This last Sunday as I was in the church foyer, a South Korean friend of mine came up to me for a chat. I’ve known and worshipped with her for 10 years, so this was nothing out of the ordinary. She’s every bit of 75 years old and no more than 5’0’’ tall. This particular Sunday she was wearing one of those big, Russian fur caps with earflaps that tie above the head or under the chin, and a long winter coat. It’s cold, so I hugged her tight and thanked her for the lovely Christmas card.
But talking to her this time was different. In her scratch English she told me a story I had never heard before.
It was somewhere around 1990 and our church had just bought a piece of ground to build a sanctuary. A place to put down some roots. Up to that point we had hopped around from place to place, worshipping wherever we could—a year here, three years there. A basement. An old hotel ballroom with threadbare carpet. A commercial space situated between a bar on one side and a liquor store on the other. Wanderers, probably more like the children of Israel than we could ever know at the time.
But not anymore! That was all going to change now. Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, and now, by the grace of God, we’ll have a place to lay our heads!
But this is where her story stopped me in my tracks.
She told me about a group of people that would meet at the newly purchased land at 4 a.m. every morning to pray. She told me that they’d walk the whole plot of ground and how many of them would lay in the dirt field, in this undeveloped and up-to-this-point outskirt-ish part of town, and cry out to God to make it a place of salvation and healing, of restoration and joy. A place where the lonely would be set into family, where the overlooked would be situated in the center of God’s love as demonstrated by this group of people.
Did you hear me?
They lay in the field…on clods of dirt…in the darkness that accompanies 4 a.m.…and they prayed. Holy people on holy ground.
When I heard that all I could think was, Someone has got to thank these people! I pulled her close and wrapped my arms around her. I thanked her for her prayers those many years ago. Then I started thinking, We’re all here today because a bunch of people took God seriously and prayed resolutely.
And indeed, those prayers are still being answered. This coming Sunday our church, New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, will celebrate our thirtieth anniversary. And there are just so many people that must be thanked:
To Ted and Gayle Haggard, our founding pastors, who had the guts to pray and fast and seek the Lord for what He was saying, and who had the gritty faith to leave the life they had known in Baker, Louisiana to plant a church in Colorado Springs, thank you! We live in a world that often remembers people for their worst moments, but when I think of you I can’t help but thank God for the enduring gift you have given so many people, myself included.
To every person at New Life Church, past or present, who has ever devoted a moment of your time to serve another person in the Name of Jesus, thank you. You may have been setting up chairs or making a hospital visit; you may have been opening your home to share a meal or caring for small children as their parents were hearing the word of God; you may have been vacuuming the floors or praying for someone that sits in the row behind you, but whatever you were doing “for one of the least of these, your brothers and sisters,” you were doing it unto Jesus himself.
To every person at New Life Church, past or present, who has ever given a dollar when the little white bucket was passed, thank you. It has become easy in our day to be skeptical about “the offering plate,” but something spiritual and instrumental happens in a moment of sacrificial giving. It’s one of the ways we worship, and it’s a form of worship that does something—namely, it makes feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and housing the widows and single moms of our city possible. It makes it possible for us to host and officiate funerals for people who’ve never set foot in our church, but who need to be dignified and remembered in the moment of death.
To Brady and Pam Boyd, our senior pastors, who obeyed God and showed up here not having known a single person, who were yet willing to do the hard work of giving your lives here for the sake of a congregation you would grow to love and who would grow to love you, thank you. You’ll probably never know the mark you’ve made on our church and our city.
To every staff member, to every elder, to every family, to every hospitality worker and parking lot attendant, to every usher and greeter and café server, to every bookstore worker, to every band or choir member, to every person that’s ever served in the children’s ministry, past or present, who has taken God seriously and prayed resolutely for God’s kingdom to come and his will to be done in Colorado Springs as it is in heaven, thank you.
To God, who alone deserves all glory and honor for everything good that’s happened at New Life Church over the last thirty years, we give thanks.
14 Replies to “30 Years of New Life Church: A Thank You Letter”
Such a good read. As someone who has been enriched by this ministry from afar, I too would like to say thanks. What a blessing and beacon of hope New Life is for the body of Christ and the hurting people of our world. I am believing for an even greater next 30 years at New Life.
Thank you so much, Chuck! And amen to your prayers. Love you and your crew and hope to see you soooooon.
Thank you, Daniel, for communicating with such tender gratitude and giving honor where honor is due. I am so thankful for what New Life Church has meant to our family.
Thank you! Love you.
Daniel you have a precious heart so full of God and His Holy Spirit. That was a beautiful “Thank you Letter”. So honoring to those who were such an important part of New Life Church. We love you and we thank God for all He is doing and will continue to do through those who Love God and are called according to His purposes. Bless New Life Church…! We Love you…!
Thank you so much, Rose! You and Jack have made such an investment in this place in more ways than you’ll ever know, and we sure love you. And, Jon nailed it this last Sunday!! 🙂
Thank you Daniel for this article. When I look at the date on our church of 1885 in Salida, I am humbled by the people who lit and carried the torch before us. I just pray that we can leave a legacy that Christ will be proud of. I also want to say your enthusiasm to enlist, instruct and encourage people to be disciples of Christ is amazing. Your love for Christ and your love for your family is contagious. I pray for you often. Thanks for being the leader that you are.
1885…that is special and humbling. And thank you for your kind words. Your family is so special to me, as well. I think the world of Tyler and Chelsea, and I always love when I can see you. Let’s make that happen sometime soon. 🙂
Daniel…..thank you so much for this beautiful letter…..I wept as I read it….I have attended NLC for 20 yrs and have so many wonderful memories, laughter, tears, but most of all great relationships.
I too thank the Haggards. Pastor Ted, I learned so much from you. Miss Gayle, you are one of my heroes.
Thank New Life Church…I love all of you.
Well said my friend! God has entrusted us with the most important revelation and message ever given to mankind! We can trust HIM with the ebb and flow, rise, fall and rise again of whatever is produced.
Blessings to you and yours!
Thanks, Pastor Chris! I appreciate your encouragement. Have such fond memories of our time traveling together, and I thank God for your faithfulness. Much love to you and yours. DG
Thank you Daniel especially for saying such kind words about pastor Ted and his family. People have caused a lot of hurt in not recognizing their dedicated service to this family and to God. We wouldn’t be here today without their faithful prayers and heart to love the people of Colorado Springs. Also for pointing out the sacrifice that the Boyd family has made. Not all have been loving and accepting of them especially at first. But they have joined a family and loved and protected us in some of our darkest hours as a church. Lord We thank you for being the most faithful and being everything good and pure in our church and in our lives. For hearing our prayers and being the Lover of our Souls that always brings us back to you.
Thanks for sharing this amazing story. I feel you reached into the soul of so many people who know it’s prayer that placed our church – cross marks the spot – on the map. Even today there are those who are praying us into the next era of God’s will. Allow me to say “Thank YOU my friend.”
Love you, Joel. Thanks for your kind words. Your family has been such a gift around NLC for so long. I praise God for you!