Holy Wow

I needed a day to reflect on this past Sunday. It was a special day. A very special day. Holy Wow!

If you are new to the blog let me catch you up to speed. My church was given a free church building. Fully furnished. We took 5 weeks to paint, tear down walls, and make it our own. We decided to have our first services in that building on Easter Sunday.

Now before it get to all of the good stuff you should know it was not a perfect day. We had a Gremlin in our projector that caused a line to move up and down our screen. Nobody officially said it was a Gremlin, but me. Nobody could figure out what was wrong so based off of the documentary Gremlins I’m pretty sure there was one in our projector.

We also had a HUGE problem with our confident screen cutting out in the middle of songs. This wasn’t a hug deal for our worship pastor because he memorizes song lyrics like a boss. It was a lot bigger deal for our worship choir.

But none of that stuff mattered. It didn’t matter because it was a holy wow type of day.

It was special to see all of our volunteers jump into action. No one knew what to expect. We went from one Sunday night service to hosting two on Sunday morning. What happened blew everyone’s expectations away.

Our final count for the day was 501 people. We had 174 the week before. Holy Wow!

I’m really looking forward to the next few weeks to see who sticks, who we can invest in, and who will make us their church and invest in us. My mind is still recovering from being blown by that number.

My favorite thing about the day was not the number. That was cool, but what was even more holy wow was the stories. I heard lots of stories of people who hadn’t been in church in years coming on Sunday. I heard lots of stories of people who had been invited for a long time but finally, for whatever reason, came on Sunday.

God is really good. But I want to make sure that everyone knows that God is really good even when we don’t have explosive attendance at our churches. God is good when we continued to lose people because we were a Sunday night only church. God was good when we lost our entire college group to another church because we were a Sunday night church. God was good when we started with 50 people and didn’t know if anyone else would join us. And God will be good next week no matter what the number is.

God is good. He is doing something at our church right now. It’s the answer to years of prayers. One of my favorite things in life is to serve God. We don’t have to, we get to. I’m really honored to serve God as a pastor. I was really honored by all our first time guests that came. I am really honored by our volunteers that gave up seats because we ran out. I am really honored by everyone who prayed! I am really honored by our people committing to start a church that literally had nothing to offer but Jesus.

Yesterday was a very surreal experience. I can’t wait to do it again this Sunday.

What was your favorite part about Easter Sunday?

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Rob Shepherd

I am the full-time husband of a wonderful woman! I love being married! We are proud parents to twins, Hayden and Reese. In my spare time I am the pastor of Next Level Church. I have a relationship with God and it is an adventure. Oh and I wrote a book. It's called Even If You Were Perfect Someone Would Crucify You.

  • We had one of those days also Rob. We normally have two services on Sunday but made the decision to rent the local theater for Easter. Not only is it large enough but it also gave our people a chance to see people they haven’t seen for awhile due to the two services. our average lately has been about 170. We had 240. The theater holds about 300 I think. We had about 41 youth and their helpers. We could never handle that many in our building. We have already been talking about expansion. Hopefully this will fuel that desire. But above all, God was good…number or no number. How can we not see that given the importance of this past Sunday?

    • Bill, that’s so awesome! I’m excited for you!

  • The best part for me were the many small ways I got to see my 2-yr old start to “get it”. Humbling and exciting.

    • Ricky, just wait till next Christmas. Magical.

  • shepherdmim

    Joy unspeakable and full of glory–best describes Easter 2014 at NLC. Servers who have invested in the church through their time, talents, and resources joyfully gave up their seats and offered others their space. After all the work, and preparation, some went home without having the opportunity to hear the sermon or enjoy the worship, but counted it all joy to be a part of what God is doing.

  • jebatthebeach

    I’m not sure I can pinpoint one specific moment, but I loved that we (kids & tots team) worked so well to make sure first time visitor parents felt comfortable leaving their kids.

    • shepherdmim

      That is huge! We are so blessed to have you and all who love working with kids and do such an amazing job.

    • Joan, the Kids and Tots team were on fire! It was awesome!

  • Danielle D.

    I didn’t recognize most people but the people who attended seemed very enthused throughout worship as well as the sermon. I won’t be at church as much because of work (I’m the odd ball who likes afternoon/night services), but maybe there will some regular faces from the Easter service 🙂

    • Danielle D.

      Actually engaged would be a better word because people were singing and nodding along with your message but enthused would work too!

    • Danielle, I hope so. I also hope that your work schedule allows you to come more often than not. I enjoy having you at NLC.

  • Amber

    I don’t know if I can pinpoint just one favorite thing; But here are some that come to the top of my list:
    1. Seeing the Lucas Family, I didn’t get to say anything too them, but I saw them and I wanted to cry.
    2. My Tots and Kid Volunteers arriving Early and Ready to Go!
    3. The Kids Room and Volunteers were super flexible with needing to put all the kids in the room before time, to free up space in auditorium.
    4. Last but not Least – GOD! His grace was sufficient on Sunday and the 6 weeks leading up to the Opening Sunday. Even when I got tired and wanted to quick, or got down and negative, God easily was there raising me up, and putting my eyes back on HIM.

    I love my church for so many ways. My husband put it beautifully: Serving and helping, volunteering, and putting the building together has been OUR REASONABLE ACT OF WORSHIP. So thankful we are able to Worship Him each and every day. Thanks Rob for being obedient, for challenging us.

    • Amber, that’s a great list. You should tell the Lucas family just how special it was to see them.

    • Crystal

      Love this reply, Amber!! Amen!!

  • Shay

    Joy unspeakable and full of glory! That was the total ambiance of NLC on Sunday. God showed up in a HUGE way, and anytime that happens, no matter what the number, it’s absolutely AWESOME! I am so glad that we were there to witness it! And I am so humbled to be able to pray for a church such as Next Level, and see those prayers answered! Can’t wait till Sunday to see God move again! 😀

    • Shay, I love having you at Next Level! I know my mom is really grateful to have you on the prayer team. Thank you for being an owner.

  • Awesome stuff, Rob. I got to attend a sunrise service at my church, then our normal service at 10.

    • Larry, what happened during the sunrise service? I’m interested to know how a more contemporary church does that.

      • You know, we just gathered outside about 7 am. My pastor spoke for just a few minutes and then sung three hymns that everyone would know. We didn’t got contemporary. We were just simple.

  • Crystal

    Sunday was incredible!! Before the start of the service, I was nervous about what to expect as a volunteer. I was overwhelmed with the newness of everything and the excitement of the day. As the kids came into our room, I was praying hard that everything would go smoothly! My absolute favorite part of the day was kids worship. We brought all of the little ones together to sing and dance. There were no tears. They sang and danced their little hearts out and had smiles on their faces. A huge sense of peace came over me and I knew it was going to be an incredible day. And it was!!!

    • Yay! I love that prayer Crystal! Thanks for being an owner at Next Level!