, Luke & Anna, onto the team, and we spent the summer “traveling” around from one host house to the next for our weekly gatherings. We added “LEAD Lunches,” which happened every day after the two kids camps (Little Bear + C-Camp). Students enjoyed a lunch and afterwards were equipped with various leadership development lessons and skills. We also had two missions trips. The middle schoolers served with Barnabas Transformation Center (Pastor Luis Centeno) in Kensington, and the high schoolers served in Kansas City with a variety of organizations that are serving the refugee population. We closed out our summer with a bang at Adventure Camp where many students served as counselors, sharing the love and light of Jesus Christ. During our final Traveling Youth Group of the summer we celebrated by dressing to the nines, having a “fancy” meal of Chick Fil A, and praising God for all the ways he blessed us. We are looking forward to another summer of growth, fellowship, and fun – and we are beyond excited to welcome back Luke & Anna as our interns!

Womens Ministry

Worth It

‘Worth It’ is a recovery and healing ministry geared toward women who are survivors of the sex trafficking underworld. Local churches host classes where the women receive valuable information, tools and biblical truths to help them heal from their trauma. We began hosting in September 2021 and this year we hosted two classes. - Spring 2022 had 8 Graduates and Fall 2022 had 10 Graduates. What an honor it is to serve these women on our campus.

Prayer Against Trafficking

Twenty-one million people are victims of human trafficking worldwide! Prayer against trafficking began with a small but mighty prayer team of women in late 2020.  This team has consistently met to prayer against trafficking and the sexual exploitation of the vulnerable.  They meet on the third Thursday of every month throughout the year on zoom.  Our women who serve as volunteers in prayer and action are the bedrock of our ministry to those who have been trafficked. COS has a small but important role in helping fight against the modern-day slavery of women, men and children around the world.

Simply Still

‘Simply Still’ was the women’s Christmas outreach event and it was truly an outreach event this year. More than 150 women attended, and many were invited by women from COS. Tamara Crump gave an inspiring talk that reached everyone’s heart. We were also especially excited to welcome three of our friends who had graduated from the Worth it program attend, along with others from the community. 

Global Outreach

In collaboration with our Global outreach team the women’s ministry hosted two local missions’ experiences.  There was a Hindu event last July and a Muslim event last August. Both events were designed to build confidence and develop skills to engage with those in our neighborhoods and communities. 

Afghan Community Day

More than 74,000 Afghans have been resettled in the United States during the last 18 months. Over 700 Afghans have been resettled in the Philadelphia area. Women’s ministry partnered with Global Outreach and Student ministry to host an Afghan community day outreach in NE Philadelphia. Many of our resettled friends came to enjoy friendship, food, exchange information and fellowship with one another. 

Leadership Transition

Back in November Deneen McDonald let us know that she was leaving her women’s director role to enable her to work part time to travel with her husband and spend more time with their daughters in Florida. We expressed gratitude to Deneen for her crucial role in providing godly leadership and raising up godly leadership to women (and men) during her 5 years in the role.

As part of our leadership transition the executive team of COS (Kevin, Drew, Rachel) met with 20 of our volunteer women’s ministry leaders as a ‘think tank’ to receive input into the role of women’s director prior to the hiring process. The input and feedback were pivotal for us in discerning the next director. It was very clear that all of our volunteers are extremely committed to the Lord and also COS! As a result of that process, we spent the next five months praying and looking through applications and interviewing candidates until we settled on the one that we sensed most strongly was God’s choice for COS!

Wendy Walters is our new women’s ministry director and our congregation, elders, staff, women’s ministry volunteer leaders are all unanimously thrilled. Wendy is a beloved and well-respected member of COS. She begins her new role part time June 5 and then will begin to serve full time the end of August!

Family Ministries

Together Won

Together Won is a community group for young adults (18+) with special needs. A lot of special needs programs end by the time the individual graduate’s high school. Our desire is to fill the gap that serves this population of young adults after they graduate high school. Together Won had an amazing year. To list a few events, we had a talent show, movie night, BBQ night, game night, trips to Handles’ ice cream, a Phillies game, and a trip to Sight and Sound theater. This year we focused on our parents and caregivers by creating a new space where we hosted topical discussions, Bible study, and guest speakers. (The topics were self-care and employment.)

Heritage School

Heritage School began its ministry in 1980 to transform families in the community through Jesus Christ. In May 2023, we celebrate God's goodness to our students, families, and staff as we finish our 42nd year of school!

Heritage School's vision is to provide an exceptional Christian Early Childhood Program that is designed to foster friendships, encouragement, growth opportunities, and support services for parents through Church of the Saviour and the professional community. Our teachers and aides are committed to teaching as stated in Deuteronomy 32:2, “Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” As a staff, we believe we need to reflect God’s concern for individuals by building a loving relationship with each child and by presenting the love of Jesus at an age-appropriate level.

This year, we are working toward both DHS and ACSI certifications, which we hope will continue to promote Heritage School as a great place for children and families in our community. We are also working to hire several qualified aides and teachers to fill positions for the fall. We are praying that God brings us the students and staff that He has planned for us for the 2023-2024 school year.

Care Ministries

The Care Ministries at Church of the Saviour are a suite of ministries that exists to walk with those within the congregation or the community through life’s difficulties, challenges, or transitions. It is our desire to offer care in ways that touch hurting lives and to encourage them in love to deepen their relationship with God and others.

Our volunteers provide confidential, Christ-centered, and compassionate care.

Across the seven ministries below, we have over 40 volunteers with a combined 1000+ hours of training. In the past year the care ministries have been the hands and feet of Christ to more than 150 people needing care in multiple capacities.

Celebrate Recovery

No one has the ability, nor should they attempt to face their hurts on their own. Celebrate Recovery is a beautiful community of strugglers that courageously enter this safe and beautiful space to get honest about our pain, and the negative ways we may see ourselves, God and others. Celebrate recovery is a national program that is a biblically balanced approach to help bring sustainable recovery and healing to our hurts. It guides us toward new healthy truths and life-giving habits as we repair our broken relationships.


Our skilled professional counseling team helps assess and connect those who are struggling to trusted, local, licensed Christian counselors.


The #1 divorce recovery program in the world, DivorceCare is a national program that has been helping individuals recover from and through the pain of divorce. DivorceCare’s life-changing support groups welcome people and guide them on the path of recovery after separation or divorce. Over 1 million people have found comfort and hope through this 13-week, video-based series.

Financial Management

If you want real and lasting financial peace in your life, Financial Peace University (FPU) is for you! Through motivating and humorous presentations based on Biblical principles and practical methods, you will learn how to successfully manage your finances. FPU is for everyone – young adults, married or single adults, seniors and teens, regardless of whether you are financially secure, just starting out or financially distressed.


Do you know someone suffering from the loss of a loved one? GriefShare is a 13-week seminar and support group designed to help you rebuild your life after losing a loved one or close friend. This national, Christ-centered program helps people apply biblical principles as they deal with the emotions and life stresses following the death of a loved one. Here you'll find a safe place to heal from your loss with others who understand what you are going through.

Stephen Ministry

Stephen Ministry provides high-quality, one-to-one, Christ-centered care to people in the congregation and the community experiencing life difficulties. Our Stephen Ministers go through extensive training in order to walk with others in a meaningful and encouraging way, while helping people grow in their faith.

Our COS Stephen Ministry is one of more than 13,000 congregations across the U.S. and Canada and in 30 other countries.


Our visitation team is a group of individuals that are always on the lookout for the sick, injured, homebound, or simply need encouragement. This wonderful team checks on, visits, and encourages our members who are unable to participate in corporate church life.


The Love-in-Action (LIA) fund, managed by the Deacons, helps to meet emergency and/or short-term financial needs. In keeping with Galatians 6:10, “Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers,” priority is given first to COS members and attenders, and then to individuals outside of the COS body. And all assistance is kept under strict confidentiality.

Also, when appropriate and in keeping with the spirit of the LIA guidelines, one-time disaster and year-end emergency relief has been provided to select organizations in the Delaware Valley.

Over the past 18 months, the LIA fund has assisted nearly 70 families, including one family who struggled to find steady employment and then unexpectedly needed to relocate. Assistance included initial rental costs, emergency bills, and counseling. LIA has also provided crisis assistance to local organizations. Assistance was provided to an African American church in downtown Coatesville that suffered significant damage from tropical storm Ida (pictures below); to a group of Ukrainian refugees soon after the Russian invasion; to Frederick Douglass Christian School in Chester to cover payroll and essential utilities; and to Worthwhile Wear to support survivors of human trafficking. (In addition to LIA support, several other COS ministries support Worthwhile Wear by collecting items for their rescue homes, hosting their Worth It program, and serving in their thrift store.)

Also, every Christmas the Love-in-Action fund supports the Adopt-A-Child program, which provides monetary assistance to qualifying parents, primarily from COS and also from the community, to help them provide Christmas gifts for each child.

Contributions to the Love-in-Action fund provide tangible, timely demonstrations of God's love and grace to many in need!



In the past, the DVF has provided support to seven church plants over the years, including City Line Church, Jason Guynes and New Church Initiatives, Providence Church, Real Life Church, Project 938, Liberti Church, and Christ the King Church. Please continue to pray for these churches and for new opportunities to plant the Gospel in communities in our region!

The DVF recently began supporting and blessing City Reach Church – Kensington church plant with $50,000 that will be distributed over three years, dependent on positive annual reviews. Among other things, these funds will allow for an HVAC system, restrooms, and a ramp into the church to make the space ready for worship services and church activities.

The FLT prayerfully and thoughtfully considered this request through the application process which included an initial exploratory conversation, written application with supplemental materials, and a site visit to City Reach Church and the Kensington church plant on January 22, 2023. At our January visit, three members of the FLT visited the main City Reach campus for worship and two went on to visit the Kensington site, during this time we saw the facilities and met the pastors and staff.
Pastor Mark Novales of City Reach says this in his application, “Our church has felt the call of God to return to the area where many of our church members were raised. The 19133-zip code is the second poorest in the state of Pennsylvania. We planted our church in the Lower Northeast part of Philadelphia in 2013 at Northeast high school. Two years later we moved to the Tacony section of the city where we purchased a historic theater and have become an anchor church in the community. We have impacted our community in ways they had never experienced in the past. We have been able to host block parties, provide meals and essentials, prayer walks, and many more outreach events. We now believe the Lord is calling us to plant a church in the East Kensington area of the city.”

Here are some general thoughts about City Reach Church and its Kensington church plant from the FLT:
  • The church is an independent sovereign church; however, the Pastor is credentialed with the Assemblies of God denomination.
  • There are women pastors, although the lead pastors are men. The pastors are married teams, and their children are serving on staff in varying positions. The FLT and elders acknowledge that COS does not share this position with women pastors, and we expect that we will have differing doctrinal positions on secondary issues such as this one, with those we support.
  • The worship style is emotive and differs from the style at COS. However, this will likely be a good way to reach the demographic in Kensington. And from what we saw during the City Reach service at the Torresdale campus, the emotional approach during singing is then followed by solid, practical teaching.
  • City Reach has experienced solid growth – the most recent new members class brought 17 people in as members, and this is typical growth monthly.
  • The Kensington church plant is not just a pipe dream; City Reach has a building which has already been partially renovated. They have the staff to start the church and key volunteers who are familiar with the people in the Kensington area and their needs.
  • The City Reach church attendees have just pledged $80,000+ to the Kensington church plant.

The neighborhood around this church is known for its easy access to illegal drugs on the streets, homelessness/poverty, and danger of violence. City Reach is partnering with three other ministries with plans to help in this area: Convoy of Hope, Small Things and Philadelphia Gospel Movement. City Reach said that they feel it is their first mission to minister to the community, which includes the local businesses and the neighbors impacted by the poverty, drugs, and violence on the streets.

The FLT has thoroughly evaluated and discussed the proposal at two in person meetings, one on August 15, 2022, and another on February 2, 2023. There is unanimous agreement from the FLT and elders to fund this specific project.


The KGF was formed by substantial gifts from two members of COS more than twenty years ago. The COS Board of Elders sets the terms for the fund and has focused the distributions on new or expanding ministries of COS. The fund maintains a minimum principal amount that is increased annually by 3% to preserve the purchasing power of the distributions. Only investment earnings are available for distribution, as has been the case in the past. The Faith in Context speaker series was funded by a grant from the KGF this year. The KGF has a current balance of ~$1,800,000. Earnings on this investment vary, and, as a result, the annual amounts available for distribution vary as well.