One of the things that I do each summer, with many of our staff and leaders, is to reflect on what God has done and ask him what he wants to do. This almost always results in some adjustments or shifts as we just try to be like Israel during the Exodus, following the trail the Lord leads us in. There is a lot of time spent in prayer, seeking the Lord, talking to people, getting input, more prayer, seeking, talking, “inputting” … You get the idea.
And over that process, things start to take shape. As they do we look at them from every angle, pray, seek, talk… This is a difficult but exciting process, at least for me. Once something is solidified and dedicated to God, we look at how to share it. I am very excited to get to share some key things with you now.
The first, and probably biggest shift for this next year (and possibly only this year) is that we are merging the 11am and the 7.07pm gatherings together. They will both now meet at 11am in Colonial Hall. It may seem odd to many that have been going to the 7.07 that we would do this. This past year was one of the strongest the 7.07 has had. Great and growing community (both in depth of relationships and numerically), powerful worship, life-changing/profound/powerful/let’s just say life-changing again teaching : ). It wasn’t shrinking, it wasn’t dying.
So why not have it this year?
At NLCF, we have been committed to trying to never burn out leaders. To not ask so much of them in ministry that their walk with God apart from their leadership dries up. So that plays a big role in all of this.
Over the past several years, our worship teams have graduated and sent more people out than new people have come in. It seems like over the past few years fewer people feel willing or able to play a part in this vital role in NLCF. Now I get part of that. It is tough to get in front of hundreds of people, and it is especially tough to truly worship God and not just perform when you are up there. I have always said it is a weird balance of focusing on the worship of God, but also being aware that you aren’t worshipping God solo, that you are helping others to worship him as well.
Fewer people seem to either believe they can do it, or want to over the past couple of years.
This has meant that our worship teams have been a bit more stretched than we would like them to be. And with graduating a big group this past Spring, it would have meant more stretching. Now we could do that, we have enough to do that. But two things would have likely happened.
- It would have likely led to burn-out in the worship team members we have.
- It would make it so that Robbie and Kristal Poff (who oversee our worship teams overall) really wouldn’t have any time to recruit, encourage and develop/disciple present team members and new ones as well. To put it more simply… They wouldn’t have time to solve the problem.
So, possibly for only a year, we are bringing the two gatherings together, we will celebrate the Lord together, we will worship together, and we will continue to grow together. After this year we will do what we do: reflect, seek, pray, talk, get input about whether we bring the 7.07 back the following year. Personally I hope that is the way the Lord leads.
In the meantime, let us know if this shift raises any other questions for you (most people who would be most directly impacted have been spoken to already), come ready to celebrate and seek the Lord together on Sundays at 11, and let’s see what God has in store for us all!