Effective March 1 New City Church will close our North Macon Site and gather together as one congregation downtown at 9am & 11am.
If the people won't come to you to hear the Good News of the gospel, then you must go to them. That is really the missionary call in it's simplest form. New City Church started 7 years ago in response to that missionary call. We started downtown but our mission was never limited to downtown. Our dream all along has been seeing the gospel transform all of Central Georgia and beyond. We felt that downtown's central location would give us the perfect opportunity to reach a wide geographic area of Middle Georgia but we soon learned that geography wasn't the main hindrance to gathering people to worship and grow together in the gospel - perception was a greatest obstacle.
Downtown was statistically one of the safest areas in the city and county with incredibly low crime rates. Yet the appearance led people to think something completely different. Perception was as good as reality and many people would not think of bringing their family downtown. So, like any good missionary, if the people need to hear the gospel and be a part of a gospel-centered community but won't come to you, you go to them. That is what led us to plant New City Church North Macon - the process to taking several years of planning, hiring and training dating back more than three and a half years.
Over that three and half years of planning and actually launching New City Church, North Macon some amazing things happened downtown. Investors from Macon, Atlanta, Athens and other areas began buying buildings - converting them to lofts, restaurants and new store fronts. Mercer continued its growth and added more lofts, restaurants, and shops centered on it's students. Events downtown grew. The arts began to get a solid foothold. In what seems to be a very short period of time, downtown is beginning to see its dreams become reality. The new reality, though still taking shape has and is quickly changing perceptions and more and more and more people are attracted to downtown.
This new reality played a tremendous role in the decision made to close our North Macon site. The elders have prayerfully concluded that it is far more likely today than it was just a year or two ago for New City to reach North Macon with the gospel from our downtown location. Families are more and more likely to make the short drive downtown for worship that they were even a year ago. In fact, we have added five or more families to our downtown congregation who learned of New City through our planting of the North Macon site. After visiting North Macon and then downtown, they settled on downtown as their Sunday New City worship gathering. Additionally, so far all of our families have committed to joyfully worship downtown or to, at the least, give downtown a try.
I am thrilled to shepherd the great people of New City Church. They love Jesus. They understand the mission. They are relentless in that mission here in Middle Georgia. And beginning March 1, New City, Macon will be one congregation on that mission together. "Excited" doesn't come close to the way I feel about this decision and the days ahead!