Why We Do What We Do
Welcome to the Church
of the Plastic Smile.
I think people are just looking for something real.
There's enough fake news and phony people trying to sell us something everywhere we go. It's enough to turn many of us into jaded cynics—we tend to be skeptical of anyone offering us something that sounds too good to be true. Most of us would call this approach to life "wisdom," right?
It makes finding a church to call home really tough. I've been there—going from one church to another trying to find one that feels real. One church has bad preaching, another has bad music, these people are too unfriendly, those people are too eager and smothering—some of them seem too hipster and contrived and others seem too traditional and dusty. Just when you think you've found a good one, they bring out the box of poisonous snakes!
Snake handling aside—no church is perfect for everyone.
We started NewChurch to be a place where three specific kinds of people would feel at home:
1. The unchurched
2. Those who were hurt by previous churches,
3. Anyone who wants to help minster to the first two groups.
I was one of the unchurched. I grew up in central Illinois about as far from a Christian understanding of the world as a midwesterner can get. The complete hopelessness and suffocating smallness of the life I knew until age 14 is the primary motivation that drives me to do this ministry. When my mind was opened by the love and grace of Jesus Christ—it was like an explosion of light and hope—there was suddenly nothing that seemed impossible. I want everyone to know this kind of joy and purpose.
But then I started meeting other Christians. I went to churches. I studied to become a pastor. I found a lot of mean-spirited hypocrites hanging out in the pews and fellowship halls—and standing behind the pulpits. I still thought Jesus was awesome, but I lost my taste for being around His followers. I stopped calling myself "Christian" (even though I still believed) — I performed and recorded music for the next 30 years. Kim and I continued to go to church, but many of the people in the churches said and did awful things to us. A big motivation for the way we do ministry at NewChurch is to help people who have been hurt by churches in the past to heal. We also don't want to do the things that caused us so much pain.
This is why we do what we do at NewChurch. We want to introduce people to the hope and meaning that's found in knowing Jesus Christ, and we also want to help people come back into the family and learn how to trust again.
So, we might not look like any other church—that's okay, we're not trying to. You're welcome to join us no matter what kind of person you are. There are people in our NewChurch family who are new to this Christian faith thing, there are people who have been around the block a time or two—maybe even gotten lost along the way or crashed their faith—and there are a bunch of really solid people who love Jesus and want other people to know the comfort and sense of purpose that only comes from knowing that Jesus is Lord.
You're welcome to join us. You don't have to "get it all together" before you show up. You can leave your clothespins at home.