What We Believe
Our Founding Commission
My wife, Carole, and I took the decision to launch New Life Church, at Easter 2004, because of a deep conviction that it was the response that God required of us in the light of a very clear call from Him to begin a new phase in our ministry. This new phase was characterised by a commission to ‘rescue and establish’ people. Indeed, the phrase ‘rescue and establish’ has since become a key motif for NLC.
Our Central Vision
One short passage of Scripture (see Matthew 28:19-20) succinctly sums up our central vision – which is to ‘make disciples’. This involves us reaching out to our local community, teaching those who respond to the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and helping them to flourish in all areas of life.
Our Guiding Values
Our guiding values are those that the Lord specifically requires of all of us – according to one of the Old Testament prophets called Micah (see Micah 6:8):
To act justly in every situation, recognising that justice is part of the foundation of God’s throne.
To show mercy to everyone, recognising that untold mercy has been extended by God to us all.
To walk humbly every day, recognising that God is incalculably greater than us as our Creator and Redeemer.
Our New Testament Model
Our aim is to model for our generation the best features of the Church that is outlined in the New Testament, particularly in Luke’s narrative passages in the Book of Acts. The Church described there expresses itself as a series of charismatic Christian communities that were connected to each other, and to the world around them. Let’s unpack each of these key words to try and understand what they mean in practice:
The original meaning of this word is ‘grace gifts’. The New Testament Church was characterised by the often tangible sense of the presence of God that was evidenced in the early believers as they served God, using the gifts – both ‘natural’ and ‘spiritual’ – that He graciously bestowed upon them. Repeatedly in the book of Acts, we read of the Holy Spirit speaking to and guiding Christians as they went about their lives. An outstanding feature of the first century church was undoubtedly the vitality of its spiritual life. At NLC we seek to develop and use these spiritual gifts, both in our meetings and in our daily lives.
People often lament the loss of a sense of community in modern British culture. Society is atomised, and there is often so little time to build meaningful relationships with each other. This is the opposite of what God wants, because it is the opposite of what He knows we need for completeness as human beings. In the New Testament there is clear teaching on – and modelling of – a church life where nobody feels left out or isolated. All are cared for in the extended family of the church. This means that church life cannot be expressed simply – and only – as the sum total of a series of organised meetings, but has to be found in the (often messy!) realities of day to day living. As I hope this web site conveys, a strong sense of ‘family’ has become another key motif for NLC.
The New Testament paints a very clear picture of interdependent Christian communities, mutually concerned for each other’s welfare and joined relationally via the ministries of itinerant Christian workers who focussed on oversight and training. New Life Church is not only connected to other congregations in the UK and overseas via Lifelink International, but also very much values the wider Christian Community in our local area.
We rejoice in the sense of unity, shared vision and mutual encouragement that our friends in other local churches afford us. But the local Christian communities of the New Testament were not only connected to each other; they were also very much connected to the world around them – in the sense that they were integrated and relevant. Every believer saw that their mission was to facilitate the advancement of the Kingdom of God among those with whom they lived and worked. At New Life Church we actively seek to work this out in practice, both as individual Christians bearing witness to friends, neighbours and colleagues, and through organised church events.
In New Life Church, we are seeking to live out these three key characteristics in the context of 21st century society. Obviously our culture is very different to that of 2000 years ago, and many other things do not carry forward across the years, but we firmly believe that these basic principles are as timeless and relevant today as they were then. But don’t just take my word for it, you’re welcome to visit anytime.
Blessings to you all. We look forward to seeing you sometime soon!
– Ian Rawley, Pastor
Statement Of Doctrines
New Life Church adheres to the following statement of doctrines:
The unity of the Godhead and the divine co-equality of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; the Sovereignty of God in creation, providence and redemption.
The true and proper deity of our Lord Jesus Christ; His Virgin Birth; His real and perfect manhood; the authority of His teaching and infallibility of all His utterances; His work of atonement for sinners of mankind by His vicarious sufferings, His death and bodily resurrection and His ascension into Heaven; His present priestly intercession for His people.
The full inspiration of the Holy Scriptures; their authority and sufficiency as not only containing, but being in themselves, the Word of God; the reliability of the New Testament in its testimony to the character and authorship of the Old Testament; and the need of the teaching of the Holy Spirit to a true and spiritual understanding of the whole.
The reality of original sin in consequence of the fall and the necessity of regeneration.
The justification of the sinner solely by faith through the atoning merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The necessity of the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion and sanctification; also in ministry, in worship, and in the exercising of spiritual gifts through the body of believers.
The return of the Lord Jesus Christ in Glory.