We have invited our church family to pray and fast alongside our leaders in seeking the Lord’s direction about our campuses. We have reached a decision. Below is the announcement of that decision. We have a short version video and a longer version shared on Sunday, October 30, with a more complete explanation.
8 Minute Version
25 Minute Version
A Few Key Items
In the videos, we explain the move to merge our campuses together in Morton. Sunday, Nov 20 will be the first Sunday of services for our merged church in Morton.
We hope you join us at our combined, single location campus located in Morton. We aim to step into this next chapter with a renewed focus on connecting with people, equipping them as Jesus-followers, and making a difference in our communities. We want you to be a part of that and to contribute to the ongoing work the Lord has for us.
Below are some key questions you may be wondering about:
1) Why are we merging the two campuses?
We sense this is the best way for us to fulfill our calling to make disciples. The Elders did not feel we could continue the current scenario of one church in two locations. The mission going forward is not to build churches that have increased numbers, but to build a congregation of disciples – people who are following Jesus and growing to become more like Him. The focus will be to develop disciples very intentionally who will not only support the current members, but will reach out to the communities in which we live to spread the word of Jesus.
2) Are we abandoning the Sunnyland community and especially the Unit 50 school district?
The church is not a building but is made up of the people who are attending the church regardless of location. We hope that a number of people from Washington and the Sunnyland community choose to continue with New Life and attend church at the Morton campus. We intend to continue to do outreach for the Unit 50 school district with the backpack giveaway and other initiatives for the community.
3) Was this decision based on finances?
Finances were not a deciding factor to merge the two campuses. The call to make disciples and how to best accomplish that weighed more heavily in the decision. The New Life community has been faithful in their offerings, and the Directors have been effective in their stewardship of the finances. We trust that God would provide in whatever choice was made.
4) What will happen to the church building in Washington?
We will immediately begin to market the church property and initially reach out to churches in the area to determine if there is interest in acquiring the property to expand their ministry or as a location for a church plant. We recognize that this may take time to find the appropriate buyer, but we are in a financial position to continue to pay the mortgage and maintain the building.
5) Why did Rex Brown resign from his position on the Elders?
Rex participated in the entire decision-making process. The Elders make decisions by consensus, which often takes significant discussion and prayer to agree on a course of action. As you can imagine, since this decision involved the strategic direction of New Life, the input we received from the church resulted in even more discussion. Rex and Tara feel called to remain in the Washington community and worship with a church body that is physically present in Washington. We thank Rex for all of his service and commitment, and we continue to love and support the Brown family.
6) Was the Washington location a failure?
Not at all. While this is a change of direction, we believe we are obedient to God’s leading in our ministry, and this does not negate the work He has done. During the last ten years, there is so much to celebrate: starting at the ICC campus with all of the work setting up and tearing down each week, moving to the Plaza, and acquiring and renovating the Centennial building. People attended, lives were impacted, and the members of community knew that New Life was present and loved them. The backpack giveaway, the support for meals in Unit 50, the Chili Cookoff, the Trunk or Treat events were all successes. Many of these activities will continue out of the Morton location as we blend the best of both campuses.
7) Why not treat New Life Washington as a church plant?
Treating New Life Washington as a church plant was central in the discussion and decision-making process. Both merging the campuses and making Washington independent were going to be difficult. Ultimately, the Elders feel the focus of making disciples and spreading the love of Jesus to the communities where we live will be best served by being able to focus the disciple training process at a single location.
8) How can people from the Washington campus get involved at Morton?
Both campuses have very dedicated volunteers who do a great job serving in First Impressions, KidsLife, StudentLife, Worship, Tech Support, and other areas that make the church function. As we combine the two campuses, we continue to need volunteers to support the staff and to expand the church’s outreach to the community. If you have attended the Washington campus, contact your ministry leader directly or email email@example.com to continue serving.
9) Is closing Washington due to Jessie Rayos being asked to step down as campus pastor?
The timing of the decision to merge the two campuses was impacted by Jessie stepping down as campus pastor, but was not a critical factor in the ultimate decision. The multi-site scenario was a strain on both campuses, and we needed to make a change. All of the changes in the staffing positions highlighted the strain in the multi-site scenario and accelerated the decision-making process.
10) What if I do not want to attend church in Morton?
We hope everyone will remain a part of the New Life community and will continue to share life and do ministry together at the Morton location. But more importantly, we want everyone to be connected with a church family, and we know that some people will want to attend a church located in the Washington community. Below are some suggestions for churches in Washington that have similar beliefs and values as New Life:
Connect Church https://connectwashington.org/
Washington Christian Church https://www.washingtonchristian.net/
Bethany Community Church https://www.bethanycommunitychurch.org/
Crossroads United Methodist Church https://www.washingtoncrossroads.com/
Faith Church https://faithtolife.com/