About Me

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New Orleans, LA, United States
Family from South Africa, Born in New Orleans, Lived in South Carolina. Married to Annabeth since May 2004. We have three boys (Bolt, Mack, and Birk). Currently living in Uptown NOLA and serving as Lead Pastor of Vintage Church and Camp Pastor of Student MissionLab.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

NOLA Pilgrims

Last night at church I made two new friends. There names are Jeremy and Allie. They are part of a group called NOLA Pilgrims. I enjoyed meeting them and hearing a little about their mission in New Orleans. Here is a little description of what they are about.

We are a gypsy tribe/nomadic church/pilgrim band/blog seeking diverse Christian worship experiences in and around New Orleans. No congregation is too conservative or too liberal, too big or too small for us to consider visiting and blogging about.

Jeremy posted a couple of blogs @ http://nolapilgrims.wordpress.com/ about our church and their experience last night. This blog is not completely accurate (for example I preached for 50 min, not 20min...LOL), but I love there insights. It exposed some great things to me and our church. Thanks Jeremy and Allie.

You can click on the blog above or read the blog below:

Snapshot: Vintage Church

Vintage is a Bible-believing, contemporary “Bapticostal” church on Magazine Street in Uptown New Orleans. The crowd of 20-somethings sing praise songs and listen to Pastor Rob’s sermons that constantly reiterate Vintage’s laser-focused values and beliefs. The volunteers are enthusiastic and committed. The sometimes hard-line preaching is set against the relaxed brick interior of the bar they rent out on Wednesdays and Sundays.

The church: Vintage Church, 4523 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115 (above Temple Gym)
Denomination: Non-denominational (affiliated with Sovereign Grace Ministries)
The date & time: Wednesday, August 27 at 7 pm (they also started a Sunday morning service)

The building: Vintage meets in a temporary space that’s a bar the rest of the week. The upstairs bar has a worn brick interior, bar, and pool table. Vintage sets up folding chairs and a projection screen.
The church: Vintage is primarily 20-something college students, with a few Baptist seminarians mixed in. The crowd is often enthusiastic about worship, and the volunteer helpers are eager to know you personally.
The neighborhood: Uptown New Orleans, on Magazine Street
The cast: Pastor Rob Wilton, two musicians (Pastor Andrew and a drummer I didn’t meet), at least one greeter downstairs and one upstairs (maybe more? a few people hang around and greet, but they seem to just be members), two sound techs, and two servers for communion
What was the name of the service? Wednesday Night Worship
How full was the building? We had trouble finding two seats next to each other; mostly full at around 60ish
Did anyone welcome you personally? A bunch of people, at the door and after the service.
Was your pew comfortable? Plastic folding chair… not the greatest, but not terrible.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere? We got there right after it started.
What were the exact opening words of the service? Dunno.
What books did the congregation use during the service? There’s a space for notes in the bulletin (no order of worship), and they hand out copies of the New Testament if you want one. Otherwise, everything was on the screen (including the scripture reading).
What musical instruments were played? Guitar and box drum
Did anything distract you? A couple people came and went from a door behind the stage, but it wasn’t a big bother.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what? Passionate, contemporary and engaging.
Exactly how long was the sermon? Curses, forgot to time it! Maybe 20 minutes?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher? 8 - Rob doesn’t completely blow my mind, but he’s extremely engaging, combining easy-going language with hard-hitting messages.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about? If you aren’t experiencing spiritual warfare, Rob doesn’t think you’re following Christ. I don’t totally agree, but it was compelling. Based on 2 Timothy 3.
Which part of the service was like being in heaven? The communion, although it almost always tends to be moving for me. They had you go to the back and be personally served, which made it much more intimate than the typical mass feedings.
And which part was like being in… er… the other place? The childcare moved! We lost at least 5 minutes off the beginning of worship going to the wrong place.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost? Our “pew” neighbor introduced himself, Andrew came right up and started a conversation and Rob stopped over to get to know us.
How would you describe the after-service coffee? We ducked out this time, but we’ve stayed before and it’s very social. They serve soft drinks and water, and members help tear down the seating and put the bar furnishings back to normal.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)? A 6 - my only troubles are distance and the fact that I’m not looking for a church home. If those weren’t true, 8 or 9 easily.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian? Yes.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days’ time? Spiritual warfare is hardcore.
What’s the worship music like? (Contemporary, hymns, long, fast, loud etc?) Contemporary, but not the usual Christian radio pop.
What’s the speaking like? (Old school Bible, culturally relevant, by video etc?) New school Bible? Rob’s got a hardcore Baptist background, but uses a lot of everyday phrasing.
What’s the childcare like? Very nice! It’s about a block away from the rented space, but a greeter is happy to walk you over.
What’s your favorite thing? What would you change? I can’t decide a favorite between the music, Rob’s speaking or the very personable people (who manage it without being overbearing). I’d change the distance to childcare (or distance from my house).
Can I wear jeans? Jeans are about the most formal attire present, so yes.
Theology? “Bapticostal”
Clear congregational identity and purpose? Very clear. Example: visitors are told not to put in an offering. They keep the basket in the back for members only to make sure there’s no pressure.
Role of women in leadership? Sovereign Grace Ministries’ website says men only. They have women greeters, but that’s probably as far as it goes.
Use of gender neutral language? Their website’s statement of faith is kind of mannish, and I think their preferred Bible translation (ESV) is a bit masculine.
Midweek opportunities/other worship options? Considering we went to a Wednesday service, I know of one midweek worship option. They also have several large-group events (mostly for orientation into the church) and a small group ministry.

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