While continuing my sabbatical I'll be worshipping with other churches. Doing so allows me to see what others are doing, steal some good ideas and continues to give our NHC leaders the opportunity to lead and teach more than when I'm around.
Today we visited New Community Church in Elizabeth City, NC. Mike Gothard, the lead pastor, has been there just about from the start, for 20 years or so. We've been friends most of that time, so it was good to join them today and see how God has blessed them and grown them. Their mission statement: "Love God. Love people. Turn the world upside down*." Very cool.
Lesson learned (before the sermon): make sure of the service time before you leave home! I had it stuck in my head from chatting with Mike a couple of weeks ago that they met at 10 AM. Gail and I left in time to get there before that time. It's an hour's drive from our home. When there's no one in the parking lot it's a tell-tale sign that you're late!
The bad news: They started at 9:15! The good news: Round two began at 11. Gail wanted to stop at Lowe's in EC to check out the Spring plants, so instead of doing that after church we did it before. Lowe's is right down the street from the church so it worked out well for us.
Their two year old building and remodel is great. The worship auditorium is pretty much identical to ours at NHC in size and has a lot of similarities. The band led us in some old school hymns done new, which for guests like us is a plus. Good acoustics in that room, too. The drum shield was covered, so the percussion all came through the system really well. And the walls had ample acoustic paneling. Mike sounded "natural" in a large room, like he was standing right in front of me. Well done tech team!
Like most churches influenced by Willow Creek, New Community typically makes good use of video and drama, which they did today in introducing Mike's message. Today he spoke from 2 Cor. 10 about the strongholds that imprison us. Excellent teaching. That Mike is a Dallas Seminary grad doesn't hurt his exegesis!
After church they had a lunch and some sort of intro time for new attenders wanting to know more about NCC. Tonight they are gathering for a fellowship time sponsored by their small groups called "Afters". The theme there is "Love God. Love people. Love desserts!" As a church I think they do a good job of getting people connected.
Well done Mike and New Community. You're hitting your target and making God's Word known to those seeking. If I lived in EC and was searching for a church home, NCC would be at the top of my list.
Like your web site, too.