Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Exciting Grand Opening at New City Last Sunday

Last Sunday's Grand Opening was amazing. God is doing something in downtown LA and Grace and I are so thankful that we get to be a part of it. God brought almost 200 people to the Grand Opening. About 170 adults and 21 kids. There are a lot of positive buzz going around.

I will post pictures of the Grand Opening as soon as they are ready.

Here's an excerpt from an email from Bruce White of Stadia to fellow church planters and staff re our Grand Opening:

Club 740 – one of the hottest and edgiest clubs in the heart of L.A. – took on a totally different look and feel on Sunday morning, September 14, as New City Church of Los Angeles invited the residents of downtown to come and check out “the real Jesus”. 191 people (170 adults and 21 children) responded to that invitation.

As people streamed into the club, it was apparent that the vision of Pastor Kevin Haah for creating a “multi-ethnic, multi-socioeconomic” church was becoming a reality. I have never been in such a diverse environment, and I suddenly realized that I was getting a tiny preview of what heaven will be like: Asians, Latinos, Blacks, Anglos. Young, middle-aged, old. Students and blue-collar workers and managers and business professionals. Skid Row residents. Loft dwellers. Singles and families. New City Church truly is a church that “looks like downtown”.

Club 740 is an integral part of that downtown scene, and it’s definitely a unique place for a church. Located on Broadway, in the heart of the historic “Core District” of LA, this site formerly was the Globe Theater, a classic drama venue for Shakespearean stage productions. The beautiful balconies and gilt railings remain, but during the evenings this is now a place for loud music, dancing, drinking, and raucous behavior. In other words: this is where lots of unsaved people hang out to party, so it’s a safe and familiar environment for them. Many of these people would never visit a traditional church on Sunday morning, but they just might stop by the club to check out New City. By choosing to “do church” in such an environment, New City Church is making a bold statement about taking the gospel into the heart of the city. About becoming a church where everyone is welcome. A church that is willing to engage the world. A church that is available and accessible to lost and hurting people.

In such a setting, with lots of unchurched people coming in, it might be tempting to soften the message…but Kevin tells the story straight. He shared his vision for the church – and his heart for the city – in a very personal and touching way, and he invited the crowd to join him in a spiritual journey to meet and know “the real Jesus”. He gave a humorous, insightful, and compelling message, straight from Mark’s Gospel.

In addition to Kevin’s sermon, we heard a powerful testimony of life-change from Eugene, a former drug addict. We enjoyed great food (New City lays out fruit and pastries every week), friendly interaction, vibrant worship (even alternating between English and Spanish verses during one song), and a reflective time of communion.

We finished the morning with some personal sharing, as Kevin had everyone get into groups of 4 to introduce themselves to each other and to reflect upon the morning. This is risky for a new church, but it’s a great way to get people to break down the barriers and make some immediate connections. And it sure seemed to work, as I listened to the conversations breaking out all around me. And I had the chance to meet 3 great guys.

The core team of New City Church did a wonderful job of making everyone feel welcomed and included. And throughout the morning, as Kevin watched over the “up front” ministry, I continually noticed his wife, Grace, handling a variety of “behind-the-scenes” details.

Back in April, New City did a “soft launch” and began holding services with a small core congregation. This group has been meeting weekly to build community and to lay a solid foundation for future growth. The Grand Opening now takes New City to the next level and extends their reach into the city. We are excited to see what God is doing in downtown L.A., and we covet your prayers for Kevin and his team as they continue to engage in life-changing ministry in the name of Jesus.

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