Churches celebrating their first anniversary don’t usually send out an announcement that includes the word, “naked.”
Pine Ridge Church in Graham marked its first year by beginning a teaching series called, “Naked Truth.” Lead pastor Tadd Grandstaff said the congregation wanted to let the community know who they are.
“It’s time for the church to get real,” he said.
Churches need to “stop playing games” and “genuinely start caring for people,” Grandstaff said.
Pine Ridge seeks to do “whatever it takes by whatever means necessary to reach people that are far from Christ, ” he said. He doesn’t mind if it’s a little controversial.
The “Naked Truth” series included messages called “Stripped Down” and “Bare it All.”
“We do a lot of series like that to catch people’s attention,” he said. “We’re OK with it being a shock value kind of thing.”
Grandstaff, who was interviewed by NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw last year for a piece on young evangelicals, has helped plant four other churches, but this is his first as lead pastor. More than 500 people attended the first anniversary festivities.
Pine Ridge isn’t trying to attract people who already go to church, according to Grandstaff. In fact, the congregation deliberately tries to reach those who don’t go to church.
It’s working. About 70 percent of those attending Pine Ridge have either never attended church or haven’t been in the past five years.
Music at the church is “edgy rock,” Grandstaff said. When asked about a photo on the church web site that appears to be from a rock concert, he laughed and said, “No, that’s every Sunday.”
The band plays songs that those attending might hear on the radio. The music and video clips tie in with the point of the sermon, Grandstaff said.
“We do a lot of mainstream stuff,” he said. “I’m not saying it’s the only way, but for us it works.”
Pine Ridge also uses MySpace and Facebook as outreach tools. The sermons are podcast, and the church has a new “Internet campus.”
Grandstaff also writes a blog, where he shares personal stories and information about the church.
In a recent post about the first anniversary he said that the day far exceeded any of his expectations.
“God literally rocked my world today, and I think we all caught a glimpse of what God is doing in and through Pine Ridge Church,” he wrote. “I believe today was just a small glimpse of what God has planned for us!”