Five years ago, David and Lisa Stewart came to New Life Church in Leominster, Massachusetts, as lead pastors after many fruitful years in evangelistic and missionary service.
The city of Leominister is located northwest of Boston and has a population of 40,000. According to Pastor David Stewart, New England is one of the least-churched areas in the United States; only three percent of the people in Leominster claim to be evangelical Christians. Establishing healthy, growing churches that will actively reach their communities with the gospel is an urgent need in this region.
“The congregation at New Life Church had gone through some challenges prior to our arrival,” David says. Because of those challenges as well as the pace of life within the community, many of the traditional church components like Sunday School and midweek services were no longer in place.
Using the analogy of seasons, David says, “It felt as if the church was in a time of winter. During those early months, I felt the Lord speak to me about strengthening the foundations and evaluating the systems and structures.”
When New Life Church began the Acts 2 Journey in 2018, some members of the congregation had already started to step up and express their desire to do ministry.
"The difficulty came in trying to discover and navigate processes that would work for our particular church,” says David. “With the help of the Acts 2 Journey, our leadership team at New Life developed several tools to aid in the growth and discipleship of our members.”
New Life Church is currently implementing these tools to strengthen and grow the church and its outreach to the community:
Discipleship Hour. This new spin on traditional Sunday School, offered between the two Sunday morning services, enables us to help meet the diverse spiritual growth needs of all who attend, regardless of age or previous church experience.
Next Steps, an assessment tool developed by the pastoral team, helps parishioners find direction as they grow as disciples and discover their place of service.
Leadership U is a weekly leadership development meeting where pastoral staff members speak into the lives of current and potential leaders (adult and youth) to strengthen the foundation for churchwide growth.
Living in New Life is a program designed to combat the opioid epidemic, which is of a significant concern to the community of Leominster. Pastor David and the church leadership team hopes this new program will take the congregation to a new level of growth in community service.
“Thank you for your sacrificial giving to AGTrust!” Pastor David says.
“Your gifts helped New Life in Leominster and many more churches in the Southern New England District benefit from the Acts 2 Cohort and Journey. We received valuable teaching and encouragement and took steps to evaluate and improve our ministries on the basis of biblical standards.”
Currently, 1,311 churches in 39 districts of the Assemblies of God have participated in the Acts 2 Journey to better health, directed by Alton Garrison, AG assistant general superintendent. Of those, 980 churches received a scholarship from AGTrust making it possible for them to take the journey, thanks to the generous monthly giving of our AGTrust partners.
Your gift to AGTrust today will help Transform America by enabling more churches to take the Acts 2 Journey to better health and renewed vision.
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The Acts 2 Church Survey is a fully validated church health survey for Spirit-Empowered local churches. Focusing on twelve church health factors, the survey can help you to identify your church’s strengths and challenges in order to pursue the best paths to greater ministry effectiveness.