An open letter from Pastor Brad Dutton:
I love stories of pioneers. It’s always lit a fire in me.
I suppose if I look back at my life in ministry, there's always been some degree of pioneering within every ministry I've been a part of. Starting when I was 20 and for the next 11 years of my life, I pioneered in various aspects in youth ministry. I remember at my first ever ministry job as a youth intern, approaching my boss with a proposed budget of $36 USD to purchase 109 donuts to pass out in front of the local Secondary School to meet students and tell them about Jesus.
I was part of the first graduating cohort in my seminary to earn a Master's Degree in Church planting/ Evangelism from Liberty Theological Seminary.
My family and I have been pioneering in Hong Kong for the past 4 ½ years as well. People told us we were crazy to start a new church in Fo Tan, that people would never walk thru an industrial estate just to go to church. They were right in both aspects. We are crazy. We're crazy about following Jesus wherever He sends us. People don't come thru Fo Tan just for church, they come to meet Jesus in new, fresh, and raw ways they've never experienced before.
I think Christian poet Muriel Strode described the spirit of a pioneer when she said:
What I love about scripture is that Scripture is full of pioneers.
They were all pioneers God took to New Heights. If you’ll remember all the way back to our first week in this series you’ll remember there are three qualities in people who go to new heights.
People who go to New Heights:
are risk takers, not conservative
know what to hold on to and what to let go of
are available, not talented
I believe God wants to add you to that category of pioneering to New Heights. One of the parts of our church we never want to extinguish is that of a pioneering spirit. If you're a part of this church, you're a pioneer.
For some of you, you’re the first generation Christian in your family. Maybe your family has a long heritage of addiction, pain, wounds and baggage, you’ve set free future generations because those chains have been broken because of Jesus! As you go to new heights, you build the foundations that generations of people who come after you will start from. What an inheritance to pass down one day, yes? I’m so excited that my ceiling are my sons’ floor.
You're a part of something new, something fresh, something which breaks the mold of what church planting is "supposed" to look like in this city.
We’ve changed so much as a church in the 2 1/2 years we’ve been a church family.
Our church really began all the way back in Febraury 2013 as a prayer meeting in our flat in Tai Wai. We launched public worship services as an english speaking church on October 2013, and at the prompting of the Holy Spirit to reach people far from God with the love of Christ, we pioneered and became a bilingual church (one of only a handful in this city ever to successfullly do so) in October of 2014.
WHAT’S ALWAYS BOTHERED ME THOUGH, IS OUR ENGLISH AND CHINESE NAMES HAVE NEVER BEEN THE SAME.
So to remember what God has done in the life of our church and to honor and claim our identity for what He WILL do thru us, we have officially changed the name of our church to NEW HEIGHTS CHURCH LIMITED. We have filed all the necessary paperwork and have been given the approval by the Companies Registry of the Hong Kong Government. We're now in process of changing our accounts with HSBC as well.
this is not being ashamed or trying to forget the past, but rather it’s the continuation. We became the Canvas and God painted New Heights on us. We’re not a canvas anymore. We’re the masterpiece.
Pioneering & Pastoring this church has always felt a bit like Moses leading the people of Israel out of Egypt. The decision for us to become a bilingual church was risky, could have cost us everything, and bankrupt my family. It was our Red Sea moment. If you’ll remember, Moses led the nation of Israel to freedom by following the path God laid for them, but it eventually brought him to the shore of the red sea. God told Moses to hold his staff out over the water, and God parted the red sea for his people to cross. What you may not have ever considered is the geography of that miracle.
the geographic location in which the Israelites crossed the red sea is 19KM. Standing at sea level, one can only see 4.7km to the horizon, which meant Moses and 2.1 million people had to get 15km into the red sea in order to see that God had split the water from one shore to another. That’s what it felt like when we became a bilingual church; we knew this was where God was leading us, but weren’t sure/certain of all the answers but were willing to risk everything for the gospel to be heard by as many of our 660,000+ neighbors as possible.