Let’s be honest. In our brief existence as a church, God has blessed us more than we could have ever imagined and more than we could ever deserve. Just look at at few of the things God has done through New Story Church:
- We now have 2 campuses where well over 300 people a week come to worship.
- In the winter months we run a homeless shelter in our church that houses up to 20 people a night and serves 2,000 meals.
- Between our two campuses, we serve over 250 meals a week, many to hungry kids.
- We run a recovery house where up to 12 guys live as they take positive steps in recovery.
- Our children’s ministries are growing quickly and we have started a great youth group.
We could go on and on, but the point is, God is really blessing us. But here’s the question…Do we think God is finished with us? That God has nothing more in store for us? That the blessings are used up?
I sure don’t think so. I think our best days are ahead of us – that the things God has in store for New Story Church in the future are beyond anything we can ever dream.
But there’s a challenge…I also believe that we are doing as much as we possibly can right now with the resources we have and without burning people out. We’ve been sprinting for a long time, but even sprinters need time to catch their breath, to rehydrate, and to continue training. It’s not different for us a church. For us to go “higher”, we first have to go “deeper”. To put it in biblical terms, we have to make sure our church is anchored to the Rock, so when tough times come, we don’t wash away.
So, the leaders of our church, after much discussion and prayer, have decided that 2016, God willing, is going to be a year where we focus on going deeper. (Wow, there are a lot of commas in that last sentence!) This doesn’t mean we won’t keep doing all the awesome outreach ministries we are already doing. It means that we aren’t going to start any new large projects, campuses, or ministries in 2016. (Caveat: If God makes it clear in 2016 that we need to start something big and new, we will absolutely do that. God is the one who leads our church.)
Given this, here’s where we believe God is leading us for the rest of this year and in 2016:
We believe that going deeper spiritually is the key to our being ready for whatever God may bring our way in the future. We have to make sure we are always being filled spiritually in order for us to feed others spiritually. Here’s how we plan to do it:
- We’re going have a strong focus on prayer. We have new prayer cards to take home for use during the week and ones to use at church to help us prepare for our services.
- We’re going to start some awesome classes on how to lead a more spiritual life.
- We’re also going to have more Bible studies – some for those who are newer to the faith and some for those who are ready to go deeper.
- We’re going to talk a lot more openly about our spirituality and how we’re doing spiritually.
In order for us to continue to grow (and deal with the growth we’ve already had), we’re going to put a strong emphasis on leadership and servant training. We’ve all been in places where we were asked to do something but had no idea what we were doing. That stinks and we don’t ever want that to happen at New Story. Churches are also notoriously terrible about burning people out. We want to make sure we never do that to anyone at New Story. Here’s how we plan to make sure we’re ready for what God brings:
- We’re going to continue having leadership classes. In November, we will have 3 different leadership classes going and have over 60 people taking them. We’ll have new rounds of classes in 2016.
- Our leadership team has committed money to send volunteers to training events that will help us learn. We recently sent some of our children’s ministry volunteers to a conference in Chicago and sent 10 of our shelter volunteers to Asheville for training. When you volunteer at New Story, we are going to make sure you get the training you need.
- We are going to continue with the apprentice model where when you start volunteering in any area, you will be paired with someone more experienced in that area. This gives our volunteers someone to work with, brainstorm with, pray with, and serve with. Working together is almost always better than working alone.
Buildings and Campuses:
We are fortunate to have two wonderful campuses that we wear out with use. We never want to spend money making our campuses fancy, but we do want them to be safe and honor God. Here’s the plan for each campus:
Peter’s Creek Campus:
- Finish the kitchen so we can do better ministry to the hungry and homeless.
- Tear the wall down in the sanctuary to create more space for worship since we are so full.
- Build a deck out front to make it easier for people to hang out before and after the service.
- Make long overdue repairs to the sanctuary and eating area so they don’t flood and leak when it rains.
- Begin working on the outreach house so we can serve the community even better.
- We will continue all of our recovery, feeding, and homeless ministries.
- We’ll make our children’s and youth ministries even stronger. Kids are wildly important to us at New Story and we will always do whatever it takes to have great ministries for them.
- We’ll start classes that help us grow spiritually and biblically.
- We’re going to continue to keep it simple by focusing on a few things and doing them well.
We are a mission church. This means that we were created to reach out to the least, the last, and the lost. This also means that we are most likely always going to face financial challenges. We currently receive about 40% of our budget from generous outside sources (grants, other church, individuals with a heart for our ministry). Our goal in 2016 is to become even more financially sustainable. To kick this off, we have created our “The Next Chapter” initiative. In the month of October, we are asking people to pray about their giving, and if possible, to make a one time gift over and above their regular giving, to help us with building repairs, finishing the kitchen, and more. We hope you will consider participating. If you would like to make a gift online, please click on the “Support Us” button on the top right of this page.
We couldn’t be more excited about what God has done with us and what we know God will do with us. At New Story, your opinion is very important to us. Please feel free to share your thoughts. We believe that God can and does speak through all of us, so let us know what you think! – Pastor Scott