Steering A Parked Car

The Memorial Day update from Pastor Ross Parsley makes it pretty clear that – more than six months after the fall of Pastor Ted – Colorado’s largest evangelical megachurch is still a long way from having a permanent leader.

Attendance and contributions at New Life Church also continue to lag, as they have since Haggard admitted he was “a deceiver and a liar, had purchased meth and had gotten massages from male escort Mike Jones. In a letter to friends this week, Parsley, the interim senior pastor, reports attendance at the church, which previously claimed 14,000 members, has “dropped 20 to 25 percent soon after November, which is where we’ve continued to stay. Offerings have remained consistent at 8 to 10 percent below this time last year.”

Last month, the church announced a dozen finalists were in the running to be the new senior pastor, including Parsley. Keep reading for his latest letter. 

Dear New Life Family and Friends,

Memorial Day is a wonderful time of year! I hope your holiday was memorable and your family took time to remember our American heroes. As longer days, warm breeze, and cookouts with friends signal the transition from spring to summer, I thought the mile-marker of Memorial Day would be a good opportunity to share how our church is doing and where we’re headed.

Many of you have heard about the “Summer of Serving.” Now more than ever, I want to emphasize the importance of our reaching out to our city. We have been given so much, and there are so many in great need right here in our own backyard. Let’s ensure the foundations of our church are solidly in place as we answer God’s call to serve others with Jesus’ love.

Last week I met with our United Way friends in downtown Colorado Springs. They are a great organization with so many wonderful and helpful connections. With their help and with the partnership of many other non-profit organizations and ministries, we are going to make an intentional and coordinated impact in our city this summer.

We are compiling a list of ministries that you and your family can participate with in serving others in a tangible way. We are putting together two outreach events specifically for our New Life family to help our community. All this will ramp up to a United Way outreach called “Make a Difference” month in October, as we demonstrate our commitment to serving not just for a summer but as a way of life. Even as we are in a time of great change, we should be proactive in expressing God’s purposes for our church. My dad used to tell me, “Son, it’s difficult to steer a parked car.” As we take action to serve others, God will direct our steps and lead our church. Let’s believe for amazing opportunities and miracles this summer.

Even with the challenges we’ve faced, attendance and giving have remained steady. Our attendance dropped 20 to 25 percent soon after November, which is where we’ve continued to stay. Offerings have remained consistent at 8 to 10 percent below this time last year. We are strong and grateful! I appreciate how so many of you have shown the courage to be consistent in the midst of crisis.

Pastor Lance asked me to pass on the very latest update from the Pastoral Selection Committee. In the last week, the PSC nailed down interviews with four potential candidates in June–I am one of those. The process is really moving ahead in earnest, and our prayers and patience have never been more necessary.

God has challenged us to serve our city as we seek His will for the future. I believe we will pass the test and demonstrate our maturity. This is God’s plan, His heart, His purpose for us–let’s do it together!

Pastor Ross Parsley
New Life Church

Cara DeGette is a senior fellow at Colorado Confidential, and a columnist and contributing editor at the Colorado Springs Independent. E-mail her at