After a quick stop in San Francisco to visit Dave Ainsworth and CJ Bergmen and hear about all that God is doing through Citizens Church (you can read more about this trip here), I got up early to beat the bay area traffic, launching out of the city and into a misty Monday morning making my way to Fresno to visit another Sojourn Network church planter: Troy McComas. Traffic was relatively light, and the pre-sunrise sky was still a light gray. Crossing the bay bridge which connects San Francisco to Oakland, the morning views were spectacular, the sun gradually lighting up an expanse of buildings and ocean. In a few months, another church planting will be heading into this Oakland area to bring the light of the gospel to a portion of this city. For now, the natural light was glorious on its own.
As the sun began to rise, the city and ocean gave way to a completely different context — hills, valleys, and eventually, farmland dominated the landscape. Into this agricultural context arose the city of Fresno in 1872, born out of the growing Central Pacific Railroad and named, literally in Spanish, after the abundant “ash trees” that line the San Joaquin River. The city, which serves as the economic hub of the surrounding valley is now the fifth largest city in California — and also the home of a new Sojourn Network church: New City Fresno.
The McComas Family
Married for over six years now, the parents of two beautiful kiddos, Troy and Dusty McComas have walked — sometimes hobbled — through an ash-filled past of pain, suffering, abuse, bad choices, and jail (for Troy). Perhaps an unlikely couple, if you only glanced at them and made hasty assumptions, for leading a new church plant, the McComas family now fully display the great glory, lavish grace, and abundant generosity of a God who delights in taking broken people, transforming them for his glory and their flourishing. That’s exactly what he has done for Troy and Dusty, and it’s why they are able to model this so well for those in their church and community.
New City Church
Less than a year old, New City Church is a brand new church plant in the heart of Fresno. A core team of 50-60 adults and children gather together on Sundays and scatter throughout the city with the prayerful vision to see Fresno flourish for the glory of God, and the good of all people through a holistic gospel movement. That’s a big vision, but the McComas family, and particularly Troy, are dreamers and visionaries — the type of people who have an innate sense for seeing all the ways, big and small, that God is transforming the ashes of a fallen world in beauty.
The Church’s Rhythms
Sunday gatherings. New City Church meets each Sunday morning at a local school. These gatherings are part of New City’s core beliefs: the church gathers together for worship and scatters for mission and witness to what Jesus has done for them.
Saturday sports camp. Each Saturday, New City church members meet at the local elementary school to host a sports camp for neighborhood kids. This strategic partnership is one way that New City partners with organizations in the community.
Thursday night “residency” for developing leaders. Troy is currently training 12 men and women each Thursday night to lead and serve at New City Church and beyond. Some of these individuals may become pastors, while others will serve the church as deacons, lay-leaders, or faithful Christians in their workplaces and neighborhoods. They meet at a co-working space in downtown Fresno called BitWise, a collaborative tech-industry hub, co-working space, and classroom location for a local college. Troy knows just about everyone there.
Refuge Homes. Based in neighborhoods throughout the city, these homes are actual people’s homes. What makes them a “refuge home” is their intentional gospel use. As their website states, “Refuge Homes are, in their simplest form, an opportunity for our neighbors to come and find rest (Matt. 11:28).” They represent strategic hubs where Christians build relationships with neighbors, offer after-school tutoring and mentoring to at-risk kids, host neighborhood meals and BBQs, and host discipleship groups.
A New Gathering Space!
Over the past few months, a coalition of local Baptist churches has offered to purchase, remodel, and completely restore an old church building just a few blocks from the McComas’s home — and right smack in the neighborhood. This would be an incredibly providential blessing for New City, as it would finally put a healthy church in the middle of this community.
Tucked away on the New City Church’s website is their version of a blog called “Real Talk”. Hanging with the McComases for longer than two minutes will give you all the background you need for why Troy named the blog this. Troy and Dusty keep it real, not afraid to tell you how they feel, what their dreams are, where they’ve failed, and how they are clinging to the grace-filled cross of Christ. Their honesty is refreshing. Here’s a few ways you can pray specifically, and honestly for the McComas family:
Pray for God’s provision. After God provided over $100,000 in their first year, Troy is looking to position the church for the next season through this #giveabuck fundraising campaign. You can help by spreading the word or giving directly.
Pray for more leaders. Churches need godly, qualified leadership. Pray that God would raise up and send qualified laborers and leaders to join this work in Fresno.
Pray for Rest. The McComas family has been grinding it the last few years and need rest. Pray for physical, emotional, social, communal, and soulful rest for Troy and his family in the coming summer months.
Pray for their new Gathering Space. Pray also for God to completely restore this old church building into a beautiful meeting space for this church, that this church would steward this facility and use it for good for their neighbors.
Pray for Transformation. Here at Sojourn Network we firmly believe in a big vision — God’s glory, our inner transformation into mature followers of Jesus, and the Great Commission — all work together to provide a point of reference, a “North Star” of sorts, for the believer to follow on their sojourn through this world. Pray that God would transform many people and this city for his fame, turning ashes of poverty, addiction, lack of education, and gospel lostness into something beautiful, something that resembles an echo of Eden and a picture of something infinitely more beautiful that awaits those whose faith is in Jesus.