On February 8, 2020, a group of young adults met at Temple City church for the first evening worship service of a brand-new church plant: New Life church. A Christ-led vision was coming to life—a church plant led by and for young adults.
Yet, they couldn’t know what would happen next. A few short weeks later, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic and the world shut down. For many, plans were postponed. Events were canceled. Projects were shelved.
But the New Life team believed too much in the vision to abandon it.
They pivoted their plans, moving online and outdoors. The online context helped foster a collaborative spirit, and meeting outdoors cultivated a casual and open community, which held to New Life’s values. “It forced us to be very creative,” shared Jon de la Paz, Temple City church elder and New Life director. “Planting a church in the pandemic has forced us to be creative, both in worship and in growing our community.”
The idea of intentionality runs through everything New Life does. Their mission is “Inspiring new life with Christ through creativity and community.” Their goals include pursuing the unchurched and “dechurched” by sharing God’s love and making a relationship with Jesus irresistible to this current generation.
“We’re not just about starting a contemporary worship service; it’s not just about the music,” de la Paz explained. “It’s about being very intentional about our culture and communication and starting with a new DNA of the church.”
Through the years, this burden had been increasingly weighing on de la Paz’s heart. “In looking at my generation, I realized there was a big need in my local context, and in the conference, for a church that was really actively seeking and reaching out to the young adult population,” he shared.
The support of the parent church and its senior pastor, Brett Poynter, has been invaluable. A symbiotic relationship supports healthy growth in both groups; while they may have a different focus, growth in one encourages growth in the other. When Adam Hicks joined Temple City church as associate pastor in 2022, he began to work with New Life as their first pastoral presence.
“My favorite part of this experience so far has been fostering a commitment to creativity and growth in a Christ-centered community and seeing it echo throughout the church, our community, and our conference,” de la Paz said.
New Life church begins meeting weekly at 11 a.m. starting this month, on the Temple City church campus. Connect with and follow New Life church online at www.newlifesocal.com and on Instagram at @newlifesocal.
By Lauren Lacson