When you ask a person about their impressions after visiting a church, you receive some interesting responses. One common reply is that "the church was too small." What does that mean? Perhaps that the church was not able to offer programs of particular interest to a visitor, or that the visitor looked around and didn't see other people they easily identify with. On the other hand, another typical reply is "the church was too large." Again, what does that mean? Too impersonal? Not friendly? Or maybe a feeling that the church doesn't need me.
Most church leaders would tell you that they would like to grow in size and scope of ministry (which is a benefit of a large church) while maintaining an atmosphere of love and genuine friendships (a benefit of many smaller churches). The great challenge is how to experience both at the same time.
"A PLACE TO BELONG" is a deeply rooted core value and purpose of New Life Community Church. When New Life started in 1994, it was a living room church of just a few families. Everyone was a valuable member of the church - an absence of a single family was noticed. As we have grown in size, in diversity, and in ministry opportunities, we have intentionally strived to maintain the feeling of the living room.
We do this not simply out of preference - we do it because the Scriptures remind us time and again that the identification of a true believer is their depth of love for others. And the identification of a true group of believers is not its size or the number of programs it offers, but rather, how it loves one another. Consider the following New Testament verses:
- Matthew 22:37-39 - "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself."
- Romans 12:10 - "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves."
- Romans 13:8 - "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law."
- Galatians 5:13 - "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature. Rather, serve one another in love."
- Ephesians 4:2 - "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."
- Ephesians 5:1 - "Be imitator of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and life a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
- 1 Thessalonians 3:12 - "May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else , just as ours does for you."
- Hebrews 10:24 - "Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds."
- 1 Peter 1:22 - "Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply from the heart."
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins." - 1 Peter 4:8
In order to help each other live out these examples and commands of love, we encourage everyone at New Life to be involved in a L.I.F.E. groups. Most groups meet every other week on a designated evening to pray for one another; share thoughts from God's Word; and care for the needs of the group, the church, and our communi-ties. Some of our L.I.F.E. groups include families who have been together for many years. Others have begun to meet only recently. In either case, L.I.F.E. groups are a place where every person at New Life can BELONG to the body of Christ and grow in unity with other saints. Our current list of leaders, meeting times, and approximate demographics are below.
If you are interested in learning more about our L.I.F.E. groups, please send your name, meeting day preference, and demographics preference to firstname.lastname@example.org