The Rev. Todd Camp was still employed as an associate pastor at Owensboro’s BridgePointe Church when he drove by New Life Church on Crabtree Avenue in 2004 and wondered what was going on.
He dropped in, toured the church, and quickly came to an understanding.
“I knew this was where I needed to be, and it was clear that God was at work in my heart,” Camp said. “What this church has done for me is define my personal mission in life, and that’s to serve the poor — the poor in poverty as well as the poor in spirit.
“Looking back, I think I needed a new challenge — helping those in need. New Life put a face on grace for me.”
After a year or so of being associated with both churches, Camp departed BridgePointe and took over full time as pastor at New Life in 2006.
“When I got here it was a dying church, just barely hanging on,” Camp recalled. “The leadership had nine full-time or interim pastors in a span of a year-and-a-half before I arrived, and this was basically a dysfunctional church family.
“So, cultivating trust in leadership was essential in getting the ministry off the ground. The attitude of relationships needed to change in trust and love. And, I think the fact that I stayed here provided a consistency that was needed, and that has helped build trust through the years.”
Camp said the church typically draws from 75 to 100 attendees for Sunday services.
“We’re still a small church and we have supporters from outside the church,” Camp said. “Businesses, individuals, and other churches in the Owensboro community have helped us survive.”
One of the church’s staples is a weekly soup kitchen that serves at 5:45 p.m. each Tuesday.
“One of our initial visions was to make this a serving ground,” Camp said. “We have a dining room where people eat, fellowship, hang out, and then we clean up and go — we’ve kept this going with curbside pick-up during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have eight different cook teams from throughout the area who take turns, so, again, this is a community effort.”
New Life also has been prominent in serving the community through shelters, highly popular thrift stores, a food pantry, a clothes closet, and Habitat for Humanity. The church also has provided for the Faust and Cravens resource centers.
Camp, now 59, says the pandemic has given him time to slow down a bit and focus on a future vision for New Life.
“Our renewed vision is to trust God without borders as we move forward,” Camp said. “We want to be kingdom-minded and work and partner with other churches.
“It’s still about building and growing relationships with the neighborhood community, with the church family, and with Jesus Christ.
“To God be all the glory.”