New City Partners, Christmas 2016 Update
What a year! This page will take you through the story of 2016, what's next at New City, and how you can help.
HOW WE'RE DOING
It's an honor to see God at work in our little church. Our greatest dreams for New City revolved around the ability to create a church of the unchurched ministering the truth, love, and hope of the Gospel. I'm so pleased to say that we are seeing exactly that dream come true in our city. We've stated our philosophy of ministry this way: we want people to belong before they believe. That kind of welcome has been a real game-changer; it has resonated with the unchurched who are suspicious of Christianity and the mature Christian who is looking for a church truly invested in reaching the lost. We had three strategic goals for 2016: moving from a church plant team to ministry teams, moving from presence in the community to passion for the community, and to move from a church full of invited people to a church full of inviting people.
A FRUITFUL CHURCH
Our first months of life required a dedicated "church planting team" to execute everything. We were tiny, mobile, and needed a tactical team to get things done - people who were invited to come plant the church with us. But a healthy church requires new leaders and the broad ownership of the mission by the whole church. We now have mission teams led by church members - some who have taken faith seriously for the first time at New City. These teams are responsible for driving us toward our goal as a church. Think of the incredible story at work here: people for whom the church was unattainable or undesirable, engaged in the work of the church. We consider this outsider --> insider --> leader to be one of the greatest signs of blessing from God on our little project.
A PASSIONATE CHURCH
Our City Team, which is responsible for leading the church through small but significant projects to bless our community, recently completed a little free pantry that provides items of basic necessity for those who need it. The pantry is open 24/7, is restocked regularly, and has become a point of contact for us - both with the poor and those who want to help the poor in our community. This project is bringing together churched and unchurched people of compassion. We are so grateful to be an intersection of the miraculous work of God and man. It's giving us quite a good name in the community too. Here's a link to our Facebook page update about the pantry: a good indicator of public perception [link].
YOUR PARTNERSHIP IN OUR WORK
Some of you are finishing your financial commitment to our work. There's no way we'd still be here without you. Really! There were times when we had very little but the check that came in the mail that morning. So thank you, we hope you'll keep track of us. Others are just beginning as New City Partners; we know you'll find this time to be rewarding as you see how god uses every gift for the growth of his glorious kingdom.
As we meet the end of 2016, a year we knew could be our most difficult financially, we are pleased to report that God has provided - we made it to 2017! But there is more to do. We have significant gifts coming this month and at the beginning of 2017, and internal giving continues to grow, but we will need to support the work with outside gifts. Please continue to pray for our fundraising process and continued support. For those who may be willing to dig in even more for the sake of the ministry here, there are two ways your generosity can do the most good right now:
1. Sign on for an additional year. If you are finishing your initial commitment to the ministry of New City, consider whether the Lord would have you continue. That kind of commitment helps us predict where we can make strategic decisions about facilities and outreach in 2017. With more than half of our church coming from the unchurched population there is no other way for your financial investment in the Kingdom of God to bear greater fruit in reaching the lost.
2. Give an additional year-end gift. We still have a couple of weeks for you to make a tax-deductible gift for the 2016 tax year. The simple reality of church planting is that every gift received buys us time to focus on evangelism and discipleship rather than turning away from the harvest to fundraise. When we say that any gift amount helps, we mean it! You can give online through our "giving" tab at the top of the website, and you have the choice of giving anonymously that way if you would like. Year-end gifts will help us focus on the big push toward Easter and getting our new attenders connected to community at New City.
Of course we trust that you are making God-honoring decisions about how best to use your resources, and we are grateful for your sacrificial giving whether you give additional gifts or not. Thank you!
ONE FINAL WORD
I've told you this before - this is your church too. Our grief is your grief and our joy is your joy. The work that is done here, and the harvest, belongs to you too. You have served us beautifully in your generosity and in so doing you have preached the Gospel to people you will probably never meet, in places you may never see. You have been in my conversations with atheists at our Think and Drinks, you have been in the pastoral care conversations with people trying to pull their lives together. You've opened the door of the little free pantry for families on their last leg, who've needed toothpaste or baby formula, socks or gloves. You've baptized new believers, you've broken bread and poured wine at the communion table. You're with us, thank you.