Yesterday was a historic day for New Bridge Church, where I serve with Dustin Pennington as Co-Lead Pastor. The picture above reveals the enthusiastic response of the people who gathered yesterday after a major ministry announcement was made at New Bridge. I chuckle as I write that because, technically, New Bridge is only twenty months old. We shouldn’t be having “historic days” yet. But we did. Let me tell you about it.
In October of 2015, the Holy Spirit initiated a process of leading Dustin and I to merge our two flocks into a new work. The details are many but, summarizing five months of transition time into one sentence, I will say that the two congregations were taken by God on a fast-paced, high energy ride into our shared destiny. The result was that a Baptist congregation and an Assemblies of God congregation became a non-denominational congregation who unapologetically established the authority of God’s Word and the necessity of the Holy Spirit as our two pillars for life and ministry. God established New Bridge as a signal flare to our community that Christians no longer had to choose between their bibles and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. As the organic Church in the book of Acts reflected a commitment to apostolic doctrine and the supernatural empowerment from the Holy Spirit, so should the Church of the 21st century. New Bridge embraced both the privilege and the stigma of breaking ranks with the status quo and answering the call of God to an open-ended, radical commitment to the leadership of our Lord as we advance the Kingdom together.
Yesterday, I announced to the people of New Bridge that the Father was doing it again.
Over the last four years, my heart has been knit with the heart of Billy Humphrey, Director of the missions base of the Atlanta International House of Prayer. My co-pastor, Dustin Pennington, has also cultivated a deep friendship with Billy and the people of IHOP Atlanta. As a matter of fact, it was Billy who initially bridged the connection between Dustin and myself – a connection which resulted a year later in the formation of New Bridge Church. IHOP Atlanta is a center for unceasing prayer and worship, a sending base for foreign missions, a skilled training center for multiple modes of ministry, and an instructional hub for Kingdom knowledge and action. Frankly, these people have been some of my favorite Christians that I have ever been around, and I have been deeply magnetized toward their unique calling for years. In the single most difficult season of my personal ministry, I spent about six consecutive months in the prayer room at IHOP Atlanta. It was there that the Father reacquainted me with His vastness and His immeasurable love for me. The more time I spent with the people there, the more I sensed the unfolding of an aspect of the Kingdom that I had never been aware of. Over time, New Bridge and IHOP Atlanta began to share ministry overlap. Billy and I preached in each other’s pulpits. Their musicians came and helped us with gaps and needs in our worship ministry. Many of our young adults went through their amazing three-month internship program. We were blessed on a couple of occasions to help out with equipment and technical needs that arose on their mission base. Organically, the Father knit the two communities together and it has been beautiful to watch it happen.
Five months ago, the Lord elevated the communication of His plan for New Bridge and IHOP Atlanta. Through both practical and prophetic means, the leadership teams at these two faith-families recognized that we were being called to merge into a singular missions base here in Gwinnett County. Our individual strengths as two distinct Christian communities match perfectly with the needs of the other. IHOP Atlanta’s unparalleled commitment to non-stop intercession and worship, plus their fruitful missions program were two large gaps in New Bridge’s young ministry. Likewise, IHOP Atlanta wanted to offer a better platform for local church ministry – ministries for families, men, women, house churches, children, teenagers, etc. New Bridge was flowing well in these practical areas. Practicality would not have been enough for the leaders of the two communities to say Yes to a merge, however. The prophetic leadership of the Holy Spirit through multiple people became the wind that blew away any fog that might have clouded the vision. In the end, the Father was very clear that we would commit to merge these two communities in order to advance the Kingdom of Jesus Christ as we move toward the end of the age.
Yesterday, Billy, Dustin and I announced to the two communities the calling that has been laid upon us. The enthusiastic response of the people came at a level that was, frankly, somewhat surprising to me. It simply revealed that the Father had been making things plain to many others besides the primary leadership teams of the faith-families. The day, as I said at the beginning of this post, was historic.
We have another five months or so before the merge is completed. So many of you who support Transforming Truth with your prayers and finances should know that your support is about to give greater visibility through media to an expanding Kingdom-work in your generation. Transforming Truth will continue as long as the Lord continues to supply the funding for what we are called to do. We ask for you to continue to intercede for me personally in the areas of wisdom, vision, prophetic clarity and anointed communication from the Word. The Father is doing something new. It will not be contained to Gwinnett County, Georgian. He is unifying His Church, and the merge between New Bridge and IHOP Atlanta is yet another signal that He will not be boxed in by denominations and traditions.
The day of church trends is over. The day of uninspected church tradition is a thing of the past. God is working through His truth and His Spirit to unify the Church before the return of her Groom. We are unspeakably blessed to be a part of it.
We thought you would be encouraged to hear about it too 🙂