New City Church exists to see Jesus change lives and reach the world.

Mercy Hill Church - New City Church - Tampa Church Plant - Hovis Family

Meet the Hovis Family

Eric and Kelly are both North Carolina natives. They graduated from NC State University and got married in July of 2009. Then, Eric attended Southeastern Baptist Theology Seminary where he completed his Master of Divinity in Christian Ministries. Eric served for over ten years in student ministry through Young Life and on staff at Providence Baptist Church. He also has spent over nine years in the business world. Eric, Kelly, and their one year old at the time, Addie, served in Almaty, Kazakhstan for a year and since then, have had two more children: Stockton and Millie. After returning from Kazakhstan, the Hovis family served at Mercy Hill Church where Eric was on staff under Pastor Andrew Hopper. Eric has a great passion for preaching the word of God, and both Eric and Kelly have a burden for the unreached around the world.

I am the target text.

A Place of Need

  • Tampa Bay Population: 3.1 million
  • 55K people moved to Tampa Bay in 2017
  • Expecting over 200K people in the next few years
  • One of the fastest growing metro areas in the US – top 10 in 2017
  • Out of the 51 Major Metro Areas in the US, Tampa Bay is ranking 50/51 in worship attendance
  • 35% of people in Tampa Bay metro area would consider themselves religious, where the national average is 49%

A Place for Our Strategy

From day one, the desire to plant a church has come from a burden to reach the nations. Tampa Bay is a major metro area with a global influence and a global reach through business, education, technology, research, healthcare, and more. The metro area of Tampa Bay tends to attract traditionally mobile people such as college students, young professionals, and retirees that can be mobilized for short-term, mid-term, and long-term missions to plant churches in unengaged and unreached people groups of the world.

Tampa Map - New City Church - Mercy Hill Church

Tampa Bay attracts traditionally mobile people:

Mercy Hill Church Plant - New City Church - Tampa College Student

College Students

  • University of South Florida (40K+ students; one of the top universities in Florida)
  • University of Tampa
  • Hillsborough Community College
Mercy Hill Church Plant - New City Church - Tampa Young Pros

Young Professionals

  • According to Forbes, Tampa is one of the most popular areas in the US for millennials.
  • Tampa is one of the best places in Florida for millennials to find a job.
Mercy Hill Church Plant - New City Church - Tampa Beach


  • The Tampa Bay area is considered one of America’s best places to retire.

I am the target text.

Mercy Hill Church - New City Church - Tampa Bay

Vision | Where We’re Going

The vision of New City Church is to see Jesus change lives and reach the world (John 20:21, Acts 1:8, Romans 12:1-2, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, 2 Corinthians 3:18).

Mercy Hill Church - New City Church - Strategic Discipleship

Strategy | How We Get There

The strategy to see a global movement of Gospel-centered transformation will happen through:

  • Intentional Evangelism
  • Strategic Discipleship
  • Devotion to Multiplication

Intentional Evangelism

New City Church seeks to see lives all over the world transformed by the good news of Christ. We believe this happens through intentional evangelism.
We hope that the people of New City Church will live sent lives to the familiar, the unfamiliar, and to the overlooked.

Mercy Hill Church - New City Church - The Familiar

The Familiar

  • Families and Neighbors
  • Vocation and Education
  • Friends, Sports, Hobbies, Entertainment, and Activities
Mercy Hill Church - New City Church - The Unfamiliar

The Unfamiliar

  • Different Languages
  • Different Races
  • Different Religions
  • Different Lifestyles
Mercy Hill Church - New City Church - The Orphan

The Overlooked

  • The Poor
  • The Orphan
  • The Widow
  • The Unwed Mother
  • The Refugee

Strategic Discipleship

New City Church believes that gospel-centered transformation happens through strategic discipleship. Strategic discipleship starts through the word taught and life caught and continues on through doing the same for others (2 Timothy 2:2).

Mercy Hill Church - New City Church Plant - Word Taught, Life Caught

Devoted to Multiplication

New City Church believes that a church is a movement, and movements move. In order to see a global movement, multiplication is essential to the mission of God. Therefore, we are devoted to multiplying disciples, leaders, groups, and churches all over the world, starting in and around Tampa Bay.

Multiplying Disciples

Multiplying Leaders

Multiplying Groups

Multiplying Churches

I am the target text.

Mercy Hill Church - New City Church - Our Beliefs

We believe that all Scripture is essential to the Christian life and the guiderails for the church. Everything we do is centered on teaching and obeying the word of God. Thus, exalting Jesus through the Scriptures in every aspect of our gatherings is a non-negotiable for New City Church. (1 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 4:13, Psalm 119)

We believe all of Scripture points to the good news of Jesus Christ; therefore, we believe that the gospel is essential to everything we do. It’s not just for salvation, but it’s for everyday life and godliness. We believe the gospel changes everything. (1 Corinthians 15:1-5; 1 Timothy 1:10-11; Philippians 1:27)

We believe that prayer is not just a part of the Christian life, but the fuel to the Christian life. A church that is saturated in prayer is a church that is dependent on the power of God through the Holy Spirit. Therefore, everything we do is saturated in prayer and dependent on the Spirit of God. (Acts 2:42, Acts 6:5-6, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Last words are lasting words. Jesus’ last command before he left the earth was to make disciples. We believe this is a command for all Christians. Making disciples is not an option for the church but a central practice for the church. We believe this is God’s plan to reach the world. Therefore, New City Church will labor to make disciples of all nations. (Matthew 28:18-20; 2 Timothy 2:2; Matthew 5:14-16)

We believe God created all of humanity to live in community. Many of God’s commands in Scripture are pointed towards others making a devotion to biblical community essential to the Christian life. We believe when God’s people commune together the Christian is built up, God is glorified, and the enemy is deterred. (Acts 2:42; 1 John 1:7; Colossians 3:13, Galatians 6:2, Proverbs 27:17)

We believe that God’s mission is the same as the mission of the Church. The mission of God is to redeem and restore all of humanity back to himself; therefore, everything we do moves towards the purpose of bringing all peoples to a worshiping relationship with God. (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8, Matthew 24:14, Revelation 5:9-10)

We believe when Christ came to the world, he didn’t come just to reconcile and restore God’s relationship with man, but he also came to reconcile and restore all of life. Therefore, as a body of Christ, we seek to be ministers of reconciliation to all areas of brokenness. This includes our relationships with each other, our relationship with brokenness in the world, our relationship with work, and our relationship with culture. (2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Micah 6:8; Luke 10:25-37; Colossians 4:5-6; James 1:27; James 2:1-7)

New City Church affirms the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

I am the target text.


  • Phase 1: Prepare for the City

    August 2018 – May 2019

    • Church Planting Residency (August 2018 – May 2019)
    • Build a Team (Begin Launch Team Gatherings – January 2019)
    • Fundraising (August 2018 – May 2019)
  • Phase 2: Move to the City

    June 2019

  • Phase 3: Engage the City

    June 2019 – December 2019

  • Phase 4: Launch for the City

    January 2020


New City Church Budget - Mercy Hill Church - Church Planting
  • Mercy Hill Church - Church Planting - New City Church - Get Involved

I am the target text.

We believe wholeheartedly in the power of prayer. Would you join us in praying for New City Church and for the people of Tampa Bay? Would you pray for God’s blessing upon our church so that more of the lost and unreached in Tampa Bay and around the world would hear the good news of Christ?

Do you know people in the Tampa Bay area who could benefit from gathering with New City Church? Do you know People who could connect our team members with full-time employment in the Tampa Bay area?

We believe that generosity fuels the mission of God. Would you consider partnering with us to plant a Gospel-centered church in order to reach the lost and unreached in Tampa Bay and around the world?

We have prayed from the very beginning for a team of people who have bigger dreams for our church than we do. Do you believe God is calling you or others you may know to help plant New City Church?