In the early 60’s Graham and Pamela Truscott, along with their children moved to Pine from their home in New Zealand as missionaries to India. Graham and Pamela Truscott invited another couple, Trevor and Isabel Paterson, to join them in ministry at the New Life Centre, Pune. They served together with the Truscotts in Pune for two years. They felt a burden to begin a fellowship in Bombay. The Truscotts, together with the Paterson family, began the fellowship at Nagpada Neighbourhood House, Byculla. The fellowship was on Sunday afternoons. Following the church service in Pune, the Truscotts the Patersons and Timothy John the pastor of New Life Centre, Pune, would take turns to travel to Bombay and lead the fellowship. Later, Trevor and Isabel Paterson, along with their family moved to Bombay.
In the Hume High School Library Hall, Susai and Florence Joseph were ordained as the leaders and Pastors of the fellowship. Along with their children Philip, Esther and Naomi the family was set apart through prayer by Graham and Pamela Truscott, Trevor and Isabel Peterson, Alan and Eileen Vincent, Timothy John and Norman White a visiting minister from New Zealand. On taking over the leadership, Pastor Joseph made radical changes to the entire functioning of the fellowship; the Lord’s Table was placed at the Centre and the congregation members would sit around it. Every member was encouraged to participate in the service and there was a freedom to share and testify. Trevor and Isabel Paterson were amazing people with servant hearts. They gave Pastor Joseph the liberty to establish the work and stood by him. Alan and Eileen Vincent chose to continue to serve in the fellowship in Bombay. Later, these two couples were the first elders of New Life Fellowship Association, Bombay whilst Graham and Pamela Truscott continued to be associated with the New Life Centre, Pune. In 1970 Pastor Joseph started a fellowship in Borivali. In 1974, Living streams was opened in Colaba. In 1973 Trevor Patterson and Alan Vincent began a fellowship in Bandra, at New Jagruti. Grenville Frenandes was ordained as the leader of the Bandra Fellowship, and both the Patersons and the Vincents were sent to assist him in the leadership of the church.
The New Life Fellowship Association, Bombay was registered a s a separate legal entity; a self-governing public religious charitable society established under the societies Registration Act, 1860 and Bombay Public Trusts Ac 1950. (Although the church is commonly referred to as New Life Fellowship). Until this time, New Life Fellowship Bombay functioned under the administrative and legal covering of New Life Centre, Pune with its association to New Life Churches, New Zealand. Trevor and Isabel continued with Pastor Joseph until 1976, after which they felt the need to return to Kalgoorlie Australia for good. When they left India, New Life Fellowship Association had four churches in Mumbai with congregations in Borivali, Bandra, Colaba and Byculla.
A group of youth from New Life Fellowship Association (NLFA), together with Pastor Joseph spent a few days seeking the Lord in prayer and fasting. God met with them powerfully. During this time the Lord spoke with clarity to Pastor Joseph confirming to him in a vision and sealed in his spirit two key ministry values ‘the significance of the accomplished work of the cross’ and the new testament pattern of ministry, ‘the priesthood of all believers’ The Group returned with an unbridled passion and an insatiable hunger for lost souls. Evangelism, discipleship and prayer became the focus of the ministry. Then the Lord confirmed that the time had come to launch out to go forward and take first, the city of Bombay then the Nation of Indian and on to the nations of the World. What begin as a mega church strategy evolved into a strategy to populate the city with thousands of congregations, Over the years Pastor Joseph together with his network of leaders consolidated NLF’s strategy to reach the city by effectively establishing the ‘cell church model of churches’ supported by Celebration Centre’s, keeping at its core Pastor Joseph’s two key ministry values.
Early one morning in 1982, the Lord impressed upon Pastor Joseph’s heart the holistic needs of people, both spiritual and social. This resulted in the formation of New Life Medical & Educational Trust (NLMET) to meet the Housing, Employment, Educational and Healthcare needs of people, and in doing so to transform their lives and communities. The NLFA church planting strategy extends to many parts of India, the countries of the Middle East and to the rest of the world. The vision is to send people out, establish churches in every State and Union Territory in India and beyond. In a span of 29 years the Lord multiplied the church in Mumbai from its modest beginnings of a small group of members to what it is today, ‘a movement of the Holy Spirit’ across Mumbai, India and the World.