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Our Passion: pursuing the life-changing presence of jesus, impacting south jersey, one life at a time.


Personal Participation in the Life of Living Faith

God’s church belongs to Him. He purchased us, He is over us.  Still, God doesn’t want us to see ourselves as passive tag-alongs in His life-transforming enterprise. He really wants you to be part of what He is doing. He wants your buy-in, your active participation.

Our Passion: pursuing the life-changing presence of jesus,
impacting south jersey, one life at a time.
Learn more about each component of our Five-Year Vision:

LISTEN TO THE SERMON SERIES

This series details the practical ways you can take ownership of your part in God’s Church. Mastering these skills, your participation will result in God’s Church advancing into what He dreams us to be: in pursuit of the life-giving presence of Jesus, impacting South Jersey, one life at a time.


We want to hear your God Stories as we collectively pursue our 5-year vision. Tell us what you see God doing. 

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2015: CELEBRATING 713 GOSPEL CONVERSATIONS

 

A gospel conversation with an unbeliever is simply talking about how Jesus can change a life! By January of 2016 we want to collectively celebrate having at least 500 Gospel Conversations with those who don't yet know Jesus. To do this we will need continued training, encouragement, and accountability as we go reveal Jesus.

 
 
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We will celebrate identifying and making new disciples of Jesus through Gospel conversations, centralized and in-home Alpha and Story-Formed Way courses, implementation of 4 foundations in each household, and a Gospel saturated Celebrate Recovery program where we track steps of faith and personal growth. What we really want in our gatherings and activities is people to experience Jesus in a way that they would want to become his followers.

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2015: CELEBRATING 166 HOUSEHOLDS
INVESTING IN THE NEXT GENERATION

 

God has no grandkids. The next generation needs significant investment if we are to see the Gospel of Jesus take root in their hearts and lives.  We want to see an increase of households investing in the lives of the next generation.  By God's grace we aim to see 100 new households investing in the next generation by January 2016.

 

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2015: CELEBRATING 5 NEW PASTORATES
& 3 MORE ON THE WAY

 

Please pray as we identify new leaders, recruit them, help them discern their missional focus, and train their leadership teams. All with the hopes of launching their pastorates next year. Below is a current list on what is happening with Pastorates.


New Pastorates

Current Pastorates

(Since August 2014)

Thompson Pastorate
Valley Ave. Pastorate
Buena Pastorate
Millville Pastorate
Global Missions Pastorate
 

Developing Pastorates

Tomlinsons
Vaughns
Youth Ministry
 

Pastorates Discontinued

(Since August 2014)

Rudd Pastorate
Fenimore Pastorate
Jones Pastorate

Baruffi Pastorate
Hyson Pastorate
Global Missions Pastorate
Impact Harvest Pastorate
South Vineland Pastorate
Thompson Pastorate
Valley Ave. Pastorate
Buena Pastorate
Hill Pastorate
Millville Pastorate
Pittsgrove Pastorate

 

 

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2015: CELEBRATING 1 CHURCH PLANT
BEGINNING JANUARY 2016

 

In order for us to reach people who are far from Jesus, we need to do it in a way that will connect with them, with their culture. We will unapologetically contextualize the Gospel to reach this generation, following the example of Paul in Acts 17:22-25 where he spoke in a way that the people would understand and relate to the Gospel of Jesus. God's heart is to find and rescue his lost sheep. Pray for this new work of God to be sustained by the power of God, by His grace we intend to launch our first church plant in January of 2016.

To find out more about the first or our five church plant visit our Glasstown Church page.  

 

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LISTEN TO THE SERMON SERIES

 

This series details the practical ways you can take ownership of your part in God’s Church. Mastering these skills, your participation will result in God’s Church advancing into what He dreams us to be: in pursuit of the life-giving presence of Jesus, impacting South Jersey, one life at a time.


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Mission & Building

Check out the questions and answers
regarding the mission and building. 

 


12.13.15


10.21.15


Thanks for your great questions. Keep them coming (text: 856.624.3445). Keep looking here for weekly answers.

Q: With upcoming need for church building fund, how are we going to support another church?
 
A: I really like this question, probably because I have asked it many times. Here is my three-point answer: 
 
1.The General Fund budget of the church is what will fund about half of the church planting initiative. The church plant, Glasstown Church, is not “solely” funded by Living Faith Alliance Church’s General Fund. There are three different funding streams for the church plant.  Living Faith Alliance Church will be funding around 50% of Glasstown’s budget in 2016. The Metropolitan District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance is giving money toward the church plant and also Erik Howard has been fundraising from other churches and his network of relationships to cast vision and invite them to pray and financially partner with the Glasstown church plant.
 
2. In order to protect our General Fund budget, which includes the church planting budget, the GE’s have wisely put in place a guardrail around our General Fund.  They have said that to start building we will need to see a six-month pattern of giving that exceeds the General Fund giving. The reason our General Fund needs to be guarded is so that the funding of our mission doesn’t take a back seat to the building of a building. We don't want to sacrifice the people of today for the mission of tomorrow.
 
3. The GE’s have also put into place the need for a three-year budget, which not only includes Glasstown Church but will also include seed money for our second church plant. The three-year budget includes a modest 5% increase from the previous year’s giving. This percentage increase, along with conservative ministry spending, enables us to pull Glasstown into our three-year budget. 
 
I hope the way I just answered your question about funding a church plant while raising money for a building will be different now from how we would answer that same question five years from now looking back. I expect that looking back we will say, “Wow, look what God did. He was able to unite our hearts in such a way that we were able to raise money to build a building, while at the same time fund church planting. God does such incredible things.” 

You can also get more answers on Nov 8th at our Governing Elder forum in CCS room 126 at 9 & 11am.

Greg Hill
Pastor


See the Q&A regarding the building here.


10.14.15

Thanks for your great questions. Keep them coming (text: 856.624.3445). Keep looking here for weekly answers.

Q: Is buying an existing church an option, and what would the cost difference be compared to a new building? 

A: In 2013, LFA's Governing Elders established a "Facilities Needs Team," which did an extensive search for alternate properties and buildings throughout the Vineland area that might  provide necessary space within our budget range. After nothing was found, in early 2014, LFA's Governing Elders determined we would honor and trust God’s leadership in bringing us to Lincoln Ave. We determined we would not seek to leave 1987 S. Lincoln, barring the miraculous availability of a facility central to our current Vineland location and a sense of near-unanimous peace to purchase it. 

Furthermore, to steward well what God has given through LFA, we determined we would not make decisions to leave Lincoln Ave that would lead us to significant loss of the net investment (currently $1.7 million). You can read more about the 'guiding principles' behind that 2014 decision here. Based on those decisions, we will not seek to purchase an existing church unless God miraculously leads us to one that meets those criteria. 

Nate Howard
Pastor


10.7.15

On Sunday we received a number of great questions related to our vision and our building plans. From time to time we want to answer them. Here are a few:

Q: How will the lack of rent to CCS help in the budget for building? 
A: The rent to CCS is $400 per month or $4,800 annually. Having our building will free up that money, but the amount is small relative to the proposed mortgage payment.

Q: Where did the building sketch come from? Did someone design it for us? 
A: We had three builders submit a price and a sketch. The one we included was the least expensive, and the one we like the most, from Archetto Construction, INC.

Q: Why did it take so long for us to come up with a game plan for a new building? 
A: The low pattern of financial giving did not warrant us considering launching into a building plan. Since for a number of years we were not consistently meeting our giving projections, it didn't seem wise to look to raise additional money. Now that during 2015 our giving has stabilized, we think it's time to consider building.

More answers on the way. Please continue to ask questions. Text your questions to: (856) 624-3445

Please continue to pray for God's clear leadership,

Nate Howard

Pastor


 
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Mission & Building

Find out more about the guiding principles behind our mission and building plans.


LFA Guiding Principles

I regularly hear some great questions about LFA’s future:

  •     How long will we be renting at CCS?
  •     When will we plant our first daughter church? 
  •     What was that you said about multi-site? 

Great questions, which probably could be summed up in one question: What will our future look like? 
At LFA, the group responsible to answer that question is the Governing Elders. We don’t have all the answers yet, but we believe God has given us the lens needed to clearly discern God’s will for LFA’s future. We call our lens, “The Guiding Principles to Navigate LFA’s Future.” Over the next 5 weeks, I hope to explain each of those Guiding Principles in a way that sparks a conversation in our church.  Here they are stated simply. Look them over and let me know what you think. 

To discern God’s will for our future, we affirm the following:

  •    God’s mission is our highest priority
  •    God’s leadership gives us hope
  •    God’s gifts require wise stewardship
  •    God’s methods include strategic planning
  •    God’s commands call for faithful giving

I look forward to reading your email. And please pray for us!
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Pastor Nate (nhoward@lfachurch.org)


Guiding Principle #1:
God’s Mission is our highest priority

Unless you live alone on a deserted island, somewhere along the line, you’ve experienced the tension of competing agendas. Competing agendas crop up when people disagree about what to do, where to go, or how much to spend. And while it’s no big deal if you can’t agree on what restaurant serves you dinner, when churches are caught in competing agendas and clashing priorities, the results are eternally disastrous. It’s no overstatement to say competing agendas are the single greatest reason why churches become...

        Ineffective                                  Conflictive
        Stuck                                           Useless      
        Too safe                                       Outdated

Since the Church exists at the center of God’s redemptive plan for individuals, families, and communities, one simply unacceptable disease is a lifeless church, trapped in competing agendas.
So, if we aim to avoid competing agendas, who gets to decide what is most important at LFA? If we all can’t call the shots, whose agenda wins? In church, the answer has to be, God. God’s mission must be our highest priority. In what we do, in the decisions we make, we must humbly, sincerely, and repeatedly ask the question, will this lead us to more effectively partner with God’s mission for His Church in the world?

God’s Mission for His Church exalts Jesus as He powerfully transforms lives. And LFA is in sync with God’s mission when what we do results in an increasing number of seriously messed up, broken people who are being made whole, wonderfully changed by Jesus Christ. That must be our agenda … our first concern.

Prioritizing God’s mission is such a BIG DEAL because it is way too easy to idealize stuff that does not result in what’s really important to God. The truth is that getting people into pastorates, gathering for Sunday Celebration, giving our time and money to buildings, teaching classes, preaching sermons, counseling couples, serving neighbors and all the other good things we do only makes sense if it all results in broken people being made whole by the power of Jesus. Making God’s mission our first concern will lead us to evaluate all we do through the lens of one question: will this align us better with God’s agenda? To avoid the trap of competing agendas, we must aim to prioritize nothing over God’s mission. 

As Governing Elders, we take serious our role of keeping LFA focused on God’s mission. At this stage of our church, we are facing decisions that will influence LFA’s future. Issues like … 
… when and where to plant a new church or “site” for LFA,
… the location and type of facility we will need as our “Mission Hub” or “home base”,
… the schedule, budget, and programming of what LFA does.
We believe we will know God’s will for these things as we look through the lens of God’s mission … how can we be more effective at seeing lives, families, and communities transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

I’m looking forward to reading your email with your feedback and questions on all this. Next week, I’ll explain Guiding Principle #2, God’s leadership gives us hope. 
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Pastor Nate (nhoward@lfachurch.org)


 Guiding Principle #2: 
God’s leadership gives us hope

What did Jesus mean when He said, I am with you always (Matthew 29:20)? Or when He said, I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)? Is that literally true? For example, does He stay with us and lead us even through failure? Or when you fail does Jesus abandon ship, only to return if you straighten up, clean up, and, while you’re at it, hurry up? 

Those are the kinds of question you ask when you feel your past failure disqualifies you from God’s help for your future. If you have been troubled by these kinds of questions, I have good news … past failure doesn’t exclude you from God’s best for your future. In fact, God wonderfully redeems our failure, wisely incorporating it into His good plan. Don’t get me wrong, such grace doesn’t motivate us to purposefully fail, nor does it exclude us from the responsibility to humbly evaluate our failure and learn from our past. But it does powerfully change our outlook. God’s gracious, wise, redeeming leadership gives us hope. 

For LFA, this truth hits home because, according to most human definitions, we failed. Back in 2008, after seeking God’s will together, with near unanimity, we sold our facilities on Main Road and bought our current property on Lincoln Avenue. By 2010, we had hoped to raise the necessary funds to build a new sanctuary and classrooms. If success is measured by the fulfillment of our plan, then we failed.  

Feeling failure opens the door to a barrage of questions and knee-jerk solutions:

    •    Did we not hear from God? Can we step out in faith again?
    •    Did our leaders screw up? Can we trust them?
    •    Was it a mistake to purchase 1987 S. Lincoln? Should we sell it and find a church-home elsewhere?

Over these years I’ve found such questions abound. At the core of most though is this one: what’s our hope for the future? As Governing Elders, we humbly recognize there’s much to learn from our past; still, as we look ahead, we don’t believe this journey has been a failure. Nor do we conclude that the solution is to go back to square one, discarding what we prayed about and wholeheartedly felt God was leading us to do. In contrast, we believe our hope for the future rests on our trust that God has indeed been providentially leading us though our past.  Though some see failure in our building journey, we’re grateful Jesus promises that rather than abandoning us, He’s still with us, steering the ship. 

I’d benefit by hearing your thoughts on this. Perhaps you can list specific ways God has shaped LFA through the last 6 years. I look forward to reading your email. Next week, Guiding Principle #3, God’s gifts require wise stewardship.

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Pastor Nate (nhoward@lfachurch.org)


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Guiding Principle #3:
God’s gifts require wise stewardship

God holds people accountable for what He has given them (Matthew 25:14-30). We have received so much: time, spiritual gifts, money, talents, possessions, intellectual and artistic potential, even property and buildings. And in it all, God expects us to remember where it came from, to think of it with proper perspective, and to not squander the gifts nor allow them to fall into disrepair. The Bible makes it clear stewardship is required of individuals, families, churches, and even nations (Luke 12:48).

As Governing Elders, we take serious the responsibility to steward well what God has entrusted to us through those who have given to LFA, and we recognize God will hold us accountable for what we do with what He’s given. This Guiding Principle serves as a means to sort through the many ideas that come to us as we think about building a “home base” or “Mission Hub” for LFA. Specifically, we have determined to not make decisions that could lead us to significant loss of the net investment in our current facilities (approximately $1.7 million). And given the trend of decreased property values, we will not seek to sell and leave our current building, baring the miraculous provision of another facility along with a sense of near-unanimous peace to obtain it. That is our understanding of our third Guiding Principle. Holding that along with the first two, God’s Mission is our highest priority and God’s leadership gives us hope, I hope you can begin to see how God is granting increased wisdom for our leaders. Please pray for us. Next week, Guiding Principles #4: God’s methods include strategic planning.

--

Pastor Nate (nhoward@lfachurch.org)


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Guiding Principle #4: 
God’s methods include strategic planning

    •    God gave Moses detailed construction plans for the tabernacle (Exodus 26:30).
    •    David gave Solomon detailed building plans for the Temple (1 Chronicles 29:11).
    •    Nehemiah took four months to pray and plan a construction project for the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-9).
    •    God planned the perfect timing of Jesus’ birth (Galatians 4:4).

The point is simple: when God determines to do something, he often calls His people to think, to plan, to strategize. Certainly, not every human plan is God’s plan, but God’s methods often include strategic planning.

Because we don’t talk about it publicly that often, you may be unaware of the extent of LFA’s strategic planning. 
    •    We plan each Sunday Celebration with deliberate detail.
    •    We plan the budget for the church with multiple layers of input.
    •    We are planning and assessing triggers to launch a regular Saturday PM service.
    •    We are planning and taking active steps to plant a new church.
    •    We are planning for our building and facility needs, trusting God for a “home base” or “Mission Hub” for LFA. When the time comes, the project will be strategically staged to proceed one phase at a time.

Because God calls us to plan, our confidence comes with His promise that we can ask for wisdom and He will give it generously (James 1:5). Please join with us in that prayer.  Next week: God’s commands call for faithful giving.
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Pastor Nate (nhoward@lfachurch.org)


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Guiding Principle #5:
God’s commands call for faithful giving

Thank you for all of you who give to LFA. There are many reasons to give to your church in a way that is planned, regular, and even sacrificial. Which do you most identify with?

    •    My giving connects me to the bigger story of what God is doing and what He will do in the future. When I give, I’m part of making a better future possible.
    •    What I give is valuable to God — He sees and recognizes the value of my gift, no matter how small (Mark 12:41-44)
    •    What I give is needed in my church. LFA is not supported by a few Powerball winners who give a lot, but by many who give a little regularly. When I give, I’m standing in solidarity with my brothers and sisters, believing in God’s mission through LFA.
    •    Giving makes me joyful. When I release my money and give it away, I rejoice that I’m not in bondage to the worry, control, and all-too-frequent selfishness that drives me to spend what I have on myself.
    •    God commands me to give a portion of my income, investing it in what is on His heart.
    •    When I give to God first, not from what is left after all my expenses are paid, I get to see how God takes care of my needs.

I’d love to hear why you give. If you’re not a regular giver to LFA, please join us. Much of what God has for us in the future (reaching new people in new communities, starting new churches, and building a “home base” or “mission hub” for LFA) will happen when each of us, consistently (weekly, or monthly) sets aside a portion of what God has given us, and we all bring it before God as a costly act of worship. 
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Pastor Nate (nhoward@lfachurch.org)