By Kim Kern
New Testament Christian Church (NTCC) is characterized by a beautiful feature that reflects the character of Christ and sets them apart from other churches. NTCC is a very giving fellowship, filled with individuals that God has called as ministers in their own right. Laurie Bolton, co-pastor with her dad, Jim Crowley, says, “Whenever there is a need, there are people who will step up to help, not just a need that is within our body, but in our community.” When a need is presented, the parishioners of NTCC come through every time! Laurie continues, “The people here are givers. They love to give. They love to help people in need.”
NTCC is, “Involved in the community,” Bolton adds. “What sets us apart is that we believe that we’re all called to be ministers of the Gospel.” Speaking of her father, Pastor Jim Crowley, she observes, “My dad really allows people to operate in their gifts and calling so if somebody feels that God has called them to do something, we really try and back people and allow them to go for that. I think people are given a liberty and freedom here to operate in what God has called them to do.”
The history of NTCC starts with Jim and Peggy Crowley, the church’s founders and Laurie’s parents. Bolton tells the story: “My mom and dad were going to a church in Brockport and as my dad was serving there, the pastor saw a call of God on my dad. He told him, ‘I think you have it. I think you should be a pastor.’” Crowley wasn’t sure at first, but he ultimately agreed and in March of 1981, they planted New Testament Christian Church. It started in a small room at the YMCA in Greece, New York. The church built up over several years, and Pastor Jim and his wife, Peggy moved into a new building 1985. “Since then, two large additions have been added to the church to serve both the needs of the church and community,” the church’s website states.
Laurie Bolton speaks of her dad with love and admiration, “I work with my father and it’s a privilege. Everything about me and my weaknesses, my dad knows the most in terms of where I fall short and the fact is that he trusts me and lets me do what I do.” Continuing she adds, “I think it says a lot about him. It works for us. There’s a good, strong relationship there and I do enjoy it. He has a lot of wisdom and a lot to offer so I’ll glean as much as I can.”
Bolton was born and raised near Rochester, in the town of Greece and grew up in NTCC as her parents started the fellowship. She was saved at the ripe-old-age of five-years old, and as Laurie puts it she, “…never turned back.” Convinced that God had spoken to her confirming that the youth culture would be her mission field, when she was a senior in high school, she was going to go to college for sports broadcasting. After graduating, however, the Lord changed it up and led her to go to Elim Bible Institute. Laurie trusted in Him and surrendered to the new direction, “I wanted His will for my life over what I wanted for my life,” she recalls. “Being at Elim and surrendering to God’s leading, made it pretty clear that this is what I was called to do.”
Attending Elim Bible Institute from 1998 to 2001, she had a heart for missions and ultimately went on several mission trips to nations that included Peru, Spain, Denmark, Macedonia, Brazil, Mexico, and China. Subsequently, she told NTCC that she would serve there for three years and the rest is history — she never left. “I love coming alongside of people and helping them,” declares Bolton. “I love being able to serve people and just walk with them through whatever they’re going through. Especially with teenagers, I love seeing them ‘get it.’ They get it and grasp a hold of God and allow God to just become their all in all. I love that the most, when it just clicks in them, with who they are in Christ.”
The Mission Statement of NTCC proclaims that they are committed to: “Connecting people to God through His Presence, His Power and His Promises,” and that’s what they’re all about as a family of believers filled with the Holy Spirit. Like many fellowships they keep Jesus’ promises in a number of different ways including by gathering in large assemblies for worship, celebration, and training. Additionally, they meet in small groups from house-to-house for prayer, evangelism, and discipleship. The congregation of NTCC is committed to revealing the good news of Jesus Christ to each and every person that enters the doors of 349 North Avenue in Rochester, New York! Their Mission Statement is clear, concise expression of who they are in Christ and how they serve Him:
- His Presence: The tangible awareness that He is with us.
- His Power: To do the miraculous and the impossible; to change any situation.
- His Promises: To make us whole; to walk in the fullness of the blessings provided through Jesus Christ.
Laurie’s husband was just hired to work alongside her dad as his assistant. Between Laurie, her husband, and her dad, the full-time, ministry that they share is exciting, and a big step of faith for all of them. “We’re going to be able to do more in our community and accomplish more — it frees my dad up a little more to do more for Grace House. A transitional residence with locations in Buffalo and Rochester, Pastor Jim directs the Rochester branch of Grace House. It is a ministry that seeks to provide a smooth transition to community life for men and women recently released from a correctional facility by furnishing a highly-structured program based on Christian principles. “That’s the future — where we’re going. We’re looking to be more involved in the community,” Laurie adds.
NTCC is here to serve and love people as they fulfill the Great Commission. In John 13:35 the Bible says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” And in that spirit, the people at NTCC are reaching from the inside and focusing on those on who are outside, letting Christ reveal Himself through the love NTCC is living out each day.
To learn more about New Testament Christian Church, visit their website at www.ntcc-greece.org or call them at (585) 723-1400.