‘New wine in new wineskins’ at New Life Croydon

‘New wine in new wineskins’ at New Life Croydon

We believe that God wants to pour out the new wine of His Holy Spirit in New Life. Jesus taught an important principle that ‘new wine must be put in fresh wineskins.’ (Luke 5:38). If you put new wine that is still fermenting and expanding into old brittle wineskins, they won’t be able to expand to accommodate the new wine and they will split and the wine will be spilt. This means that we must be willing to change what we do in order to prepare for what we believe God is wanting to do. God has been speaking to us about some new wineskins we need to create at New Life.

New 6pm Sunday Evening Service

For the past 16 years we have run the ‘Life’ service on a Sunday evening. When this service was launched it was to respond to a need to help disciple young adults. Over the years, through the Life service and the related ministries and activities we have seen many, many lives touched and we are grateful for all that God has done. In recent years the Life service has changed a lot and in recent months there’s been a growing sense that the Life service has lacked clear vision and direction. With this in mind the elders decided that the Life service should finish on 4 November. We have now begun five consecutive Sunday evenings of prayer from 11 November to 9 December inclusively, where we will be encouraging our New Life family to come together to pray for a fresh move of God.

In January 2019, we plan to launch a new Sunday evening service where we give time and space for the Holy Spirit to move in our lives. This will be a time where we actively hunger for, welcome and steward the presence of God. There will be worship, ministry time and also teaching on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. We want to see our church family equipped to live Spirit filled lives in their day to day lives.

We’re not sure yet, exactly what this new service will look like, but we do believe that if we create a space for the Holy Spirit to move, He will move. We would encourage everyone who is hungry for more of God in their lives to plan to come to this new service if you can.

Connect Groups

We announced earlier this year our plans to replace our current home group structure with Connect Groups. We recognise that community and pastoral care are so important, and so we want to give everyone at New Life the opportunity of being part of a smaller Connect Group where they can experience a sense of community and receive basic pastoral care. There will be three main kinds of Connect Groups:

  1. Existing home groups
  2. Established ministries and activities that provide a level of pastoral care and encourage community. (eg Rendezvous, Monday Fellowship.)
  3. New style groups with a particular focus, aimed at a particular group, or those with a common interest. (eg Bible study groups, young adults, Park Run, Kids Connect Group)

Our plan is to launch our new Connect Group Structure in January 2019, and we are busy identifying and preparing the new style groups we will be launching.

Discipleship & leadership training

Now that the Life service is finishing we need to ensure that we continue to disciple and train up younger leaders. With this in mind, in early 2019 we’re planning to launch a new discipleship/leadership training course for young adults and others who want to get involved. The course will run on alternate Tuesday evenings and will be led by Mark Rossell, Chas Woods & Nathanael Edwards.

Ministry to Families with young children

We’re also planning two new ministries for families with young children aged up to 11 in 2019.

  1. Saturday morning community events: We want to run bi-monthly special events for families from our local community and from New Life, where they will come together to eat, have fun and hear the good news about Jesus. (This will be replacing ‘Going Bananas,’ which we recently closed.)
  2. Saturday afternoon Family service: On the month, when we’re not holding the community event, we plan to hold a Saturday afternoon family service. This will be an opportunity for families to worship together and be impacted by the power of the Holy Spirit.


We’re excited about what we believe God is wanting to do and especially excited about these new ‘wineskins’ we are creating to hold the new wine. Please be praying for the elders and leaders of New Life as we prayerfully prepare for the future and please also pray that God will do something new and fresh in your life.

Mark Rossell, on behalf of the elders

For further info on why we believe it is so important to pray and also the changes to our evening services, we would encourage you to listen to the following sermons from Ian James and Mark Rossell.

Regenerate Update

Regenerate Update

For many years we were trusting and praying that New Life would acquire the site next door so that we could redevelop both sites to provide us with a new purpose built facility. That didn’t happen, and flats are now being built on the site next door by Optivo Housing Association. We are working with the owners to remove the bridge and to ensure that all our access rights are maintained. In early 2020, our new neighbours will move into the completed flats which will provide us with amazing new opportunities to share the gospel with them.

In recent months the elders of New Life have been thinking and the main options available to us are:

• Do nothing with the present building part from decoration and minor repairs.
• Refurbishment and upgrade of the current building, including a review of how we use the space and replacement of main items such as glazing, plumbing, heating, roofing etc.
• Limited redevelopment to provide extended space for New Life’s activities with a refurbishment of other parts of the building.
• Total redevelopment of our present site based on a new planning application and placement of New Life building at the base of development. (This option would involve moving off site for two to three years.)
• Sell our present site and move to another location in Croydon.

As elders, we talked and prayed about these various options because we recognise that this is a big decision which will affect future generations. Recently in one of our elders’ meeting, we sensed a real sense of clarity and agreement in what we should do with our building. We have decided that at this present time, we will be pursuing the second option. Our main focus will be on the refurbishment of the present building. This will include minor things like decorating and replacing carpets and furnishings, but also bigger things like upgrading lighting, heating and glazing. We will also be reviewing how we use the space we have and doing all we can to ensure that the building is fully accessible to those with mobility issues. Over the years, we have made many changes to the internal layout of the building, and so we want to see what we can do to have a building that best serves the needs of New Life in the years to come.
We are blessed to have John Dutton as our head of operations and he will be adjusting his role to project manage the refurbishment. John has extensive experience of managing similar projects having performed a similar role for a local authority. Very shortly John will be meeting representatives of the various building users and ministries to gather their needs and aspirations. As these plans become clearer, we will be giving you regular updates on what will be happening.

We appreciate all your prayer, support and financial commitment to this ongoing project. Although the refurbishment will make significant changes to the building, we appreciate that many of you gave towards developing a full planning application for redevelopment of the whole site. As this is not now the case, we are offering the opportunity for those of you who identified your donations to the full redevelopment to contact accounts@www.newlifecroydon.co.uk and to discuss your preference for how the money should be dealt with.

As elders we believe that we are doing what God has told us to do at this time. We believe we are entering an exciting new phase in the history of New Life and that God has good things in store for us. We believe that in the next few years the primary focus will be on God building and developing us as a people. As we focus on seeing the people built up, God will take care of the building. However, the planned refurbishment is another aspect of the progress we are anticipating and will help facilitate the development and expansion of New Life’s ministry we are believing for.

On the first Sunday this month, one of our elders, Mark Rossell, spoke from Acts 7:49 – “What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord? At this significant time for New Life, God is asking us what kind of house will we build for him. We may not be embarking on a big building project, but God is wanting to build his house at New Life in us and through us.

Will you be a part of all that God is wanting to do?

Internship Programme 2018 – 2019

Internship Programme 2018 – 2019

What is it?

The New Life Internship programme allows young adults to commit themselves for 3-12 months, part time or full time, to get involved in the life and ministry of New Life Croydon.

Interns will receive practical training and play an active role in areas key to the ministry of New Life, and benefit from a focus on discipleship and personal development. This will be done in staff development sessions with others working at New Life and in focused development sessions with other interns.

Interns are able to get involved in one or more of the following areas of ministry:

Youth – supporting our youth worker, Stephen Bryars in all aspects of youth work including Friday Night Youth, School visits, Sunday morning Power House and pastoral care.

Kids – supporting our children’s worker, Louise Abrahams in all aspects of children’s ministry including Going Bananas Children’s Club, Sunday morning Power House & Sunday evening Life service child care.

Music & Tech – working with our assistant music director, James Beatt in different areas of music & production. Interns would have an active role in supporting the preparation and running of our Sunday services in this area, as well as other mid-week meetings and tasks.

• Pastoral – gaining practical experience and training in all aspects of pastoral care working alongside our elders and pastoral assistants.

• Community Outreach

Potential interns will need to identify whether they wish to be part-time or full-time interns. Sundays and Mondays are mandatory. Part-time interns will need to confirm which other days they are available. The internship commences September 2018 and runs until June 2019.

Who’s it for?

The intern programme is primarily designed for young adults aged 18-25 both from New Life and other churches. The programme is ideally suited for those on a gap year, those who are just completing their further education and may also suit those who are studying or working part-time. If you are 16-17, a part-time internship may be considered to fit around your educational studies, and if you are over 25 you are still invited to apply.

All interns must be committed Christians, involved in their local church and agree with and work within the vision, values and beliefs of New Life. All applicants will need to complete an application process, including an interview and will need to have a clear enhanced DBS check to confirm their suitability to work with or around young people and children.

How much?

Unlike some intern programmes, the New Life internship is completely free of charge. Those doing a part-time internship are encouraged to consider getting part time employment to help cover their living expenses. There may be oppo

For those doing the full-time intern programme, in certain circumstances New Life may be able to assist with basic living costs. This will be discussed at interview and agreed in writing before the start of the programme.

Involvement in the intern programme is not linked to possible future employment by New Life.

Up for it?!?

If you are interested in applying to be a New Life Intern or want to know more please fill out the application form below.


A Time Of Transition

A Time Of Transition

As elders we wanted to pass on some information to you as to “where we are at” as a church. What we are going to say is pretty obvious and some of you will have heard it already but we thought it would be good to repeat it.

We are in a period of change at New Life. Of our 21 elders, a number are in their late sixties or seventies. Some of these “elder statesmen” have been part of the church for well over 40 years and have had a high profile in terms of preaching/teaching and the leading/coordinating of worship.

Obviously no one can go on forever so currently we are engaged in a process of transitioning to a new generation of leaders and preachers. In terms of preaching we are trying to recognise gifting and give opportunity to younger speakers to develop and gain experience. In terms of praise and worship, James Beatt has succeeded David Fellowes as Music Director with responsibility for overseeing and developing this aspect of the life of the church. This process of change does not mean that the “older elders” will cease to be involved at all but it does mean that they will have less of a public profile.

We recognise that change is never easy. Most of us don’t care for it very much but, as someone said, “change is here to stay”. In fact, change has to happen if the church is to continue to grow and develop in future years. However, we have never faced this situation as a church before and there is no manual or blueprint to follow. We are praying and trusting God for his wisdom and help.

Our vision is that, by God’s grace, New Life will go on to greater and greater things. We believe that as a church our best years lie ahead and that the Lord has good things for us. Our message to you is the one Moses gave to his father-in- law in Numbers 10:29: “… we are setting out for the place of which the Lord said “I will give it to you”; come with us and we will do you good for the Lord has promised good concerning (New Life)”.

Please be patient and gracious with us during this time – we know you will be. And please pray for us as elders. These things are not simple and straightforward but GOD IS WITH US! At the end of the day, New Life is HIS church and he WILL build it for his glory.

If you have any questions about anything that has been said, please don’t hesitate to raise them with one of the elders.

The Elders

May 2018

New Life FC

New Life FC

“Reaching men through football to equip and care for them on their spiritual journey.” NLFC mission statementFor anyone who has been a Christian for a while you would have probably heard the verses “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations..” (Matt 28:19) as well and “Iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17). The Bible calls us to do both of these – to spread the message of Jesus and to meet together as Christians to sharpen and grow our faith together. The question really is how do we do this in a western society where most people have all they think they need and the only person to rely upon is yourself?

At New Life we have many ministries and activities that seek to achieve these biblical instructions. For men in the church these ministries are vital for connecting with each other and to connect men to the church as, lets be honest, men are not as good at connecting with each other as women.

One of those ministries is our New Life Football Club (NLFC). The use of sport to reach people and especially men can be priceless. Set up in 1995 with the aim of bringing Christian men together, the football team has evolved into a brilliant platform for fellowship and a chance to share the love of Jesus with men who do not yet know him. In its 23 years NLFC has seen life-long friendships forged, men return to their faith and some come to know Jesus for the first time. One of those includes myself. Leaving Church at the age of 14 for a variety of reasons the NLFC provided me with a steady connection to the church. Without that connection I wonder if I would have ever returned at the age of 17 and now to be leading the team and being involved in many other ministries with some amazing friends.

As with all ministries the New Life football team needs good people willing to be used by God. Whether you love football or not, NLFC is a great place to serve if you just love people. We currently run 3 teams, New Life 1st and New Life reserves for 16+ men who both currently play in the Bromley and Croydon Christian League and a Vets team for those over 35 who play in 2 cup competitions. If you are up for playing in one of the teams or want to contribute in other ways through managing, running training, providing travel even coming to support and joining us for socials after games you would be more then welcome to help reach and build men of Christ.

According to the BBC “the FA estimates as many as 1.5m youngsters and adults want to play the sport but have nowhere to do so.” How amazing would it be if some of those 1.5 million played in a place where they could also meet with Jesus? And you could be apart of it!

If interested please contact either:

Simon James (1st team manager) – srjames10@googlemail.com, 07534 095 812
John Dutton (Club Sec) – John.dutton@www.newlifecroydon.co.uk, 07931 453 339
Chima Amiaka (Club chairman) – camiaka@yahoo.co.uk, 07751 160 033
Selom Sunu (Reserve team manager) – selomsunu@gmail.com, 07944 633 185

– Written by Simon James

Our 30 year anniversary in Cairo New Road

Our 30 year anniversary in Cairo New Road

Thirty years ago on 14 November 1987, we had the official opening of our present building in Cairo New Road. How we came to get our building is a testimony to God’s amazing guidance, favour, blessing & provision. As we look to the future, we thought it would be good to reflect on how God helped us thirty years ago to move into our present building, so we asked retired elder David Rossell, who was instrumental in helping us acquire the building, to tell us the story of how we came to be here in Cairo New Road.

For a long period up to 1986 the congregation were housed in what can only be described as a back street mission hall in Dennett Road. This was well known for having a very leaky roof and a very noisy neighbour. During the period 1976 to 1986 the congregation grew from some 80 to around 250-300. This meant that the Dennett Road premises were totally inadequate and it became necessary to acquire new premises.

During 1985 and 1986 use was made of the garden hall at the General Hospital on London Road, some evening meetings had previously been held at St Andrews Church, South Croydon and others were held at the Congregational Church in London Road. One week in the summer of 1986 no alternative accommodation was available to us and an open-air service was held at Lloyd Park and the weather was very good.

At this time searches were made for suitable premises. We even viewed the current Argos premises in Church Street. The Jewish Synagogue came on the market for sale. We put an offer in for it which was accepted. However, the older part of the Jewish congregation objected to moving and consequently their offer to sell was withdrawn and the purchase by us could not proceed. How good God is. This place did not have the space for us to cater for the many activities we now have.

The acquiring of enlarged premises became a serious matter for prayer which included a daily prayer meetings at Dennett Road commencing at 6.15am.

In August 1986 I was contacted by one of our members who advised me that a large warehouse type building near the centre of the town was on the market . It consisted of two buildings joined by a footbridge walkway. It is interesting to note that it was being used by a company involved in brewery plumbing. The introduction of Fosters to the UK had caused the company to locate to larger premises on another site.

I plucked up courage to contact the Estate Agent concerned and I could hear him giggle when I told him we wanted it to be used as a church. Here I must add that during my world travels including to Sydney, Australia I had seen a warehouse being used as a church.

Together with three other older church leaders I immediately met the Agent and visited the site to view the total property. As we crossed from what is the Arcadia side to the other side the Agent said that the sale could be split between the two buildings. This was very welcomed news as at the time, due to financial restraints the purchase of the total site was completely impossible.

As we stood at the entrance of the north side building -as it was called , and look at what is now the main hall, I got a distinct witness within my spirit, “THIS IS THE PLACE”. So the acquiring of the building as we have today began.

The property was lease-hold with the London Borough of Croydon holding the lease with a rental cost to them of some £17000 per year. Subsequently this was increased to £30,000 per year.

The buildings were owned by a company who went under the name of SI which is still shown on the main gates and the price subsequently agreed was some £380,000.

Of course for use as a church a change in use approval by the council’s planning department was required.

Initial contact with the planning officer concerned was very cordial. His remarks were to the effect that being so close to the town centre it should never have been used as industrial/factory premises. However, there were some council officials who opposed the use as a church and hid behind an argument that the amount which they said we would have to find to purchase the buildings and pay the yearly lease might not be sustainable. As such agreement for the assignment to us should not be approved. The official told me that the legal documents for the property did not cover the use as a church. My response was that the documents should be amended to allow this.

Under the circumstances  we requested all of our members write to their various councillors requesting favour for us. This actually covered all councillors.  At the same time a number of Croydon churches wrote to the council supporting us.

At that time our financial resources were low and it would be necessary for us to loan a substantial amount of the money required.

Our dear late brother John Wetherley advised that our own people would give more if they could see what we were buying. With this in mind I asked the estate Agent if I could show my brothers and sisters the property and I suggested New Years day 1st January 1987. I was not lying regarding my brothers and sisters. The only condition I had to observe was to return the keys through the agents letter box as the day we were viewing was a bank holiday. A good crowd turned out for this viewing and the size of the building created a wow factor. John’s advice proved correct and finances began to improve.

John Edwards in addressing the older members of the congregation suggested that no doubt some would have money nest eggs put aside to cover funeral costs when they died. He suggested they contribute this to the building fund and if they died in the meantime we would be responsible for the funeral costs. John’s proposal proved successful and offerings for the building increased even more. What is also remarkable is that there were fewer deaths in the period following.

To satisfy the lending banks four brothers allowed their houses to be included for added security.

Two members of the eldership were invited to meet with the council’s head of finance to show how adequate finance would always be in place. This we covered by the simple statement: if our bank was satisfied then the council should be. The head of finance accepted this statement. As it transpired the bank we had portrayed to the council and used in our statement at the last minute withdrew its offer. But almost simultaneously another first class bank, totally unsolicited, approached us and fully matched the original offer of the previous bank. Praise God !

Just before the matter was to be formalised by the council I had a telephone call from Councillor Carey, who said he would be supporting our cause and suggested that we should invite him to open the centre when he was to be the mayor of Croydon later in the year. This we did and Margaret and myself undertook the escorting of our special guests at the official opening on Saturday 14th November 1987.

Our first meetings in the Cairo Road premises were from March 1987. Whilst the necessary purchase papers were processed we rented the property from the legal owners. In the main hall we seated the congregation looking at what is now the welcome Lounge. A fair amount of time was spent by the leaders deciding what we should call ourselves, New Life Christian Centre Croydon was adopted. It was at this time that God gave us the verse  “I have many people in this city which is included on the official plaque unveiled by the mayor.

Over the years we have significantly adapted and changed the interior of the building to cater for the needs of a growing and changing church family, including the installation of a balcony in 1997. In 2004 we were also able to buy the freehold of the land from the council, through the proceeds of the sale of two houses we had been using to house Bible students.

As we look to the future and the possibilities that the Regenerate development initiative offers, we can have total confidence that God will lead, direct and provide in the same way that he did thirty years ago, when what seemed an impossibility became possible as we moved into our present premises.

– David Rossell