New Beginnings

After nearly 70 years working with churches and organizations nationwide, Church Extension Plan (CEP) has repeatedly witnessed a demand for flexible financing options — for ministries who have a clear call to serve their community and need additional space to sustain their growth. In response, CEP launched its donor-driven ministry called New Growth Partners (NGP). NGP was designed to assist new churches and para-church organizations in need of a creative approach to fund their projects. Among those impacted by the NGP program is New Beginnings Church in New Ulm, Minnesota.

Called to New Ulm

New Beginnings Church (NBC) reached out to CEP when their rental agreement with the town event center stood in the way of their weekly outreach programs. “We had to tear down every week,” says Pastor Lonny Carpenter. “And then of course you can’t have mid-week services because they have something going on almost all the time. That’s hard on equipment, and it’s hard on people.” Pastor Lonny even remembers one weekend when the church was unable to meet for their regular Sunday service due to scheduling conflicts. “We had to go over to the Best Western and rent from them.”

Lonny and Angie Carpenter planted NBC in 2013 after 14 years at a church in Lake Benson, two hours away. “One Sunday in Lake Benson, I was getting ready for church, and I was at the altar praying, and New Ulm came to mind,” he says. The next Wednesday night, as he prayed in their mid-week service, Pastor Lonny thought of New Ulm again. Finally, for a third time, he thought of New Ulm at the altar on the following weekend. “So, I did some research to see if there was an Assemblies of God church in New Ulm,” he explains. “There was no church.”

The Carpenters had no intention of leaving Lake Benson. They had a home they loved and a community they cared for deeply, but God continued to press New Ulm into their hearts and minds. “We just kept praying about it,” Pastor Lonny adds. “And here we are. God orchestrated everything to a ‘T,’ as He always does.”

Here to Stay

Through the years that followed, God continued to orchestrate their future. The Carpenters watched in awe as more and more broken families and individuals spilled through their church doors and came to know Christ. CEP’s ministry consultant, Jeremy Stamback, remembers early discussions with Pastor Lonny. “Every time he called me, he said, ‘We’ve got new people coming, and their lives are being changed!’” he smiles. In time, both Pastor Lonny and Jeremy knew — NBC needed a building to maintain their growth. “My emphasis in the church is to be a place where people can come and feel like they’re at home,” says Pastor Lonny. “People need to know we’re here to stay.”

Eventually, NBC found a vacant Dollar General store they hoped would become home, and the conversation turned to financing. “As I began to look at the financials, I quickly realized they were still about a year away from being able to afford their own building,” says Jeremy. “But I also realized that getting into a new building was going to be key to their continued growth.” As Pastor Lonny wondered what God had planned for their future home, Jeremy searched for any opportunity CEP had to help. “We just felt like it was God leading and directing us to move forward,” Jeremy adds. Before long, New Growth Partners entered the discussion.

CEP agreed to purchase the Dollar General store for NBC and allow the church to occupy the space on a reduced rental basis. As NBC grows over the next two years, their rent will increase as their giving allows, and, eventually, they’ll transition to a traditional CEP loan. “Jeremy told us what CEP would do, and I was overwhelmed,” says Pastor Lonny. “It was just huge for us, because we were that church that was not ready to assume a loan, but CEP was there for us.”

Open Doors

In December of 2018, NBC opened the doors of their new location and welcomed the town into a building that will remain open throughout the week. The community has even banded together to renovate their new church home. “The transformation is huge,” Pastor Lonny explains. “But the main thing about this building is going to be the transformation of people’s lives.” Even in the first several months, NBC has already made a significant impact. “This accelerates the growth that was already taking place,” says Jeremy. “And I think it’s going to open up doors for them. It’s going to allow them to reach people that they haven’t been able to reach.”

For CEP, this is the goal — to open doors for ministries in need, so they can open their doors to the community. Thanks to the financial backing of NGP’s generous donors, pastors like Lonny Carpenter receive support to fuel their calling, and churches like NBC gain a partner in ministry.

Support Ministries Like New Beginnings Church!

New Beginnings Church is one of hundreds of ministries that would benefit from flexible financing options. Will you consider giving to NGP — to encourage ministry growth and enable life transformation across America? To give today, call 800-821-1112 or email ngp@cepnet.com.