New City strives to be a cross-cultural church that is both committed to the city of South Bend and engages the local university communities.
In Ephesians, Paul describes the gospel as a mystery. Part of the mystery is how gospel is such a unifying power. The gospel of Jesus is the same good news for different ethnicities, different economic classes, different genders. In another of his letters, Paul goes so far as to say, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3.28).
Paul even says that this glorious, manifold wisdom of God is made known through the church. In other words, the local church is at the center of God’s plan to see a new, united community – a community that’s not united by cultural distinctives, but instead by the broken body and shed blood of his Son. A community of people who would otherwise never gather, united by faith in his Son: that makes visible God’s manifold wisdom.
That’s why we describe New City as a cross-cultural church. We want to cross cultural boundaries with the good news of the gospel, praying that God would draw men, women, and children to Himself and find a family in this local church. As people are gripped by Christ and his gospel, we find a deeper kind of unity than education or race or economics or clothing styles or anything else could ever achieve. The broken body and shed blood of Christ is all that is needed to forge unbreakable, cross-cultural community at the local level. And that’s the kind of local church we pray God will build at New City.
COMMITTED TO THE CITY
South Bend is a great city.
Beautiful, yet broken.
Thankfully, God takes beautiful things and people that are broken and marred by sin, rightly deserving destruction, and makes them new, by the Spirit, through faith in Jesus, His death and resurrection. That’s the good news of the Gospel.
South Bend is located in north-central Indiana. One of the top five largest cities in the state, it is also one of the most diverse (among the top five cities, it is second only to Indianapolis, and that by only a fraction). Its Hispanic population is twice the state average, and its African American population is almost three times the state average. While it is an average Midwestern city with plenty of cultural Christianity, 35% of the city still claims no religious affiliation whatsoever.
Jesus charged his disciples to love God with all their hearts and to love their neighbors. We’re deeply committed to learning to love God with everything we have and everything we are. But we’re also committed to loving our neighbors. It involves sharing the gospel and finding practical ways to demonstrate our love. It’s a long learning process – one that probably doesn’t stop.
At least since the first century when Paul rented a lecture hall in Ephesus (Acts 19.9), the Church’s mission has involved academic ministry. And at least since the second century, when Clement started a school in the academic city of Alexandria, the Church’s mission has engaged the classroom.
The university is supremely strategic in the cause of Christ’s Kingdom. And the City of South Bend has lots of colleges and universities: Notre Dame, St. Mary’s, Bethel College, Holy Cross, and Indiana University, to name a few. Universities can – and should – be hubs for gospel creativity and mission. But that doesn’t happen in isolation from the local church.
At New City, we also focus on training area graduate students and faculty to discover in concrete ways how the Gospel changes our scholarship, teaching, and academic research.