Louise Abrahams, our children’s worker, and her army of volunteers have ensured our kids have had a packed summer. Here’s an update from Louise about what they’ve been up to…
August was a busy month for children at New Life; as well as having Power House each Sunday, we had trips out to crazy golf and a trip to Oxygen to trampoline with the youth. To keep the younger ones involved during the summer holiday Heidi and the team organized a stay and play for mum’s and toddlers. This was such a success we have planned a Saturday ‘Stay and Play Christmas craft’ morning in November – watch this space!
Perhaps the most exciting event of the summer was HOPE. Hope Heroes was a holiday club for children, introducing them to some Biblical heroes, among them were: Daniel, Esther and of course, Jesus. Many children attended both from New Life and from the local community.
The summer ended with Kids Camp. A team of us took 39 kids off to Frylands Wood Scout Camp in Selsdon. The weather was amazing! Being away together was a great experience, the children took part in many activities: Laser Quest, rifle shooting, the assault course, water fights, games on the field and campfires and night walks. One of the most popular activities was the ‘superslide’, for those of you who haven’t seen it, look out for Mark’s video clip! We had a few visitors who came to lead us in worship and share a devotion. We learned all about the ‘Full Armour’ and how it is essential we are fully armed and ready and equipped to live in the world today! Friendships were strengthened, memories were made and a great time was had by all!
In the last couple of months we’ve said goodbye to two of our elders and we just wanted to take a minute to recognise each of them and to pray God’s blessing on them in this new chapter of their lives!
One of our elders Peter Motteram and his wife Maggie relocated a couple of months ago to West Sussex. Peter served faithfully as an elder for many years, Maggie was a key member of our missions committee, was a prophetic voice in our services and together they ran a very successful home group.
Hans Sims, another one of our elders left at the end of July to move to Norway with his Wife Jo and two sons. Hans served as an elder for the last few years, and was very involved with the New Life football team. Jo was our CAP Dept Centre manager and helped many people get out of debt, and served in several other initiatives and ministries over the years including the Life leadership team together with Hans.
Three of our staff have recently moved on and we want to thank them for all their hard work and commitment while they were working with us. We’ve said goodbye to Gloria who worked in our pre-school, Bekhi our youth intern and Dele who provided maternity cover in our media department.
We also want to recognise and welcome a number of new staff members. Christian Sana has joined us on part time basis to help develop our Connect Group structure. Amanda Austin has replaced Jo Sims as our CAP Debt Centre Manager. Emily Darnborough has joined the pre-school team and Jade Nolan is our new youth and children’s intern. Please pray for them as they settle into their new roles.
The New Life Internship programme allows young adults to commit themselves for 12 months, part time or full time, to get involved in the life and ministry of New Life Croydon.
The programme is primarily designed for young adults from New Life and other churches who want to get involved in the day to day running of a large local church, learning more about its ministry and operation. It would be ideally suited for those on a gap year or those who are just completing their further education. It may also suit those who are studying or working part-time. If you’re a bit older, don’t worry, we’d also consider your application too!
As well as receiving practical training, there will also be a focus on discipleship and personal development. Interns will get hands-on experience serving as required within their chosen areas.
All interns must be committed Christians and would be committed to the life and work of New Life.
For more information and to apply, click here.
We believe that God wants to pour out the new wine of His Holy Spirit in New Life. Jesus taught an important principle that ‘new wine must be put in fresh wineskins.’ (Luke 5:38). If you put new wine that is still fermenting and expanding into old brittle wineskins, they won’t be able to expand to accommodate the new wine and they will split and the wine will be spilt. This means that we must be willing to change what we do in order to prepare for what we believe God is wanting to do. God has been speaking to us about some new wineskins we need to create at New Life.
New 6pm Sunday Evening Service
For the past 16 years we have run the ‘Life’ service on a Sunday evening. When this service was launched it was to respond to a need to help disciple young adults. Over the years, through the Life service and the related ministries and activities we have seen many, many lives touched and we are grateful for all that God has done. In recent years the Life service has changed a lot and in recent months there’s been a growing sense that the Life service has lacked clear vision and direction. With this in mind the elders decided that the Life service should finish on 4 November. We have now begun five consecutive Sunday evenings of prayer from 11 November to 9 December inclusively, where we will be encouraging our New Life family to come together to pray for a fresh move of God.
In January 2019, we plan to launch a new Sunday evening service where we give time and space for the Holy Spirit to move in our lives. This will be a time where we actively hunger for, welcome and steward the presence of God. There will be worship, ministry time and also teaching on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. We want to see our church family equipped to live Spirit filled lives in their day to day lives.
We’re not sure yet, exactly what this new service will look like, but we do believe that if we create a space for the Holy Spirit to move, He will move. We would encourage everyone who is hungry for more of God in their lives to plan to come to this new service if you can.
We announced earlier this year our plans to replace our current home group structure with Connect Groups. We recognise that community and pastoral care are so important, and so we want to give everyone at New Life the opportunity of being part of a smaller Connect Group where they can experience a sense of community and receive basic pastoral care. There will be three main kinds of Connect Groups:
- Existing home groups
- Established ministries and activities that provide a level of pastoral care and encourage community. (eg Rendezvous, Monday Fellowship.)
- New style groups with a particular focus, aimed at a particular group, or those with a common interest. (eg Bible study groups, young adults, Park Run, Kids Connect Group)
Our plan is to launch our new Connect Group Structure in January 2019, and we are busy identifying and preparing the new style groups we will be launching.
Discipleship & leadership training
Now that the Life service is finishing we need to ensure that we continue to disciple and train up younger leaders. With this in mind, in early 2019 we’re planning to launch a new discipleship/leadership training course for young adults and others who want to get involved. The course will run on alternate Tuesday evenings and will be led by Mark Rossell, Chas Woods & Nathanael Edwards.
Ministry to Families with young children
We’re also planning two new ministries for families with young children aged up to 11 in 2019.
- Saturday morning community events: We want to run bi-monthly special events for families from our local community and from New Life, where they will come together to eat, have fun and hear the good news about Jesus. (This will be replacing ‘Going Bananas,’ which we recently closed.)
- Saturday afternoon Family service: On the month, when we’re not holding the community event, we plan to hold a Saturday afternoon family service. This will be an opportunity for families to worship together and be impacted by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We’re excited about what we believe God is wanting to do and especially excited about these new ‘wineskins’ we are creating to hold the new wine. Please be praying for the elders and leaders of New Life as we prayerfully prepare for the future and please also pray that God will do something new and fresh in your life.
Mark Rossell, on behalf of the elders
For further info on why we believe it is so important to pray and also the changes to our evening services, we would encourage you to listen to the following sermons from Ian James and Mark Rossell.
For many years we were trusting and praying that New Life would acquire the site next door so that we could redevelop both sites to provide us with a new purpose built facility. That didn’t happen, and flats are now being built on the site next door by Optivo Housing Association. We are working with the owners to remove the bridge and to ensure that all our access rights are maintained. In early 2020, our new neighbours will move into the completed flats which will provide us with amazing new opportunities to share the gospel with them.
In recent months the elders of New Life have been thinking and the main options available to us are:
• Do nothing with the present building part from decoration and minor repairs.
• Refurbishment and upgrade of the current building, including a review of how we use the space and replacement of main items such as glazing, plumbing, heating, roofing etc.
• Limited redevelopment to provide extended space for New Life’s activities with a refurbishment of other parts of the building.
• Total redevelopment of our present site based on a new planning application and placement of New Life building at the base of development. (This option would involve moving off site for two to three years.)
• Sell our present site and move to another location in Croydon.
As elders, we talked and prayed about these various options because we recognise that this is a big decision which will affect future generations. Recently in one of our elders’ meeting, we sensed a real sense of clarity and agreement in what we should do with our building. We have decided that at this present time, we will be pursuing the second option. Our main focus will be on the refurbishment of the present building. This will include minor things like decorating and replacing carpets and furnishings, but also bigger things like upgrading lighting, heating and glazing. We will also be reviewing how we use the space we have and doing all we can to ensure that the building is fully accessible to those with mobility issues. Over the years, we have made many changes to the internal layout of the building, and so we want to see what we can do to have a building that best serves the needs of New Life in the years to come.
We are blessed to have John Dutton as our head of operations and he will be adjusting his role to project manage the refurbishment. John has extensive experience of managing similar projects having performed a similar role for a local authority. Very shortly John will be meeting representatives of the various building users and ministries to gather their needs and aspirations. As these plans become clearer, we will be giving you regular updates on what will be happening.
We appreciate all your prayer, support and financial commitment to this ongoing project. Although the refurbishment will make significant changes to the building, we appreciate that many of you gave towards developing a full planning application for redevelopment of the whole site. As this is not now the case, we are offering the opportunity for those of you who identified your donations to the full redevelopment to contact email@example.com and to discuss your preference for how the money should be dealt with.
As elders we believe that we are doing what God has told us to do at this time. We believe we are entering an exciting new phase in the history of New Life and that God has good things in store for us. We believe that in the next few years the primary focus will be on God building and developing us as a people. As we focus on seeing the people built up, God will take care of the building. However, the planned refurbishment is another aspect of the progress we are anticipating and will help facilitate the development and expansion of New Life’s ministry we are believing for.
On the first Sunday this month, one of our elders, Mark Rossell, spoke from Acts 7:49 – “What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord? At this significant time for New Life, God is asking us what kind of house will we build for him. We may not be embarking on a big building project, but God is wanting to build his house at New Life in us and through us.
Will you be a part of all that God is wanting to do?