Rick Warren's foreword for Should We Fire God?
I have noticed that the downtown congregation is now going by the name New Life and has its own website, what’s up with that. Are we still one church?
First of all, great question. Ready for a great answer? The answer is Yes we are. So why the different name and website?
It will help to remember that NLCF (not unusually) has done things a bit differently than other churches might. Typically a church would be planted and after it stabilized, it would develop a ministry to youth, or university students from there. That is much more of a normal progression, and it is what people tend to expect.
We did it differently.
NLCF was planted in 1985 by Great Commission Ministries (now The Collegiate Church Network). Four years later, the leaders sensed God calling them to leave and
God breathed on the work that JR and many others of us were doing and over the next number of years NLCF grew to over one thousand. To date, NLCF has planted or was heavily involved in planting churches in
And we started what was originally called the Downtown Congregation of NLCF. It was started to be a place that would allow people in the New River Valley that wanted to worship with us, but didn’t necessarily want to do it in a room full of students do so. It began developing and got to the point that it needed more than those of us that were working with it could give.
Enter the Racek family (again).
Joe, the second elder that was ordained to work with NLCF in the late 90′s,and his wife Lisa, had gone with the LA plant team to, well, LA; sensed God was calling them back to the east coast. Through a lot of talking, prayer, and planning, they decided to return to Blacksburg to work with the Downtown Congregation! From there, Joe worked to set up an Equipper Leadership Team that would share the responsibility of leading the Downtown Congregation with him. As they were seeking God for the vision they would pursue, they kept running into a problem.
When people heard of NLCF, they thought about the campus work. Also, as they were talking about vision, the New Life part of New Life Christian Fellowship started to really stick out to them. They felt it captured what God was trying to say and they made the decision, along with me, to adopt that as their name.
From there, it became quickly clear that having a separate website would be important. It would be more clear to anyone checking us out. Also it would help with the growing confusion that members of both congregations were running into in trying to see what congregation was doing what and when. It would give New Life the best opportunity it express it’s vision. It is also what almost every other church that has multiple congregations or sites does. For those exact reasons.
So, if you go to
So, we have different vibes, different looking Sunday gatherings, different articulations of the mission that God has given us and some different methods for doing it. But we are still one family. One church. Doing some things together and others separately.
Perhaps we would be described at two trees growing from the same root.
Or siblings if you will, but very very close ones.
So, let’s pray for and celebrate what New Life is doing as they celebrate and pray for our impact as well!