On Sunday, we discussed how we are going to move forward at New Story since we have been growing so quickly. In case you weren’t able to be there (or just want to see it again), here is a brief summary of what we talked about:
When we began New Story Church, we wanted to reach out to those who had never been in church, or those who had been hurt by church. Just as importantly, we wanted to be a church that impacted our community in hands on ways that made a real difference. We believe we are doing these things with wonderful results.
Since we moved into our building 3 months ago, we have been very full. Over 80% of our chairs are used each week, with most weeks over 90%. Our classrooms are packed. Our NA meetings don’t have enough space. Our outreach to the area has been more than we ever could have imagined. We have created an incredibly diverse church in every way, where everyone is welcome, and where people can make a hands on difference in the community.
To be honest, we have grown much more quickly than ever imagined. It’s not that we didn’t trust God, it’s that it takes the average new church start 5 years to reach 100 in attendance. We have averaged well over that from the first Sunday in our building. So, our challenge has become how to take care of everyone coming to New Story, while still reaching outside the walls of our church and not violating any of our core values. In the Bible, we often see tough times for God’s people right after things go very well for them. This is almost always a result of them beginning to worship other gods, and forgetting to take care of the poor. So, as we move forward, we are going to take great care to make sure God is at the center of all that we do, and to make sure we are reaching out to the least, the last, and the lost.
How We’ll Proceed
In order to better serve our large worship attendance, at the end of this summer we will begin a second worship service. It will be at 5 p.m. on Sundays. There are a tremendous number of people who live around our church who have to work on Sunday mornings. Starting a service on Sunday afternoons will give these people a chance to come to worship. It might not help alleviate our space concerns as much as starting another service on Sunday mornings, but we believe it’s the direction God wants us to take. We won’t start the service until the end of the summer because it will be a large undertaking and we want to make sure New Story’s foundation is incredibly strong before we begin this new service. The new service will be even more laid back (if that’s possible) and will be incredible.
We are also going to begin finishing out the rest of our building to help us do even more outreach. We will do almost all of this work ourselves. Our hope is to finish out another huge classroom (for our children’s ministries, NA, and hopefully, future AA groups), add a unisex bathroom and shower (for our homeless ministries), and finish out the long room in the very back for 3 cool ministries: 1) A space to use for an overflow homeless shelter this winter, (2) some space for our youth group, and (3) a space where we can have a clothes and supplies closet. We are beginning a relationship with the battered women’s shelter and they have told us that when many of their women leave the shelter, they have nothing. The same is true for many of our friends from The Prodigals Community. How awesome will it be to tell people in this situation that in our church we have a place where they can come and get some of the things they need to have a fresh start?
While we could use the extra space immediately, we are going to take things slowly. We are not going to do any kind of official fundraising campaign to raise money for the building. We are hopeful that each of us will pray about what we can give to help us finish out more space and then give something. At New Story all we ever ask is that you pray about your giving. We will NEVER pressure anyone to give or try to make people feel guilty about their giving. That’s just not our style. We also need someone who will be in charge of this project. While we’ll have a contractor who will be guiding us every step of the way, we need someone on our end who will be in charge of supplies, work teams, etc. When God leads us to that person, we’ll know that we are ready to begin. Once we’re ready to start, we’ll keep finishing out more of the building as we raise funds. This will mean it will probably take us a good while to finish it out, but we’ll all be very proud of the building as we work on it together and make it incredible.
Missions and Outreach
As great as moving forward with a new service and finishing out more of the building are, we’re much more excited about how we’re going to continue reaching out to our community. We have decided that, for now, as a church, we are going to focus on four main missions areas throughout the year. This will let us focus our resources on making a real difference in our community while living out our core value of keeping things simple. Here are the four areas: 1) Every other month we will pack meals for the hungry. We are giving away a ton of meals each week, and this summer we believe we’ll give out a lot more to hungry kids who are home for the summer. One of the greatest things we can do for our community is feed those who are hungry. In the winter, we’ll pack hundreds of meals for the homeless. (2) On the months that we’re not packing meals, we’ll go out to the Prodigal Community and serve them dinner and worship with them. We love our relationship with the Prodigals and it’s a blessing to serve them. (3) We’ll have very active ministry to the homeless. This fall we’ll do another free dental clinic and this winter we’ll be an overflow homeless shelter again, and (4) as mentioned above, we’ll create and open a clothes and supplies closet for use by battered women and those in rehab when they are trying to make a fresh start. Through these four areas, we can help those who are in the most need in our community in a hands on way. This summer we are also planning on doing one day outreach events in some of the very poor apartment complexes around us. We’ll grill out, bring crafts and games for the kids, and have a huge party for people who are really struggling.
How You Can Play a Part
You can play a very important part in all of this. First, please pray for us. We wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for the prayers of thousands of people. Please pray for everyone who comes to the church, for those who are hurting in our community, for the band, for our leadership, for our volunteers, and for me as your pastor. Prayer is the lifeblood of everything that happens at New Story. Second, please think about using your gifts at New Story. Find one thing we do as a church that moves and excites you and volunteer in that area. Just one. We are adamant that no one at New Story will ever feel burned out by our church. We believe that God has given you great gifts that will help you deepen your relationship with God when you use them and will make a real difference in our church and our community. Third, please consider supporting our church financially. The financial support of lots of people enables us to do all the ministries that we do. We hope you’ll prayerfully consider supporting us financially in a way that is meaningful to you. If you’d like to support us online, you can donate right from our website.
God is doing incredible things through New Story Church. We know that with God’s continued blessings, the future is going to be even brighter. We thank you for all the ways, big and small, so many people have helped us. We welcome your ideas and feedback to these plans, so please feel free to contact us and let us know your thoughts.