“Take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Jesus must have known that his disciples needed to hear those words. Surely they remembered them often to find assurance and hope. Jesus’s statement is still powerful today. Facing a broken world, we can possess the same hope and peace. Jesus has overcome!
God has been working powerfully through local churches in the past year. These churches reveal the Kingdom of God in places where His presence is desperately needed. Three new churches celebrated their launches this year: Restoration Church in Philadelphia, Miami Church, and Collective Church in Los Angeles. Dynamic prayer movements and life-changing baptisms are already happening through them.
Seeing churches flourish and grow is every bit as exciting as celebrating the launch of new ones. In 2015, many churches planted by Orchard Group celebrated big milestones:
20 YEARSCrossway Christian Church in Nashua, NH
15 YEARSChrist’s Church of the Valley in Royersfield, PA
10 YEARSTrue North Church in Long Island, NY Forefront Church in New York City Church of Park Slope in Brooklyn, NY North Shore Community in Long Island, NY
5 YEARSRevolution Church in Annapolis, MD The Hills a Christian Church in Pittsburgh, PA Mustard Seed Christian Church in Nagoya, Japan Missio Dei Community in Salt Lake City, UT Everyday Church in New York City
Through these churches tens of thousands have been introduced to Jesus, thousands have been baptized into His life, and thousands of children are being brought up knowing and loving God. People and cities are being restored through their ministries:
- Revolution Church spent a Sunday this spring leading the 2nd Annual Grocery Story Buyout. Within 5 hours, church members packed 43,750 meals for 450 families. Their generosity is changing Annapolis.
- The Foundry Church in Baltimore is leading The Christmas Store in an impoverished neighborhood. Brand new toys are sold at extremely reduced prices to provide families shopping with dignity. It is one of the ways Foundry is building bridges in a city in need of hope.
- Renewal Church in Chicago hosted a powerful Conversation on Race. The leaders are committed to bringing about the kind of unity that can only come through the Spirit of God.
Multiply these stories by the many churches in cities around the world. Their examples encourage us to live as people of hope. Jesus has overcome!
We look into the future with hope. New projects are starting in Orlando, Brooklyn, and Cape Town, South Africa. If you would like to contribute to them you can do so at orchardgroup.org/donate. The leaders of these projects would appreciate your prayers as they consider how best to build gospel communities where they live. Pray in expectancy that God’s goodness will be evident because of their presence.
A traditional church prayer entreats:
Expand in me the great hope that everything bent and bruised, curdled and corrupted, in me and this world, will be transformed into lasting goodness, righteousness, and truth.
Amen! News headlines of 2015 were often full of unrest and unrelenting sadness. Yet we live in expectant hope that God is making all things new.
Thank you for your continued support of new churches. May the joy of this season be yours, and may you live in hopeful anticipation. Jesus has overcome!