IN THE BEGINNING
New Life began as an answer to God’s call in the life of Sister Trudie Colvert in1945. She was the first to bring the message of Oneness and Jesus’ Name baptism to the Smithville area. After meeting intermittently for several years, regular services began to be held, prompting the purchase of New Life’s first building in 1952. The little church on Short Mountain Street was known as the First United Pentecostal Church.
Over the years, other Pentecostal congregations began in the area. Calvary Pentecostal was located near the current airport, and Laurel Hill Pentecostal was located east of Sligo on Highway 70. In the mid 1980’s the Pastors were Larry Sims at First U.P.C., C. W. Milam at Calvary, and Paul Sanders at Laurel Hill.
OUT OF THE FIRE
After a fire destroyed the original building on Short Mountain Street in 1985, Pastor Sims and the First U.P.C. purchased the present property on South Congress in 1986. In that same year, Pastor Sims began to feel a call to start a new church in the unchurched city of Vancouver, British Columbia. Also, Pastor Milam’s health caused him to consider retirement about this time. After several meetings, the three Pastors brought forth a plan to merge the three congregations under Pastor Paul Sanders. The congregations agreed and in a special service in August of 1987, they became officially one congregation under the name of New Life U.P.C. with Paul Sanders as the Pastor. Today, New Life is still home to members of those three original churches.
Pastor Sanders led the church through a period of growth, consolidation, construction, and revival. During his pastorate the current sanctuary building was built, debts were paid, and the impact of the Pentecostal message was felt throughout DeKalb County. Pastor Sanders was an entertaining and growth oriented preacher whose ministry built a solid foundation of doctrine and practices. He retired due to health reasons in 2006.
NEW LIFE FOR NEW LIFE
In early 2007, we were blessed to have the Cornelius family come to Smithville. Pastor Dwayne Cornelius was elected in March and he and his family arrived in April. Pastor Cornelius brought many years of ministry experience as well as blessing us with our First Lady, Heather, and his three children, Alexis, Andrew, and Logan. This friendly, caring, talented family has inspired New Life to a new era of growth and commitment.
Under Pastor Cornelius’ leadership, New Life has seen much development. An extensive sanctuary remodel was accomplished in 2009. Many annual, seasonal events have been added to our calendar, both for the church and the community. In 2011, Pastor Cornelius shared his vision of acquiring the Pamida building next door, and in 2012 we completed a remodel and conversion of that building, adding 36,000 square feet of space to use for God’s glory. With the addition of this space, we began a fully accredited childrens program, the Kids Connection Early Learning Center, serving over 40 families on a daily basis. In 2017 the vision of a Christian Private School began. As DeKalb Christian Academy continues to grow we look forward to a K-12 school serving DeKalb county for many years to come. In the past five years New life has grown from a weekly attendance of around 100 to around 250, with new people being added to the New Life family weekly.
We look forward to many years of powerful ministry – FOR HIS GLORY!