A new Vision and Strategy

After much prayer and discussion, the elders of New Community Church, along with the staff, have landed on a new church vision.  We want to become a compelling presence for Christ.  We will start by being a compelling presence to our immediate community and move outward from there.  We believe this is at the heart of what God has called us to be.

So what is a compelling presence?  There are many biblical metaphors conveying this idea including: salt and light, a city on a hill, the bride of Christ, and shining like the stars.  Each of these metaphors point to this truth – God’s church is to be a body drawing people, through Christ’s compelling love, into a restorative relationship with him.

We believe we can become a compelling presence through 3 primary areas: Wonder, Discuss and Act.

  1. Wonder is: wanting our weekend services to point to the wonder of God. When we meet, it is our desire for people to encounter God and be transformed by Him.  Relevant preaching, authentic worship and warm community are all components of this welcoming environment.
  2. Discuss is: having conversation over the Bible in the context of smaller groups throughout the week. Our Community Groups, parenting classes and the Alpha Course are all examples of this discussion.
  3. Act is: putting God’s word into action. We want to be a church body that is more than just talk.  Our actions are conveyed through generosity, service projects and acts of love to those in need.  These actions are to be lived out on both individual and corporate levels.

Each of these areas describe ways NCC can become a compelling presence for Christ to the Elizabeth City community.

On my way into town recently, I was waiting at the drawbridge on the Causeway.  Staring at the clouds, I was struck by two contrasting pictures in the same sky.  One was a storm cloud, dark and gloomy, seeming as if it may burst into rain at any moment.  The other was one of the most brilliant clouds I have ever seen, its luminosity surprising given the cloud immediately next to it.  I sat and wondered, how they could be so different, yet appear in the same sky?  The answer, of course, is the sun.  The sun’s incredible light was reflecting off of one cloud, yet not the other.  And so it is with us Christ-followers, as part of the church.  We are reflections of the glory of Jesus Christ.  And at New Community Church, we want people to see us, recognizing something different because of the compelling presence of Christ.

Pastor Rob

What Should I Do When My Kid Says, "I'm Not Going To Church"?

Photo by Gonzalo Díaz Fornaro.

“I’m not going to church.”

Perhaps you’ve heard those words in your own home, from the mouth of your teenager.

Or maybe you’re a leader who’s heard it from a young person declaring that they’re done with church.

We often hear from parents that they aren’t sure what to do when their kids voice these kinds of statements—sometimes pretty forcefully. They wonder what to do in response. Should I say, “As long as you live under this roof, you’re going to church”? Or should I just let them stay home?

The good news is that these might not be the only two options.

I’m so grateful for the wisdom of pastor and author Eugene Peterson on this issue. Recently I was re-reading Like Dew Your Youth: Growing Up with Your Teenager. While originally written the year I was born (1976!), Peterson’s honest take on some of the defiant statements of adolescence still hit home in profound ways, even as I parent my own adolescent daughter.

Peterson devotes a chapter to “I’m not going to church!” When children are younger and parents serve as both authority and teacher figures, the line is a bit easier here. But adolescents are taking on more agency. They are not just learning from their parents; they’re making their own decisions about things their parents have decided up until now. This shift requires a shift in our parental response.

When it comes to church attendance, parents tend to resort either to authority, bullying, or bribery. “You’ll go because I say so,” “If you don’t go, you won’t get to use your phone for the week,” or “If you go, you’ll get extra screen time this afternoon.” Or exhausted parents simply walk out the door and drive to church in peace, without a fight but without a teenager in the car.

Interestingly, Peterson reminds us that in this season we are invited to become more honest about our own faith with our kids in response to these kinds of pushbacks. He quips, “No parent is required to mount an advertising campaign on behalf of the Deity.” Rather than talking up how great God is or how great it is to be a Christian, let’s live out our faith journey honestly in front of and alongside our kids. This fits squarely within our Sticky Faith research findings that young people with parents who share about their own faith journeys tend to stick with faith after high school.

Peterson goes on to articulate an expanded response to a teenager that I wish I had space to quote in its entirety here. I’d like to memorize it for the moment those defiant words come out of the mouths of one of my own kids (they haven’t yet) or one of the kids I serve at my church. Here’s an excerpt from his dialogue (bold emphasis added):

I remember having those feelings myself; in fact, I still have them from time to time. The only trouble, though, with staying away from church at a time like this is that there is no way to continue the conversation with others involved on the other side of some ideas and practices that obviously matter a great deal. For the first time in your life you’re beginning to think and feel as an adult. Many of the things that you’re finding distasteful are what you experienced as a child in the church. Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to take your thinking and feeling into the sanctuary each Sunday for the next few years and test it out there? If you stay home you don’t have anybody to argue with or test yourself against—except your childhood memories. You are changing and learning very rapidly now; the church needs your new vision and experience.

… Nobody would want you to swallow uncritically everything that is going on in the church, but if you walk out of the room the possibilities for adult, responsible debate are eliminated.

… Part of my responsibility as a parent is to try to keep you in the flow of experience as long as possible so that you feel as much and face as much as is there and so be equipped to make good, adult decisions. … You may feel that the church doesn’t appreciate your perspectives or your ideas; and in all honesty I must tell you that it might not. But I do and I would like to keep on hearing about them1

While this kind of response doesn’t fully resolve the issue, it sure creates a different context for the conversation—one built on invitation and respect for the faith journey of the child emerging into adulthood.

What ideas do you have for responding to pushback from kids about going to church or youth group? 

What productive conversations have you had with teenagers about this?


  1. Eugene Peterson, Like Dew Your Youth: Growing Up with Your Teenager (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994 [orig. 1976]), 24-26.  

– See more at: http://fulleryouthinstitute.org/posts/P80#sthash.1iMt6fya.dpuf

What Should I Do When My Kid Says, “I’m Not Going To Church”?

Photo by Gonzalo Díaz Fornaro.

“I’m not going to church.”

Perhaps you’ve heard those words in your own home, from the mouth of your teenager.

Or maybe you’re a leader who’s heard it from a young person declaring that they’re done with church.

We often hear from parents that they aren’t sure what to do when their kids voice these kinds of statements—sometimes pretty forcefully. They wonder what to do in response. Should I say, “As long as you live under this roof, you’re going to church”? Or should I just let them stay home?

The good news is that these might not be the only two options.

I’m so grateful for the wisdom of pastor and author Eugene Peterson on this issue. Recently I was re-reading Like Dew Your Youth: Growing Up with Your Teenager. While originally written the year I was born (1976!), Peterson’s honest take on some of the defiant statements of adolescence still hit home in profound ways, even as I parent my own adolescent daughter.

Peterson devotes a chapter to “I’m not going to church!” When children are younger and parents serve as both authority and teacher figures, the line is a bit easier here. But adolescents are taking on more agency. They are not just learning from their parents; they’re making their own decisions about things their parents have decided up until now. This shift requires a shift in our parental response.

When it comes to church attendance, parents tend to resort either to authority, bullying, or bribery. “You’ll go because I say so,” “If you don’t go, you won’t get to use your phone for the week,” or “If you go, you’ll get extra screen time this afternoon.” Or exhausted parents simply walk out the door and drive to church in peace, without a fight but without a teenager in the car.

Interestingly, Peterson reminds us that in this season we are invited to become more honest about our own faith with our kids in response to these kinds of pushbacks. He quips, “No parent is required to mount an advertising campaign on behalf of the Deity.” Rather than talking up how great God is or how great it is to be a Christian, let’s live out our faith journey honestly in front of and alongside our kids. This fits squarely within our Sticky Faith research findings that young people with parents who share about their own faith journeys tend to stick with faith after high school.

Peterson goes on to articulate an expanded response to a teenager that I wish I had space to quote in its entirety here. I’d like to memorize it for the moment those defiant words come out of the mouths of one of my own kids (they haven’t yet) or one of the kids I serve at my church. Here’s an excerpt from his dialogue (bold emphasis added):

I remember having those feelings myself; in fact, I still have them from time to time. The only trouble, though, with staying away from church at a time like this is that there is no way to continue the conversation with others involved on the other side of some ideas and practices that obviously matter a great deal. For the first time in your life you’re beginning to think and feel as an adult. Many of the things that you’re finding distasteful are what you experienced as a child in the church. Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to take your thinking and feeling into the sanctuary each Sunday for the next few years and test it out there? If you stay home you don’t have anybody to argue with or test yourself against—except your childhood memories. You are changing and learning very rapidly now; the church needs your new vision and experience.

… Nobody would want you to swallow uncritically everything that is going on in the church, but if you walk out of the room the possibilities for adult, responsible debate are eliminated.

… Part of my responsibility as a parent is to try to keep you in the flow of experience as long as possible so that you feel as much and face as much as is there and so be equipped to make good, adult decisions. … You may feel that the church doesn’t appreciate your perspectives or your ideas; and in all honesty I must tell you that it might not. But I do and I would like to keep on hearing about them1

While this kind of response doesn’t fully resolve the issue, it sure creates a different context for the conversation—one built on invitation and respect for the faith journey of the child emerging into adulthood.

What ideas do you have for responding to pushback from kids about going to church or youth group? 

What productive conversations have you had with teenagers about this?


  1. Eugene Peterson, Like Dew Your Youth: Growing Up with Your Teenager (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994 [orig. 1976]), 24-26.  

– See more at: http://fulleryouthinstitute.org/posts/P80#sthash.1iMt6fya.dpuf

ParentCUE: Obsessed

XP3: OBSESSED (January 11th, 18th, & 25th)

We’re Teaching This:

What are you obsessed with right now? Is it your favorite television show? A certain fashion trend? A band? A sport you play? We use the word obsessed a lot. Anything we really enjoy can become our obsession-of-the-moment. And dating definitely falls into that category. For some of us, we’re obsessed with a certain guy or girl we’d like to go out with. Or, we’re obsessed with the person we are currently dating—wanting to spend every minute with them. Or for a huge number of us, we don’t have a crush, but we are obsessed with the idea of dating—we wish we had someone to text with all day and night. No matter what your current relationship status, chances are you spend a lot of time thinking about, talking about, and dreaming about dating. And believe it or not, the Bible has a lot to say about it as well. In this series, we’re going to look at three key passages from Scripture that give us some clues how to enjoy the crazy world of dating without losing our minds.

Think About This:

We can probably all remember the go-to lines our parents used to say to us comparing life from when they were growing up to our lives growing up. And we’ve probably cringed when we heard ourselves saying those same lines to our own kids. Without even trying very hard, we’ve become a lot like our parents. And maybe nothing looks more different in our generation compared to theirs than relationships with the opposite sex. What has always been complicated now feels entirely mystifying.

The terms for dating and the cultural standards are different. What you may expect for your teenagers in your family may be different than what other families expect. In fact, your expectations and guidelines may vary with each of your kids.

Thankfully, the most important thing for you to do, has little to do with the cultural whims of the day, the current relationship status of your kids, or even whether you’ve had the chance to talk about it with your students before.

When it comes to your role in the relationships your kids have in the dating realm, your first step is to fill their tank.

Students (and children, and adults, for that matter) tend to make their worst mistakes out of a place of insecurity. It’s not a conscious decision, but when someone feels insecure, they’ll do just about anything to feel otherwise. In her TED talk, author and researcher Brené Brown says, “the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they are worthy of love and belonging.” Meaning, every child comes pre-built with a tank made for love and belonging. So, if you work hard now to make sure your students believe beyond any doubt they are loved and they fit in your family, there is less chance they will look elsewhere for the affirmation and acceptance they are wired to experience.

No, this won’t provide them with an invincible shield of armor that fights off every potential dating pitfall. But it offers a solid base your kids can build on—an anchor that grounds them when relationships change. And when they know they have what they need at home, they won’t be as desperate to find it somewhere else.

Try This

While words are powerful, they’re only worth something if they’re believed. And belief comes from hearing messages and seeing actions that support one another. We know from our own experience that someone whose behavior and words match up is far more believable than someone whose actions contradict what they say.

Try choosing one of the messages below that you feel most strongly about your student believing.

  1. You are accepted. You fit in this family just the way you are.
  2. You matter. You are an important person.
  3. You are better than you think. You’re more talented, more intelligent, and more valuable than culture gives you credit for being.

Now, think of one way action you can do this week to reinforce that belief for your student?

________________________________________________________________________

Get connected to a wider community of parents at www.orangeparents.org.

Believe 2015

Parents of Middle School Students,

In case you’ve never heard of Believe before, let me give you a quick overview. It’s a weekend event produced by Christ In Youth, an organization that has been putting together
age-intentional events all over the world for more than 45 years  (you can check out their website at www.ciy.com/believe). It takes place in a large auditorium, where your child will worship alongside thousands of other students their age. It’s literally an experience they’ll get nowhere else. It’s also one of the safest and most well-organized events we can take our students to each year.

This year worship will be led by the nationally recognized Christian band Carrollton. There are also some fun, interactive activities. And best of all, there are messages from some of the nation’s leading youth leaders – people such as Kurt Johnston from Saddleback Church and Brooklyn Lindsey, who’s written books such as “A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Teenage Girls.” These people are masters at communicating with Jr. high students.

Suffice to say, Believe is an investment in your child’s spiritual walk that you’ll be looking back on many years down the road as one of the memory-making moments that hopefully propelled them into a deeper walk with Christ.

DATES:  Friday-Sunday, May 1st-3rd

LOCATION:  Duluth, GA (Suburb of Atlanta)

COST:  $200/per student

STEPS TO TAKE (For your Middle Schooler to go)

  1. Pay Deposit (or Full Amount) by February 8, 2015:
    1. Payment Schedule
      1. Option A
        1. $200 by February 8, 2015
      2. Option B (Payments)
        1. $40 by February 8, 2015
        2. $60 by March 15, 2015
        3. $100 by April 12, 2015
      3. Instructions to Pay
        1. Go to: newcommunitychurch.securegive.com
        2. Login to Account (or Create an Account)
        3. Select “Event Registration”
        4. Select “One Time Event Registration”
        5. Enter Payment Amount for “Believe Registration”
        6. Click Continue & Proceed to enter billing Information
        7. Follow the process through to confirmation
  2. Fill out SR Medical Release Form & Return
    1. SR Medical Release Form
    2. Copies Available At Information Center

Sample Schedule:


Continue reading Believe 2015

Winter Jam 2015

winter-jam-2015-artists

WHAT IS WINTER JAM?

Winter Jam is a One-evening event geared specifically for students. At Winter Jam students will connect and have fun while waiting in line outside of the Norfolk Scope as they await a JAM PACKED night inside. They will worship with main stream Christian Music artists such as Skillet, Jeremy Camp, Francesca Battistelli, Building 429, For King & Country, & many more. To top it all off, Tony Nolan will bring an engaging message presenting God’s word to students. This is the highlight of the year for many students!

WHO GOES?   Students, grades 6-12, and approved adult chaperons

WHEN IS IT?   Sunday, February 15th, 2015

HOW MUCH?   Only $10 for admission, then enough money for lunch (fast food). There are concessions & merch booths inside if students want anything else

RIDE COVERED?  YES!

WHEN DO WE LEAVE?  On Sunday the 15th, we will meet behind the Church office building immediately following the 9:15am Service. We will leave as soon as we can after.

WHAT TIME DO WE GET BACK?  Approx. 11pm. It’s a late night (on a school night), but its definitely worth it!

Chris Whitehurst

This is an exciting time for our church family and I have some news to share with you.  The elders have been talking to a candidate about a 10-15 hour/week position with our worship team.  The position is primarily about helping with music and tech needs behind the scenes.  We are happy to announce that we have officially asked Chris Whitehurst to fill the position and he has accepted! Chris’s full time job is the Camden County High School band director, and as such he comes with a wealth of experience and know-how.  He is an expert musician and his greatest strength is teaching others to be musicians and technicians.  He loves the Lord and therefore has a heart to use his gifts in the local church.  He has spent the last several years in a similar position at Open Door Community Church in Edenton.

He and his wife Mandy, and their two boys—Gavin and Alex, have sensed God’s calling to join our staff team and our community. We are thrilled to have someone of his caliber on board.  Please join us in welcoming their family beginning in January 2015.