Believers discover the joy and fulfillment of serving in their areas of passion and effectiveness, and that is the goal for everyone associated with newhope. People who serve grow more in their dependence on God, learn to rely on the Holy Spirit in the tough moments, and rejoice with God when they see fruit. Serving teams are close-knit faith communities, and people become stronger disciples there.
Pastor Benji’s vision has always been to reach, teach, and release people to live out their God-given destiny for serving.
At newhope, their theology of discipleship causes them to believe, teach, and practice the principle that those who know Christ serve. Pastor Benji’s vision has always been to reach, teach, and release people to live out their God-given destiny for serving. He knew he could never grow and multiply a great church for God by himself or even with a great staff. Only God could grow a movement of people who discover a contagious spirit of service, move from the door to the core, and find that serving is a joy-filled overflow of their salvation.
The main newhope campus is in Durham, N.C., with seven sites in that state, one site in Columbia, S.C., and two overseas sites in Kenya and Haiti. Their Easter attendance this year was over 9,000, but more importantly, there were 379 reported salvations.
“Everyone is wired to serve in a certain way. When they discover that, their serving will be more effective, joyful, persistent, and fulfilled.”
Twice a year, newhope has a volunteer fair. Following a sermon series on service, multiple booths are set up throughout the foyer. Believers are invited to pray about a ministry to join and then sign up at a booth as they leave. Another service entry point occurs on Vision Days when believers can fill out tear off cards, or text the word “hope” to a four-digit number during service.
A monthly leadership training is offered for all newhope volunteer leaders, and the DISC personality test is used to help find each person’s workstyle and gifts. Connections Pastor Joe Robideaux said, “Everyone is wired to serve in a certain way. When they discover that, their serving will be more effective, joyful, persistent, and fulfilled.”
A few years ago, one of the church families had a son named Beau who was born with physical problems and was an intense focus of church prayers. Sadly, he died at 18 months. Out of that experience, Beau’s Ministry was created: caregivers who work with special needs children. Trained caregivers from newhope serve with a one-to-one ratio on Sunday mornings and at other times, enabling whole families to worship and participate who otherwise would find it too much of a struggle. Members of newhope say their church is loving and joy-filled. And ministries like Beau’s Ministry prove that to be true.
Many newhope people serve with other local charities like food banks and rescue missions. Others give leadership to children’s ministries, student ministries, worship teams, Life-groups, prayer teams, or global opportunities (especially Kenya and Haiti). One ministry that has a big impact in their communities is Adopt-a-Block. A needy neighborhood is selected and a team pours love, fellowship, friendship, food, home renovations, and care into that area and builds relationships that become redemptive.
Pastor Benji has always sought to avoid newhope becoming “a mile wide and an inch deep.” He knows that even a big church can’t try to do too many things and still do them with effectiveness. The church has identified the six priorities they feel God has called them to: children’s ministries, student ministries, life-groups, worship, first contact ministries, and hope missions to the “least of these” (local and international).
One newhope member said, “Why do I serve in the way I do? Well, it’s all about Jesus Christ. I try to serve in the spirit of Christ. You understand, I don’t serve because I feel obligated or something. I don’t have to, I get to!”
Another member who exemplifies this attitude is Joe Schmidt, an entrepreneur who launched several successful companies. It came to a point where he felt called to use all his skills and resources to engage in a ministry he was passionate about. Joe embarked on a mission to eradicate modern slavery.
Even a big church can’t try to do too many things and still do them with effectiveness.
Today, he leads one of the world’s largest organizations that battles sex trafficking. The more Joe served and partnered with more people, the larger his platform of ministry became.
For several years, newhope Church was listed by Outreach magazine as one of the fastest growing churches in the nation. Pastor Benji said, “I would never have predicted that. What happened here is God grew a movement of people–people who love God and who discovered how much contagious joy there is serving on the front lines. And that just naturally became a cyclical growth engine.”