All Things New

Endings are never easy. It means saying goodbye and giving up something you once had, something you once knew to be the norm and a part of who you are. Some endings could not come soon enough, and some are met with little welcome, but all offer some level of difficulty in their acceptance. The best part of something coming to an end though is that something new has to begin. Sure, that new beginning may or may not be better or worse than that which has ended, but something must and will begin. It is so important that we hold on to that, in the midst of our grief and loss and regret, something bright and new is beginning, and it is up to us to see and take hold of it.

Today marks the end of something that has been a huge part of my life over the last 4 years; New City Church. As far as church plants go in Austin, this one has long outlived the average lifespan; but of course, all good things must also come to an end. Over its 7 years in south central Austin (both as Soma Austin and New City), it has seen some incredible things….from lives radically changed, to a beautiful community of people rallying together to love and bless their city. One of the best parts of New City was its diversity and humility in welcoming all to journey and pursue God together. No matter where you came from or where you were at, all were welcome. We had southern Baptists from the suburbs, Pentecostals from who knows where, recovering addicts from across the street, and homeless men and women from all around the city. It was the most beautiful display of community and family I have ever been a part of. I did not want to join this church at first; I had been a part of planting another church downtown that had recently closed down, and I was currently leading worship for hire around the city. I knew that the church would be a perfect fit for me, but I was scared to commit to something again and decided to stay away for as long as I could. But I finally went, and I immediately was welcomed as a part of the family. I began leading worship and was invited to go on a trip to Haiti with the church, which is where my current journey with Help One Now began. It is amazing to look back and see how God was piecing things together even then. Over the years, I got to see incredible things happen through the community of this church. They were blessing those less fortunate in the city by creating dignity and purpose at ReWork Project, they were training up future leaders from all around Texas through the Porterbrook Network, and they were most of all spending the time to invest in relationships and do life together to see healing and renewal in the city.

I truly believe that today is not the ending of any of this, but rather it is the moment that all of these things will be released and sent out to bless and impact more than just our small community. There have been 7 years worth of people coming and going whose lives have been changed and built up to carry this love and beauty out to other parts of the city and the world around them. It is easy to think of an ending as a failure, but I believe that is not the case here. I believe that the purpose of Soma/New City has been good and fulfilled, that its time is completed and finished, and it is ready to be used in greater ways than ever could be accomplished in a Sunday gathering. I cannot wait to see how God continues to use the people of our church family to go out and be a light of His love and truth in other communities and places around the world. Today truly is a beautiful beginning to something far more than we could have ever asked or imagined. Believe that today. Go and be sent with that today as we celebrate what has already been accomplished and all that we have to look forward to together!

When we transitioned to the name “New City” almost 3 years ago, we decided that everything we did and believed as a community was to be centered around the idea of “Joining God in the renewal of all things”. Me and Pastor Jacob Vanhorn sat down and wrote a song together to convey this belief in a way that our church family could connect with and proclaim. The words have more meaning to me today in this moment than they ever have, and I hope they bring you encouragement and hope as we continue to go out together, and join God in the renewal of all things!

“All Things New”

Stories telling of Your glory
Though we turn our eyes away from You
Your beauty makes us see
God our King, as a child You knew me
As a child You’re calling me
Your grace has made me new

In the Father’s love You left the throne
And as one of us, You came

Though lies surround
We find truth and life in You abound
You entered darkness to show the way
By Your light we can see
Let all the Earth resound
“The promised King can now here be found”
Let all the lost come to hear the sound
Your truth is making us new!

In the Father’s love You left the throne
And as one of us, You came

You make all things new
Give us hearts to join with You
You adopt us as Your own
To tell of love and to make known
You make all things new!

God of truth and perfect peace
Your love renews and it redeems
As You prepare us as Your bride
We’ll shout it out, “The Kingdom has arrived”
You make all things new!