We are a family of churches who meaningfully partner (Phil 1:5; 2 Cor 8:23) to advance the gospel globally. Our partnering together is based on relationship, mission, values and leadership.
In Mark 3:14, the first reason we are given as to why Jesus chose the Twelve is “so that they might be with him.” He did not gather these men simply because they happened to believe the same things or value the same things (because they didn’t initially), but He gathered them first to relationship. For Jesus, relationship was not an add-on or a bonus, but it was the means by which He did ministry.
Moreover, the New Testament vibe was leaders and churches in warm relationship with each other, with the prevailing metaphor being that of family. Family is never at the expense of mission, but neither is mission at the expense of family. With the pressures of a busy world and a busy church, it is crucial to be clear that the relational aspect of an apostolic movement is a biblical imperative.
While time consuming and inconvenient at times, we are theologically convinced of the importance of warm relationships and a family feel. We want to build churches that are truly on mission, but on mission together.
Jesus chose the twelve “so that they may be with Him”, but also so that “he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons.” In other words, He not only chose them for relationship but for mission. God calls people to be together for a purpose (His purpose). Our hope is not simply to be a “big happy family” that is theologically aligned and yet has no desire to move forward in seeing churches planted and the lost saved. Newfrontiers USA churches live with a sense that God has brought us together to see Kingdom advance in ways we never could as isolated churches.
Paul and the church in Philippi is a great case study for mission shared between apostolic ministry and local churches. It also shows the personal connection he had with the people (not just the leaders) in that church.
Acts 16 describes the birth of the church; Paul’s epistle to the Philippians demonstrates ongoing care, concern and personal relationships with members of that church. The church at Philippi then gave Paul ongoing commitment in his apostolic work through prayer and financial support.
"A better question for a local church to have is not ‘what can the movement do for us?’ but ‘which apostolic team are we supporting in the ongoing mission to reach the world for Christ and bring the nations to the obedience of faith?’ This creates a dynamic situation where the local church is caught up with apostolic ministry in its mission to reach the unreached peoples of the world…Apostolic ministry is for the sake of the nations of the world; it is for the sake of world mission; it is for the sake of planting many more churches, with a priority of planting churches among unreached people groups.” (Page 163-165, Fathering Leaders, Motivating Mission by Dave Devenish)
Broadly speaking, the mission that Newfrontiers USA churches partner together in is:
What is somewhat unique about Newfrontiers churches is that we enjoy real relationship with churches all over the world. What started as a few house churches in the south of England has spread to more than 60 nations and 900 churches. In the United States, Newfrontiers churches have especially benefited from relationships in England, Mexico, South Africa, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Russia and Australia with new relationships and opportunities to serve developing all the time.
Generally speaking we are evangelical Christians and would adhere to both the Apostles and Nicene Creeds. Some of our defining values would be:
Missional: Highlights our conviction that the primary biblical definition of a church is a community on mission. In John 20:21, John writes, “...As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” Therefore, what we read in the gospels was only the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, and through the Church that ministry would continue and be fulfilled. We agree with Ed Stetzer when he says, ‘the church of God doesn’t have a mission as much as the mission of God has a church.’ Jesus specifically prayed that we would not be taken out of the world (John 17:15). We believe we are a cultural infiltration agency not a cultural evacuation agency.
Spirit-Empowered: Paul speaks of individuals being temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19) and the church being a house in which God lives by his Spirit (Eph 2:22). Laying a foundation of the Spirit in churches was high on the apostles’ agenda, strikingly portrayed by Peter and John in Samaria, (Acts 8:14-17) and Paul in Ephesus (Acts 19:1-17), Galatia (Gal 3:2) and Corinth (1 Cor 12 & 14). We acknowledge the vital role of the Holy Spirit today, believing local churches should enjoy the presence, power, fruit and gifts of God’s Spirit in a way that is attractive and beneficial to both believers and unbelievers. And above all, the Spirit empowers us for mission to our neighborhoods and nations (Acts 1:4-8).
Reformed: We firmly believe and highly honor God’s Grace and God’s Sovereignty. While steering clear of hyper-reformed extremes, we believe that these doctrines capture the essence of God and his dealings with man and lay an axe to anything man-centered. Furthermore, a robust view of God’s grace and His sovereignty produce churches that are simultaneously humble yet confident, worshipful yet hard-working, at peace yet ablaze with faith.
Gospel-Centered: The message of the gospel, namely the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus and the associated benefits to man, is both a moment and a process. The same gospel that saves me in an instant also progressively changes me in every area of life. Believing the gospel delivers me immediately from the penalty of sin and progressively from the power of sin. It is the source for new life and also for new lifestyle. For example, Paul uses the gospel as motivation for generosity (2 Cor 8:8-9), for husbands loving their wives, and wives submitting to their husbands (Eph 5:22-27). This means that the completed work of Jesus should be central across all ministries and in the lives all believers within a church. It means that instead of growing out of the gospel we need to increasingly grow into the gospel (Col 1:5-6, Eph 4:15-16).
Complementarian: A church is only as healthy as the families within that local community. A family is only as healthy as the man and woman within that marriage. It is very important, therefore, for churches to recover the biblical roles for manhood and womanhood. The Bible clearly says that men and women are equal as image bearers of God (Genesis 1:27) and are equal within His redemptive plan (Galatians 3:28). Therefore, we reject the hierarchal view of gender that is misogynistic, controlling and disempowering of women. The Bible also clearly teaches that while men and women are equal in value, their roles are different (Ephesians 5:22-33). Therefore, we reject the egalitarian view of gender that says there is no role difference between men and women.
To understand our values, read a list of the 17 values put together by the founder of Newfrontiers, Terry Virgo on his website. For further understanding of our values, read “Spirit-filled Church” by Terry Virgo.
The gift of leadership is necessary for any group of people to move together, whether a family, a church or a family of churches (Romans 12:8). We believe that the apostolic gift is given to lead a movement of churches (Ephesians 4:11-12) It's this leader, along with his team, who casts the vision and sets the tone of what we do together. Newfrontiers USA is simply a name given to the sphere of churches that John Lanferman and his team leads.
Leadership Ethos: It is very important to note that the bible assumes that 1) apostles will work in teams to advance the mission and serve the churches that they are involved with. We are about partnering together and not promoting a personality. 2) Like all forms of leadership, we believe the biblical form is servant leadership. Apostolic teams serve the mission and not the other way around. The leadership goal is not to advance the brand but to advance the gospel. It's this connection to the leader and his team that keeps it relational and not hierarchal. (For our understanding of apostolic, read 'Fathering Leaders, Motivating Mission' by David Devenish).
While there are many people who serve John in his apostolic ministry, these are the present core team members:
Apostolic ministry is not a trouble-shooting agency or even simply a coaching network that can perpetuate a culture of dependency and immaturity. Paul worked specifically to mature believers and churches through seeing Christ formed in them (Eph 4:13, Col 1:28, Gal 4:19). Dave Devenish in his book "Fathering Leaders, Motivating Mission" contends that the role of the apostles is to provide a 'plumb line' not a 'measuring stick' (Zech 2:1, 4:10). Apostolic ministry, therefore, should be concerned that the whole structure is well founded and upright, but avoid pedantically measuring the details of a local church. The local elders are responsible for applying the apostolic plumb line in their local context. For example, we promote churches that are broadly reformed, spirit-empowered and missional but the local elders are responsible for outworking these plumb line truths in their context.