New Venture began with my wife Laurie and five others in our living room in the Fall of 1989. On one hand, it seems like it was just yesterday, yet that was over 30 years ago now. From our earliest days, we believed that God was to be experienced, not just studied, and that ‘church was never meant to be boring.’ Since our beginning, the move and works of God have been anything but boring! And now, years later, with tens of thousands of people reached for Christ and many more impacted by His Spirit, New Venture launches into an exciting new season of unprecedented opportunity, impact and ministry growth.
FROM DREAM TO REALITY
Since the last decade or so, I have earnestly sought God's vision and direction for the long-term future of New Venture. From our many blessings to challenges and sometimes even attacks in the ministry, I sought His counsel and guidance on behalf of our church family. At the end of last year, I contacted Pastor Steve Riggle, the founder of the 20,000-member Grace Church in Houston and the President of Grace International Churches and Ministries. Founded in Long Beach in 1934, they presently have 3,800 churches and over 400,000 members in 107 nations around the world. It’s a world-impacting ministry that also has schools, colleges, orphanages, and compassion ministries. The reason I called was because of a mutual friend. Though Steve and I were not acquainted, Jim Garlow was a long-time personal friend to both of us. Jim asked Steve if he would be willing to provide some counsel to me as I considered what steps to take to ensure that the future of New Venture would be as impacting as its past had been. A few days later, Laurie and I flew to Houston and stayed overnight in their home. There was a real and instant connection, for us with Steve and his wife Becky, and it was obvious that the Lord had orchestrated the time together.
Steve expressed to me that his interest in providing whatever help he could was because of our mutual friendship with Jim and that he had no agenda beyond that. He never attempted to sell me on Grace International but as I did some research, I began to ask questions and ponder if this might be the God-ordained next step for the future of New Venture. Further conversations began to center around New Venture becoming a part of Grace International. It seemed as if the Lord was putting together a relationship where Grace International brought to the table what was an answer to prayer for New Venture, and what we brought were answers to questions that Grace International was seeking the Lord over. After several weeks of conversations and much prayer, I presented a proposal to our church board that New Venture merges with Grace International and our campus in Oceanside becomes the International Headquarters of GI. Steve presented that same proposal to the Grace International Board of Directors. The proposal was approved unanimously by both Boards.
NEW VENTURE GRACE CHURCH
New Venture is moving into an exciting expansive future by merging with Grace International Churches and Ministries and becoming the location of the International Headquarters. Added to the many thousands that have been impacted for Christ in our 30 years of ministry, New Venture will now be a part of impacting the world with their ministry presence in many nations! Like in the Bible, our new name will simply reflect this significant step into our joint future together, that only God could have imagined for us. Moving forward the merging of these ministries is reflected in our new name -
‘New Venture Grace Church.’ Many gave over the years to build our campus and support our ministry of impacting San Diego North County. As we did, we had no idea that one day what we built for God’s Glory to impact the North County would, through our new relationship with Grace International, enable our facilities to now be the home of an incredible ministry that is touching the world. And the exciting thing is, we will get to be a part of this global mission.
TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE
The Bible says, “Two are better than one, because they help each other to succeed” (Eccl. 4:9). With this new relationship, we lose nothing. We will maintain our local Vision, Mission, and Value-centered ministry while having Global impact through Grace. In addition to the ministries we now have going, our campus will house a School of Ministry, Ministry Intern Training Program, and a Pastoral Training Program. We will also host the annual Grace International Leadership Conference for North America, and offer World-wide Short-Term Mission Trips. I believe this will breathe fresh life into what New Venture has always been...a loving, caring congregation that reaches lost, hurting people with the Gospel and disciples them into fully-devoted followers of Christ.
FRESH FIRE... FRESH DESIRE
I believe this is a fresh Holy Spirit-inspired season that will strategically position us to see these facilities filled again with thousands of people who impact our region for Christ. Over the years the Holy Spirit has led us. His Kingdom has been expanded and tens of thousands have been impacted for Him. “Tomorrow, I will do wonders among you” (Joshua 3:5). I have never been more convinced in my spirit, that the Holy Spirit is speaking the same thing to the family of New Venture for what is next for us.
GREAT DREAMS REQUIRE A GREAT TEAM
I’m thrilled to move into this incredible future with you and to provide ongoing ministry leadership here as your Founding Senior Pastor. I will continue to be a part of our rotating Preaching Team, of which many have voiced they are being blessed by. So am I. This expanded teaching team has been a direct answer to prayer for me. I will also be a part of the preaching team at Grace Woodlands and minister nationally and internationally through Grace International, fulfilling my call as an evangelist, and will be involved in discipling young ministers in their preparation for pastoral leadership. My heart’s desire in this season of my life and ministry is that I can impart what I have learned to the next generation so that they are equipped to impact their day.
New Venture will be made stronger by the two senior leaders of Grace International taking a lead pastoral role in our future and the addition of a younger Campus Pastor. We now have a proven Pastoral Leadership Team to lead New Venture Grace into an expansive future. Strategies are being put together to expand and enlarge our ministries, to birth new ministries, and see our facilities filled once again, as we REACH People for Christ, TEACH People the Things of Christ, and RELEASE People to the Work of Christ and serve His Kingdom. Over the next few months we will be strengthening our existing ministries and also implementing some we do not currently have. Please be in prayer with me that God will pour out His Spirit with “fresh oil and a NEW anointing.”
OUR GREATEST DAYS ARE BEFORE US
God’s been writing a story for 30 years - AND THE STORY CONTINUES WITH US! What He has done is far greater than anything we could have come up with. Church Family, without question our best days are just ahead... with God,
New Venture Grace Church, and you.
On the Journey with you!
Your Pastor and Friend,