Getting Ready To Plant New City Church (Breaking News Alert!)
Dear Church Family,
After months of planning, I am pleased to announce that the elders have unanimously decided to send and appoint one of our pastors, Dave DeHaan, to plant a new church in the center of the city of Elgin. Dave & Micki will be working with Luke & Nicole Preussler to establish a worshiping community called New City Church – a church that will be diverse in its membership and gifts, sent by the power of the Holy Spirit to our neighbors and neighborhoods, proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ in word and deed and enjoying the boundless love of God the Father.
I am grateful for many reasons, two of which are: (1) I have seen God grow and develop my friend and colleague into a man who is ready and able to serve as a lead preaching pastor – and it is my hope that we at New Covenant will continue to be the kind of church where pastors can be raised up and sent out to plant and lead churches that will break new ground for the gospel. (2) A lot of gospel seeds have already been prayerfully planted by New Covenant members in the city of Elgin, both through the former GCBC-Elgin congregation and through the ongoing ministry of Luke & Nicole Preussler on Elgin’s east side – I am eager to see the fruit that will be borne as a very specific missional vision for a church IN the city of Elgin and FOR the city of Elgin gets wedded to the good work that God has already begun through the people of New Covenant.
We have a solid plan in place that makes me confident Dave’s present roles at New Covenant will be redistributed to competent shepherd-leaders who are already on our ministry staff or eldership. Most notably, Frank Chihowski will be assuming the role of Director of the Center for Gospel Care, and he has already begun taking the reins with great enthusiasm and skill. In short, we are not in a position where the present ministries of New Covenant will suffer in any way as we send our dear brother and pastor to plant New City Church. We will be able to do this without needing to hire another pastor to replace Dave, thus making it financially feasible and sustainable for our church’s budget.
Following this article you will find a list of FAQ that will give further explanation of the vision and expectations for this church plant. We also will be devoting the evening service on Sunday, July 27, to the articulation of this vision along with other plans we have for the ministry of New Covenant Bible Church moving forward. At the conclusion of our July 27 meeting, we will be asking members of New Covenant to make a provisional affirmation of the budget for NCBC’s contribution to New City Church over the next four years.
We are hoping to send ten or eleven families who have a passion for and long-term commitment to planting New City Church in the center of Elgin. As you read and pray and hear about the vision for this new church, if you feel that God is calling you to join the Core Group, Pastor DeHaan would be eager to talk with you about it.
Now let me sign-off to give Dave an opportunity to share how the Lord has worked in his heart to bring him to this point . . . to God be the glory, great things he has done!
Hoping in God,
Pastor David Sunday
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Dear New Covenant family,
It is with much joy and anticipation (and not a little fear and trembling) that Micki and I are embracing where God is leading our family in this next season of ministry. Over the past seven years God has used the GCBC and New Covenant community to give us a vibrant picture of Christ-exalting, gospel-centered, biblical fellowship in the local church. During this season of pastoral ministry, I have been given a priceless gift: the friendship and faithful mentoring of a senior pastor who has shown me how to tenderly shepherd God’s people and boldly minister God’s Word. I believe that God is now calling me to take what has been invested in me as a pastor and use it for His Kingdom by helping to establish a new worshipping congregation in my hometown, the city of Elgin, IL.
Over the years David Sunday and I have had several conversations about whether or not God might be calling me to be a lead/preaching pastor. About two years ago, David turned the question around by challenging me to tell him why I should not be a senior pastor. That conversation changed the game for me. I didn’t have a good answer. The result was that now I began seeking the Lord about where he would have me lead a congregation of my own instead of if he would; and my assumption was that the answer would be in another town or another state. Enter Luke and Nicole Preussler.
The Preusslers’ following of God’s call to serve among poor and marginalized eventually led them to settle on the east side of Elgin. It also led Luke to have a ministry among urban youth and their families there. As a church, we have sought to support the Preusslers. Several of you have served alongside Luke and Nicole demonstrating Christ’s love to the kids he has brought to our AWANA ministry. As good as this has been, the distance--both in miles and culturally--has made this kind of outreach very challenging.
Last fall, the elders determined that the best way to support the Preusslers’ ministry was for their outreach to take place as the natural extension of a local church IN Elgin. At this point, the Lord began to work on my and Micki’s hearts. Our passion for church planting--something that had been on the backburner for several years--was re-ignited. Luke and I began to meet together to dream about what it might look like to plant a gospel-centered church IN the heart of Elgin FOR the city of Elgin. In May we presented an initial proposal to the elders, and this past Monday we presented a detailed strategic vision for New City Church Elgin which the elders unanimously approved. And so the adventure begins...
My heart is full. I believe that this is what God has called me to as a pastor: investing my life in gospel ministry in my community, serving beside brothers and sisters who long to see those walking in darkness come into the glorious, saving light of Jesus Christ. I covet your prayers as we begin this journey. Please read the attached FAQ. It will answer many of your questions but not all, so feel free to call, text, or email me or Luke (our contact info is in the FAQ).
In Christ alone,
Pastor Dave DeHaan
Elgin Church Plant FAQ
Why plant a new church in Elgin, IL? Doesn’t Elgin already have a lot of churches?
Elgin does have many churches (at least 70 that we are aware of). The mission of this new church is not to diminish
the ministry of existing Christian churches but to join Bible-believing churches in Elgin in spreading the gospel of
Jesus Christ. However, there are also many, many people in Elgin (more than 108,000) most of whom do not
worship the Lord Jesus as their Savior. The primary reason to start a new church in Elgin is to reach the thousands of
men, women, and children who do not yet know the joy of being transformed by the beauty and power the
gospel of Jesus Christ. We want to see individuals, families, neighborhoods, and the city glorifying God and
enjoying him forever. There are many churches seeking to do just that, but we believe there is a need for more
churches in Elgin that are gospel-centered, theologically robust, and vitally engaged in the community. That is the
kind of church we want to plant.
Why locate this new church in the downtown area of Elgin?
Elgin is a diverse city: ethnically, culturally, socio-economically, religiously. While those differences are sometimes
related to the “side of town” or neighborhood one lives in, the downtown area is the heart of the Elgin
community, a place where Elginites come together for a variety of activities. The vision of this new church is to be a
local church in the heart of Elgin for all of Elgin; a worshiping community where diversity is celebrated and
embraced but secondary to our unity in Christ.
What does the name New City Church communicate?
By naming this church “New City” we hope to convey several things:
- this is a church FOR the city and IN the city (Jer. 29:7)
- this is a new church in the city (Come check us out!)
- this church is about people becoming new in Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:17)
- this church looks forward to THE New City (Heb. 11:16; Rev. 21:9-27)
What role will New Covenant Bible Church play in planting this church?
New Covenant will be the “mother church” of this new “daughter church.” It will send out one of its pastors, Dave
DeHaan, to be the lead pastor of New City. It will also continue to support Luke and Nicole Preussler as a
missionary couple to the under-resourced areas of Elgin and will support Luke as Director of Community
Engagement for the new church. New Covenant has committed financial support, and its elders will oversee New
City’s leadership until it has a plurality of its own elders. Although New City will be an independent congregation,
both churches desire to have ongoing fellowship with one another. New City will be eligible to join New Covenant
in the CrossWay Association of Churches after its one year anniversary.
What will this new church be like?
Doctrinally, New City will be very similar to its mother church. It will be evangelical, Bible-based, gospel-centered,
and essentially Reformed, sharing much in common with churches who identify with the Gospel Coalition.
Stylistically, we want to be highly relational, pursuing Jesus and the mission he gave us in community, recognizing
that others will know we belong to Jesus when they observe our love for one another .
Missionally, we want to follow Jesus’ command to make disciples of all peoples as we live as salt and light in the
city of Elgin making the most of every opportunity to share the good news of Jesus and to demonstrate His love
by doing good in our city.
How does this church intend to "do good in the city of Elgin"?
As whole people being transformed by the grace of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ, we want to make
disciples of whole people (i.e. wholistic discipleship). This includes attention to each person’s spiritual, social,
physical, emotional, educational, and economic development. We want to think creatively and strategically and
utilize the gifts of all God’s people in forming ministries that meet these needs
How will this new church be funded?
It will be funded by the giving of its core group, the support of New Covenant Bible Church, donations from
individuals outside the church, and partnerships with other like-minded churches and/or Christian organizations.
What is the timetable for this church to be established and have public worship services?
Phase 1: Core Group Recruitment & Strategy Formation (Jun-Aug 2014)
Phase 2: Core Group Cultivation & Community Presence (Sep 2014 - Jan 2015)
Phase 3: Soft Launch (Feb-Mar 2015)
Phase 4: Hard Launch & Public Presence (Apr-Aug 2015)
Phase 5: Membership & Elder Identification (Sep-Dec 2015)
Is everyone at NCBC who lives in Elgin expected to be part of the new church?
No. We believe that given the specific mission of New City Church some Elginites will sense a call to this new work
and others will have a renewed sense of their call to carry out the mission of New Covenant. Church planting is not
for everyone so no one should feel badly for wanting to continue to enjoy the fellowship of God’s people at NCBC.
We foresee 10-11 households from NCBC forming the core group along with several families and/or individuals
from the Elgin community.
What is the profile of a potential core group member?
An individual or family that:
- Lives in Elgin and/or has a heart for the city of Elgin
- Loves and values diversity
- Has a “missional mindset” and is evangelistic
- Resonates with the theology & philosophy of ministry of New City
- Is all in!
How will this church be different than the former Grace Community Bible Church Elgin?
In some very important ways New City will be similar to GCBC. By planting New City in Elgin, New Covenant Bible
Church (like GCBC before it) wants to replicate the sweet and precious gospel DNA and model of ministry that it
has worked hard to cultivate and desires to multiply. However, this church will not be GCBC 2.0 for several
reasons. First, unlike GCBC, New City will be an independent congregation with its own lead pastor. Second, a
significant aspect of New City’s mission is ministry among the poor and marginalized. We anticipate that this aspect
of our mission will give our church a specific distinctive and will draw people who have heart for this particular kind
of ministry. Finally, we believe that the core group of New City will be different from that of the former GCBC
giving it a different a personality and different dynamics.
What will evangelism look like at this church?
The goal of starting a new church is not to draw in Christians from other churches but to reach those who do know
Christ personally with the gospel and thereby grow the church through conversions. This is both exciting and scary
because it means a robust emphasis on evangelism is absolutely essential--and sharing the gospel is something
many of us struggle with. One of the objectives of New City is to de-mystify and “normalize” evangelism. We want
gospel communication and demonstration to be a regular aspect of our lives--this is what we call being “missional.”
Evangelism programs can be helpful, but it is far more effective (and normal!) to live as followers of Jesus IN our
community looking to make the most of every opportunity to point people to him.
This does not mean that we are passively waiting for unbelievers to come to us. We want to be actively engaged
in our neighborhoods by getting to know our neighbors, showing them hospitality, receiving hospitality from
them, and most of all, being a friend to them. We want to actively engage our community by participating in
community events, serving in community organizations, coaching youth sports teams, and hosting church events
that show God’s love for the city (e.g. Christmas Store). We want the context of our missional efforts to be grace:
as Jesus’ disciples we are extending to others the same underserved favor he has, and continues to, extend to us.
Motivated by God’s grace, want to spur one another on in the good work of evangelism by praying for gospel
opportunities in our small groups and sharing with one another the stories of God’s saving grace.
How will New City Church embrace the ethnic diversity of Elgin?
Our starting point will be our unity in Jesus Christ. In him there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, or any
distinction that would cause one group to claim superiority over another (nor any group to feel inferior to another).
At the same time, the Bible makes it clear that God’s eternal purpose is to redeem a people for himself from all
the peoples (plural) of the earth. Living in God’s new city (the New Heavens and New Earth) will be a multicultural
experience for all eternity! We want to experience a foretaste of eternity by intentionally reaching out with the
gospel to the various ethnic communities of Elgin. This mission can be helped greatly by recruiting a core group of
diverse persons both from within NCBC and from the community at large. We can also communicate our
commitment to diversity in the way we shape our worship services, allowing for a variety of Christ-focused
expressions of worship. Finally, one the most critical ways to promote diversity is through leadership
development. We want to be proactive in developing and empowering leaders from diverse cultural backgrounds.
What should I do if I am interested in being a part of New City Church Elgin?
- Pray. Ask God to search your heart regarding your motivations and to give you clear guidance.
- Ask more questions. Dave and Luke are available by phone & email and would love to meet with you.
- Come to future info meetings. Let us know that you are interested & we will keep you in the loop.
- Pray some more.
Dave DeHaan 847-804-2950 firstname.lastname@example.org
Luke Preussler 224-523-3473 email@example.com
(See "Life Together Newsletter Attachment - June 18, 2014" for the FAQ document which also includes a Church Plant Timeline and Budget & Financing Detail.)