What do you do when your congregation meets on seven campuses – and you want to bring them all together? You rent out the Durham Performing Arts Center, of course.
That’s what they’re doing at newhope church this coming Sunday, as the church celebrates its tenth anniversary. Says Pastor Benji Kelley: “We were looking really hard for a place that could hold everybody since we really wanted to worship under the same roof at one time, and there aren't that many places in this area that can hold us anymore. So, DPAC was just the perfect venue.”
They call it “Vision Day,” a time set aside to reflect on newhope’s past decade and to look ahead to the next. Average Sunday attendance at the church’s campuses now tops more than 3,000 – quite an achievement for a church that’s barely been around ten years. And Dr. Kelley has even bigger plans:
“Multi-site is definitely something that God has been blessing us with great favor these days,” he says, “so I will lay out a vision on January 22nd that by the year 2020 -- and I'm calling it a 20/20 vision -- we hope and pray we can be a church with 20 campuses, a church with 20 locations.”
Twenty campuses? Perhaps not so unbelievable when you consider that newhope began its “multi-site” approach just two years ago -- and is now up to seven. Last year alone the church added 335 members, including 213 baptisms.
newhope’s tagline is “Where reverence meets relevance,” reflecting the staff’s goal to teach biblical concepts in a contemporary light. The church’s services – called “worship celebrations” – feature casual dress and a band. And Kelley’s preaching? He tells me he likes to “keep it real.”
“I've often said I think it's the greatest sin in the world to take the most exciting news the world has ever known, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and bore people to death with it. So we work really hard to keep it relevant, where it connects with people, where it’s applicable to how they're living. How to get through life, how to raise families. We try to read the scripture through the lens of, how do we apply this today in the 21st century?”
newhope’s Vision Day begins at 9:30 this Sunday morning and is open to all. They’ll also be collecting coats and cans that day for a charity drive.
“We're just going to keep focusing on our vision, which is to reach people for Christ, teach the Bible and release fully devoted followers. You see (these words) on the front of our building: Reach, Teach, and Release. Try to give people new hope.”
The January 27th Shabbat (Sabbath) service at Raleigh’s Temple Beth Or should be a memorable one, as two milestones are marked. The Temple is celebrating its centennial year, and the Jewish Federation of Raleigh-Cary is turning 25. The Federation will use the occasion to honor Temple Beth Or, along with local leaders and volunteers who have helped strengthen Jewish identity in the community down through the years. The service starts at 6:30pm.
The celebrated Women's Voices Chorus performs at not one, but two Triangle churches this weekend. The group’s winter concert, entitled “America the Beautiful Mosaic,” will be performed at Durham’s First Presbyterian Church Saturday at 4pm, and University United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill, Sunday at 3pm. The concert will feature a diverse collection of music styles, from jazz standards to Jewish-American and Native American traditions. There is a fee for admission.
No more sectarian prayers at Forsyth County Commission meetings – and by implication, at county and municipal meetings across North Carolina. The US Supreme Court this week refused to hear an appeal of a lower court’s ruling on the issue. As a result, the lower court’s ruling – that prayers to a specific deity could not take place at public meetings – will stand. You can read more about the 5-year long battle over the prayer controversy at this link.