Uhm ... What is multi-denominational anyway?
We are sponsored by the Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and United Methodist denominations. This doesn’t mean you have to be part of one of these denominations to be welcomed at Niner United. We don’t care what you believe. Instead we care about you. Lots of students from all types of faith backgrounds connect with Niner United. Lots of students with no faith backgrounds also connect with us. Some of us had great church experiences growing up. Others of us had horrible church experiences growing up. Some of us had no church experiences growing up. Niner United is a ministry for all students and these four denominations make sure Niner United is able to do what it does at UNC Charlotte.
So, what is worship like?
Worship at Niner United is exactly like Hillsong. We wish. Sorry, we don’t have that kind of money. Instead, worship at Niner United is exactly like it is at the Canterbury Cathedral in England. Sorry, wrong again, we don’t have that kind of worship space. We worship on campus and sometimes we follow the ancient liturgy passed down from generations and read the ancient Scripture also passed down. Sometimes we do very modern things. All the time we pray and sing. Most of the times we eat together. On Thursdays we have lunch. On most Wednesdays we celebrate the Eucharist – another word for communion – a type of meal that the church celebrates. In communion, we are having supper at God’s table, and no-one is ever excluded. Every time we worship, we welcome the stranger … because none of us want to be strangers … and all of us are children of God. Come hang out with us and experience worship Niner United style.
So, what about the churchy words?
We say things like God is love. God is always graceful. Grace is free. We celebrate the Eucharist. Churchy words can sound weird. Sorry. So here is a quick primer. First, we will try to reduce our use of churchy words. Sometimes this is hard because the Bible is full of them. So when we say God is love, we are saying God is the ultimate expression of love – not love like you see between your parents or your prom date. God’s love is unconditional. That’s different than any type of love you can experience from anyone. This means there is nothing you can ever do to separate from that unconditional love, and that’s a good thing. Another big, critical word we use is grace. Grace is a word that can be used to sum up all of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. God resolving to be a man, Jesus Christ, to live and die for us, to teach us and guide us, and to give us freedom and life, and to accept us despite our own faults. That’s grace.
So, do you thump the Bible?
Nope, never, not at all. We aren’t those people. We don’t hold up some big floppy book and spout out hate. It’s not our style and for sure you’ll never find anything in the Bible that says “hey go out and harass people with me.” The Bible is a collection of ancient writings that have become sacred and revered to us. We believe the stories of Jesus inform our Christian life. However, we are not afraid to question and grapple with the stories of our faith as we walk together on our spiritual journeys.