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Erica Stephenson

Mission in the City

July 26th, 2018 by

If you were at New Covenant last week for any amount of time you noticed the sights, sounds and smells of middle school students – 24 of them to be exact. There were 10 high school and college leaders who were intern staff leading the middle school students. There were countless adults who filled all kinds of roles during the week, from donating equipment, driving a vehicle, being campus security, to contributing meals and desserts, leading a team of middle school students in the field, praying, and so much more. People from at least 8 different church’s made up Mission in the City last week.

Over 20 projects were completed at Meals on Wheels client homes, Indian Trails Middle School, Keeth Elementary School, Carillon Elementary School, Canterbury Retreat Center, Community United Methodist Church, University Baptist Church, Lutheran Haven, and New Covenant Church.

All for one purpose – to catch a glimpse of who God is as students served side by side from different churchs and schools to build God’s Kingdom right in their own backyard!

Here is the story of Mission in the City…

All stories were written down by middle school students after returning from their day’s work projects.

“Today, I was so glad to help Mr. Hans and the church, even though we got rained on and were stuck for a while. My clothes will never be dry again.”

“I saw God bless us today with golf balls, bungee cords, splash cymbals, coconuts, and starfruit. All were found in random places and all were awesome! My least favorite part was the way my stomach felt after the 3rd chicken patty (sandwich).”


“The best part of the day was when we sat inside the building type thing and did our devotional.”


“What I liked about today was working as a team, talking and laughing.”


“I see God in all of us, no matter what we do He is with us and we love Him. I saw God the first day I came to camp and that makes me happy. Thank you to all of the people who helped us.”


“I feel like I connected with people way more today.”


“I liked how we impacted two ladies with helping clean their yards.“


“The funniest part of the day was when I was pushing the wheelbarrow and it fell over. A God moment was the verses we read during the devotional, Luke 7:36-50, Psalm 139.”


“I really enjoyed cleaning up the school we went to and seeing how amazing it looked after we put new wood and spreading the mulch and rocks, especially because we got cookies after. Yum!”

“Godly moment was when we talked about Jesus is everywhere.”


“Something we did today was learn to gather like a family.”

See more pictures of the week on Mission in the City’s Facebook page! 

For those of you who contributed in any way – THANK YOU. We simply could not have done this work without all of you. I hope that you caught a glimpse of how God worked in, around and through these students last week!

Easter Egg Hunt

March 30th, 2018 by

I have been asked many times over the last couple of weeks how the Early Egg Hunt went this year. Here is just a glimpse through the eyes of one young boy and a mom:

“Jesus is always with you and always listens to your prayers.”

One of our Easter Story Egg table leaders spoke these words of life to a young boy who shared about a hard family situation that he is currently in. She was in the midst of sharing the Easter story with him when he opened up about it. Beautiful words of hope for this boy in the midst of despair.

“This is the best Easter egg hunt my family has been to because we have had the chance to meet people from the community afterward!”

This second comment was made by a mom with two young kids. She was excited that there were activities after the egg hunt so that she could actually meet and get to know people from the community. Through the tangible environment that was created (great food, playground, Easter craft) people found more than just an egg hunt. They found a chance to get to know one another.

So much preparation from our church family goes into creating the tangible environment that spurs stories like these. Thank you for snapping eggs together, for bagging candy, for setting up tables and chairs, for grilling hot dogs and refilling drinks, for helping kids with Easter Story Egg sets, for welcoming families, for directing parking, for capturing the event in pictures, for praying, and so much more – all to share the joy of Easter!”


Friday Epistle for June 23, 2017

June 24th, 2017 by

“So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Matthew 10:26-31 NIV


Jesus is giving this charge to 12 of his closest friends, who he calls apostles, as he is sending them out to proclaim His Kingdom. There is so much that can be said on the words surrounding this passage, but it seems like through it he is telling them that this journey will not be easy. This makes these words in the middle even more important ones.  We are all too often reminded of how scary this world is. Whatever media you choose – Facebook, Twitter, watching the morning news, reading the newspaper, or talking to friends and family – the reminder is typically front and center.


How would we choose to live differently if we saw this news as a reality check, instead of a reason to seclude ourselves from the world? I’m talking about being acutely aware of what’s going on all around us because we believe that we serve a living God. A God who is working all around us. A God who empowers us and sends us out to work alongside Him as light in the darkness. A God who says, “So do not be afraid…”.


I see and hear about so many of us doing just this and am continually encouraged – figuring out where God is already at work and finding a way to enter into this work with Him. Where have you seen Him piercing the darkness with light recently? Who are your neighbors, your co-workers, your families, your friends at the community pool, your coffee shop friends, the cashier at the grocery store? What gives their life meaning? How has Christ met this need for you?


Jesus empowers his disciples here as he shares with them what they will experience as they go on this journey. In His kindness, He makes sure that they hear the words, “So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” And then, He gives them His power and sends them out.


This is why we have set up book clubs and movie clubs this summer, and why one of the 9:00 am Sunday School topics is on mentoring. This is why we went to Costa Rica, and are supporting Mission Interact. This is why we are hosting a summer intensive study on Jesus’ parables and inviting kids and volunteer leaders to VBS. This is why we continue to hold Closer and the Men’s Breakfast. Some of these opportunities are more being sent than being empowered, and others are more being empowered than being sent. They are all connected to one another.


This Sunday I’ll be talking about what it looks like for us to be sent out in Christ’s power to make Him known, just as He did with these disciples. I hope to see you there.




New Covenant Church – Summer 2017 – Inside Out

May 6th, 2017 by

Graduation Sunday – May 21

April 21st, 2017 by



If you have a graduating high school senior, we want to celebrate this incredible milestone with you on Sunday, May 21, during the 10am service!

Please email Erica Stephenson at erica.stephenson12@gmail.com, by May 7 with your graduate’s full name, high school they are graduating from, a senior picture, and their plans for the future.

Community Easter Egg Hunt 2017

April 20th, 2017 by


The  Community Easter Egg hunt was held on April 8, 2017.


You can watch our video recap here.

Building Bridges with Plastic Eggs – A Thank You

April 13th, 2017 by



As we prepared for the event that morning you heard colorful plastic eggs being snapped together, about 5000 in total, before they were thrown out on our front lawn. You smelled the grill being fired up for another great picnic.




You heard our 100 Days of Summer  music playlist in the background setting the stage for a worshipful day. You smelled the sugar rising from the 200 candy bags that were sitting on the welcome table. You saw several of us setting up the Easter Story Egg sets on tables in the courtyard. So much preparation from so many from our church family goes into a day like this.


We talk about this gathering being one where we build a bridge to our community. Both as a whole and on an individual level – person to person. As I continue to hear the stories of that morning I am convinced that this is exactly what we did. From a family who has now come to 3 community events in a row who were recognized by a familiar face when they came back (Fezziwig’s Christmas Party, Elf Movie Night, Easter Egg Hunt), to conversations that were had with families who were putting together the Easter Story Egg sets – we are building a bridge of relationship.


I don’t know where God will take these bridges that we are building, that’s up to Him. It is on us to be faithful with who and what he puts in front of us. This is what we do together.


So thank you for praying generously, for snapping eggs together, for putting baggies full of 11 tiny pieces together for the Easter Story Egg sets, for cooking hotdogs and making cupcakes, for stepping out of your comfort zone to meet someone new, for capturing the day in pictures, for decorating the tables, for donating candy, and SO MUCH MORE!



Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.”

Matthew 10:5-8 MSG

Easter Egg Hunt Candy Needed

March 30th, 2017 by


The candy donation basket for the egg hunt is out in the foyer.

Please donate individually wrapped candy.

Easter Egg Hunt

March 29th, 2017 by



Saturday, April 8

Beginning at 11:00 am.  Bring your family and friends to our annual egg hunt!  We will have a free picnic lunch and an Easter activity to take home.  For information, contact Erica Stephenson at 407-687-8570.  Look for our ad in the Tuskawilla and Oak Forest Newsletters.

Thank You for the Prayer!

February 26th, 2016 by


Thank you for praying for our 4th-6th graders as they went on their retreat last Saturday!

The JC456 leaders, Thom Shaw, Kris Taff and Jane Trnka, planned a great day where students learned more about who God is through Daniel’s story. Lee Grady, one of the missionaries that New Covenant supports, also came out and spoke to the students about his work. He invited them to see how they are a part of God’s mission in the world. They seemed so encouraged to spend time with one of the missionaries from our church, who they consistently write cards to and pray for.