New Life Fellowship: A Story of Multiplication
By NMC - February 18, 2016
Posted in Partnerships, Stories from NMC
The trend worried the small band of families. High school grads were leaving for college and leaving the church. It wasn’t just that they were leaving the church they grew up in; they were leaving the Body, the global Church. The faith that seemed to sustain them during their growing up years became nothing more than tokens. It became something to be displayed during an open house, but left behind in a box in the basement.
The families’ worry turned into a deep passion, and their passion turned into action. After watching student after student walk this path, these families decided to create a place geared toward younger generations. They searched for an experienced church to partner with and stumbled upon Nappanee Missionary Church. After planning and praying and seeking wisdom, New Life Fellowship (NLF) was born.
The new church met in the basement of a bank on Wednesday nights for about nine weeks. Pastor Dave drove to Topeka each week and gave a short message. After nine weeks, they had grown to 50 people. Slowly but surely the New Life team began to form. Their message began to spread throughout the community, and their vision began to take shape. Over the years NLF moved from the basement of a bank to an elementary school to a building all their own. They’ve moved from watching Dave’s messages via video to experiencing live teaching from NLF’s Lead Pastor, Drew Ryall. They have continued to grow and press into the vision and passion God gave those families almost 11 years ago.
Six years ago, Drew Ryall felt as if he was at a crossroads. After working at NMC for a few years after college, he moved to Fort Wayne with his wife, Molly, and pastored at Pathway Community Church. From there, his family moved back to the Michiana area, and he worked as the campus pastor at Elkhart Christian Academy. He had a passion for helping people realize the calling God had on their lives. Yet, he felt he wasn’t fully living out his calling by working outside the local church.
His passion led him to NLF. He was looking for a church to invest in. He was looking for a place that would challenge him to become the man God was calling him to be. And he was looking for a place where he could help people live out the calling God had on their lives. This church in Amish country was the perfect fit.
Drew’s passion has now become NLF’s heartbeat. This means Drew and his team challenge their people to utilize the talents, gifts and passions God has already given them to engage in true discipleship. Their goal is to see multiplication happen throughout the community because of the work God is doing in individuals’ lives.
Although some discipleship can happen organically without much thought, most discipleship is a result of intentional decisions and actions. Drew and his team intentionally teach and model discipleship to their fellowship. After reading books on the subject and studying the way Jesus discipled those who followed him, they began to create a common language they could easily pass along.
Instead of devoting all of their time and energy on programs, Drew and his team are investing greatly into groups they call huddles. These groups are filled with people from NLF and their guests. During each meeting they are taught tangible discipleship principles and are given a clear to complete before the next meeting. The goal in all of this is to train disciples who can be unleashed to disciple other people.
The vehicle of discipleship always looks different because God has given each person different passions. For the families who started New Life, He gave them a passion to see younger generations hold onto their faith. For Drew, God gave him a passion to come alongside others to help them discover God’s purpose for their lives. For others, God has given them a passion for motorcycles or a passion for art or a passion for basketball. Often it is through these passions that true multiplication happens.
As New Life Fellowship continues to multiply through discipleship, it is amazing to see all that God has done over the years. NMC is so thankful for this partnership and proud of NLF as they continue to grow and develop as a church.