In 2012, four families from Detroit believed God was leading them to plant a PCA church that would become a catalyst to plant many more churches throughout Detroit. This vision was called “The Detroit Project” and the first church birthed out of this vision was New City Presbyterian Church in Royal Oak. This church planting vision was bolstered by the significant financial and relational support given by Knox PCA in Harrison Township, MI and other churches who make up the Great Lakes Presbytery of the PCA. Royal Oak was seen as a strategic epicenter that would lead the way toward planting many more churches in the city and throughout the entire region. In fact, the stated vision embraced by the families who started New City called for New City Royal Oak to establish itself as a church committed to serving as the “catalyst for a gospel movement that will plant 10 new congregations in Detroit and Metro-Detroit by the year 2030.”
Royal Oak was chosen as the site for the first Detroit Project church plant for several reasons:
The People: The passion behind the Detroit Project is a passion for people. After extensive research prior to planting New City, Royal Oak was discovered to be at the heart one of the most densely populated geographical centers in the Detroit region with the least number of evangelical and reformed churches.
The Place: In addition to being a geographical center point in Detroit, Royal Oak has the potential to be a place that bridges the wide cultural and socio-economic divide that exists in Detroit. Located only a couple miles north of some of the most struggling Detroit neighborhoods and only a few miles south of some of Metro-Detroit’s wealthiest suburbs, our desire is to see a church that is racially, politically, socially, and economically diverse while also committed to the birth of new church plants in all of these surrounding areas.
In 2012, the core families met continually for prayer and planning. Everyone served in different ways and used their time and talents toward the end of planting a new church. These families began inviting others into small groups for evangelism, bible study, prayer and conversation. On Sundays, the small but growing band of people gathered for worship in the living room of the church planting pastor’s home in Royal Oak. The music was led by Evan and Liz Chisholm who served as the first music directors at New City.
When it became apparent that the McVicar’s living room was too small for Sunday worship services, New City launched her first public worship service in the auditorium of the Royal Oak Middle School in January of 2013.
One of the highlights of New City’s first year of ministry was to see 10 people place their faith in Jesus Christ. The majority of New City’s growth was comprised of people who were thirsty for the gospel but did not have a Presbyterian church background.
Later that same year (2013), New City began putting plans in place for the next church plant. Ryan McVicar, the church planting pastor of New City PCA, asked Dan Millward, together with his wife Laura, to consider moving to Detroit to serve as the next church planter. Sensing God’s call, the Millwards moved from Traverse City, Michigan to Detroit. Knowing the kind of sacrifice and generosity needed to plant a church at this young stage, New City asked many of its members to consider helping with the next church plant. Within a year, New City sent more than 20 people to serve on the “launch team,” shared our staff and leaders for whatever needs existed, and gave significant financial support toward the planting of Redeemer PCA in Detroit.
In order to develop a pipeline of future leaders and church planters, New City developed the Detroit Project Residency to equip leaders for church planting in Detroit. New City has developed other strategic partnerships for ministry in and around the city and continues to give sacrificially of our resources and people in order to bear witness to Christ among the 4,000,000 people who call Detroit their home.
In 2015, New City transitioned from being a Mission Church in the PCA to being a self-governing particular church in the PCA. The founding Ruling Elders (Scott Cairo, Mark Krieg and Jim Sutton) and Deacons (Brad DeLaruelle and Steve Ng) were ordained and Ryan McVicar was installed as the Senior Pastor.
Since that time, New City has continued to grow in membership and in our number of small groups that meet throughout the week for study and fellowship. Additional pastors, staff and officers have joined the leadership team to serve the growing, loving and beautiful New City congregation who remains committed to being a church where rooted conviction, real conversation and a commitment to renewing the city are a reality. The heart of New City continues to beat for our vision “to see people in every Detroit area zip code made new by the gospel of God’s grace for a life of glorifying God.”