Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hukilau Continues to Make Waves

Check out another article about Nags Head Church's Hukilau Surf Camp!

Nate

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sunday Blitz

> July continues to be the big month for us at NHC...we have been packed every Sunday. One of my favorite things about the summer is meeting new guests and seeing the familiar faces of people who vacation here every year.

> Not to mention the tons of new local guests who are checking us out...is so encouraging to see local people who are still seeking come back for a second and third time.

> Speaking of...yesterday's message was all about having a relationship with God...here's hoping our guests were hearing it.

> We're into the story of the ten commandments in our journey with the life of Moses...a timely message about relationships vs. rules this Sunday, and we're taking the next four Sundays to talk about what holiness looks like.

> Word is that one of our kids rooms was full to capacity no less than 10 minutes before one of our worship gatherings began...the space upstairs is getting closer and closer to being done, which should eliminate that problem, for now...

> Check out my dad's blog for a cool story from Sunday...

> Been working with our new youth band on Sunday afternoons...they've got one song nailed and will start working on another one this week...amazing some of the talent these kids have so early on.

> This week is crazy busy for me...I have two big projects to complete, and I'm leading worship (with the band) every morning and Friday evening for Impact Outer Banks. Gotta run and get some stuff taken care of now...

Rock on!

Nate

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Great Divide

One of the things we spend a lot of time and energy focusing on at Nags Head Church in how we do and communicate things is trying to break down the misconception that many people have in their minds that the people on stage and the people in the congregation are two different groups. There is a great divide, even if it's unspoken, that exists in many people's minds that separates what happens on stage and what happens off stage, especially during musical worship.

This is why we stopped calling our band the "worship team"...they are NOT the only team in church that worships or even "leads" worship. This is why we don't call our auditorium the "worship center"...a room in the church building should NOT be the center of our worship lives. This is why we no longer call the music part of our gatherings "worship", but instead refer to it as the "music" or the "musical worship"...worship can and should be every element of our worship gatherings. This is why we've developed a discipleship class that covers foundational Biblical worship that every member of our church is required to take...we want to give people the tools to dig in and learn more on their own about true Biblical worship.

No matter how clearly we communicate, no matter how many barriers we remove, there are still people who just don't get it. But, it's so worth it for the people who do get it and are freed from thinking that it's my job as a "worship leader" to tell them exactly when and how to worship. I constantly remind the band (and anyone who will listen) that it's our purpose to get the corporate ball rolling and then step out of the way and allow space for people to worship together freely in their own unique ways. It's a blessing to watch people do just that, and frustrating to watch those who are always waiting for their cues.

I'm not saying that our corporate worship times should be a free-for-all and unorganized...God speaks strongly about corporate worship being focused and set up with holy boundaries. But, too many people can't get past the great divide in their minds that keeps them boxed in to whatever they're told to do.

How does your church address this great divide in your worship gatherings? Where do you see this misconception of worship show itself in the things that people say and do?

Nate

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to read the blog series titled "Rethinking Worship".

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Guarantee

There are few things in this life that are a true guarantee...death, taxes, slow service at McDonald's, and whiny, complaining Christians. If I were a betting man, I'd also be a wealthy man by betting that every time we ever receive a whiny, criticizing, complaining comment about our church, it's coming from a Christian. Sometimes it's from our own folks, more often it's from a first (and usually only) time guest.

We Christians love to come to church with expectations...whether our own church, or a church we're visiting for the first time, we feel like we should be able to read the name of a church and automatically know what to expect from our experience on Sunday morning. We expect a certain style of music. We expect that the preacher will and won't say certain things. We expect that we'll be allowed to do certain things with our kids and not allowed to do other things with the way we dress. I'll be the first to admit that I've done my fair share of Christian complaining and whining.

But, at Nags Head Church, although it's not our top priority to simply be different, it seems that our desire to "reach people to discover life in Christ" leads us to throw a lot of the normal Christian expectations out the window. Our music and preaching style is not very "baptist"-like, although we are a baptist church. Our building and facilities are modern and brand new, although our church is actually over 50 years old. Our ministry philosophy and systems are forward thinking, even though we hold to centuries-old, traditional church and family values. We do try to communicate who we are to people before we come, but most people like to trust their own experience about church more than what we try to communicate.

And, although we have a very good reason (I would argue, the most important reason in all the world) to do things differently, many people can't see past their own Christian church expectations to realize that we're not randomly doing things just to make their church experience unfamiliar and uncomfortable.

Take the young family of tourists who arrives 15 minutes late to our 11am worship gathering and gets upset with us because we won't allow their kids to go to Kids Church and our Nursery...they even say to us, "I would expect your church to value families enough to keep your kids stuff open for us tourists who come late..."

Yeah, well...actually, we value families so much, that we won't allow a single kid to walk in more than a few minutes late and interrupt the flow of 20 other kids who are totally engulfed in Kids Church, or allow a single baby to go to the nursery more than a few minutes late and cause 10 other babies to start crying because they think it's mommy coming to get them. We value families so much that we give "perks" to those people who actually show up on time (you can even get some coffee and donuts if you come a little early). It's cool with us that you think we're selfish jerks who don't care enough about families, and we sincerely hope you find a better place to care for your kids. Unfortunately, we don't have time to explain that to everyone...

Take the older couple who arrives early, takes the time to check out our building, grabs a seat before the gathering begins, observes our modern auditorium, stage lighting, rock band set-up, heavy-duty sound system and then gets up and leaves half-way through the third song, only to call and leave a message on our answering machine later that morning to ask, "Do you have a rock concert every Sunday?"

Yeah, well...actually, we have a room full of about 200-300 people (times two) every Sunday who are offered an engaging and relevant worship environment and invited to freely express their worship to God, most of whom take us up on that invitation on some level. We believe that God enjoys music and singing that come from a heart of worship and that He wants the church to be a place of life and joy and creativity, and we make certain that our website, our building, our parking lot, our lobby, and everything else about us screams who we are loud and clear so that those who think church is best done as a black and white funeral service can decide quickly and quietly to attend elsewhere. It's cool with us if you don't like our style, and we sincerely hope you can find a better place to worship. Unfortunately, we don't have time to explain that to everyone...

We don't have time to explain to everyone who doesn't like us why they should. We can't afford to use time and energy convincing people who already know God when we've been called to reach those who are far from God. It's hard to get past the whining and criticisms...it's hard not to take it personally.

Whining and nitpicking and complaining, especially coming from those who should know better, is such a downer. We've been walking through the story of Moses on Sunday mornings, and we're currently in the middle of the desert with the nation of Israel...oh, how they love to complain and whine about everything. How completely they forget their miraculous exodus from slavery and poverty in Egypt. How quickly their hearts turn time and again from the God who has kept the safe and fed in the middle of a desert. We should have much to learn from the story of Moses and the exodus...

I'll be honest, if left to my own personal preferences, even some things in my own church would look and feel and sound different. But, life is too short and our mission too great for us to spend so much time complaining about how unfamiliar and uncomfortable a one hour church service is. It's not about me...it's about loving God and loving people. The people who come to church on Sunday mornings to give (worship to God and encouragement to others) are always the ones who walk away having received the most.

There are some obvious reasons why we love unchurched guests and children so much at NHC. There is also a secret reason...they never complain...

I guarantee.

Nate

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sunday Blitz

> Let's just get this out of the way...9am was maybe the most frustrating worship gathering I've ever been a part of, technically speaking...just about everything that could go wrong, did. I have a reoccurring dream/nightmare about a worship gathering that falls apart, and yesterday came as close to living that dream as I've ever come before.

> Having said that, God isn't bound by our imperfections...He was still there and moving in the hearts and lives of people. And, 11am was smooth sailing.

> Funny thing, I was kind of expecting some bumps in the road yesterday...we were playing with a new drummer, which can always be an adventure...but, he played incredibly well, and the few mistakes he did make were only detectable by the band. Good job, Alex!

> Instead of a sermon/message, we had an on stage interview with Matt and Sylvie Glock, part of our global team in France. Whether it's with foreign missionaries or our own people, I love when we do these live interviews, because it shakes things up a bit and gives people a very real and tangible view of who God is and what He is up to.

> Matt the Intern filled in well for us on the bass, and it was fun to have double electrics rocking again for the second strait week.

> Our set list included "Give Love Away" (Exodus) and "The Power of Your Name" (Lincoln Brewster), helping us focus on the missional theme of the day.

> Along with Sunday morning, I had a busy weekend, including a wedding on Friday night, teaching my Worship Class on Saturday morning, and working with our youth band on Sunday afternoon. I'm looking forward to my day off today, spending quality time with my family.

> A young family who attended our 4th of July event were in church for the first time yesterday morning...their daughter enjoyed Kid's Church and they both seemed to enjoy our worship gathering and want to come back again. That's what it's all about!

Rock on!

Nate

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hukilau Newspaper Article

Check out This Article (click the link and then scroll down to the "Hukilau Surf Camp" link) about our Surf Camps!

Nate

4th of July at Nags Head Church

Here is some video of our 4th of July event at Nags Head Church thanks to Matt the Intern.



Nate

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sunday Blitz

> Attendance was one of our all-time highs at Nags Head Church this Sunday! We have more local guests attending than ever before, and with the holiday weekend, tourism was booming as well. We purposely designed a more high energy setlist just to help add the the energy and celebrative atmosphere...it was rockin'!

> Because we're taking a few months off from our F1RST Wednesday gathering, we also worshipped through communion (the Lord's Supper) for the first time on a Sunday morning in several years. Serving the elements to nearly 600 people is no easy task, but our First Impressions team (with a few extra hands) made it seem like we do it every week.

> The Kid's Zone upstairs is getting closer and closer to the finish line, which means, soon, the offices space will be available for the band to use as our "green room" before and after and during the worship gatherings...we're really looking forward to that!

> I'll be honest, with the business of yesterday, I actually missed the message during both gatherings, and although I get a sneak peak every week reading through our pastor's notes, I'm looking forward to downloading our podcast in a little while and catching up on what I missed.

> My wife tells me every week how fun and engaging her time is leading our preschoolers in worship...are church is booming with young families!

> Our 4th of July outreach event on Saturday night went very well. We opened up our parking lot for free parking for the local fireworks...we also gave away free hotdogs and sausages, free drinks and free slushies, and we had our two big moon bounces for kids. Hopefully this event will grow in years to come.

> During the event, I was able to give a tour of our church building to a young family...they were attracted to the fact that we have a modern rock band, and were impressed with our kid space. They guy also looked at me suspiciosuly when I told him most people come to church in the summer dressed just like they were dressed...in shorts and t-shirts.

> We got a few of our new, home made acoustic pannels up on the back of the stage behind the drum kit to try out...the difference was great, and our sound tech loves having more control in producing better sound quality. We'll get a few more finished this week and have the entire back wall of the stage covered.

> Looking forward to bringing in a new drummer (the son of our regular drummer) this week...he's played with us a few times, but in a long while...hoping to get him into the rotation soon.

Rock on!

Nate

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Job for Matt the Intern

video

Seriously...this is why we're letting him hang out with us this summer...

Nate

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Patriotism In The Church

Some people (church leaders) like to argue that there is no place for patriotism in a church worship service...it is never appropriate for us to mention our military, sing "God Bless America" or display the US flag in church. (don't ask me to explain it because I don't understand it)

My argument is, if there is a place for patriotism in your personal life, then there can be a place for patriotism in a corporate church worship gathering. It may not always be profitable, but it is possible.

Too often, we like to compartmentalize our lives, believing the lie that says that the worship that happens on Sunday mornings is more holy and important that the worship that happens during the rest of our week...the lie that says we must be more careful about the things we say and do in church than the things we say and do outside of church. But, if my entire life, every second of every day is purposed to be an act of worship to God, how can showing patriotism at a baseball game with thousands, in an elementary school with hundreds, and at my family cookout this Saturday with a few be more OK than showing patriotism in church?

For the record, I understand how blessed I am to live in a free country, I say "thank you" to those who have served in our military, I cheer loudly during the Olympics, I salute the flag and I hold my hand over my heart during the pledge. None of those things in and of themselves make me patriotic, but I do have a love for and devotion to my country, and I'm OK with expressing my patriotism at the appropriate times.

What say you? Is there a place for patriotism in a church worship service? Can we sing the songs and acknowledge the flag while still bringing glory and honor to God?

I certainly hope so.

Nate

Friday, July 3, 2009

4th of July


Here's a little OBX secret...the absolute best place to watch fireworks is on top of Jockey's Ridge...not only do you not have to fight the traffic and the crowds that invade the beaches that night, you can easily see not one, not two, but three different fireworks displays from the biggest sand dunes on the East Coast! Here's another secret...the best place to park and walk up the dunes is at Nags Head Church.

Along with free parking, there will also be free Boar’s Head hotdogs (seriously some of the best dogs ever), free Seafreeze Slushies (nothing better than something ice cold in the middle of summer) and some awesome free activities for kids (can you say two moon bounces?). Did I mention that everything is free?!?

If you're wondering where I'll be tomorrow evening, you can find me in the parking lot of Nags Head Church.

Hope to see you there!

Nate

Parking is limited, so don't be late!