IHOP Atlanta & New Bridge Church
The following page is a brief explanation of the vision for bringing IHOP Atlanta and New Bridge Church together in this coming season. Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions, an audio message from Billy Humphrey explaining the prophetic history culminating in this decision and a link to a blog post describing the journey from the pastor of New Bridge Church, Jeff Lyle. Enjoy!
Audio from Sunday, December 3, 2017
Listen below for the explanation of how IHOP Atlanta and New Bridge Church are coming together!
As we approach the next few months in following God’s plan for New Bridge Church and International House of Prayer Atlanta to merge into one community and ministry, the leaders of both ministries desire to provide some answers to some of the questions that will arise. This document provides answers to some of the most common questions people have regarding the merger.
How did this merger idea come about?
God spoke clearly to the leaders of both ministries in both practical and prophetic ways:
Practically: Over the last four years, genuine relationships have been formed among the leaders and many of the members of the two communities. There have also been several key ways the ministries have overlapped: Jeff Lyle serves on the board of Gatekeepers International, Inc. (the 501c3 governing IHOP Atlanta), IHOP Atlanta musicians regularly serve at New Bridge, IHOP’s Ten Conference & One Thing Conference were held at New Bridge, New Bridge leadership and members have regularly participated in IHOP Atlanta’s Prayer Room, and several New Bridge members have completed 3-month internships at IHOP Atlanta. All of these connections (and more) served to facilitate a healthy, organic connection and relationship between IHOP Atlanta and New Bridge.
Prophetically: In early July of 2017, God gave Dustin Pennington a dream that spoke specifically about IHOP Atlanta and New Bridge merging. Dustin humbly submitted the dream to Billy Humphrey and Jeff Lyle for consideration. They each agreed to pray and meet to further discuss exactly what the God might be speaking. They also asked the Father to confirm what they believed they were discerning through others who had no knowledge of the dream given to Dustin. Over the next two weeks, no fewer than ten confirming words and dreams began to flow to Dustin, Jeff and Billy from people within the two communities. At that point, additional leaders from both communities were brought into the discussion. During these conversations, prophetic words were traced all the way back to 2005 which could now be clearly interpreted as applying to what God was currently speaking about His desire to make the two communities into one. After two months of thoughtful prayer and consideration, the leadership teams of both IHOP Atlanta and New Bridge reached a clear consensus that the will of God for the two communities is to merge into one.
Why are we considering a merger?
It is biblical – the unity of the Church is a Kingdom value that is often obscured on earth. This merger is a visible manifestation of the Father’s heart that His children should live in intentional love and unity with each other (John 17; Ephesians 4:1-6; Psalm 133:1).
It is practical – New Bridge and IHOP Atlanta are stronger together than we are separate. The strengths of each community fit perfectly with the needs of both communities. Whereas New Bridge has a healthy local church in place that provides a vibrant aspect of Kingdom community & ministry, IHOP Atlanta provides a focus upon 24/7 Prayer & Worship, Evangelism, Mission, & Training. The practical result is that, in becoming one new merged community, IHOP Atlanta & New Bridge will both be strengthened by each other in the areas of community and ministry.
The witness of the Lord – There is an undeniable sense of God’s leadership among the leaders in both communities. We have invested five months of prayer and deep dialogue, along with hundreds of man hours in meetings for discovery and strategy, and getting input from helpful sources outside of the two communities. The ongoing confirmation from the Holy Spirit becomes stronger with each passing month.
What is the overarching Kingdom message that will be communicated in this merger?
We believe this merger is a catalytic event that has the potential to spark a greater move of the Spirit among our respective communities. We further see the merger as an activity that honors and glorifies King Jesus as the Bridegroom of a unified Bride. We are declaring a testimony of Kingdom unity as a critical facet the church must embrace in this hour. Ultimately we feel the Lord will use this merger as a testimony of His wisdom and power to the spirit of religion in the region (Eph. 3:10).
What are some of the similarities between IHOP and New Bridge?
- Commitment to the Word of God as central to our faith
- The glory of God revealed in our generation being the primary motivator for ministry
- Desire to see the free & authentic flow of the gifts of the Holy Spirit
- Desire to have a culture of prayer at the center of the church community
- Commitment to see the Gospel advanced from our neighborhoods to the nations
- Commitment to disciple & equip believers in their gifts and in the knowledge of God
- A commitment to displacing the two strongholds of racism & religion
- A commitment to holy stewardship of time, abilities and finances for Kingdom advancement
- Preparing all believers for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ
- Desire to see genuine, sustained revival touch Gwinnett County and the City of Atlanta
What will our church be called?
New Bridge Church will become the church of the IHOP Atlanta mission base. The mission base will include: International House of Prayer Atlanta, New Bridge Church, Finish the Task & Forerunner Church.
Who will be our pastor?
The mission base will continue to be led by an executive team of leaders that govern the key ministry environments, including Prayer Room, Church, Missions, Young Adults, Training, Operations, Finance, and Administration.
A new Pastoral Team consisting of those who currently serve in primary pastoral leadership roles at New Bridge & IHOP Atlanta will lead the Church component of the Mission Base.
Billy Humphrey – Director of Missions Base
Jeff Lyle – Preaching, Prophetic Ministry & Church Leadership
Dustin Pennington – Church Ministries Coordination & Oversight
Gabe Palmer – Community & Pastoral Care
Please note that there will be overlap among the four primary leaders, with shared oversight of the multiple ministry layers of the merged church community. These general descriptions are based upon each of their areas of influence and spiritual gifting. Additionally, within the church there will continue to be a much broader base of other leaders serving alongside and under the oversight of the Pastoral Leadership Team.
How will IHOP missionaries and New Bridge staff work together?
All New Bridge church staff & IHOP Atlanta missionaries will continue to work on their assigned areas of focus, integrating people from each community in those ministry areas. IHOP Atlanta missionaries will continue to facilitate 24/7 worship & prayer as their primary focus. Additionally, TASK missionaries will continue their focus on international missions. The New Bridge church staff will prioritize, promote and participate in the prayer room, while continuing their primary ministry responsibilities in facilitating the ministry of the church.
Who will be the preachers in the weekly services?
Billy Humphrey and Jeff Lyle will be the primary preachers.
What will the worship services be like?
Sunday and Wednesday services will take place in the New Bridge sanctuary in order to accommodate the number of people in the merged congregation. The services will nearly mimic what is currently happening in both communities. There will be an intentional integrating of worship teams from both communities. For New Bridge’s weekly calendar, there will be an addition of a 5 PM Sunday service. For IHOP Atlanta’s weekly calendar, there will be the addition of a Wednesday 7 PM service. The two Sunday services will be facilitated with equal intentionality, carrying the same weight. The Wednesday service will be a mid-week service, along with youth ministry, with Jeff being the primary speaker of the Wednesday message.
What will happen to each church’s programs, outreaches, house churches, etc.?
Because both communities have many parallel ministries, there will be a process of blending those ministries. While new faces will likely be involved in some ministries, our plan is for growth and expansion, not for elimination or reduction. We anticipate momentum and growth in all phases of ministry, with renewed emphasis and intentionality.
How will the budget and finances be managed?
There will be one central finance office that will handle budgeting, bookkeeping, and accounting for the entire mission base.
What about membership?
All current members and active participants at IHOP Atlanta will welcomed into membership at New Bridge Church at the time of the merge. It’s helpful to remember that we are all a part of a 24/7 prayer mission base in which New Bridge will be the church component.
What is the timeline for this proposed merger?
We ask for understanding that there may be unforeseen elements which might impact the execution of this proposed timeline.
1/7 – Joint 5 PM Encounter Service at New Bridge
1/10 – Joint Wednesday night Youth Services (middle & high school) begin to be held at NB
January & February 2018 – multiple layers of communication and coordination meetings will be held simultaneously over these weeks. These meetings will seek to blend parallel ministries that currently exist on both campuses into one unified ministry. Various leaders from both communities will work under the direction of the Pastoral Leadership Team to ensure as smooth a transition as possible as we move toward the launch date.
March 2018 – Public promotion and announcement of the merge begins. We will utilize radio, television and social media to “blitz” our community with the news of what God has done in bringing together NB & IHOP Atlanta. This not only lets people know of this new work for practical purposes, but it also sends a robust message of Kingdom unity that we hope will raise greater awareness to what God is doing in our region.
4/1 – Proposed deadline for having all legal and financial processes finalized and instituted.
4/22 – Our first merged service – Gratitude, Victory & Celebration!
What do our leaders need from us to make this merge process a Kingdom success?
We are asking all those who comprise New Bridge Church & IHOP Atlanta to commit to the following between now and our launch in April of 2018:
Be intentional and continual prayer. We ask that you keep your heart postured in faith, humility and patience as we all move forward into an exciting season of Kingdom purpose, which requires flexibility and will involve change. We not only want the Lord to be glorified when we launch in April 2018, but we also want Him to be pleased and glorified in the process that leads up to the launch.
Maintain your faithfulness and service. This is an awesome time for all of us to up our commitments to our areas of service, our faithful participation in weekly gatherings, our financial support of the ministry, and our love and service to one another.
Step out of your comfort zone. Take initiative to get acquainted with the aspects of IHOP Atlanta and New Bridge Church that you are unfamiliar with. Many from IHOP already attend the Wednesday 7 PM service at New Bridge (this is a big night for children and student ministries). Many from New Bridge already gather each Sunday at 5 PM at IHOP Atlanta. Don’t wait for the merge to be official – start drinking from the two available fountains now.
Be excited and expectant! What is happening with us is extremely rare and will be catalytic in motivating other local churches and ministries to follow our lead. This is not business-as-usual. Be validated in the knowledge that God is inviting us all to be a part of something that we believe will help spark revival in our region.
Ask the Holy Spirit to enlarge your capacity for faith (1 Cor. 12:9). We all need to apply our faith to believe God to do what only He can do as we humbly and obediently determine to follow His direction and leadership.
As we enter this process over the next few months, let’s all commit to do it with prayerful hearts, filled with joy and expectation.
“The LORD has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.” – Psalm 126:3
Email email@example.com with any questions.