Give Us A Shot-Wednesday

Sunday, January 13, 2008 17 clicked here to leave a comment
(Insert your favorite superlative here).

It's not every day that we do interviews with the North Carolina Cable News Network, have an article in The Charlotte Observer, field a call from the CBS Evening News, and are the number three article on underneath Obama and Guantanamo. Oh, and do a live interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox News Network!

Suffice it to say that we are thrilled, pumped, trying to figure it all out, and hanging on to God for dear life.

Here's the deal - we are launching our Ballantyne Campus on February 10 and, as part of that, are hitting the Ballantyne bars with shot glasses emblazoned with the NLC logo, the words Give Us a Shot, and stuffed with an invite card.


Three reasons:

1. It is time for the church to stop expecting people to come to us and time for us to go to where they live, work, socialize, and play. Coffee shops, bars, clubs...wherever they are.

2. Jesus identified himself with drinkers and partiers - not sharing in their excesses, but living life with them. That's what we want, because that's what he did.

3. We will do anything, anything, anything that does not violate God's word to help disconnected people get connected to God.

We'll take blowback, we're sure. No one else in Charlotte has done anything remotely-freaking-like-this...and this is still a churched town.

We've been really encouraged that the feedback her been mostly positive so far - from all over the country and, more importantly, all over Charlotte. This thing really has buzz and people are talking.

And - guess what- there is more to come!

Certain creative types (more creative than me, for sure) are in the NLC War Room at the moment hatching the next mind-blowing plot...stay tuned.

Click here for a video about the
shot glasses from Robbie and I...

17 clicked here to leave a comment:

  • TWA said...

    Thanks for your creative outreach. I share your sentiment that church has become (in my words) a country club for those already inside the walls. While I am in seminary presently, I am wondering if that's the track I should take, or if that will simply train me to be like all the other church leaders. The risk you take in alienating those already in church is well worth it - you may well reach those that need to be reached. In Luke's Gospel, Jesus stated simply he didn't come for the righteous, but to bring "sinners to repentance." (5:32)

    Would love to learn more, so I'll poking around your web site. Feel free to share any additional thoughts you might have.


  • Anonymous said...

    I'm not sure what to think of it.

    On the one hand I -LOVE- that you are trying something different and getting outside of your own walls.

    On the other it sort of endorses drinking the shot.

    I think I might have gone with bar napkins...I'm really interested to see how the world takes this.

  • Anonymous said...

    Great interview on television last night Todd! Way to go Next Level. This is going to be very interesting. I am so proud of all of you. I love being part of NLC and all that it represents

  • Anonymous said...

    could i get the shot glass even if im not in the area i want to show my church the creative outreach.

    juandelacosta (at)

  • Anonymous said...

    I wanted to say when I was passing through my living room as fox news air your interview I had to stop. I could not believe that a church understands what I always believed. I go to the bar, and because I try to carry my Christian values, I usually end up listening to many peoples problems. Many people who I ran across in bars just need someone to hear what they need to say. I have had people cry (literally) on my shoulders. I try to think of them as my brothers and sisters. Sometimes I will ask if the would like to pray. These same people would not step foot in a church because the churches are alienated and often times judgmental. This is the reason I don’t attend a church. I watch Hour of Power..hehe. But yes, Jesus did attend to winebibbers, over foods, he even turned water into wine, and not the weak stuff either, the "good wine'.

    There is another side to this and that is people do not like a direct encounter with any religious organization that invades their personal lives. When a church knocks on the door, nails you on a Wednesday afternoon with a surprise visit with cookies or kicking back in the bar. Sit back with some of these people, have a beer, get to know them, and listen. Then from your heart (and seminary teachings) share their pain and offer them a shoulder. This is what people need, Gosh; I have seen it so many times it breaks my heart.

    My 2 cents-
    Good idea you got my thumbs up!!

    Drema Ensign

  • Caed said...

    I can easily see Jesus talking to people in bars or anywhere really, if they're willing to listen. It's very hard for me to see Him handing out shot glasses with a catchy logo in order to grab attention. Can you honestly say that giving out shot glasses will have more positive than negative benefits? What about that person that will get loaded using one of your shot glasses?

  • Anonymous said...

    Absolutely ground breaking.... and in the right way....

    Couldn't be prouder to be part of the Next Level Family

  • Anonymous said...

    Praise the LORD. We have been doing a small group bible study at our church with about 25-30 young adults, and this is exactly what we are talking about. Sinners were DRAWN to Jesus. I look at my life and I ask myself am I living and doing my life so diffrent that the lost is drawn to the Jesus in me! I am glad that this kind of things is going on Nation Wide.
    Our prayers are with you as you do this outreach to win the Lost for the kingdom. Keep your head up and thoughts on Christ and he will lead you through!

  • Sara said...

    Just wanted to let you know that, as a newcomer to Next Level, I am very excited about the new campus opening. I understand the need to reach the disconnected b/c it wasn't too long ago that I WAS one, and to a certain degree still am. That being said, I'm praying for the church as the controversial emails or phonecalls may be coming in, but I'm on board. I'm excited to see the outcome it will bring to Christ.


  • Chris S. said...

    I love the heart behind this approach to people! However, I have to say that I don't think that the shot glass is the wisest way to go about it. Sure Jesus was hanging around parties and as Peterson puts it in The Message "people of doubtful reputation" but I don't think that he encouraged them to take in high concentrations of alcohol quickly. I know I sound like a stickler, but I have to say that I think Jesus encouraged community in all of those situations. Maybe a pint glass (although more expensive) would be more effective. Everything we do communicates something, a marketing "gimmick" is never simply a "gimmick" it always communicates something beyond the overt message (what is printed on the glass.)

  • Anonymous said...

    Who has been made known by this stunt?

    Next Level Church

    Guess what? Not everyone is going to come to Christ. Sad but true. We are called to go into all the World and PREACH the Gospel. The Holy Spirit does the drawing... not our creativity or our innovations. In fact the NASB I have doesn't talk about God using our best ideas and strengths but instead our Weaknesses. When we are ready to be made fools for his Kingdom He is ready to use us.

    Today in these kinds of Churches it's all about the leadership... and the World is mined for gimmickry daily by our leaders. The Church I left used a program called strength finders to plug people in vest God does the opposite

    Where are the Elders who aren't YES men to all of this mess

  • Anonymous said...

    This makes me sad. I've known Christians who were once alcoholics, or heavy partiers. They'd rather never see a shot glass again. It ruined their lives--and other people's, too. Please consider that.

  • Glenn Globber said...

    Definitely with Chris on this one. I too love your heart for what you are doing in the name of Jesus but in the same way Chris explained, I'm not sure a shot glass is the way to go.
    I'd also like some clarity on your intentions. If all this is is a gimmic to get people to church then aren't you just doing what you said you weren't? Expecting people to come to you?
    Also I guess what I see as the need for people is Jesus, a relationship with Him through people who are Jesus in the flesh. Funny but I didn't see Jesus' disciples giving out anything so that they would come to hear Jesus speak in the comfortable setting between a few walls. Jesus went to them and spent time on their turf and that was the relationship, he didn't invite them anywhere if you can hear what I'm saying. I just think it's a start but to really be Jesus we need to not only give them a glass but be there when the tank is full and the spew hits the floor.
    The other thing I wonder is how you are enabling those with drinking issues to stay comfortable or those who stumble over alcohol to keep stumbling by your leadership?

  • Bryan G. Gerstel said...


    As the lead pastor of The Pointe in Albany, Georgia ( who in two years of weekly services has seen similar results as Next Level in our community (600-650 weekly attendance) using similar strategies, let me just say... Wow! I am blessed to know that there are other churches and pastors (Todd & Robbie, I can't wait to meet you!) that are willing to get out of the box to reach the unchurched. Yes, you will be criticized, yes, the church community will provide a little tension, but please, keep doing what God leads you to do. Todd, I want to encourage you (and Robbie!) and let you know that I am praying for God's outpouring of blessing on you as you find creative ways to reach the lost and the least. Thank God I am not alone! I look forward to hearing the testimonies that come from this campaign! The Pointe will be praying for Next Level! Go God!

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