LeaderSource - Growth in New Life Fellowship Association

Growth in New Life Fellowship Association

Massive growth is happening in the New Life Fellowship Association.

In the early 1960s, revival swept through New Zealand and lit a spark in the hearts of two families to see the Gospel spread beyond the borders of their own country. These families were the Truscotts and the Patersons, and they immediately packed up and joined a steady influx of people moving to the booming city of Pune in western Maharashtra, India. Together they established a New Life Center in Pune and, after two years, a fellowship in Mumbai. From two churches the fellowship grew steadily through the 1970s under the leadership of Pastor J, adding three more churches by the time the Patersons returned to New Zealand. The network officially formed into the New Life Fellowship Association (NLFA) in 1975.
Pastor J received fresh vision for the Fellowship in 1980 when a multi-day prayer meeting with young people from NLFA reoriented their focus to evangelism, discipleship, and prayer. With this renewal of direction came renewal of passion for the souls around them, and Pastor J and his network of leaders initiated a church-planting strategy to carry the Gospel throughout Mumbai, India, and the world. Only two years later they formed a new ministry to meet the physical, social, and spiritual needs of their communities. Since the 1980s, the Fellowship has multiplied into a network of over 500 church plants in India and over fifteen plants in surrounding countries.
As the Fellowship grew, so did its need for courageous leaders to carry on God’s vision. Churches encountered increasing opposition to their ministry from outside, but this wasn’t the only issue. Leaders were in short supply, due partially to a view of leadership that defined the pastor’s role as that of a one-man army. Our country trainer in India clarified: “Leadership is not a new concept, but it is very traditional. The pastor is everything on all levels.” The senior leaders in the New Life network were looking for unity and practical strategies to pass on their vision of the Fellowship, but when God began working they received much more.
LeaderSource led several preliminary seminars for ministry leaders in Delhi, including one of the senior leaders at New Life Fellowship. The training fascinated him, so much so that he recommended it to his junior leaders, and New Life began official ConneXions training in earnest. The New Life leaders experienced two transformative realities: Jesus (the Master leader) made building leaders a priority from day one, and leadership requires service toward those being led. Leaders from across India returned home and began to apply these realities in their own contexts.
Pastor T was one of the leaders in this original ConneXions training, and reports that as a result, “there is more trust, delegation, submission and space for one another in the area of leader development.” His church has developed an increased understanding of calling; their goal is to now to identify emerging leaders’ God-given callings and send them into ministry. Through thriving prayer and focused advancement of personal and relational growth, this particular congregation has released five leaders in the last five years into pastorates or other ministries. From its small beginning of no believers and one praying pastor, his church has planted several house churches and small groups (each led by an emerging leader) and has a total number of almost 120 members. They have even dedicated a building exclusively for raising disciples and building leaders, and young people in the church are beginning to take lead roles in worship. 
“ConneXions training has helped me to grow in my calling in a greater way. God gave me a vision to build leaders and I started to do so and now I’m reaping the fruits of it. God has increased my influence and opened new doors for me to use my God-given gifts and abilities to bless others even outside of my ministry network. There has been a significant increase of my recognition as a worship leader and there have been several invitations to lead worship in many important events from time to time. I’m happy and privileged to serve God with my emerging leaders whenever such opportunities come.”
Those emerging leaders are also in a unique position to serve Pastor T. When his wife was in a near-fatal car accident, he was away with her at different hospitals for almost a full year. During this time, the leaders that he and his team had invested in rose to the challenge. 
“All of my emerging leaders stood with me and led the church and ministry without my physical presence… I was at peace that I was able to build these precious leaders so they could provide leadership whenever needed.”
Another leader from NLFA, Pastor A had been encountering increasing challenges in his ministry. For two years he had only two dysfunctional families in his church, and when he attempted to correct some of the issues, the families left. The next two years were just as difficult as he started from scratch and juggled ministry with his growing family.
When he came to the LeaderSource training, his church had grown slowly, but was currently in a season of suffering. They were comparable to the disciples following the death of Christ: locked in their rooms and living in constant fear of opposition. He was searching for ways to encourage and motivate his congregation to take responsibility for their faith, and LeaderSource provided just that.
The intensely biblical and straightforward nature of the ConneXions training revived his passion for ministry and gave him the tools necessary to develop leaders. The five Cs (Christ, Community, Character, Calling, and Competency) revitalized and reoriented the leadership team at the church, and the four Ds (spiritual, experiential, relational, and instructional dynamics) helped them apply what they were learning in their own context.
Pastor A and his team initiated daily intercessory prayer, weekly Bible study, and growing small groups. They devoted themselves to prayer – morning, evening, and sometimes through the night. They intentionally developed community through fellowship and spiritual disciplines. Now, he has over fifteen leaders scattered throughout three churches and twelve small groups ready to take initiative at a moment’s notice, and a great passion for growth.
A realization of the deep power of God led to fruit, not just in numbers of new believers and baptism, but in a spirit of courage and faith. There was a “shift in the whole atmosphere” when he visited after four months to follow up on the training. The spirit of fear that had characterized the congregation had been replaced by a fervor for evangelism and a desire to participate fully in the life of the church.
These results are not solely because of the ConneXions training. Rather, the training was a catalyst for New Life’s intentional pursuit of God. By God’s power, these congregations transformed from self-serving to serving others, from people paralyzed by fear to courageous evangelists.
Pastor A’s own passion has grown, supporting him through times of doubt and struggle in his ministry and giving him opportunity to support others. At present, he facilitates Building Healthy Leaders trainings from time to time within the New Life network and with other partners as well.
“Now since I have not only heard the ConneXions Model with my ears but I’ve tasted it and tried it out in my life and ministry and know it works, I’m better equipped and qualified to teach others about it. I believe the ConneXions Model has the vitality and ingredients to raise a healthy generations of leaders, which will eventually produce healthy churches… My prayer and vision is five thousand people, two hundred small groups, and two hundred lay leaders.”
These are big goals, but nothing is impossible for a big God!


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