On Sunday, November 5, 2017, Dick Jaques and I announced on behalf of our entire Elder Team that New Hope Church is excited to plant a new church in MHK in 2018 under the leadership of myself and our Administrator, Dave Geldart! We’re excited to see what God might do through both this church plant AND New Hope in this next season. Let’s storm the gates of hell together! Here are some answers to questions we've been asked this last month. Hence a FAQ page (Frequently Asked Questions)!
When will this new church be planted?
We’re launching on Sunday evening, April 8, 2018, the Sunday after Easter! We originally aimed for a fall 2018 launch date but have now shortened the runway. We planned for a longer runway initially with the option to shorten the timeline if we sensed there was momentum and details were falling into place sooner than later. We plan to start with a Sunday evening Central Gathering most likely from 5:00-6:30 pm with lots of potluck dinners to follow.
What is the name of this new church?
We don’t know yet! We’ve given significant thought to this question but still don’t have the answer. Right now we’re simply calling it The Plant.
Where will this church plant meet?
The location for our Sunday evening Central Gathering is still to be determined. There are some great options we’re exploring. We hope to meet close to the center of Manhattan, KS to be within walking or biking distance of campus. We’re excited to communicate that initial location as soon as we have it locked in. Stay tuned!
Beyond our Sunday evening Central Gatherings we’ll be meeting much like New Hope Church is currently; in homes, in coffee shops, at parks, all around town! Sometimes when people ask me the question, “Where is New Hope?” I say (in a weird tone of voice), “All around you!” That’s true. We are the Body of Christ and we’re everywhere!
Who is planting this church?
That question can be taken many ways. At the deepest level, God is planting this church. He is committed to His Bride, the Body of Christ, which is the church. He is working to make His Bride beautiful to be presented to Christ in all our glory (Ephesians 5:25-32). On another level, New Hope Church is planting this church. Church planting has been a topic of conversation at New Hope ever since I’ve been around (I married into New Hope in 2005). We’re excited to be a part of the first church New Hope has planted! Another way to answer the question is that the Deavers and Geldarts are planting this church. Dave Geldart, New Hope’s administrator, and myself are excited to serve as the church plant's initial staff team. I'll serve as Lead Pastor and Dave as Associate Pastor. We're also thrilled to be planting this new church as a team with our wives, Maris and Jenn. We’re eager to build upon that team so that by the time we get to April 8, 2018 we have a solid launch team.
Will this church plant be elder led?
Yes, we are committed to being an elder led church. We strongly believe in the Biblical value of team leadership. We believe elder leadership best safeguards doctrine, discerns and conveys vision, protects against division, and shepherds the flock to grow. As John Maxwell says, “Teamwork makes the dream work”.
Who will this new church seek to reach?
We want to reach Homo sapiens with the Good News of Jesus Christ! Seriously, we’re excited to be surprised by who might be a part of this new church that we weren’t expecting. Anyone and everyone are welcome. However, we do have stirrings in our hearts for specific groups of people in Manhattan, KS. We want to seek inroads into the lives of K-State grad students and faculty. We see there being a need for that in our town. There is so much amazing Kingdom work occurring among undergrad students through collegiate ministries and local churches. We wonder how much is occurring among grad students and above at K-State. We also want to engage the poor among us. We’ve observed that many evangelical churches are situated on the outskirts of town with limited access to the poor in our community. We want to be accessible to the poor. We want to continue the great legacy at New Hope and other evangelical churches in befriending international students with the love of Christ as well. Our hearts are also stirred to address divides we see within the Body of Christ, whether racial, generational, or otherwise. How will we do all of this? We don’t fully know…but we’re excited to try by the grace and power of God!
What kind of theology will this church plant have?
What about small groups?
Yes, we plan to have small groups (like New Hope LIFE Groups) as a core aspect of the new church. We believe vibrant, robust small groups are typically the best avenue to care for and grow existing believers, to train them for ministry, and to release them to express their gifts within the Body of Christ. We also believe that these small groups are typically most effective to reach the lost for Christ in our culture. We plan to emphasize more geographically focused small groups with the vision of reaching whole neighborhoods for Christ through them.
What about kids?
The Deavers and Geldarts dearly love kids (we have a number of our own!) and are committed to engaging them with excellence in the church plant. Our children’s ministry will seek to help them grow into mature Christ-followers – young men and women able to understand truth and grace within the context of a vital relationship with Christ. We also want to help them build a robust Christian worldview able to withstand the rigors of meaningful engagement in our society with the love of Christ.
Why plant another church here in Manhattan, KS?
Perhaps the question we should be asking is, “Why not plant another church here in Manhattan, KS?” Dr. Tim Keller begins his article Why Plant Churches? with this paragraph—“The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for (1) the numerical growth of the body of Christ in a city and (2) the continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city. Nothing else—not crusades, outreach programs, parachurch ministries, growing megachurches, congregational consulting, nor church renewal processes—will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting. This is an eyebrow-raising statement, but to those who have done any study at all, it is not even controversial.” So we want to plant a new church to reach new people for Christ and to help renew and revive existing churches.
Manhattan, KS is a particularly strategic place to plant new churches as this town is a Petri dish of opportunity to impact the world for the Kingdom of God. We have so many people coming in and out of this town and going to the ends of the earth, especially through Kansas State University and Fort Riley. Manhattan, KS should be an “all hands on deck” kind of place. This town should be crawling with vibrant communities of faith where all sorts of seeking and hurting and messy people can land.
Finally, in conversations with multiple area pastors we’ve discovered that even though there are many existing churches in Manhattan, only about 9% of Manhattan is involved in an evangelical church and only 20% are involved in any faith community. That means more than 90% of Manhattanites are not meaningfully connected with a Gospel-preaching church! Even if that number is halfway accurate, it shows just how much need there continues to be for Kingdom work in our dear city. These stats are likely true across our country and even worse around the globe. For this reason, we hope to be church planting church. Truly the harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few…even right here in Manhappyness, KS!
How will this church plant be funded?
This church plant will be funded with US dollars! New Hope has set up a tax-deductible “Church Plant FUND” that anyone can give to in order to financially support this new work. There are two easy ways to give! First, you can donate right now online at newhopeks.org -- make sure to choose the "Church Plant FUND" under the "Apply my gift to:" section. Secondly, you can donate via checks made to New Hope Church with Church Plant in the memo. Feel free to drop these in the offering baskets on Sundays or mail them to "New Hope Church, 1300 Fremont St., Manhattan, KS 66502." Any who are strongly considering being a part of the launch team is encouraged to begin giving their regular church donations to the Church Plant FUND in January 2018. Any who will most likely stay at New Hope Church are encouraged to give generously to the Church Plant FUND above and beyond their normal giving to New Hope. If you know of people outside of New Hope who are specifically interested in God’s Kingdom work flourishing in Manhattan, KS please encourage them to give to this endeavor at any time. Who knows? Perhaps some would want to give an end of year gift to help fund this spring church plant. Lord willing, this church plant will become self-sustaining quickly.
How can I be involved?
Please pray for BIG things to happen through this church plant AND through New Hope in the season ahead. We’re meeting to pray specifically for the church plant every Wednesday from noon to 1pm at our house (1230 Houston) between now and April 8 (perhaps longer) with the exception of Wednesday, December 27. Please join us for this time of prayer as you’re able. Kids are welcome to come along and play in our basement. We're also having Vision Gatherings for the church plant on the first Sunday evenings in January, February, and March. So mark your calendars for January 7, February 4, and March 4, from 5:00-6:30 pm if you want to come hear more (location TBD). Of course you're always welcome to be in touch with me with questions at any time too!
And, of course you can give financially to help support this new work. That is a big and very practical way to be involved!
We’re excited for this upcoming planting season! Please join with us in prayer for God’s work both through the plant and New Hope. Pray for opportunities to be a blessing to one another and to others outside the community of Christ. Pray for God’s Kingdom to advance in MHK and beyond. Pray for God to provide abundantly for the needs of this church plant. If you have any questions or would like to chat more about how you might be involved with the church plant, please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org or (785) 341-9863.