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New Charlotte Church: 7 Years In

September 12, 2017 | Chris Payne

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” -II Corinthians 5:17

I can remember reading this passage of Scripture for the first time at New Charlotte. But we weren’t at 11011 Monroe Road. We were in my living room. My 4-year-old, 3-year-old, and 9-month-old kids were upstairs asleep; it was the first gathering of what would become New Charlotte Church.

On Sunday, Jen and I, along with our now 12, 10, and 8-year-old kids, walked into the newly renovated New Charlotte Church to celebrate 7 years of ministry. Appropriately, we walked underneath the words of II Corinthians 5:17 now hanging over the Worship Center doors at NCC.

Finding words to match my feelings about New Charlotte, and our journey together so far, is a difficult task but worthy task.

These are the words I love most about our church:

Authenticity
When we started we said there would only be one rule at NCC, no perfect people allowed. I have never journeyed with a more genuine and transparent group of people. (period)

Generosity
I mean, I just can’t believe how much people at New Charlotte give. You give your money, your time, your leadership. The amount of good that has been done through New Charlotte is astonishing. (Greenway Park, Idlewild, Matthews Help Center, Matthews Free Medical Clinic, Crisis Assistance, Second Harvest Food Bank, Samarians Purse, Mission of Hope, Samaritans Feet, Compassion International, Bright Blessings, The Ronald McDonald House, For Charlotte, and many others.) Wow.

Commitment
We have met in a living room, a neighborhood pool house, a warehouse, and now our very own ministry space. We’ve had roof leaks, squirrels, heat, cold, set-up, tear-down, on and on. Through all of the trials of starting a church, you have been faithful. There were a few times I stared at my ceiling fan, wondering how we were going to make it another week (see code violation, eviction notice, unexpected rent increase). You always came through, and displayed your deep commitment to what God has called New Charlotte to be and do in this city.

Kindness
This may sound self-serving, but I don’t mean it that way. You guys have always treated my family and me with incredible care and love. I’ve been a pastor now for 18 years, and I have a lot of pastor friends around the country. I hear stories, far too often, about churches that turn against one another. New Charlotte is a family. We are not a perfect church (see #1 rule), but we are a loving church. Thank you for loving my family and me the way you do; it’s an honor to be your pastor.

Jesus
He has been, will be, and is the sole focus of our church. We long to see people experience the new life of Jesus. Everything that we do points to this stated purpose, and we demonstrate it all throughout the city.

I love you New Charlotte. I truly believe the best is yet to come!

Chris