Sept. 13, 2018
Dear New Life Family,
This past weekend was a time of depth, connection and focus as we gathered together on our annual retreat. A huge thank you goes out to our retreat team — Stacy, Bob, Grace, Josiah, Austin, Mark, Bev and April – for all the hard work they did to make the weekend such a success! Also, a special thanks to Jeremy and Stephanie for “over-and-above” set up work…and to EVERYONE for the delicious snacks and treats!
In addition to being spiritually refreshed (through releasing and receiving) in our experience of worship, community and mission, we continued an important conversation about the future direction of New Life.
Over the past six months, your leadership has been praying and thinking about next steps forward as we’ve been doing extensive research and engaging the whole church in conversation and prayer. Among other things, we’ve engaged consultants, visited successful ministries, read books, had numerous conversations, and joined the entire church in committing ourselves to 40 days of intentional prayer for the church. In addition, the church as a whole has engaged in community gatherings, “stories from the future” on Sundays, and journaling each week in order to listen to where God may be leading. It’s been a privilege to engage in leaning into God together, and we are grateful to all of you for your engagement in this extensive, exciting and spirit-focused process.
The Board of the church committed to sharing a “directional decision” with you by early Sept., based on all of the above. As we shared at the retreat this past weekend, we’ve looked at four possible options for New Life.
- Status quo
Based on our prayer, conversations and research, we are excited to share a direction we believe will enable us to release ways of doing things that have resulted in a continuing decline for the church, and receive a new vision that God is giving us about a new way to operate as a church. We are looking forward to embarking on a new journey to reach more people, care better for our current people, and renew more communities with the love of Jesus by engaging in a church restart process. This will be an extensive and well-planned pathway that many declining churches have done successfully, and it will enable us to gain fresh vision and momentum as we start anew as a church.
- Revitalizing the ministry paradigms and processes
- Rebuilding all of the ministry teams
- Re-branding the church (perhaps even re-naming it)
- Recruiting some new people to help us
- Futher consideration of our facilities/location options in light of vision
- Setting a date to re-start just as a new church would
Over the weekend at the retreat, each of our board members shared why and how they individually came to this unanimous decision. We are very excited about the possibilities to come! We also shared that we will continue to protect, uphold and value the healthy DNA of deep community and intergenerational life that has been a hallmark of New Life. We are committed to deep care for our people as we move ahead.
We have a process that we are moving into to take our next steps. The process will take a “concentric circles” approach.
- Conversation with our All Ministry Leaders team about possible steps ahead.
- The development and communication of plans with more specific steps as we make more specific decisions (i.e., financial modeling, staffing plans, ministry strategy plans, facility plans, recruitment plans, etc.). More specific steps will be communicated as we determine them in conversation.
- A second round of Community Gatherings to discuss steps ahead with the entire congregation.
- We expect that the full timeline of of all of the above (and the full restart process) will about 9-12 months (possibly a little shorter, or longer — up to 18 months).
We believe very firmly and strongly restarting is the direction God is leading us for the next season at New Life. We also believe that as we walk down this pathway, we will see not only a revitalization of the church, but an energizing and revitalizing effect on the spiritual life of every individual in the church. When God calls us to new mission, it is always an experience of growth.
Past experiences with processes like these in churches have shown us that new mission also brings new excitement! We are looking forward to the experience of change, growth, fun and spiritual deepening that God has in store for us all. More info will be coming soon – until then, please continue pray with us for God’s mission to be stewarded well in the resources and people He has given to New Life.
The Board of New Life
Bev Amano, Stacy Amano, David Cobia, Dale Gorman, Grace King, Kazu Shimasaki, Bob Sue, Jeremy Turner