"The only explanation for everything God has done at NCC over the past 20 years is five words that Jesus declared 2,000 years ago - I will build my church," declared Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C., as congregants celebrate two decades of existence this year. NCC, referred to as "the theater church, is one creative church in eight unique locations in the DC metro area; it started from three people on the first Sunday service in 1996 to now a large group of Christians who supported 34 mission trips this year.
NCC supporters believe in giving honor where honor is due: it's not about us, it's all about and for Him [Jesus]. "We need the revelation of who Jesus Christ is so we can have the revelation of who we are in Christ," Batterson said.
Batterson anchored a recent sermon with the Bible verse Matthew 16:18 - "I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." He called Jesus Christ a friend and brother; advocate to God; the Alpha and Omega; the bread of life; the prince of peace; the resurrection; and the way to the truth.
God touched Batterson's own life by curing him from a 40-year asthma struggle.
He believes God has been using NCC as a foundation for the past 20 years to build His church, for example enabling them to buy a crack drug house and turn it into a coffee house, which he said is "really an answered prayer that happens to serve coffee."
He also cites Matthew 16:19: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
Batterson said what He [God] opens, no one can shut and what He shuts, no one can open.
The pastor said by prayers, Christians operate within the will of God, and for the glory of God.
Years ago, God opened an amazing door of opportunity for NCC to hold services at the movie theaters at Union Station. They attracted a wide variety of people being located four blocks from the Capitol and four blocks from the largest homeless shelter in the city. From humble beginnings, they began growing and launching additional church sites.
"Doing church in the middle of the marketplace had become part of our DNA," said Batterson, who now is less nervous about what the future holds because he is more confident in the God who began a good work and the God who can carry it to completion.
"We barely had any people, we barely had any money," he said of the fledging church when it began. "It wasn't glamorous when we started, but how we got here today is because Jesus said He would build His church."
Batterson encouraged NCC congregants to dream bigger and pray harder, because "we haven't seen anything yet!"