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New Song City Central - Tacoma, WA
Posted by: GabrielVW ()
Date: January 21, 2007 02:51AM

I thought I’d try to add a little to the conversation on Newsong City Central. Mostly though, I would love to be a resource for gathering correct information regarding the ministry. My name is Gabriel and I was a part of Newsong for over five years and have been involved in many aspects of the ministry. Currently I am a full time youth pastor at a church in Olympia WA. I completed the majority of my Maters of theology degree at Fuller Theological Seminary and am currently finishing up my degree at Faith Evangelical Seminary. (I had to transfer due to the distance I am now from Fuller).

It is always difficult to evaluate the biblical foundations of a ministry when you are new to a ministry, have preconceived notions or have a “bad experience” there. My experience in studies and working with churches of many different denominations has given me, I believe, a better understanding of different theologies and how a “quick” look at any theology or denomination will often lead to huge misconceptions. (I currently work with churches that range from hard line conservative Baptist to full Pentecostal and many in between). I also want to note that since I am no longer at Newsong I can not speak on behalf of the church and its leaders- rather I will give my experience and observations in the sections below.

Newsong City Central ministry is not a “secretive” ministry. If you want to find out what they teach in the “freedom classes” you can simply purchase the curriculum at their services or online. These classes are taught at YWAM bases all around the world as well, using the exact same curriculum! The annual conference that is put on by Neswsong is open to ANYONE and typically is attended by church leaders from around the world (from the UK, France, Africa, Aisia, etc…) This is a ministry that works with shelters and other Christian organizations and churches around Tacoma and none of the ministry leaders of these other churches finds Newsong theology or practices cult like or unbiblical.
In the sections below I will try to address the concerns and clear misconception others have brought up in this conversation. I will also have a summary statement at the end of these sections that may be of interest to anyone who honestly wants to know what Newsong city Central is all about.

Finally, in seminary and in my years of ministry I have found that people will always disagree on points of theology (at least until Christ returns) and the vast number of denominations and ministries in the United States alone makes this clear. But to lable a church as a cult based on minor theological differences and second hand information is to become a tool of disunity and division in the Body of Christ today! We must stand guard against the false teachings and abuses of bad ministries, churches and cults but we can never do this lightly or base it on rumor and gossip. We must be willing to do the hard work of finding out for ourselves and working, a Paul put it, to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of Peace.” (Eph 4:3)

Newsong is a Church that works with many other ministries and churches and has a huge heart for church unity and working together to reach those living in darkness with the love of God and salvation found in Jesus Christ!

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New Song City Central - Tacoma, WA
Posted by: GabrielVW ()
Date: January 21, 2007 02:52AM

An important note here: The church in California that was mentioned in a posting with the name Newsong has NO connection to the Newsong in Tacoma WA! AND THEY DO NOT share a statement of belief!!! To compare these ministries and their theologies is absolutely inappropriate. Simply going to the Newsong website would have informed that there was not a connection between the Churches. The quick comparison here and the claim of sharing the same statement of beliefs greatly concerns me- I have to wonder about the motivation of these postings. Is this about learning the truth or looking for ways to slander a church? I have seen and worked with churches that have names so common that a church with their name is likely found in every city, I certainly would form conclusions about one from the other (obviously making such assumptions on denominational lines is more appropriate but still not fail-safe with so much variance even in denominations today).
There is also a well know Christian band with albums available at most Christian book stores with the name Newsong- and again, there is NO connection here. There are 9 verses in the bible that talk about singing a “new song” to the Lord. Thus, there will probably be more than one church or ministry that uses the name “Newsong.” (Ps 33:3, 40:3, 96:1, 98:1, 144:9, 149:1. Isa 42:10. Rev 5:9, 14:3)

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New Song City Central - Tacoma, WA
Posted by: GabrielVW ()
Date: January 21, 2007 02:53AM

(please read my introduction paragraph first)
As stated in the into paragraph, the materials for these classes are readily availableto anyone with an interest or concern about what is being taught. The books are available for sale on line and at the services. These materials are used by churches of several different denominations and are taught at YWAM bases around the world.

These classes are focused on teaching scriptures, learning how to study the Bible (typically NIV translations) and use a concordance, helping an individual see and repent of sin areas and helping them break sin patterns, learning to understand how God speaks to us (through the Word and in Prayer) and so much more.

The reason such a class IS REQUIRED for serving in ministry at Newsong is because there is great care taken that leaders and those in ministries (such as worship) be biblically sound and in a real relationship with Jesus! For example, Newsong believes that worship is about giving glory to the Lord and musical talent is secondary to this! If an individual is not walking in a relationship with the Lord and are on the worship team then it is likely they are there for their own glory and the purpose of that ministry is hurt and the heart of the ministry is lost. Too often someone comes into the church and wants to be on the stage and because they have musical talent believe they should be put there… yet how often do the scriptures speak to the heart of an individual- this is what Newsong works to protect by requiring classes that help an individual grow in their faith, biblical knowledge and maturity. Areas such as leading a small group, serving in student ministry and children’s ministry and serving on a prayer team are all areas that impact the lives of others. Newsong takes this very seriously so as to protect those coming to the church from abuses and poor biblical doctrine.

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New Song City Central - Tacoma, WA
Posted by: GabrielVW ()
Date: January 21, 2007 02:55AM

I will be very blunt here- Newsong City Central DOES NOT DO DELIVERANCE MINISTRY!!!! Again, when someone bases what they know on rumor or misconceptions from an uniformed point of view, then you will see this type of label wrongly applied.

Newsong makes it a point to avoid “deliverance ministry.” Newsong is about living in the freedom and love of Jesus Christ and having a reconciled relationship, through Jesus, with God. Those who look into this further will find there is a HUGE difference between Newsong and ministries practicing “deliverance.”

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New Song City Central - Tacoma, WA
Posted by: GabrielVW ()
Date: January 21, 2007 02:56AM

The head pastor of Newsong, Brian, DOES seek the Lord for the message each week. And he does teach lessons that are biblically based and ones he believes are from the Lord. If a pastor preaching out of the direction he has sought the Lord for is a sign of cultism then the vast majority of the churches today are in a lot of trouble. I would actually be troubled if I knew my head pastor was not seeking the Lord in prayer over the direction of the ministry/church and lessons/sermons! Wouldn’t that then simply be a man or woman leading the church out of their “flesh” and own resources? This is what Newsong works to avoid. In youth ministry I am constantly praying and seeking the Lord for wisdom and direction in the materials I am teaching. I do not beleive I could lead His people without Him leading me.

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New Song City Central - Tacoma, WA
Posted by: GabrielVW ()
Date: January 21, 2007 02:58AM

Newsong leaders are big on getting as much time with those they are leading as possible- this is seen as very important in helping those in their small group grow in intimacy and maturity with the Lord. Leaders will often invite those in their small groups to dinner, to help with yard work, to help with missional projects (such as working at homeless shelter). This is NOT a new way of leading! Ministries such as Young Life have encouraged this for years. Newsong leaders invite others to be a part of your life and see the way their faith plays out practically. In all my years at Newsong, no leader ever demanded that someone they were ministering to had to do their yard work. (even typing it is so ridiculous!) On the flip side, this is often a great way to get time with someone. “Working hard” together makes up some of my fondest memories and created some strong friendships for me over the years. In youth ministry I try to invite the students along with my wife and I even when we are running errands so that we can get more time with the students.

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New Song City Central - Tacoma, WA
Posted by: GabrielVW ()
Date: January 21, 2007 03:00AM

I never served directly in this ministry area, but I have freinds who do and so will speak from that expereince.
Newsong has a large number of outreach and support ministries. These include houses set up, with mature Christian leaders, for helping those coming out of a homeless situation, drug addictions, etc to have an environment focused on biblical teaching times, accountability and support for finding places to live and jobs. Due to its location in downtown Tacoma, Newsong ministers a great deal to homeless and drug addicted individuals.
Also, because of the many relatively young church members (probably 60+ percent under 35 year old) many Newsongers choose to live with others their own age who have a heart for the Lord and desire greater accountability in their lives. If someone is turning their lives to the Lord and are in a living situation that will be more of a stumbling block than a place to grow in their faith, their small group leader may recommend that they find and move in with others who are growing with the Lord. (For example, someone coming off a drug addiction and young in their faith will be encouraged to move out of a situation where they have roommates who are still very active with drugs, two people living in a sexually immoral relationship will be recommended to move out of the situation and in with others who are walking with the Lord, etc) I should note that this is NOT the case with younger church members living with their families and parents!!!!!! Newsong believes that the parents are the primary spiritual authority in a student’s life and works with families to grow together in their faith and biblical understanding.
The majority of the time, as young members of the church find that they have a heart for walking with the Lord and are making close Christian friends or serving closely together in ministry areas, they will often seek each other out and live together – This is largely because Newsong started off as a college ministry years ago and we found that as we needed to find roommates for school, it was a great experience to do so with our friends who went to the same church. These houses are not regulated and have no direct leadership. The formal houses for mentioned at the beginning of this section are however monitored and have clear rules and guidelines for helping those living there.
This set up is not unusual for ministries focused on college age groups and urban outreach. If you have further questions on this type of ministry I would suggest seeking out a biblical church in your area that ministers in with a focus in these two areas.

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New Song City Central - Tacoma, WA
Posted by: GabrielVW ()
Date: January 21, 2007 03:01AM

Those serving in ministries and leadership roles at Newsong city Central are strongly encouraged to gain credible Christian educations. Currently, over 60 newsongers (most of whom are serving in ministries at Newsong) are currently enrolled in seminary classes, working towards degrees at Faith Evangelical Seminary. This is to help avoid cultish and heretical theologies and practices and help better equip men and women for ministry and service!!!
The seminary’s web site and accreditation information can be found at: www.faithseminary.edu

Newsong City Central has a very close relationship with the head of the seminary (who is also a Lutheran Pastor) and would, I’m sure, be willing to answer any questions about Newsong also.

Newsong members are STRONGLY encouraged to study the Bible and seek the Lord for themselves. The idea of members not thinking for themselves or being dictated their beliefs could not be further from the heart of Newsong. Part of Newsong’s mission is to help people grow deeper in their own intimacy and walk with the Lord. Individuals, such as my wife and I, were raised up to follow the Lord and now have gone out and are serving in full time ministry at another church as we believe the Lord has led. If we had not been encouraged to learn the scriptures and grow in our intimacy with the Lord we could never have done this. Newsong sent us with their full blessing. To be used to grow and expand the kingdom of God is core to this way of raising up ministry leaders who are dependent on God and not on specific leaders.

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New Song City Central - Tacoma, WA
Posted by: GabrielVW ()
Date: January 21, 2007 03:04AM

One aspect of Newsong City Central that can be surprising and create misconceptions is the large percentage of members who are involved in ministries around Tacoma, want to become involved with ministry or are thrilled about the saving work Jesus has done in their lives. Occasionally new members will feel overwhelmed by the churches focus on raising up ministry leaders.

Again, in my experience this is common for churches made up of so many young adults and young church plants. There is an energy and excitement that is not be present in an many older church.

Newsong sets up its ministries and small groups to help new members discover the passions the Lord has put in their hearts and move towards mature faith so that the individual can discover and pursue the calling on their lives, no matter where that leads them.

Over the years I have been very surprised by the negative reactions of a very few new church members to being encouraged to grow and move forward in their maturity and faith. I would be stepping out to try to say that I could explain this, except that in youth ministry I will occasionally have students who simply do not want to repent of areas in their lives that they would have to give up and so react negatively to our encouragement to grow and mature in their faith.

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New Song City Central - Tacoma, WA
Posted by: GabrielVW ()
Date: January 21, 2007 03:05AM

Newsong prayer teams and “praying over someone.” This is potentially the easiest area of misunderstanding for many churches today. The way my Baptist, Lutheran, Pentacostal, non-denominational and PCUSA brothers and sisters pray for me is unique across the board!!!! Some find it important to “lay their hands on you” others feel strongly about praying silently while others usually pray out loud. We should be especially careful on this point when we are critiquing another church!!!!! At Newsong, I was on a prayer team for several years (many churches in the above mentioned denominations will be familiar with prayer teams) It was a small group of us, available after service for those who had struggles, were convicted of sins and wanted others to pray with them, those wanting to receive salvations, those who were sick and wanted to get prayed for, etc. In these times we would pray (often as a group to ensure accountability and correct conduct with those requesting prayer) for the person’s specific needs. Newsong also strongly believes that the Lord speaks to His people today (a trait shared by most ministry leaders of all the denominations I have worked with… most capable pastors will pray for the Lord to speak to their hearts about church issues and sermon/message topics-- how this looks is often very different from church to church, but I believe the key is to understanding Newsong’s prayer ministry is that they believe the authority of the Bible is the primary way that God has revealed himself. Anything someone believes the Lord is speaking to in a prayer time MUST line up with the scriptures- no exceptions!!! If someone in the prayer time feels prompted by the Lord regarding the prayer request or issues being prayed through, it is submitted to the individual- NEVER dictated!
Also, RARELY is a person prayed for in private. Typically the prayer teams and individuals will simply seat themselves around the sactuary and pray for each other. If there is a sensitive issue (such as sexual abuse) that is being addressed then the team will move to a more private place to talk. Again, the purpose for having a team is in such cases there is accountability.
For further clarification on what these times look like, please contact Newsong church, who will be happy to help explain the ministry of praying for others.

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