In 1987 two dreams were realized by Jän and Ginya van Oosten. They were asked to plant a new church in North Fresno and they brought home a beautiful daughter. Both of these dreams brought joys and challenges that would shape the next 26 years.
New Covenant Community Church was formed and the first seven years were spent on the campus of Kastner Intermediate School. The congregation used the theme “Experience the Excitement” as they pledged to grow a new church. By their own admission, they promised to be a young church with no lack of vision or programs.
From the very beginning Sunday school was offered for all ages, from the very young, to Junior High and High School, to the amazingly young at heart. Holidays were big events including children’s musicals and choir productions. They also intended, by the power of God, to be a church that was planted to reach the unchurched of North Fresno, a lofty goal for a handful of spiritual speculators. And spectacular they were!
In just six short months, before the ink was even dry on the Articles of Incorporation, the ACLU came knocking. This by providential intervention necessitated looking for another place to set up shop.
Enter 1744 E. Nees, 5 acres of weeds with an old yellow house that for the next 20 years would be renovated more than any other building on campus. Much of this renovation was done by the loving hands of the congregation. This house would serve as the office, AKA the central base for the strategic mission of reaching a lost neighborhood.
With a church building not yet built, this move spawned several miracles –one of which was a home spun campaign called “Stake out the Vision” calling for folks to pledge to a church they weren’t even sure they wanted to be a part of. This campaign netted $265,000 in pledges towards the seemingly astronomical price of $315,000. To make up the difference, a series of special offerings were held. The first one brought in a remarkable $115,000 and in the end the debt was retired in a mere 3 year span, which positioned us right in the middle of the next housing boom.
In the interim years at Kastner, Ministry kept going and growing, rain or shine, with all the manner of crazy venues from Hat Days to concerts and special guests. Many of the activities were held outside under large canopies for shade. We started holding VBS just about anywhere they would have us, from Dude Ranches to other churches. And the children came by the droves.
But the best was and still is the baptisms. We have never grown tired of the joy of witnessing changed lives. What a special time it is to share with a new believer their profession of faith through baptism.
By the early 1990’s we were breaking ground on the original five acres for a new 500 seat sanctuary, culminating years of planning by a dedicated building committee. At completion, we could hardly believe the beauty, but soon realized we had built too small. This created a need for 3 services.
What to do? We bought more property and several houses, added more modulars, and crammed in more chairs in the sanctuary. Finally wings were added to the sides of the main sanctuary to alleviate the immediate crisis.
The little church that could – DID, and gained notoriety with its creative ideas like the Evangel Home makeover, AWANA by the 100’s, Trunk R Treat, and other ideas the churches along Nees Avenue hurried to copy.
We became experts at “set ups” for big events and “sweat ups” for work days. We studied with our Midweek Services, taught with our Bible Studies and Sunday school classes. We transformed a trailer park into a treasure trove for kids. The modulars were transformed from plain to “AdventureLand”. We had Crawl Inn for the babies and Training Depot for the toddlers. There was Amazing Prayerland, Reign Forest, Heir Force One, and Discipleship for the older children. We laughed when we would get together for events and celebrated grand occasions, having lots of fun along the way. We prayed, rejoiced and became a team, a community, a family. We became a church called New Covenant Community Church.
Then not quite 20 years later, the deacon board asked the congregation to dig deeper so we could reach further. We started to change the shape of North Fresno again. This time the dreams seemed to reach the heavens. As the building took shape, new ministries ramped up. On that unforgettable Sunday in March, 2007, we once again “Experienced the Excitement” of what a big God can do with a small group of people. A group of people who by the power of God, promise to purposefully reach others for Christ, committed to the same vision of 25 years ago. We call that 20/20 vision – a clear, keen perception of the call, still as life-changing as ever.
In January of 2016, Scott Borman transitioned into the role of Lead Pastor, to continue pursuing NewCov’s mission and vision for years to come.