Legacy of Hope
By Maria Martin, Volunteer
New Hope Church is home to a small congregation in Lewisville, a small town in rural Indiana. At first glance, this congregation is the quintessential small town church, but the people of New Hope have a better grasp on true Christian community than most.
Founded in 1967, the congregation of about 80 split a few years ago. Attendance decreased following the split, and it became apparent that keeping the property would be unreasonable for such a small group. The church board decided on April 3, 2013, to dissolve the church and sell the property. The church closed soon after.
At a small ceremony in July 2013, former church members gathered to carry out what was instructed in church bylaws: to divide the substantial remaining funds from the sale of the property equally among three different missions organizations—World Gospel Mission, One Mission Society, and World Missionary Press. Tears were shed, testimonies and fond memories were shared, and, although many in the room were strangers, a deep sense of community in the body of Christ bound the group together.
Christian community, as this little gathering of people discovered, is not defined by a common way of life, by the place people live, or even by friendship. Rather, it is a bond created by a shared desire to work toward the common goal of fulfilling the Great Commission. This little ceremony is proof that, surrounded by Christian community, even the closing of a church can be a source of real hope.