New Day History And Mission

New Day is a network of missional micro-churches located in and near Dallas/Ft. Worth. New Day began in 2007 as a series of conversations between Elaine Heath and some of her students who longed to create a different kind of faith community that drew from the best wisdom of the new monasticism, the missional church movement, and the emerging church conversation. They wanted this new community to be rooted deeply in their own tradition, Methodism, which in many ways began as a lay monastic movement in the eighteenth century. Yet they wanted it to be a community where people from any tradition or no tradition might find a spiritual home.

That first community has grown, evolved, and multiplied in the past several years and New Day communities now include a broadly diverse array of people from every walk of life. The communities are both urban and rural.

Each New Day community is led by a bi-vocational team of 5-7 people who are mostly lay people. (That is, none of them earn a living by leading New Day.) These lead teams follow a rule of life together that is based upon United Methodist membership vows, but with detailed practices of prayer, hospitality, and justice. The lead team meets twice a month for a covenant group in which lead team members practice accountability for practice of the rule of life, and in which they guide the community’s direction. Lead team members rotate leadership of worship and share equally in decision making about the community.

Persons who are not on the lead team are not expected to follow the rule of life. All people are welcome at New Day meals, worship gatherings, and outreach activities, including persons with no religious faith, persons from other religions, people who are marginalized for any reason, skeptics, seekers, and learners. We believe that “love your neighbor” means every neighbor God sends.

When a New Day community gathers for worship, it begins with a simple meal that New Day members consider sacramental because it becomes a means of grace to all who are present. Various members of New Day take turns preparing the meal. We make sure it is the kind of meal that anyone can afford to make a contribution towards, so we do eat a lot of beans and rice! At the close of the meal as dishes are cleared away, worship continues with singing, prayer, scripture, and other liturgical elements one normally finds in a worship gathering. The music, prayers, reading, and other verbal activities are conducted in all the languages of the people present, as most of our New Day communities are multi-cultural and multi-lingual. Our sermons are communal rather than monologues, and are guided by a member of the lead team who has prepared exegetically and prayerfully for a robust experience of searching the scripture in community. If an elder is present we celebrate holy communion.

Each New Day community meets in a home or a small community space located in the midst of the people it serves. In addition to an incarnational presence where we serve, we do community outreach to companion the neighbors around us with activities such as ESOL classes, applying for jobs, after school programs, and the like. With these activities we like to partner with already existing programs when possible. (We really like networking.)

While the worship gathering is powerful and precious to us, the glue that really binds us together is relationships. We are a community of people who do life together. Thus New Day is not the worship gathering. It is a people gathered around a way of life.

Our name, New Day, comes from our conviction that it is a new day for the church in a postmodern world.

In recent years many people have come to visit, to learn about our way of being the church. We are always glad to receive visitors. One of our dreams is to see communities like New Day formed as free-standing new church starts in all sorts of contexts. In that model we imagine the role of the fulltime pastor being one in which she or he equips and guides the lead teams, helps to multiply the communities, helps each community determine its missional outreach and location, and coordinates missional connections with agencies and social service providers in the area of the New Day communities. On a quarterly basis the various communities would come together for a big worship celebration and teaching time. This fulltime pastor would live in the same economic strata as the people served in the communities she or he leads.

Connect With Us Online

From the Blogs