Dream of Destiny is excited to share news of churches across the country that have a vision for the full expression of reconciliation that a multi-ethnic church offers. In highlighting these churches, DoD hopes you’ll be encouraged by their testimony and will pray for their progress.
Today, the spotlight is on New City Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Special thanks to Nate Bush, Lead Pastor, for today’s post, Following Jesus’ Mission in Our Community.
New City Church had her first service on Easter of 2010. However, New City’s story started before that day. I was saved in Bible College. My college experience started as an art student. I only later attended Bible college to discover if I could be a Christian. The first months in art college were deeply emotional. I had never felt acceptance and belonging in my home town the way I did in those early days in art college. My childhood church “split” a few times. It was a southern legalistic congregation. I only knew a home town with rebel flags and racial division. Most people in my hometown were not overtly racist. But once I was labeled a “spic” and experienced the subtle and overt racism that lived in the culture, it was hard to feel like I belonged.
After my conversion, with tears rolling down my face, I read the words of Saint Paul in Ephesians. Paul wrote, “[Jesus] our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility…. that he might create in himself one new man… killing the hostility.” It was then that God began to craft in me a love for Jesus’ ministry of reconciliation and an anger toward injustice.
I was a youth pastor for 13 years. Then God called me to plant a church in New Mexico. As God was calling me to plant New City Church, he gave me two verses of scripture. From the Lord’s Prayer, he gave me, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” From John’s Revelation, he gave me, “Behold I am making all things new.” These verses formed for me the first articulation of a mission that would become New City Church. I believe that God is at work reconciling the lost and broken, thereby making all things new. It is our mission to join God in this work of reconciliation. We are to pray for heaven and earth to meet. We are to partner with God’s ministry of renewal creating, as it is, glimpses of the new city to come.
God is one, but three. God is a Father, Son, and Spirit. God the Father has adopted us. God the Son has purchased us. God the Spirit has sent us. Therefore, we are children of God, slaves of Jesus, and missionaries. This means that we should live as a family of slaves to Jesus on mission. We articulate these three ideas this way: New City Church is following Jesus (slaves) on mission (missionaries) in community (family).
At New City we believe that a Jesus follower is someone who submits the way to Jesus in every area of life with increasing measure. This serves as our definition of a disciple.
We believe that service is what you do to people while mission is what you do with people. You can serve people you don’t necessarily love or even know. To do mission requires that you both know and love people.
Jesus loves all people. Jesus tore down the walls. He created a new, unified humanity. Jesus accomplished the mission of reconciliation through his incarnation and relocation from heaven to earth.
Jesus left heaven on a mission and he dwelled among us. One way this plays out for us at New City Church is our mentoring program at Mission Avenue Elementary School. We serve alongside the school administration. Believers and unbelievers work side by side to serve the marginalized kids in our community. We have invested over $50,000 in this school and our mentorship of children who are in need. Our mission is not what we do to people; it is what we do with people. Administrators, teachers, and children are known and loved by our church and mission to the school. Next year, we plan to launch three more mentorship clubs at schools in the city.
Someone once said that the intersection between the world’s greatest need and your greatest joy is your mission. Education is my mission. When I was a child, a guidance counselor once treated me like I was incompetent because of my race, only later to discover my grades and capacities denied her prejudice. Experiences like this have given me a deep burden to bring a ministry of reconciliation to school-age children. This is not only a burden of my soul, it is a burden New City carries. We have been called to love the lost and broken kids that Jesus loves.
The Bible is a story of a Father who sent his Son to take a bride and adopt many children. The story of the Bible is the story of a Father bringing his family back together again. The story of the Bible is the story of family reconciliation. God treats every lost person like a lost child, so says the story of the prodigal son. It is our work to see that there is one family born of Adam, yet divided by the fall, and reconciled in Jesus. In Jesus we are all one again.
I had no idea all of those years ago that God would give me a mission to a community like Albuquerque, New Mexico. Our issues are not so much race as they are socio-economic. We have the worst education system in the country. This is a bad news story. We have been given a good news story. It is the story of Jesus. Jesus lived the life we should have lived and died the death that we should have died. He rose from the grave and conquered our sin and death. He is now our Lord. This good news story is a story of reconciliation through substitution.
For every bad news story in our city, there is a good news solution. The solution will require that we live lives that reflect a gospel of substitution. It will require that we consider others better than ourselves. Mission always calls for substitutionary sacrifice.
New City will follow Jesus on its mission in our community. As Jesus is reconciling a world lost and broken, we will follow him. As Jesus builds his family of lost children who have been purchased and adopted, we will follow him. We will passionately proclaim the accomplished work of Jesus and we will passionately pursue the present mission of Jesus.
About Nate Bush
In April of 2010, Nate and and wife Vanessa planted New City Christian Church in Albuquerque, NM. When Nate, Vanessa, and their two boys were sent to New Mexico from one of the fastest growing churches in the country, they moved to a city where they knew no one. New City was born out of a family prayer time in Nate and Vanessa’s living room. Nate grew a passion for the story of God during his 13 years of youth ministry. It was prayer and a deep desire to share God’s story that has driven Nate’s ministry. Nate hopes that his family and New City will tell a great story of God’s redemption and restoration of a fallen world.