How to Prepare for Easter at North Rock HIll

It’s hard to believe, but Easter at North Rock Hill is almost here! We have been praying for and planning for this weekend for a long time. I can’t wait to see how God is going to move as we gather to worship Jesus, our risen Savior and King!

As we get ready for the big weekend, there are 3 things I want you to know:

  1. THANK YOU for your response to the Saturday service options! Because of your generosity, we have more seats for more people at the most popular times on Sunday morning. We have a few tickets remaining for all services, so if you still need tickets for you or for guests, you can download them here or stop by the office this week.
  2. You need to bring your ticket with you to the service you are attending. We will have a basket at each entrance to collect tickets as you and your guests enter the auditorium.
  3. As long as seats are still open, we will have tickets available before each service for people who show up without a ticket. The tickets have helped tremendously in planning and in adding value, so we have a good idea of how many people are coming and how many seats are available in each service.

Now, 3 things I want you to do this week to prepare for Easter weekend:

  1. PRAY :: I’m not saying that because it’s the Christian thing to say. I really mean it – we need to pray for the presence and power of God to fill every service this weekend. Pray for God to open hearts to the gospel and to change lives this weekend. Also, pray for our staff and volunteers as they lead and serve.
  2. SERVE :: If you are not involved in serving at North Rock Hill, this would be an incredible weekend to start. With the larger crowds and additional services, we need more people to serve. There is a place for you to get involved and make a difference in people’s lives – greeting, parking lot, kids, etc. If you are able and available to serve during a service, click here to get signed up. THANK YOU!
  3. INVITE & BRING::  One of the biggest reasons why we used tickets for Easter at North Rock Hill was to help you invite your friends. Your response has been incredible – so many of you have invited and will be bringing guests with you this weekend. If you haven’t invited anyone or just aren’t sure what to do, check this post out for some ideas.

Over the last several weeks, we have seen numerous people responding to the gospel and experiencing the transforming power of God at work in their lives. I believe that is going to happen in many, many people’s lives this weekend. By praying, serving, and inviting, you get to be a part of what God is doing to transform lives!

Pray for God to change lives, invite and bring your friends and family, and come expecting a move of God as we celebrate Easter at North Rock Hill. I can’t wait – see you this weekend!

How to Invite People to Easter at North Rock Hill

If studies are correct, then over 80% of your friends who are not Christians or do not attend church are at least open to and likely to respond favorably to your invitation to church for Easter. In anticipation of what God is going to do and to create more room to invite more people, North Rock Hill will have five identical Easter services – 4:30pm and 6:00pm on Saturday and 8:30am, 10:00am, and 11:30am on Sunday.

A lot of you grabbed extra tickets with the intention of inviting friends and family. By the time you got home or printed the tickets, the fear had already begun to set-in. What if they say no, what if they punch me in the face, what if they cuss me out, what if inviting them hurts our friendship…all these thoughts may have run through your head.

Let me encourage you to push out of your comfort zones and fight through the doubts to invite your friends this weekend. Your invitation just might pave the way for God to change their lives.

If you had tickets for choice seats to see your favorite sports team play, you would have no problem inviting people to join you. This is really no different…but it is because what Jesus has done for us is WAY more important than anything teenagers or grown men/women have ever done with a ball or a puck!

Here are some practical ways you can invite friends to Easter at North Rock Hill:

  1. Pray for people by name  each day. Trust that God is already at work in their lives. Ask Him to soften their heart.
  2. Share a meal or a cup of coffee with your friend and give the ticket during or afterwards. Or, you could invite their family over for a meal in your home and invite them. Serve them well.
  3. Offer to pick them up to ride together to church or offer to meet them in the parking lot so you can walk in and sit together.
  4. Talk about Easter at North Rock Hill on Facebook and Twitter. Aim for at least one status update per day that would include an invite and a link to the Easter at North Rock Hill page on our website.
  5. Walk through your neighborhood and invite people who are out working in the yard, playing outside, out for a walk, etc.
  6. Put some tickets on your desk, your coffee table, your car console, etc. where people will see them and ask you about them.
  7. Keep tickets with you all the time and be ready to step up when the opportunity pops up!

The point is this – God can use your invitation to radically transform a life. Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to invite your friends to hear and respond to the gospel on Easter weekend. 100% of the people you don’t invite will not attend. But, my guess is a high percentage of those you do invite WILL attend.

I’m praying for you as you invite your friends and people you cross paths with this week. And, I am praying that the people we invite will hear and respond to the gospel this weekend!

Why We’re Using Tickets for Easter Services

You’re used to having to have a ticket to attend a sporting event, a concert, or a movie. But, tickets for church? Seems a little weird to have a ticket to attend church, doesn’t it?

This year, we are offering tickets to attend our Easter services at North Rock Hill. We are offering 5 services – 4:30pm and 6:00pm on Saturday, April 7, and 8:30am, 10:00am, and 11:30am on Sunday, April 8. We are praying for God to do great things and for many lives to be changed by the power of the gospel.

So, why are we offering tickets? Here are a few reasons (list adapted from Tony Morgan):

  1. We want to be sure we have seats for you to invite your friends and family. Crowds are larger on Easter weekend and if everyone showed up to the same service, we wouldn’t have near enough seats. Offering tickets will help spread out the crowd so we have more seats for more people.
  2. Tickets will make it easier to invite your friends. By far the number one reason a person attends a church is because a friend invited them. Having a ticket with all the info on it will make it easier for you to invite your friends.
  3. Tickets communicate value. Each ticket represents a seat. When you invite your friends, you’re saying, “I have reserved a seat just for you.”
  4. Tickets communicate that Easter at North Rock Hill is open to the community. You may not realize this, but many of your friends who do not attend church do not assume they can come anytime. Many of them feel like they need to be invited in order to attend…not just Easter, but any Sunday.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Pick the service you and your family will attend.
  2. Get tickets for you and your family. Yes, we need you to get tickets for yourself, too.
  3. Get tickets for friends you want to invite.
  4. Invite, invite, invite and pray, pray, pray – ask God to move powerfully in the lives of those you invite!

You can get your tickets online, on Sundays at the Information Booth, or at the office during the week. I can tell you now that a couple of the services are starting to fill up, so get your tickets soon.

Please understand…all of this is in an effort to reach more people with the gospel. We’re pretty big on seeing lives transformed by the gospel, so we want to do everything we can to create space and opportunity for that to happen.

Get your tickets, invite your friends, and pray for God to move powerfully on Easter weekend at North Rock Hill!

Every Week is Somebody’s First Week

Over the last several weeks, we’ve seen a surge in the number of first time guests attending North Rock Hill on Sundays. This is an exciting trend and one that we want to see continue. One of the best ways to see the trend continue is to go over the top to serve our guests well and make it easy for them to get connected.

Every week is somebody’s first week…and every somebody has a story. We have no idea what is going on or what God is up to in their lives. We just know they are with us and now we have an opportunity to be a part of what God’s work.

The critical question for us to answer is, “Will we serve or ignore our guests?

Here are a few ways we all can be involved in serving our guests well:

  1. Be a “guerrilla greeter”. You don’t have to be an official member of the “greeter team” to greet new people. As you walk in the building, get coffee, check-in your kids, and sit in the auditorium, look for AND speak to new people. A simple hello, welcome, and introduction of yourself can go a long way.
  2. Offer a hand. If you see a family with small kids coming in with arms full of bags, jackets, etc., offer to carry a bag. If it’s raining, share your umbrella. If you see people who are unsure of where to go, walk them to the place they are trying to find.
  3. Scoot in. This is especially important in the 9:45 and 11:15 service when seats are at a premium these days. As you find a seat in the auditorium, scoot to the middle of the row to make it easy for late arrivers and for guests to find a seat on the ends of the rows.
  4. Come expectant and fully engage. One of the greatest proofs of the power of the gospel is our engagement in worship. Every Sunday when we gather for worship, we should come expecting God to move in our lives. This expectation leads us to fully engage – to be on time, to sing with passion, to receive the Word with gladness, and to respond to God in worship. There is no more powerful apologetic than God’s people passionately engaged in worshiping Him.
  5. Minimize distractions. Do everything you can to keep distractions to an absolute minimum. Visit the restroom before the service, arrive on time, stay to the end of the service, etc.

Walking into a church for the first time can really be a terrifying experience. We want to do everything we can to help our guests have a fantastic experience and most importantly, to experience God at work in their lives.

Every week is somebody’s first week. Every somebody has a story. Let’s serve them well and trust God to work!

40 Days Through the Gospels

As part of our new sermon series, The Gospel, I challenged our church to read through the four gospels over the next 40 days. I wanted to share a few thoughts and tips to guide you in your reading and to encourage you to stay in the game the entire 40 days.

Before I start…how did you like Day 1 starting with a list of names in Matthew 1 that no one can pronounce?! For a GREAT explanation on why those names matter and why they are in the Bible, check out what our Executive Pastor, Ryan Allred, wrote on the NRHC blog.

Here are some thoughts to guide your reading time:

  1. Remember the primary purpose for your reading is not to increase knowledge or to check off a box, but to worship God. Start your time in prayer thanking God for who He is and what He has done for you through the finished work of Jesus. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you.
  2. As you read each section, find a verse or two that really stand out to you. Spend some time meditating on that verse or those verses and write them out in a journal.
  3. Write down your observations from your key verses and/or the entire passage. What do you learn about God? What are the key phrases or words that appear multiple times or are prominent in the entire passage? How do you see the gospel in the verses and/or the entire passage?
  4. Determine how you can apply the truths you’ve read to your own life. Is there a sin you need to repent of? Is there someone you need to forgive? Is there someone you need to serve? Is there something you can share with a friend who does not know Jesus? Is there an encouragement you need to apply to your life? Write down your application points and steps.
  5. Close your time in prayer. Thank God for His Word. Thank Him for speaking into your life. Ask Him to help you apply His truth to your life and to those you interact with.

A few practical tips & ideas…

  • Pick the same time each day to read.
  • Consider taking at least one day per week to reflect on how God spoke to you through the last week
  • If you get behind, don’t get discouraged! Just pick up where you missed and keep going.
  • Consider meeting and reading with 2-3 other people, maybe from your Journey Group or people you serve with. Or, ask 2-3 people at your office or in your neighborhood , get them a reading plan, and ask them to read with you.

If you didn’t get a reading plan or if you’d like to share it with a friend, you can download one here.

I can’t wait to see what God does as we engage Him through His Word!

New Series: The Gospel

The Gospel. Is it religious advice to follow? A prayer to pray? The diving board we launch from or the ocean we swim in?

This foundational series will explore the depths of the Gospel, and find it to be more than just the beginning. It is the power that makes Christianity revolutionary every day.

I am really excited about this series and can’t wait to see what God will do! I am praying for many to trust Jesus as Savior, for many to be freed from the superficiality of religion, and for all of us to be compelled to take this gospel to the nations.

Invite friends and make plans to join us Sunday as we launch “The Gospel.”