Our mission statement is “Experiencing, living and sharing the new life in Jesus Christ.” It is our Lord’s desire that every person experience His abundant life overflowing in their lives (John 10:10). New Direction has been called by God to play a vital role in helping people both in our community and around the world experience that life!
What will it look like when a church family is truly living out this New Direction in Jesus Christ together? We believe the model we are to follow in accomplishing this mission is that of the Early Church (Acts 2:42-47). From their example, we have identified seven traits of a church that God will use to reach the world for Christ. It is upon these seven “pillars” that we are likewise seeking to build our church:
Just as we can get different glimpses of God by reading the four different Gospel writers — Matthew, Mark, Luke, John — it is our conviction that God can speak to us in new and fresh ways through a team of preachers. While pastors George Johnson and First Lady Jennifer bring the majority of messages at New Direction, we are also regularly blessed by messages from all the New Direction Pastoral Team.
As I prayerfully look ahead to the future of New Direction … I see both great challenges and also great opportunities. We are all aware that we live in a large, secular and spiritually-blinded city. And our city is changing every day … from suburban to urban, from white to diverse, from wealthier to poorer, just to name a few. Many churches in our situation have chosen one of two pathways – either to flee further out into the suburbs or remain and change nothing (resulting in eventual death). A few years ago, the leadership of New Life Campus felt led by God to take the courageous, but challenging, third path of remaining where we are but changing how we minister to our rapidly-changing community. This is the road least traveled New Direction being apart of the New Life Campus also desire to follow this road.
If we are going to remain in our city and change, we must have a plan for doing so, and there is no better place to turn for direction than the Scriptures. As I prayerfully searched the Scriptures on this matter, I was drawn to the example of the Church at Antioch in the book of Acts. Much like our ministry context here in Aurora, Antioch was a large, secular and ethnically-diverse city. It had a population of 500,000 people comprised of a multitude of ethnicities. It was a military, governmental and transportation center. It was filled with immorality and a diversity of religions. Yet, in the midst of that, God raised up a thriving church that became the epicenter of Christianity during the ministry years of the Apostle Paul.
As I have prayerfully studied and reflected upon the Antioch Church, I believe there are several key priorities that were vital to their success in that ministry context. Since our context is so similar to theirs, we would be wise to prioritize these same things over the next 3-5 years at New Direction as well. These priorities include:
In closing, as I stated before, I believe that New Life is currently facing a time of both great challenges and great opportunities. The challenges we face, both seen and unseen, would likely overwhelm us if we dwelt upon them too long. But, hasn’t that always been the case with God’s people? That’s why our Christian lives and ministries always require faith. And, as is often the case, the greater the danger the closer we are to God doing something great. As the leadership of New Life prayerfully looks towards the future, I would humbly submit these priorities for your serious consideration. Just as God used the Church at Antioch greatly in the 1st-Century, I believe He wants to do the same with New Life in the 21st Century!
Soli Deo Gloria – “To God Alone be the Glory!”