Pastor Cole Guidroz, the discipleship pastor at New Horizon Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, considers it an honor to watch his infant son and newborn church grow into maturity at the same time. The similarities of infancy in both situations are not limited to sleepless nights, copious amounts of nurture and love, and visions of health and maturity. Pastor Guidroz moved with his wife Erica and their baby to Pittsburgh five months ago. Amid COVID, the Guidroz family found community and a new method of discipling their church plant core team by using technology. Guidroz desires to see the church as the first line of theological education and discipleship.
New Horizon Church, one of five hub churches in Pittsburgh, meets in North Hills. The other four church plants complete the compass points and have a central hub location downtown. Each church is an autonomous body working in partnership with the other four. By 2025, the five hub churches hope to plant 20 more churches. Because the pastors believe the preaching of God’s Word is paramount, they decided to live steam the worship music from their sending church. New Horizon will, in its infancy, have partner church elements as well as in-person expository preaching. The pastors are in awe at the favor they have received. Recently while looking for a place to hold their upcoming in-person services, a hotel contacted them and offered their meeting space, complete with coffee setup, for $50 a week. The surrounding community is surprised to learn the pastors are willing to uproot their lives and families just to come minister in the Pittsburgh area.
Guidroz researches the latest resources to offer various growth opportunities for his young church. Ministry Grid, a discipleship platform by Lifeway, promises a sure foundation in his efforts. Guidroz used this tool when he served in an Arlington, Texas church while attending Southwestern Seminary. Small group leaders post videos and other content on the group site. Members of the Bible study or training sessions then watch the videos according to their schedule and respond to posts throughout the week. The format fosters active participation and more fruitful group time. “It gives the leader needed information to use for follow-up, meeting introductions, and discussion direction,” Guidroz comments. New Horizon desires to train members who have not had access to theological education or discipleship.
After winning a recent Bose Church sweepstakes, Pastor Guidroz chose Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 UC as his prize. “I have never had anything this nice in my life!” he exclaims. Guidroz is excited about their multifunctional usefulness — exercise, sermon preparation, and work productivity. He continues, “They are great for productivity and enjoyment.”
Technological resources and understanding are vitally important to this infant church in the throes of COVID. From its inception, New Horizon Church has utilized Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Slack to stay connected amidst the restrictions brought about by the pandemic. These different platforms allow the pastors to continually connect with the core team, new members, and attendees. The New Horizon staff is considering an administrative management software, such as Church Community Builder, and a tech service for group texting. Google Suite continues to support their connection needs while Canva offers them free tools for creating professional publicity pieces.