Changing the Culture of Metro Detroit
By Lindsey Hansen with John and Ceci Pomeroy
After more than 13 years of following a passion to reach people for Jesus, God led John and Ceci Pomeroy back to Metro Detroit to start New Anthem Church. They launched New Anthem Church in the fall of 2019 with a vision to inspire imperfect people to love Jesus, live Jesus, and share Jesus by all possible means. They want to create spaces through the church for people to experience moves of God through community, worship, prayer, preaching, and serving like never before. We sat down with them nearly one year after launching to hear how God has been moving in Mount Clemens.
What led you to plant New Anthem Church?
Ceci: We always felt like someday we were supposed to plant a church. John and I had been serving in youth ministry and children’s ministry for years. I always figured starting a church would come later in life, but that wasn’t God’s plan for us. So we moved to metro Detroit from Northern Michigan about two years ago and started the process of planting.
John: We’ve always had a heart for the local church but disqualified ourselves because we were young. The local church was our passion, but we said there’s no way, without even putting it before God. God really convicted us. We fasted and prayed and stopped doubting. We knew that God could use us. He gave us confirmation that we were supposed to start a church. We had several close friends that had launched churches through ARC. That allowed us to see the process up-close and how successful they were. They always told us if you ever decide to plant a church, go with ARC and do whatever they say. So that’s what we did.
Why Detroit, specifically Mount Clemens?
John: We started looking at all of our favorite cities that were in much warmer climates, but we heard God say specifically to come back home. We knew that meant Detroit. I was born in the city of Detroit. Ceci grew up in Metro Detroit. We knew this was the place. Detroit has changed so much in the last five years. The city is coming back, including the suburbs and surrounding communities. That led us to Mount Clemens, just north of Detroit.
Ceci: Mount Clemens High School was what initially made us look at Mount Clemens. One day, we were driving and saw the high school and had never realized that it was there. It’s downtown in a cool spot. We started studying the city and just fell in love with it.
John: When we first approached the high school about meeting there, the price was astronomical. We couldn’t do it. We decided to launch in a nearby resource center auditorium. We had a successful launch service. We were over the moon. Then I got an email on Tuesday morning telling us we had two weeks to be out. We didn’t have any other options at that point. We met with the school superintendent and told her we needed her help, but there was no way we were able to pay what they quoted us nine months earlier. She cut the rate in less than half. It was incredible. Now we have storage, and we can leave our auditorium almost completely set up, and we have access to it mid-week. It was such a huge blessing.
It’s the culture that ministers to people.
What is the heartbeat of New Anthem Church?
John: People don’t come for the preaching. They don’t come for the worship. They don’t come for the children’s ministry. They come for our culture. It’s the culture that ministers to people. We want our church to feel like a family. When we launched small groups, they were all maxed-out our first day. We want people to be overwhelmed with a feeling of love and belonging and community before they ever enter the auditorium.
How have you had to pivot since COVID-19?
John: We have been live-streaming our services since day one. We saw, early on, the power in online ministry. We had only been streaming the messages to Facebook. When COVID hit, we wanted to make sure there were no barriers. We started streaming the entire service with worship and announcements and used multiple platforms for those who may not be on social media. Our team also began calling everyone in the church personally. We listened and prayed and made sure we interacted with people’s lives more than just through a computer screen.
Ceci: We ramped up social media during this time. We were much more intentional about engaging with people online. We started sending out weekly devotionals through email. When we finally returned to physical services, we did mailers to everyone, letting people know that we were back.
What is on the horizon for your church?
John: We believe that revival is imminent. At our first service back in-person, we had five new families and more the week after that. Because of the state of the world, people are looking for connections. I’m excited to see what God is going to do next. We don’t know the future but were preparing and planning for whatever comes. I know our church is going to continue to grow. Our small groups are strong, our young adult ministry is strong, and we’re going to continue to evolve to share the Gospel and see people saved.
Ceci: Throughout this season, we’ve seen so many changes in people’s relationship with God and their relationship with one another through small groups. People are getting a deeper understanding of scripture, deeper relationships with one another, and their lives are completely different.
If God is calling you, know that it’s not comfort that you are signing up for. It is
What would you share with someone considering starting a church?
John: Gauge your grit. Consider the cost. If God is calling you, know that it’s not comfort that you are signing up for. It is a calling. You must be willing to do whatever it takes.
Ceci: Starting a church is a unique experience. Yes, it’s hard, but there is such a beauty in the closeness and intimacy of a young church. What some people might look at as a disadvantage, I see this special opportunity to get to know the people of your church on such a different level. It is worth it.