There is something stirring in Clio. In January 2010, the congregation of Messiah launched a new worship service dubbed “nXt,” and by no mere coincidence membership has been growing.
The guiding concept is simple: reach out to those who do not know Jesus. Sure, most churches have that objective, but how is the church uniquely situated to carry out the goal?
Messiah’s Pastor Erik Cloeter has brought to life a vision of a captivating worship experience that breaks down typical church stereotypes, and the community has noticed.
In just over a year since its inception, the nXt service has inspired nearly 100 people to join Messiah’s growing membership. Many have cited being initially sparked by the presence of the band at community events, such as the Annual Fireman’s Parade and Fourth of July Fireworks celebrations.
So why “nXt?”
Pronounced “next,” the abbreviated version is intended to provoke the question, “What is nXt?” “What’s Next” is also one of the central themes of the worship service.
Cloeter explains. “I meet many people who come to church, join, and say, ‘OK, I’m a Christian ... so what’s next?’ At Messiah, the answer has always been to reach out to those who still don’t know Jesus and to help them connect with God in a real way.”
What is truly unique about the nXt service is that it is different. It doesn’t look, sound, or feel like a traditional or contemporary worship service. Nxt is for the people that have strong faith and want to express that faith. Nxt is also for people who are struggling and looking for answers. Those who may have been reluctant to come to a worship service find this to be, by design, something unlike what they may have experienced in the past. Some of those differences include: pews being replaced by chairs, the pulpit by a stage, LED smart lights, media screens instead of stained glass, and a live band. These are only a few of the changes you will notice on Sunday morning.
While the allure of the service is its willingness to boldly challenge the status quo, the heart of the message is what keeps people coming back.
Cloeter further shares, “The church is like a hospital for sinners – people in need of a Healer, of a Savior. The church is where we come together to receive acceptance, forgiveness, and love from a God who wants to be closer to people. Just as you go to a hospital when you are sick, the church is where we gather to ask for and receive forgiveness for our sin, because the price has been paid for us by Jesus Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection. Everyone is welcome. Come as you are, but leave transformed to reach out to others like you—others who need Jesus. They’re nXt!”