by Elsie Walker
“The church began on June 14, 2007. A few people from another church felt as if God was calling them to start a church led by (at the time) Pastor Robert Dalsing. Our first services were actually held in one of the member’s backyard,” shared church member Matt Keir of Landing. The church met in a variety of places before finding a permanent location. Today, New Beginnings Bible Church, a non-denominational church, calls 104 Bartley Flanders Road, in Flanders, its home.
The current pastor is Stuart Swicegood, who became the church’s pastor in March 2018. Swicegood grew up in south Alabama and at age 11, while at a summer camp, confessed Christ as Lord. He has been a minister for 20 years. The ministry is a second career for Swicegood. His first career was as an executive account manager working at the second largest payphone provider in the United States. He got the call to ministry just as the payphone industry was about to see major changes. He said the timing was good.
Besides being the pastor of New Beginnings Bible Church, Swicegood teaches at the American Christian (High) School in Wharton. Among the courses he teaches are the New Testament and logic. He has three daughters, one of whom attends the American Christian School. Swicegood’s hobbies are reading and listening to music. The family has two cats, named by his youngest daughter after bands: Pantaloon and Killjoy.
Swicegood noted that the church has five pillars (principles): Proclaiming the authority of God’s Word without apology, lifting high the name of Jesus through worship, believing firmly in the power of prayer, sharing the good news of Jesus with boldness, and pursuing Christ-likeness together in sincere communities – small groups. These pillars can be seen throughout the life of the church.
Worship at New Beginnings Bible Church is at 10 a.m. each Sunday. The style of worship is contemporary with a small praise band. Keir shared, ”there is a worship leadership leader who sings and plays guitar, a few singers and a bassist.“ People can listen to sermons from the pastor’s current sermon series by visiting this page, www.nbbcnj.org/listen/
“The church is a family. We all love each other and spend time with each other on more than just Sunday mornings. I’ve had several friends come to this church and tell me it is one of the few places they can go and feel loved and not judged, no matter what,” said Keir.
Kids Ministry is for children from birth to third grade. Children participate in age appropriate education and worship, which prepares them for when they join in the worship in the sanctuary (starting in the fourth grade).
After church, Swicegood said there is an informal time of fellowship where people will mingle, pray for each other, and converse about the service. Once a quarter the church’s hospitality team organizes a meal during which members get together and share in fellowship.
“We all fellowship before and after church. We also stress the importance of small groups and becoming closer and accountable with, and for, one another,” said Keir.
There are mutual ministries, which consist of small groups which meet for a short Bible study and then break out to talk. Attendees ask each other about what is happening in their lives and to see if they are living the Christian life. “We care for one another and encourage one another to live the Christian life. We recognize that we’re all broken and God has brought us all together to help each other,” shared Swicegood.
Prayers and scripture are important to this church and its website shares ways in which people can share and grow in each one. For example, the church’s website notes that there is a Friday Morning Prayer time at 6 a.m. at the Starbucks near the Target by the Rockaway Mall.
Also, its website notes, “as a church, we need to be constantly coming together before the Lord to pray for one another and those whom the Lord has called us to reach. Our prayer gathering meets on the second Tuesday of every month to pray together as a corporate body of Christ. We begin at 7 p.m. and pray for about an hour.”
The Ironworkers, a men’s ministry, exists to encourage and equip men to walk as faithful disciples of Jesus, leading their families as servant leaders, and impacting their workplaces, neighborhoods, and friends as living examples of the power of God’s grace. It meets the first Friday of the month from 6:30–8:30 p.m.; it includes meal, study, and fellowship. “We also have a few people that go to a Goodwill Mission (Goodwill Rescue Mission) in Newark and preach the gospel,” said Keir
The pastor shared they are looking into launching a young adult ministry in 2020, noting the number of young single parents around.
The New Beginnings Bible Church congregation reaches out to those both near and far.
“Currently, we are heavily involved with the Mount Olive Food Pantry,” said Keir. “The whole church collects whatever items the food pantry needs for the month, then a few people go there and help.”
In addition, the church has helped another food bank as well, with food donations. Swicegood shared that they’ve taken food donations outside a Chester supermarket.
Congregation members are also encouraged to practice intentional neighborliness. Swicegood explained that members are asked to get to know their neighbors, and once a quarter pick a neighbor and do something for that person, whether it is invite him/her to dinner, bring him or her a dish, or help in some other way.
Finally, the church supports missions and ministries locally and around the world. The church supports a mission in New Guinea which is bringing the word of God to people who have never heard the gospel of Jesus. Another ministry they support is in the Middle East where there are places closed to the gospel. Additionally, the church supports the Lighthouse Pregnancy Resource Center, The Transformation Life Center, and through World Vision, the church supports a 12-year-old girl in Lesotho, Africa who hope to be a nurse one day.
For more information on New Beginning Bible Church, visit its website www.nbbcnj.org/ or phone: (973) 584-3698.