Event set for Hamburg's Watermark Wesleyan Church
Preview by Joshua Maloni
As one-half of the Christian duo Watermark, singer Christy Nockels is used to big stages, bright lights and grand productions.
There will be none of that razzle-dazzle when she comes to Western New York on Oct. 11, and that suits Nockels just fine.
On the road with award-winning author Jennie Allen for The Freedom Project Tour - a special time of prayer, song and reflection for women - she said, "What I think I loved the most about (these nights) is they're not high-production. I think a lot of people, when you go to something like a concert or something, you kind of - it's big, right, and there's lights and sound and it's a huge. What I've loved is that these nights feel just as meaningful, but there's sort of this come-as-you-are kind of feeling."
Event organizers described The Freedom Project as "Centered around the idea of freedom.
"The evening will encourage women from all walks of life to live free, be free, and in turn help set others free. It will also feature special guest appearances from members of the International Justice Mission as they share about their work around the world freeing victims of human trafficking."
Allen said, "We're going to talk about freedom. I go around the country, and I see bondage everywhere I go. At the same time, I see a ton of life change and freedom spreading. That is what I've committed my entire life to."
Nockels encouraged women to leave their kids at home, let their hair down, forget about a wardrobe change, and just participate.
"How many times, you know, you're getting off work maybe, you know that you've bought tickets to this thing, how many times you'll start going, like, 'I don't know if I'm actually going to make it tonight.' 'I have this and this going on.' And often, we get distracted and we just end up not going. But I was thinking about these nights, and how just approachable they are. And it's so come-as-you-are. And so, I'm always thinking, like, if I can encourage people in that last moment: 'Just go ahead and come.' "
The Freedom Project Tour visits Hamburg's Watermark Wesleyan Church at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11. Tickets for the evening can be purchased at watermarkwesleyan.com
. General admission tickets ($15) include the evening's event as well as access to a post-event book signing with Allen. VIP tickets ($30) are also available and include a pre-event Q&A and preferred seating.
More of our edited phone interview with the Dove Award-winning Nockels follows.
Q: I understand you have a podcast starting today. Season three?
Christy Nockels: Yes, the third season starts today. I started that a couple years ago. Today marks the third season that starts. It'll take us through Christmas.
Q: What can you tell me about that project?
Christy Nockels: It's called "The Glorious in the Mundane," and, really, I started it because, for years - well, the Lord really met me in a place when I was a young mom. And there was just kind of a season where he was, you know, I kind of had to pull away from traveling and being on the stage, because I have little ones. And so it was this neat season where it was hard, all at the same time, of just learning sort of to be seen inside my house, like by God; and knowing that that everyday kind of mundane tasks that women often find ourselves doing - especially young moms - that that we can experience the glorious things of God just the same in those menial kind of mundane tasks as we can when we are at church or we're out being the kingdom of God to the world.
So, I started it just kind of as someone who's maybe a little bit farther down the road than some of the listeners, I've just been a mom for 18 years. And so it's been this sweet way to sort of just encourage women, not just moms, but we have listeners that are single, and you know, it's like we kind of try to greet a lot of different women in different stages and seasons.
The heart of it really was that, through the mundane things of our lives, that we think maybe are kind of just menial and unimportant, actually it's often in those things that God actually wants to speak to us through. So, that's kind of the gist of it. And it's been really sweet. It's probably the bravest thing I've ever done, honestly (laughs), to use my voice in that way and not just singing. So, it's been fun.
Q: Something like that seems like it would be a perfect segue or a perfect example of something that you could share with women on a project like this Freedom Tour that you're doing. I'm sure you've got many more stories and many more lessons from God that you've received over the years. But tell me a little bit about how the Freedom Project Tour came together for you, and what was the appeal for you in taking on this assignment?
Christy Nockels: Jennie Allen's been a friend of mine for about five years now. And when I first met Jennie, she actually called me on the phone, out of nowhere. I think a friend of mine gave her my number. And I remember where I was standing, on my porch, when she just started asking me some questions about kind of where I was, as far as reaching kind of back into this generation that's coming up behind us. And she's saying, you know, kind of, "What are you doing intentionally to raise women up?"
And so she started kind of prodding a little bit. And it, part of me, it was funny, I was like, "Who is this person?" (Laughs) But the other part of me was like, "Who is this person!" I mean, she's brave, and I love Jennie. And, of course, she started IF: Gathering the year after that, after our phone call. And she was kind of like, "I want to invite you into this, this whole kind of raising up women and learning how to resource women to be able to disciple women around them."
That's always been Jennie's heart, and I've gotten to see that firsthand. And so, when she came to me, saying, "Hey, I want you to go on this tour with me," I was absolutely like, "I'm in," because I've seen Jennie's heart in it.
I went through, actually, I have an album that we released last fall, right around this time last fall. And I went and did actually like a house show near where Jennie lives in Dallas. And had just gotten there - they had just moved to Dallas. And she came one night and just came up to me afterwards in tears. And this album is called "Lullabies For The Beloved." And the whole gist of the record is that it's actually for all of us. It's not actually just a lullaby album for kids, but it's for all of us that we never outgrow that need to be sung over and really just to remember truth over ourselves, and that's what this whole record has been. And she was like, "I want you to bring these songs out on the road."
And so that's kind of what we've done. I lead worship on these nights. Jennie speaks, but I also sing some of these lullabies that we say are for ages like 0 to 100, because we're all the beloved, and all of us need to be sung over sometimes.
And so, it's been actually the sweetest thing to sing these over women and over moms and to see kind of the calm and the peace that comes over the room when they're just being sung over.
So, I was in really from get-go, just because I know Jennie and I love her. And then just this idea of taking this message of freedom - reminding women who are believers that you are free; and then what does that look like to then go and help set others free. So, that's kind of the whole project and the heart, I guess, of the night. And we got to do it (on the West Coast) last February already, and I absolutely loved it. It's been amazing. ...
They've been the sweetest nights. Jennie is like so fun and so funny, but at the same time so passionate. And so you're getting just so much of her heart for God's people. And then the music and everything is just a little bit more of an approachable, come-as-you-are-type night. And I, personally, love that, because we're a part of just things that are so high-production a lot of the time and it's been refreshing. I think, for us, these nights just kind of become a little bit more like something you just could walk in from work and not feel inundated by something just super-massive on the stage happening.
So, it's been really cool. I've loved these nights. And we stay afterwards and get to talk to all the women and that's been really fun, as well.
Q: You mentioned it's been refreshing, it's been cool - it seems like it would be a great asset and a great resource for the women who come out to it. But what kind of reaction have you gotten when you stay after and you speak with these women? What are you hearing from them?
Christy Nockels: Well, kind of the way that we ended in February was the women actually were able to spend time in prayer together, which I think there's just not - you think about, you know, our church services these days; you know, most churches - I know ours - you have multiple services. And you got to go get your kids from the nursery really fast, and you gotta kind of do that whole changeover/get out of the parking lot while the next group's coming in. And I know that we're used to that, in the south, and what we found was we were in a lot of bigger churches that have that kind of pace on a Sunday. And I think it was amazing to hear them say, "We loved the time to just get to kind of linger afterwards, and pray together and talk."
And, of course, Jennie gave them stuff to pray about, specifically together, and it was cool to see how that sort of prompted people just to stay around. And people were just sitting all in the auditorium each night. They would come, and you know, talk to Jennie. They'd come talk to me. And it sort of just, I think everybody loved (to) stay after and talk.
So many people in the same community just maybe don't get that time at their local church to just, like, hang around. And we saw that it really fostered that; and I have to believe that that's amazing for a community to be able to do that.
Q: You talk about the idea of freedom, and that's a broad topic. That could be, you know, related to any number of things; it could be presented any number of ways. When you talk about freedom on this tour, what specifically are you talking about? And what, more specifically, can the people who come out and see you here in the Buffalo area, what can they expect with regard to this idea of freedom?
Christy Nockels: Yeah, what I think is amazing, because, IJM is out on this tour, and we're obviously kind of shedding a light on what International Justice Mission does. And so I think that the key sort of goal for the night is that we come around this idea that, if the people that are coming - we have this longing, you know, as the church, like capital-C "Church," to come together and be a part of something that's bigger than ourselves. I think we would all say that, deep down, I think we all want to be a part of something that's bigger than ourselves, and to know that we're doing good, and that the Kingdom of God is really coming to Earth, which I think just means that the things that are on God's heart are on our heart. I think that's the Kingdom of God coming to Earth.
And so we definitely are talking about spiritual freedom when Jennie's teaching. I think it's sort of just "Let's remember together that this is what the scripture says, that here is the fact that we are already set free, and what are the places that you're still maybe, spiritually, living in bondage?"
And you're right that that can look like so many different things in all of our lives. But I think that there's a central theme that Christ has come and he has already set us free. And so what can we already be living in spiritually where we break these chains, or we allow him to break these chains.
And then what I love is that we're shedding this light on IJM, where we can then actually give our resources to physically set people free. Because IJM works to end modern-day slavery, and specifically what we've been talking about on the February tour is the whole sex slave industry. We're shedding light on that.
And as women, it's a beautiful thing when we're able to go, like, "Oh, yeah, I've been set free. I'm spiritually free." So women are going away with something amazing, like a breakthrough in their own lives, and that's what we've been seeing and hearing.
And then they're able to go and, now, because of that, I want to also come around how we can physically help set people free. And so that's what IJM's part of it is. So, it's this cool marriage, I think, of sort of the interior and exterior freedom being married, and I think that's been a beautiful part of the night that I've loved getting to be a part of.
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