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New Life Church is a non-denominational charismatic Evangelical Christian megachurch located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States. New Life Church has more than 10,000 members. The church was founded by Ted Haggard and is currently pastored by Brady Boyd.

History

New Life Church was founded in 1984 by Ted Haggard. The church started under his leadership as an independent church meeting in his home. From these origins, the church grew through a succession of larger meeting spaces including strip mall office space and other non-traditional church locations.

Ted Haggard scandals and resignation

On November 2, 2006, Haggard was accused of paying a male escort for sex for three years and of also using methamphetamine.[2] Later the same day, Haggard voluntarily stepped down as pastor so "the overseer process can be allowed to proceed with integrity", and that he would be seeking "spiritual advice and guidance".[2] Two days later, New Life Church's Board of Overseers announced that they had decided to permanently dismiss Haggard from his role.[3]

In January 2009, new allegations emerged that Haggard, while pastor at New Life, had an inappropriate relationship with a former attendee.[4] Haggard's successor, Brady Boyd, said the church reached a six figure settlement with the man, who was in his early 20s at the time.[5] According to a News Channel 13 report, the man said the contact was "not consensual".[5]

Shooting

On December 9, 2007, a gunman opened fire in the New Life Church, striking five people and killing two, sisters Rachel and Stephanie Works; their father David Works was one of the individuals injured. Jeanne Assam, a church security volunteer, shot and wounded the gunman who then killed himself. Several hours prior, the same gunman opened fire at a Youth With A Mission training center in Arvada, Colorado, striking four people and killing two.[citation needed]

The gunman, identified as Matthew Murray age 24, was formerly a missionary-in-training with Youth With A Mission and was from a devout Christian family.[6]

About the shooting, Jeanne Assam said, "I just prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide me. I said, 'Holy Spirit, please be with me...' My hands weren't even shaking."[7] Assam's shots were non-fatal. The Coroner’s report identified that the fatal shot was self-inflicted.[8] Police found a letter from the shooter addressed "To God".[9]

At a congregational recovery meeting three days after the shooting, Boyd told parishioners they "will not be governed by fear."[10] Boyd appeared with Jeanne Assam on a host of media appearances following the tragedy.[11] On April 17, 2008, the Colorado State Senate honored Jeanne Assam passing a resolution calling her a "true hero".[12] After the Shooting New Life made a Memorial for Rachael and Stephanie Works With a Stone and 2 benches. Ironically, New Life Church allegedly fired Ms. Assam after she came out as a homosexual. [13]

Campus and facilities

The church established its present campus location in the early 1990s and added buildings and added onto existing buildings in this location. The initial sanctuary on the campus, now referred to as the "theater," seats 1,500 and is used primarily for children's church and youth meetings throughout the week. The current main sanctuary can seat over 8000 but is currently set up to seat 5000.[14].

The New Life campus is also home to the World Prayer Center. The World Prayer Center, through the use of Internet technologies and The World Prayer Team organization, coordinates global prayer efforts among its participants. The World Prayer Center is home to several ministries and internship programs including the Furnace, Burn Student Internship, and the Desperation Leadership Academy.

The smallest building on the campus is The Tent which used for conducting both youth meetings and New Life School of Worship classes.

Children's classrooms are in a Bible story-themed area.[14]

Ministry

New Life Church, along with Focus on the Family, established Colorado Springs as a conservative evangelical center in the 1990s.[15] In 2005, Jeff Sharlet claimed that while New Life is "by no means the largest megachurch…[it] holds more sway over the political direction of evangelicalism" than any other church in America.[14]

In popular culture

Ted Haggard and other members of the church were featured on a 1997 episode of the PRI radio program This American Life,[16] as well as the documentaries Jesus CampFriends of GodConstantine's Sword, and The Root of All Evil?.

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