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New Life for New Life

A congregation opens old doors

A relational congregation meeting relational needs in their community, New Life Community Church (BIC) in Carlisle, Pa., invites the homeless to join them for Sunday breakfast, provides bicycles for those without transportation, and gives furniture to folks leaving temporary housing. They’ve even adopted a local BIC congregation and sent out half their leadership team to plant a church across town.

This past January, New Life celebrated 20 years of ministry and the move into a new building. While their previously rented facility provided enough space for their congregants, it placed a ceiling on the level of relational outreach New Life dreamed of achieving.

A few blocks down the road, a large, 1800’s-era stone church sat vacant after three United Methodist (UMC) churches merged several years ago. Though little more than a pipe-dream—the asking price well beyond their means—New Life started imagining what it would look like to call the building home.

Over the coming months, though, God began breaking down barriers. With the support of Carlisle UMC leadership and the BIC Foundation, their dream of calling the place home became a reality.

The atmosphere at launch was electric, with over 400 people from across the community packed into their new sanctuary. “I believe we’re in a season where we’re going to see incredible things happen in our community,” senior pastor Ryan Brown told the congregation that morning.

Closing the service with a special pipe organ–led hymn, Ryan invited all generations to join together in singing “Be Thou My Vision,” leaning on God’s promises and looking ahead to all this next season has in store.

Adapted from an article originally released in the February 2016 Connect Newsletter. Since this article was written, Ryan Brown has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an aggressive form of bone cancer. We ask the BIC family to join us in praying for Ryan, his family, and New Life during this difficult time.

This article originally appeared in the spring/summer 2016 issue of In Part magazine.

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