As people talk and blog about what’s happened the last nine months at New Life Church, plenty of conflicting opinions and speculations can be heard. How long will Colorado Springs be known by this scandal? Can believers really move on? I grieved deeply over what unfolded last November at my home church. Yet many mile markers along this journey, small things showing a higher power at work, have given me hope.
One such signpost was Tuesday, October 31 last year. That’s Halloween normally, but at New Life it’s “Hallelujah Night”… similar festivities of costumes and games, only to celebrate light rather than darkness. Thousands of families from across the Springs came to hang out with other folks in a fun, safe environment. The sanctuary was filled not with chairs or anything except inflatable bounce houses, face painting, beanbag throws—a total carnival atmosphere. Hundreds of church volunteers were having a great time; I was stationed at a basketball goal as kids lined up, threw the ball up with great effort… and usually missed the hoop when their turn came. No matter. There were still plenty of laughs and blow pops to go around.
Hallelujah Night footage begins about 2 minutes into this video
Leaving the church that night, I thought how great it is being part of a community where believers get together to serve. In the process of caring for another person, you always get back more than you give—a message that many area churches live and believe. It was a moment to remember, for soon things would be very different.
During the first days of November, few New Lifers believed the news stories until six words hit us like a ton of bricks: “Some of the allegations are true.” Next thing you know, ten satellite trucks were camped out at the church and headlines were screaming from every direction. By Sunday, clearly an era had ended.
So much talk, so many tears that week. 20-something friends of mine flocked to MySpace, where I’ve never seen such profound thoughts–before or since. One friend wrote in a bulletin, “Love people. Hate anything that hurts them. Hate anything that leads them away from truth. But don’t hate the person.” It was a message from God’s heart (to think the Sustainer of All Things has time for MySpace.)
Another encouragement for many has been the worship album My Savior Lives, released just weeks after the scandal unfolded. Though recorded over a year ago by the New Life Worship team, suddenly the lyrics have taken on new meaning: “One thing I know that I have found / Through all the troubles that surround / You are the Rock that never fails / You never fail.”
It’s been nine months since November, and I still don’t know how this process will shake out. All we can do is listen well and participate in searching out the truth. Local churches and beyond have shown they care what happens; many have been helping in prayers and other means. What I do know is I’m thankful to those who’ve given so freely and deeply during this season.
For a few months, New Life Church was doing 6am prayer meetings to seek God’s will. I attended just a handful of them and every time Pastor Ross Parsley was there—dressed down a bit from Sunday, but still ready to share from God’s Word. That spoke volumes. Many other local and national folks have sacrificed; for instance, before he even spoke at the church, attempts have been made to taint Pastor Brady Boyd’s name. If the only lesson (and there’ve been many) from these past months is to go the extra mile caring for those around us, it’s worth it.
click to play video of Pastor Brady Boyd’s first Sunday at New Life
I was jogging the other day in Ute Valley Park. Like most trails around here, the terrain is very up-and-down with easy descents and what seem like long stretches going up. My pace usually follows the elevation appropriately: a slow walk uphill, followed by a brisk run down (go ahead and laugh, personal trainers; not the best form, I’ll bet.)
Unconsciously, my pattern began to change at certain points. When my line-of-sight caught someone ahead or behind me, I sped up. Even if it was the hardest part of the trail, people watching—or even a perception of such—altered my performance for the better.
The world is watching Christian believers. Perhaps the added attention, an accountability of sorts, can inspire us to live more for others than self.