This is a guest blog by Pastor Glenn Packiam, who will lead NewLifeDowntown, starting Easter Sunday.
As Pastor Brady announced yesterday, the elders are commissioning a new campus for New Life Church that I serve as the pastor for. Here’s a little more about our vision and the details.
1. This is not a church plant.
We have had the privilege of sending many of our pastors to plant churches over the past few years. We love and believe in that vision. This, however, is not a church plant. This is an extension of New Life Church. This is a new “campus”– the word literally means “field” in Latin! It is a new ground for us to till, a new garden to tend, a new place for the Lord to bring about flourishing in the hearts and lives of the people of God. With shared resources and staff, our downtown congregation can make the most of all the conferences, events and ministries that happen up at the main New Life campus.
2. This is about fostering community.
A new “field”– campus– can sometimes allow a stronger communal identity to form. In the midst of a thriving large church, people often form smaller, mid-size communities where they worship, connect and serve together. In way, these are like several “micro-congregations” that together form a large church. NewLifeDowntown is a way to form community within the New Life Church family, to make meaningful relationships and walk with others as we follow Jesus. As is often the case with a community of people, culture trumps location. So, this new campus is not about defining ourselves by a zip code. You may find yourself connecting in community here even though you live in a different part of the city, as I do! But more than location and culture, Jesus trumps all loyalties. We have many ideals of community that we bring to “church”, and yet, as Bonhoeffer wrote, we must have a certain disillusionment with those ideals in order for Christ to be the defining center of our community, of our connection, of our “life together” as the people of God.
3. This is about facilitating mission.
There are many reasons that may keep a person from coming up to the main New Life Church campus, size and distance being among the common ones. Part of our goal with NewLifeDowntown is to embody the mission of Christ by being in a different part of our city. This isn’t about “reaching the downtown;” this is about being the people of God in the heart of our city. Because we believe in an incarnational approach to mission, we want the people of God to embody Christ in different ways right where they are. We gather to “Come and See;” we scatter to “Go and Be.” This new campus is a way to Go and Be. Who knows? Maybe this will be a way to remove the barriers for many who have yet to see the light of Christ shine.
About the Church Building
The building was owned by the first African-American church in our city (AME), built in 1897 on land donated by General Palmer, the founder of Colorado Springs. While the congregation has moved to a different location, the building was bought by the Garden of the Gods Gourmet company who now use it as an event center (It’s wonderful to weddings!). They have completley remodeled it, and restoring some of its most beautiful features. They have graciously allowed us to rent the building on Sunday mornings for our use.
About the Church Service
We will start with services at 9am and 11am on Sunday, April 8th.
There will be full children’s ministry, with the same curriculum as used at the main New Life Church campus. There will be three classes: one for newborns to toddlers, one for pre-school to kindagrten, and one for 1st and 2nd graders.
Worship will feature many of same songs we know and love at New Life Church, but will be led in a more rootsy, folk-acoustic sort of way. The room as very “live” acoustics that lend a natural musical approach.