NEW Network in Michigan | Tom Elenbaas
Sometimes you just know when you’re home. That’s what I felt when Harbor Churches became a part of NewThing. Before attending a NewThing gathering, I often tell staff who are attending for the first time, “These are our people.” Inevitably, after the gathering, I hear something in return: “Hey Tom; that was great. These are our kind of people.” Like I said, sometimes you just know when you’re home.
One of the most important things in the American church today is being a part of communities of like-minded people who share the same passions, drives, and values. When you’re giving your life for something, it’s important to be around other people who are giving their lives for the same things. Helping people find their way back to God… now that’s worth giving your life for – together.
So, one of the things I love most about NewThing is the ongoing passion and commitment to the real work of seeing people’s lives changed because of a transformative relationship with God. And not only that, I love that NewThing is thinking both macro and micro. When one person comes to Jesus, all of heaven rejoices, so we begin to imagine together what would happen if we locked arms and created capacity – churches planting churches, networks of churches, movements of churches, and global partnerships. I love that at NewThing we never forget the importance of one person finding their way back to God while also dreaming of ways to help as many people as possible find their way.
Although I’ve been learning from the Fergusons', Community Christian, and now NewThing for many years, Harbor Churches has now been in a network with NewThing for about 3 years, and we have been blessed. We are learning more every day and are humbled to be a part of new things God is doing not only here in North America, but also around the globe. We’ve been challenged by peer accountability, resourced with best practices, and encouraged to take risks for the gospel. We’ve developed new relationships with people in churches as close as Detroit, Atlanta, Nashville, and Kansas City and as far away as the Philippines, Scotland, Norway, and Nicaragua. Whether it’s at Exponential, the Yellow Box, at BB Kings, or over a video call it feels like gathering with family and being at home with people who care about the same thing – seeing people come to Jesus.
Relationships matter. Reproduction matters. Residencies matter. And resources matter. We became a part of NewThing because we knew it would stretch us in the right directions, and that has proven true time and time again. Sometimes you just know when you’re home.