The Time Has Arrived - New Life Planting Its First Daughter Congregation

Pastor Bob O'Bannon

Back in 2011, New Life released a strategic plan in which the elders of the church proposed a plan for planting our first daughter congregation, as part of an overall movement of church planting taking place in our denomination and in our local presbytery. By God’s grace and as a display of his faithful provision, we are now on the cusp of getting this first church plant started.

A special worship service will be held at New Life at 6 pm on Sunday June 25 in recognition of this kingdom project. This is an important service in the life of our church, and we encourage everyone to make it a priority to attend. The purpose of this blog is to make sure everyone understands exactly what will be happening at this service. There are basically two important events taking place:

1. Ordination. First of all, Josh Holowell will be getting ordained as a teaching elder in our denomination, the PCA. Josh has served as a ruling elder at New Life for many years, and most recently as New Life’s church planting apprentice, but his ordination as a teaching elder will allow him to move forward as pastor of the church plant, City Hope Fellowship, which will worship and serve in downtown Muncie. Josh passed his ordination exams before the Central Indiana Presbytery on Friday May 26 (including exams in theology, Bible knowledge, the sacraments and church history), so now the next step is to officially ordain him to Gospel ministry. 

The June 25 service will proceed similar to a regular Sunday morning service at New Life, with the addition of Josh taking his ordination vows as prescribed in the PCA’s Book of Church Order chapter 21. Technically, this service will be a function of the Central Indiana Presbytery, with a commission of teaching elders and ruling elders established to oversee the service. 

This will be a time of great celebration for Josh, but also a solemn occasion at which Josh will be undertaking sacred obligations before God and his church.

2. Commissioning. The second major event that will take place at this June 25 service will be the commissioning of the church plant that will be coming under Josh’s pastoral leadership. A  solid and diverse group of people has committed to start this congregation, so we want to recognize, affirm and pray for these people during this service. 

The following individuals, having sensed a call from God to join this new congregation, are being sent from New Life (some are members, some attenders) to go with the church plant. Included in that group are Adam and Stacy Hoeksema; Cammy Miller; Matt and Soo James; David and Hanna DelaGardelle; Paul and Megan Brown; Chris Mack; Jim and Erin Moore; Dennis and Esther Slack; Scott Wykoff; Logan Wulpi; Zack and Mary Kate Marvel; Pearl Mohankumar; Nicole Riley; and Bridget Hedinger. 

In addition, there are a number of other families and individuals joining this new congregation who have been invited to join us for this service so that they too may receive encouragement and affirmation from the elders and members of New Life. 

Eventually City Hope will come under the authority of its own elders as they are raised up and trained in God’s timing, but until then, City Hope will remain under the authority of the elders of New Life.

For New Life as a congregation, it is important to understand that we are officially sending out the church plant people during this June 25 service. That means they will not be worshiping with us any longer after June 25. During the summer months, the group will be holding informal worship services as they get ready to begin official Sunday morning services sometime in September. 

After the service, we will hold a reception in the church Fellowship Hall to celebrate this great milestone in New Life’s history, as well as the excitement of what God is doing and will continue to do through City Hope Fellowship in downtown Muncie and beyond.