Over seven years ago, New Life Church was $26 million in debt and had not even started the process of opening any Dream Centers. We knew something had to change because there were so many needs in our city that were not being met. We had limited funds to help, but our congregation was willing. We needed a miracle.
In 2008 and 2009, our local economy was paralyzed by a recession, but we still believed that somehow our finances could be liberated so we could help bring healing to our city. By faith we begin to meet with city leaders, community activists, chaplains from the military branches and local business leaders. We asked each of them how we could serve. We made our plans, hoping one day to help our city with more resources. Then, more than three years ago, the elders and I began challenging our congregation to Move the Mountain!! By God’s grace and miraculous provision, people responded and begin to give.
By the end of February, our debt will be down to $13.9 million, plus the Dream Centers are marching forward with the opening of Mary’s Home slated in just a few months. I am so grateful we did not wait on the sidelines and allow the overwhelming cloud of debt to suffocate God’s plan for us in the city. Instead, a big family of New Lifers made commitments to begin giving regularly, over and above their normal giving, so that our congregation could be untangled from huge monthly payments. Along the way, a passage from Proverbs has been a constant source of encouragement for us:
“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” – Proverbs 19:17
The moment we got serious about caring for those in our city who had been marginalized by poverty, we began to see our debt dissolve. We have witnessed record numbers of people engage in local mission by serving at our free women’s medical clinic, building and renovating Mary’s Home, serving our neighborhoods with food through our monthly Adopt-A-Block , and serving alongside existing ministries in our city like Springs Rescue Mission.
Thanks to everyone who believed with us that the mountain could be moved and our city could begin to be healed. We are thankful for the stories we hear every week from people who are being served and we are thankful for the changes we have witnessed in our own lives as we minister to those who need hope.