Working hard to build bridges, not a fortress.

A common question at New Life is why there’s only one service during the week. Some folks have attended churches where there’s Sunday School, Sunday morning worship, Sunday evening service and a Wednesday service. For them, the transition to New Life could feel like we’re abandoning opportunities to grow closer to God and grow closer to one another for the sake of convenience or an easier schedule. We want to affirm that we rejoice in every gathering where God is worshipped, the Bible is taught and believers encourage one another. We have no dispute with churches who schedule services in the more traditional way. However, our mission at New Life compels us to build a different model.

The Keystones of our New Life Service Model

The Sunday Morning Service

  • First century Christians gathered on the first day of the week – (1 Cor 16)
  • Believers are challenged to spend time together – (Heb 10:24-25)
  • Provides a methodical approach to learn the Scriptures
  • Plant seeds for deeper relationship – find people to know better
  • Indoctrinate children with Biblical truth (know, love and serve God)
  • Scarcity creates value – priority of the one service over other Sunday activities
  • Sunday creates the case for involvement for the other six days of the week
  • Clarifies the vision, sharpen tools and presents opportunities
  • Devotes the limited resources of a small church (few paid staff members, few worship resources) to one excellent worship experience instead of multiple mediocre experiences (quality not quantity)

The Power of Small Groups

  • Small groups encourage intimacy, transparency and relationships
  • Small groups foster hospitality
  • Small groups allow for more flexibility in scheduling, geography and subject matter
  • Small groups provide the opportunity for more people to lead
  • Small groups allow each believer to share what the Holy Spirit has taught them
  • Small groups take church outside the four walls

The Biblical Mandate for Individual Discipleship

  • Jesus spent time with individuals
  • Spiritual growth takes place at an individual level
  • We expect every New Lifer to be involved in discipleship relationships – Matt 28
  • Members should seek to be involved in relationships where they are giving and receiving
  • We recognize the value of cross-generational relationships

This Model Protects Us From

  • More frequent services that can swallow up free time and limit involvement in the lives of those outside the church
  • Like all religious activities, attendance can become something to check off the list
  • Church can become a franchise
  • The steady diet of only believers can create an isolation mentality
  • Church can become sterile instead of a place to get your hands dirty

Challenges in this Model

  • Workers in children’s ministries and security miss the week’s only worship service
  • Consequently, we rotate workers in these areas which sometimes results in lack of continuity
  • This also requires a bigger pool of volunteers
  • Church attendee are “thrown together” less often, so relationships that arise from more frequent services don’t happen
  • Consequently, attendees must work harder to build relationships outside of the church

Observations about this Model

  • We are not trying to duplicate a suburban model in an urban setting
  • In that vein, we have constructed a model that lends itself to more commitment than “condiment”