Last summer, 2012, I had a conversation with my wife about where I currently was in ministry and said, “I don’t see myself doing Student Ministry when I’m 50, not even when I’m 40, but I do see myself leading a church because I feel like God has done some things in me to bring me to that place. So what would it look like for me to move in that direction?”
That was a conversation that really sparked the journey we are currently on in launching a brand new church. You may still ask the question posed in the title, “Why a new church and why now? Sounds like a career change to me, and to be honest, when I make a career change I don’t create a website and write blog posts about it, so what’s the big deal?”
I get it if you think that and I would too, but this isn’t about a career change as much as it’s about moving into the place and space of life I feel like God has been grooming me for up to this point. More importantly, the answer to the question is because the Church is the hope of the world. It’s through the Church that God has chosen to reveal Himself to the world since the death and resurrection of Jesus. Before Jesus lived on the earth God hoped to use Israel as a light to draw all people to Himself but after Jesus, the Church is the new Israel (Galatians 6:16) and it’s the Church’s role to show people who God really is, drawing all people to Him.
And that’s what we want to do as a community of faith, designed to see people far from God raised to true life. We want to show people who God really is and help them see the amazing life He has for each and every one of us.
There are plenty of churches in Norfolk and plenty of churches in Ghent (I know because I’m meeting with several of the leaders of these churches) but there are over 242,000 people in Norfolk and not all of them have come to know God or experience the true life He offers to everyone. There are still people who live with no hope. People who struggle in poverty. People who wonder where their next meal will come from. People who live from a false identity. People who aren’t sure if their marriage will make it to their next anniversary. People who are lonely. People who haven’t discovered a life beyond just living for themselves.
I think as long as there are people who haven’t seen the opportunity of the true life God has for them, there’s always a need for a church who will join with other churches to make a difference and put this life on display for others to take hold of. As long as there’s injustice and oppression, there’s always a need for a church that will rise up and loose the chains of injustice and set the oppressed free.
As a church we want to make a difference in the lives of people and within our city.
So to answer the question, why a new church and why now, I’m convinced that there’s always a need for a new church now in this time that will work and strive to make this world more like heaven by living out heaven here and now, bringing love, peace, hope and joy to the lives of people.