Lonny & Angie Carpenter | New Beginnings Church, New Ulm
When asked where else the church had met before their current location, Pastor Lonny answered, “I’ve been everywhere, man.” That classic Johnny Cash song had much in common with New Beginnings Church (NBC) over the past several years. When you’re a portable church that has had to move locations repeatedly over the years, you begin to feel like that.
Lonny and his wife, Angie, planted NBC in New Ulm, MN, in 2014 after ministering faithfully in Lake Benton for 14 years. They found themselves meeting as a church in multiple locations within the city. Most recently, they utilized a local event center, then a nearby Dollar General closed and became available for sale. It was potentially a great permanent location to handle the influx of people coming through the doors of the church, but they weren’t in a financial position to secure financing.
They reached out to Church Extension Plan (CEP) to explore their options. CEP had recently launched a donor-based ministry called New Growth Partners (NGP) which looks for creative ways to get churches the help they need to flourish in ministry. CEP looked at their situation and agreed to purchase the building themselves and rent it to NBC at a reduced rate until church growth allows them to transition into a more traditional financing model to purchase the building outright.
It was the creative solution they needed, and the timing was perfect. Lonny recalls God’s faithfulness in the process as another buyer presented the seller with a full price offer the very next day after CEP had signed for the building.
NBC’s congregation rallied together to make the move. After a lot of hard work and renovations, the store was transformed into a church that can now serve the city not only on Sundays, but throughout the week. They officially launched services in the new location in December of 2018.
Lonny says that in communities like New Ulm, growth is all about patience and consistency. He admits that patience may not be his strong suit, but Angie helps keep him balanced. Together they know God has called them to New Ulm for such a time as this.
New Ulm is home to over 13,000 people, and NBC is the only pentecostal faith community in the city. There’s great potential for growth, and new people are coming to church every Sunday. Lives are being changed, and with their new location, they’re excited to show the community they are here to stay. They have already organized a number of community outreaches and also offer Sunday services on local television.
“It’s not our church, it’s God’s.” – Angie Carpenter
As Lonny and Angie reflect on church planting in their later years of ministry, they realize that their job is to establish a church that will flourish for years beyond their own leadership. As Angie points out, “It’s not our church, it’s God’s.”
As they shine a fixed light into the community, Lonny understands there will be future struggles, but right now God has them exactly where He wants them to be. Lonny jokes that the message to his congregation on a recent Sunday morning in October is a fitting message for himself too. It’s entitled, “God’s got this.”