Yesterday, we celebrated a year of life together in Christ at New Vintage Church. It’s been a long time since I posted a basic update on how God’s moving at NVC. I’m a nostalgic guy and also like to study ministry, so I’m chewing a lot on year one.
The taste is sweet. However, I would say the taste of year one has been like sorbet, a bit sour at the beginning and sweet at the end. There is no way to write out all the stories of how God has worked over the past year (+ the five months we gathered before launch). We’ve had heartbreaking challenges, had our breath taken away by God’s sudden inbreaking, and done the happy dance in the living room. We’ve been disappointed, we’ve been pleasantly surprised, we’ve been run over by unexpected opposition, and experienced the joy of overcoming. Thanks so much to those of you who have encouraged and supported us thus far. Your partnership in the Gospel means more than you know.
Like any church one year into it’s ministry, there is much to be done. For you “just the facts” friends, here are some bullet points on the essentials of New Vintage Church at the one-year mark:
- From the standpoint of outreach, New Vintage Church has become a place particularly for those coming back to God. God has sent us some unchurched people, but we are drawing more de-churched people (who some would still label ‘unchurched’) than unchurched. We are a place where people who gave up on church a long time ago are returning to the Father’s house.
- The DNA of our people generally is highly relational, and there is a general atmosphere of encouragement and joy. People’s lives aren’t perfect, but we seem to draw genuine strength from our fellowship. This may be because of our commitment to Growth Groups (small groups), or just because that happens to be who God has brought us. We value creativity, but also reason.
- Attendance has continued to index upward to a weekly average just shy of 250. On Easter God brought us 350. We’ve grown into a self-supporting church financially (more or less) and have a facility we own free and clear thanks to a legacy gift of a church of great faith and God’s miraculous provision.
- We have a disproportionate number of both artists (we do congregational art fairly often), and people who are fit and/or “outdoorsy.” We have triathletes, marathon runners, extreme hikers, surfers, competitive mountain-bikers, and desert rats, and other outdoorsy things. For instance, this weekend, we have a group of 12 running the Ragnar relay together – a 200 mile relay race. Weird, I know. That’s Southern California for you…and I love it.
- Once again, I’ve learned the power of God’s Word, the power of the Gospel to change a life, and the value of true friends.
Tomorrow, I’ll share some learnings from year one.