New Life Church (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (October 2010)|
|New Life Church|
|Senior pastor(s)||Rev. Brady Boyd|
New Life Church is a non-denominational charismatic Evangelical Christian megachurch located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States. New Life Church has more than 10,000 members and is pastored by Brady Boyd.
New Life Church was founded in 1984 by Ted Haggard. The church started under his leadership as an independent church meeting in his home. From these origins, the church grew through a succession of larger meeting spaces including strip mall office space and other non-traditional church locations. The church grew to upwards of 14,000 members under Haggard.
Ted Haggard scandals and resignation
On November 2, 2006, Haggard was accused of paying a male escort for sex for three years and of also using methamphetamine." Later the same day, Haggard voluntarily stepped down as pastor so "the overseer process can be allowed to proceed with integrity," and that he would be seeking "spiritual advice and guidance." Two days later, New Life Church's Board of Overseers announced that they had decided to permanently dismiss Haggard from his role.
In January 2009, new allegations emerged that Haggard, while pastor at New Life, had an inappropriate relationship with a former attendee. Haggard's successor, Brady Boyd, said the church reached a six figure settlement with the man, who was in his early 20s at the time. According to a News Channel 13 report, the man said the contact was "not consensual".
On November 20, 2006, the search for a new senior pastor began with the creation of a nine-person Pastoral Selection Committee. Per the church's by-laws, committee recommendations require approval by the Board of Overseers and a two-thirds majority congregational vote. New Life's music ministry pastor Ross Parsley was selected by the Overseers as interim senior pastor. Parsley is a graduate of Oral Roberts University. Since 1991, Parsley has led New Life Worship, the worship ministry of New Life Church. He is currently senior pastor of OneChapel church in Austin,TX.
On August 27, 2007, the Pastoral Selection Committee announced that Brady Boyd was recommended to replace Haggard as senior pastor. Boyd spoke at New Life Church during regular services for three Sundays prior to the decision. A two-third majority vote was required from the congregation to approve Boyd as pastor. Boyd received more than ninety-five percent approval in the congregational vote.
On December 9, 2007, a gunman opened fire in the New Life Church, striking four people and killing two, sisters Rachel and Stephanie Works; their father David Works was one of the individuals injured. Jeanne Assam, a church security volunteer, shot and wounded the gunman who then killed himself.
About the shooting, Jeanne Assam said, "I just prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide me. I said, 'Holy Spirit, please be with me...' My hands weren’t even shaking."  Assam's shots were non-fatal. The Coroner’s report identified that the fatal shot was self-inflicted. Police found a letter from the shooter addressed "To God".
At a congregational recovery meeting three days after the shooting, Boyd told parishioners they "will not be governed by fear." Boyd appeared with Jeanne Assam on a host of media appearances following the tragedy. On April 17, 2008, the Colorado State Senate honored Jeanne Assam passing a resolution calling her a "true hero".
Campus and facilities
The church established its present campus location in the early 1990s and added buildings and added onto existing buildings in this location. The initial sanctuary on the campus, now referred to as the "theater," seats 1,500 and is used primarily for children's church and youth meetings throughout the week. The current main sanctuary can seat over 8000 but is currently set up to seat 5000..
The New Life campus is also home to the World Prayer Center. The World Prayer Center, through the use of Internet technologies and The World Prayer Team organization, coordinates global prayer efforts among its participants. The World Prayer Center is home to several ministries and internship programs including the Furnace, Burn Student Internship, and the Desperation Leadership Academy.
The smallest building on the campus is The Tent which used for conducting both youth meetings and New Life School of Worship classes.
Children's classrooms are in a Bible story-themed area.
New Life emphasizes its small group ministry, and considers its "free market" approach to cell groups one of the church's keys to success. Small groups are available for numerous interests including traditional examples such as Bible study and parenting to non-traditional examples such as rock climbing and motorcycle dirt bike riding. Haggard's book Dog Training, Fly Fishing, and Sharing Christ in the 21st Century illustrates this orientation of ministry in the church.
The church had been involved in the global prayer movement of the 1990s and practiced spiritual warfare and "prayer walking." Through association with ministries like Global Harvest Ministries, the church established the World Prayer Center as well as the World Prayer Team, an Internet-based global prayer ministry. Haggard's books Primary Purpose, Loving Your City into the Kingdom, and Taking It to the Streets illustrate these emphases of Haggard's era of ministry in the church.
New Life Church, along with Focus on the Family, established Colorado Springs as a conservative evangelical center in the 1990s. In 2005, Jeff Sharlet claimed that while New Life is "by no means the largest megachurch…[it] holds more sway over the political direction of evangelicalism" than any other church in America. However, since late 2007 when Brady Boyd became senior pastor, the church has remained relatively silent on political issues.
Since August 27, 2007, Brady Boyd has been senior pastor. Boyd previously served on the senior pastoral team at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas. Boyd graduated from Louisiana Tech University and has a background in television and radio broadcasting as well as sales management. Boyd has no formal theological degree.
A Board of Elders with the senior pastor oversees the business of the church. A Board of Overseers, composed of pastors of other churches, has authority limited to dispute resolution and pastoral restoration and discipline.
In popular culture
Ted Haggard and other members of the church were featured on a 1997 episode of the PRI radio program This American Life, as well as the documentaries Jesus Camp, Friends of God, Constantine's Sword and The Root of All Evil?.
- "A New Life big as church". Rocky Mountain News. 11 August 2007. Retrieved 2009-05 -04. [dead link]
- "Haggard steps down amid sex allegations". Rocky Mountain News. November 2, 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-11-07. Retrieved 2006-11-03.
- "Board of Overseers Press Release" (PDF) (Press release). New Life Church. 2006-11-04. Retrieved 2006-11-10.
- "Disgraced pastor faces more gay sex accusations". Washington Post. Jan 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-17.[dead link]
- "New Life Addresses NEWSCHANNEL 13 Investigation". KRDO-TV. Jan 25, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-17.[dead link]
- New Life Church (2006-11-20). "Trustees' Instructions for Pastor Selection Process and Membership Meeting Nov. 20" (PDF). New Life Church. Retrieved 2006-11-20.[dead link]
- Torkelson, Jean (2006-11-10). "New Life flock to pick leader". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2006-11-10.[dead link]
- Asay, Paul (2006-11-08). "New Lifers will elect their new senior pastor". The Gazette. Retrieved 2006-11-10.[dead link]
- "Police: Church Gunman Killed Himself". Associated Press (Breitbart.com). 2007-12-11. Retrieved 2007-12-11.
- "US church gunman killed himself". BBC News. 2007-12-12.
- "Me, the gunman, and God". Colorado Springs Gazette. 2007-12-12.
- "Security guard’s shots weren’t fatal, autopsy reveals". 2007-12-13.
- "Church shooter left letter "To God" in car". Denver Post. 2008-01-17.
- "Boyd: 'We will not be governed by fear'". Colorado Springs Gazette. 2007-12-13.
- "Video and links: Tragic shootings at New Life Church and YWAM-Denver on 12/9/07". MySpace.com. 2007-12-16.
- Hubbard, Curtis (2008-04-18). "'Senate honors guard at New Life Church'". Denver Post.
- Jeff Sharlet (2005). "Soldiers of Christ: I. Inside America's most powerful megachurch". Harper's 310 (1860): 42–44.
- Emery, Erin (2006-11-05). "Church altered Springs; will scandal change city?". Denver Post. Retrieved 2006-11-10.
- "This American Life:Pray". This American Life. Episode 77. 1997-09-26. Public Radio International. http://www.thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=682.
- Official Website of New Life Church
- The World Prayer Center at New Life Church
- The Worship Ministry at New Life Church
- Max Blumenthal, The Nightmare of Christianity The Nation (September 9, 2009)