One of the uniquenesses of the ND’s was our combination of music and preaching. While we were contemporary in our approach, we were orthodox in our message. As we often explained to people: “Our message is sacred and must never change—but our method is not sacred and must always be open to change.” So God allowed us to be one of His “change agents” to introduce a new paradigm of ministry long before a lot of other people were combining contemporary music with an evangelical message—and especially in an interracial context! Even though we did not always get the balance exactly right— we always struggled with it.
There is a leadership principle that says: “You teach what you know but your attract and reproduce who you are.” I believe that’s true. So because God called me first and foremost to be a proclaimer of the Gospel, many young men and women emerged in the NDs with the same spiritual gifts. It was in the NDs that they discovered, developed and deployed their spiritual gifts in the area of preaching. As a result, the NDs became a training ground not only for a lot of Christian musicians but also for a lot of preachers. To the best of my count, several dozen young men and women went on to become preachers in their days after leaving our ministry. Some were led into the local church as pastors…others went into youth work…some ministered through para church organizations…others went into evangelism…yet others went to the foreign mission field.
In addition, we always believed and taught that every Christian worth his or her salt and light was a minister. That’s because Christ called all of us to be “full time Christian workers.” It matters not whether one was a teacher, doctor, lawyer, computer technicians, carpenter, media person or stay-at-home moms—all authentic Christians are to be ministers. So we rejoice in all of the vocations that NDs have gone into to flesh out their faith!
However, it has been fun this past year to be with several of our alumni who are “vocational Christian workers.” As Patt and I got to go hear them preach and minister, it brought us great joy and satisfaction. They have become great preachers, teachers, pastors, evangelists and writers who have gone on from “strength to strength in the Lord” (Ps. 84:7).
So enjoy these few pictures of some of our pastors and preachers we have had the joy of sitting under this past year (there are many others but I did not have my camera handy!). And in our next ND Alumni update we will focus on some of the musicians—so be watching and listening!
Finally, thanks so much to those of you who are interacting with us on this site. Also for the assistance some of you are giving us to find the location and contact information on some of our “missing members.” Keep it coming. We love hearing from you…
Rev. Kirk Reid (black robe), JL and Rev. Jamie Reid when Kirk preached the anniversary at his home church in Burlington. Both he and his brother, “Jamie,” were two of the earliest members of the ND’s back in the late 1960’s. Kirk now pastors a United Methodist Church in Charlotte and Jamie preaches locally.
JL between Dr. Tony Torain (right) and his brother, Rev. Scotty Torain (left), when they recently “team preached” at their home church near Mebane, Lattisville Grove Missionary Baptist Church. Tony was in the ND’s for a number of years and pastors a Church of God in Christ in Maryland. Scotty is the Missions and Evangelism pastor at Mt. Zion Baptist in Greensboro.
JL with Maggie & Duffy Robbins at the National Youth Worker’s Convention in Indianapolis where we team taught on mentoring. Maggie also did a seminar around her book, Enjoy the Silence, on Christian Meditation.
Chaplain David Morrow and his wife Vicky after he preached the 100th Anniversary of his home church near Chapel Hill.
It was a joy to have several of our other alumni present when David preached (left to right): David, Sam Burnett, J.L., Joe LeCompte, John ‘bassman’ Fraser, Herbert Spruill (center).
J.L. and Pastor Scotty Smith from Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee, when he made an unexpected visit to our home.
In His Faithful Love,
PS: Don’t forget to hold the first weekend of August on your calendar for our BIG “40th Anniversary Celebration” in Burlington at our International Headquarters!