natalyn bachek

Devoted: Serve Others

Left to Right: Ryan Ivey, Jason Miles, Dana Hebert & Natalyn Bachek

Left to Right: Ryan Ivey, Jason Miles, Dana Hebert & Natalyn Bachek

Google says it perfectly. Quoted from Merriam-Webster, of course: “The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.” Hospitality. To be hospitable.

Hopefully if you are reading this, you’ve walked through our doors at Live Oak and experienced our Hospitality Team greeters. Whether rain or shine, a team of bright, shining faces will welcome and open the door for you before our service begins. If you’ve missed us, then chances are you are late 😊 but no need to worry, we’ll catch you at the end of service! The goal of our Hospitality Team is to be the first welcoming face of Live Oak to usher you into our family. Not only will you catch us at the front doors, but behind the coffee bar, helping you find your seat or just generally showing you around the place.

Of course, we have the PERFECT example of hospitality in Jesus Christ. He is and was the end-all, be-all in hospitality and welcoming those around Him. He was friendly and generous to everyone he came across, no matter their beliefs, background or way of life. In Acts 2:42-47 we enter a scene of exuberant excitement for what is going on. When I read these verses, my heart jumps a little and my mind is set at ease. We find a large group of people who are following Jesus and are literally dropping everything they’ve ever worked for to follow this amazing Teacher.

“That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.

Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met.

They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.” – Acts 2:42-47 (The Message).

Can’t you feel the high energy of this group just from these few verses? They are utterly enthralled by their new-found way of life and want to shout it from the rooftops. Recently at Live Oak, we’ve been focusing on a sermon series called “Devoted,” all revolving around this passage of scripture and focusing our gaze on being like this ecstatic group of followers. We want our love for Jesus to ooze from us like it does for these people, not just on Sundays, but every day. To be so consumed with Jesus’ love that it naturally radiates from us and invites others to investigate.

With our hospitality team, this is a way we can naturally serve others and welcome them into our Live Oak family. To share our love for Jesus and people on a regular basis to all who walk through the doors. From that first hand shake to the second cup of hot coffee or an empty chair beside us in service, our mission is to connect and truly create relationships that allow us to do life together and not alone. We really do believe that God made us to do life together and these relationships not only bring us closer together, but closer to Him.

Our hospitality team usually consists of eight to ten people who serve regularly, anywhere from every week to once a month – whatever works in their stage of life. Each Sunday we meet for fifteen minutes to go over the day and pray for the service ahead. From there we go to our spots and prepare to greet people or assist them in finding their way around Live Oak. A natural, organic feeling can be felt when serving on our hospitality team, as if you are just hanging out with friends you haven’t seen all week. A lot of times our team consists of people who serve regularly and many deep relationships start from serving the same day each month with someone else, allowing comfortability and a family atmosphere to form.

We hope that each Sunday we represent a culture that supports a “friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers,” and pray that strangers will cease to exist as soon as you walk into our doors.

Pictured above are a few of our hospitality leaders that are willing to help in any way to make your time at Live Oak as natural and comfortable as possible.


The Interview Series | Sam Marsh

By Natalyn Bachek

sam marsh.jpg

You’ve seen her on stage either wailing away on the drums, playing guitar or singing her heart out leading the praise band. She’s got a powerful musical gift and a heart for ministry, but what is behind that shining, welcoming face?

I had the pleasure of recently having lunch with Samantha “Sam” Marsh, surrounded by the Thanksgiving hustle and bustle of Whole Foods. We scarfed down our ultra-spicy brussel sprouts, of which neither of us could leave a crumb behind, and I got to really take a peek into Sam’s life and see how the Lord has shaped her path and led her right to Live Oak.

Sam was born in England, moved to New Jersey at the age of two then swiftly moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. Sam grew up riding horses, working at a horse barn and ultimately falling in love with music by learning to play the trombone at an early age. 

Sam got accepted to Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, and continued her love of music by being a music major until, in Sam’s own words, “God decided to close a door.” She ended up finding out that a sharp pain in her jaw was not just a quick fix, but after a winding road of doctor’s evaluations and inevitably a surgery, the diagnosis was a broken jaw. This may have stopped many in their tracks, leaving them wondering what to do next, but with Sam, the Lord allowed this instance to mold and shape her. This is where her relationship with the Lord really started to grow and was ultimately the beginning of her relationship with Him.  

From there on out, she switched her major to religion studies and was introduced to an amazing campus ministry at App State called Campus Christian Fellowship. It was there that she began an internship with CCF. After graduation, she accepted an internship with CCF and moved to Missouri to work on the campus of Missouri University of Science and Technology. There Sam led three hundred students (wow!) and a thirty-member worship band regularly, but she missed her “home state,” and moved back to Charlotte to enroll at Gordon Conwell University for Seminary. 

It wasn’t until she was settled in Charlotte that she was offered a full-time position as the Women’s Minister for CCF at a little-known school called UNCW in Wilmington, NC. Although this was a full-time gig, Sam accepted and was able to still remotely complete her seminary schooling on the side (She is still powering through her seminary classes with graduation in the future!). Although a much smaller ministry than the one she previously ran in Missouri, Sam says that this is more her pace, as she leads fifteen UNCW students weekly. This allows for her to individually engage in each of their lives. Most of these students are international students and one of the perks is that Sam is involved with taking them shopping every Friday in the big CCF van. They all load up and head to our local Walmart to get necessities and form relationships off campus.

All in all, CCF and UNCW brought Sam to us at Live Oak through an invitation from her roommate one random Sunday. (THANK YOU FOR BEING THAT VESSEL ROOMMATE!) We are so very thankful the Lord led Sam our way and that her God-given talents can be used to engage more people each week. She is part of a much bigger picture that we only can see a hint of, but we know that God has it all planned out for his glory.

Fun facts about Sam:

- All of her extended family still lives in England

- Loves to skate & longboard

- Self-taught drummer!

How we can pray for Sam:

- Several months ago, Sam tragically lost her mom. Please be praying for healing and peace for her and her family. That she would lean on God daily for strength during this grief process.

- CCF Ministry at UNCW and all the students Sam encounters 

God’s Grace Remains

By Natalyn Bachek 

THE FOLLOWING IS THE FOURTH IN A SERIES OF BLOGS, EACH WRITTEN BY A DIFFERENT MEMBER OF OUR LIVE OAK CHURCH FAMILY.

Kenny and Natalyn Bachek 

Kenny and Natalyn Bachek 

The year was 2013. A warm day, but a cool night. The excitement was felt in the air as if it was almost tangible. I in white, he in gray, and others wore their casual best. With Edison lights swinging in the background, we shared our love publicly and vowed each other our forevers.

Who would have ever thought that those naive twenty-somethings would turn out to be the best love story I could have ever dreamt of or prayed for? I never thought it could happen to me nor did I know something like that existed. You always read about love in a mushy gushy novel (as if this isn’t mushy gushy, I know) and never think about it actually being reality. The nerd that I am considers marriage our own little “club” that only Kenny and I are members of and with our secret handshake and inside jokes, I finally feel like a cool kid at the lunch table.

Insert the sappy love music… I promise I’ll stop.

Walking down the aisle, I knew what we had was special, but I didn’t fully understand it until entering into something so sacred. It was as if a veil was pulled away from my eyes. I finally saw how extremely blessed I was that my husband was the one I was made for and him for me. Not to say that I have ever described marriage as easy, but it has been a privilege to figure it out together.

Needless to say, no one ever sat me down and really given me the details about marriage. The “ins and outs” as you would say. I mean, how could they? Marriage is completely distinctive and varies from couple to couple. What Kenny and I experience can be completely different than the couple sitting beside us on Sunday. What we did find out through premarital counseling and spending time with some really wise people, is that marriage truly has wings when it is centered around God. And we soon learned that the hard way.

When I say the hard way, I mean God graciously nudged us and continued to do so for several years after we made a really big decision without Him. This decision had to do with buying a new house and gutting it to the bones. Those naive twenty-somethings I mentioned earlier, thought they had it all figured out and jumped into something without seeking God first.

Whoops.

It wasn’t until almost three years later of arguments, deadlines, and strained relationships that we started to see a clear view of what went wrong. While sitting in a Live Oak service one Sunday, the series was centered on vision and what a life without vision is like. It was as if all the oxygen had been sucked out of the room and I was the only one that had noticed. That was it: No vision meant no God and that was exactly what we did.

The initial step towards our future should have been with God leading us, not us dragging God behind us on a leash. We truly believe that through prayer and wise counsel, God would have lead us a different way, but oh the amazing journey He has brought us on! Though the renovation may have been the hardest thing we have gone through as a couple, this obstacle has matured us as individuals but also a team. The fact that God’s grace remains at the end of every day and renews every morning, is just enough for us. No matter how far we may stray, we are firm in the belief that He will make all things new according to HIS plan, not ours. Without this rocky time in our lives, we never would have seen it or grasped it in the unique way that we do.

God is just that way though. He is never pushy and always approaches us with a gentle spirit even after we’ve forgotten Him with naive minds. Even after we run from His spirit or His word. Even then. He’s still there.

 

Bio on Kenny & Natalyn Bachek

  • Married for five years

  • Attending Live Oak for six years

  • Have a dog-son named Nash

  • Kenny works in clinical trial research

  • Natalyn is a Dental Hygienist

  • Kenny is a two handicap in golf

  • Natalyn is an avid runner

  • Both are die-hard NC State fans

  • Both love Seinfeld & Friends