Fanning the Flame 2017
By NMC - February 23, 2017
Posted in Fanning the Flame, Adult Ministry, Student Ministry, Children's Ministry, High School Ministry, Middle School Ministry, Stories from NMC
For well over 20 years, Fanning the Flame has called people to the foot of the cross, to a place of surrender and dependence. It’s called people to come and worship, to lift up the name of Jesus. It’s called people to set aside time, to be renewed and refreshed. It’s called people to take the next step in their faith journeys. This four-night experience has called people to step a little closer to the Father.
Over the years, we’ve seen loveable characters like Blue and Magenta walk through the halls on their way to teach preschoolers about Jesus. We’ve learned from pastors, missionaries and radical Christ-followers. We’ve been led in worship by high-energy worship leaders and been challenged by the truth of God’s Word. Year after year, we’ve blocked off a Sunday through Wednesday during the spring. We’ve said “No” to good things in order to say “Yes” to the best thing.
As children, we are at the mercy of what our parents say “yes” to and what they say “no” to. I am the product of parents who said “yes” to spiritual growth, and every year this included Fanning the Flame. Even as a child, I remember the excitement of these four nights. I remember the high-energy worship, games and teaching. Although I might not have been able to articulate it in my early years, I could tell there was something different about these four days. There was something that happened in my soul as I wriggled in my seat, listening to the speaker tell me about Jesus.
Middle School was, for me, a time when I was incredibly unsure of who I was and where I fit. Yet, I found belonging in our Middle School Ministry, and I remember finding a depth in Fanning the Flame that helped me form my identity in Christ. I remember looking forward to these four nights. I remember sitting in school, counting down the hours until I got to go to church. There was something powerful about hearing God’s Truth as an unsure middle school student. There was something that happened in my soul as I sat day after day and learned about my true identity.
High School Ministry was known to me as the place that challenged students to take radical steps in their faith. I remember stepping into Fanning the Flame for the first time as a high school student and feeling a little nervous. I knew that God was going to do powerful things, and I knew that He would call me to step outside of my comfort zone. I distinctly remember one particular Fanning the Flame during my junior year. The simplicity of my childhood faith had been replaced by questions and doubts. My identity in Christ had been shaken, but there was something that happened in my soul as I prioritized the “best” thing. Even in the midst of doubts and questions, God met me where I was and renewed my faith.
Now, I find myself with a new group of people. The sessions I saw my parents prioritize when I was a child are now the sessions I prioritize. Last year, I sat under Caleb Bislow, Ryan Flemming, Drew Ryall and Brad Bullock with a room full of adults. I remember being challenged to live in courageous obedience with Caleb. I remember getting real about race with Ryan. I remember seeing discipleship through a new lens with Drew. I remember being renewed by the power of the Gospel with Brad. Like He had done for over 20 years, the Lord met with me in the midst of a busy week, and there was something that happened in my soul as I prioritized time with God.
I know my story is not unique. Fanning the Flame is part of our DNA at NMC, and the Holy Spirit has used this annual event in incredible ways. Over the years, we have heard hundreds of stories of impact from the youngest in our church to the oldest. This year, we are eager and expectant. We anticipate and know that God will do incredible things. What if you and your family prioritized these four nights? What could happen in your life if you allowed God to speak to you during Fanning the Flame?
Click here for the full schedule of events.