Why the name “Nehemiah Restoration Fellowship”?
The reference to Nehemiah and restoration is seen in the Biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah. During this time, the Torah (Law) was restored to the peoples’ knowledge (Nehemiah 8:1-12), and they rebuilt the city and Temple of God. It has been many years since then, and the modern Church has in many ways forgotten about the importance of the Torah for God’s people today. Similarly, many in this very movement have also forgotten or walked away from the most important central pillar of the faith: Messiah Yeshua. At NRF, we want to see balance restored among God’s people, with a love for Yeshua, and a heart that seeks to live a holy lifestyle as defined by the entirety of God’s word.
Do you believe in the Sacred Name of God?
We believe and affirm that God has a personal name: יהוה. This is the name He revealed to Moses (Exodus 3:15-16) and spoke to the prophets. However, we admit that the pronunciation of the divine name (also called the tetragrammaton, from the Greek meaning “having four letters”) has been much disputed. Among our members people are encouraged to use – or not use – whatever name or title they know Him by. Some may say Adonai, others Lord, others HaShem, and yet still others may employ various pronunciations of the name. We do not endorse a single pronunciation or title above others. We do not seek to censor this but understand that is between the worshiper and The Almighty Himself. We are not sacred namers who claim that a person must pronounce the Divine name a certain way to be saved.
What do you believe theologically at NRF?
Please see our Statement of Faith page to review our theological positions that we consider vital. Beyond these, we encourage discussion and interaction, but try to remain ecumenical about most issues.
What should I expect at a service?
Please see our Visiting page.
How should I dress for services?
While we do not have a dress code, we ask that everyone (men, women, and children) dress appropriately for the Sabbath day, and for a time of assembling before our Creator in worship. For men, this may mean a suit and tie, khakis and a polo, or something else. For women, it may mean a dress, or blue jeans and a blouse, or something else. We want all the families that gather with us to feel comfortable and respected.
What is your policy about swimwear for Sukkot, mikveh services, or other events that take place around/in a body of water?
To put it plainly, the bathing suit attire for corporate gatherings and events can best be summed up in the phrase: no showing of ta-tas, tummies, or tushies (this applies to all men and women above age 4). Swimwear that fits this description is acceptable for corporate gatherings. This policy is established in order to encourage a comfortable and respectable environment for all attendees and guests. You are free to make other such judgments for yourself for any activities not hosted as part of an official corporate gathering.
What do I need to bring to attend a service?
You don’t have to bring anything at all. However, we do encourage bringing a Bible, since our teachings are based on Scripture. Also, if you plan to stay and eat with us during oneg, we encourage people to bring a Biblically-clean dish to share.
Where do my children go if I attend a service?
That’s up to you. We dismiss the children from the main service after they receive their blessing, just prior to the sermon (the last portion of our service). If they are between the ages of 2 and 10, we have a nursery room where they can hear a Bible story and engage with interactive activities and crafts. While we offer this option, you are certainly welcome to keep your children with you in the main service.
Is there a separate room for nursing mothers? What about open breastfeeding?
Nursing mothers may use the nursery if they wish. If they prefer to stay in the main sanctuary, we ask only that they use a nursing cover. It is not our policy to dictate how someone views open breastfeeding. However, for the sake of everyone - nursing mothers and other members alike - we want to foster an environment of mutual respect and comfort.
Is NRF for Jewish people only?
NRF is a community where Jew and Gentile are as one (Romans 10:12), and both are equally welcome. Most of the congregation has no bloodline Jewish lineage to speak of, but nevertheless we come together to profess our love and loyalty to our Jewish Messiah, Yeshua.
Is NRF a Church or a Synagogue?
Yes. Our service will likely resemble a synagogue service a bit more, in that we have Hebrew and English liturgical prayers, Torah Portion study, and oneg after service. That being said, the overall flow of the service, incorporating praise and worship music and a time for prayer requests and praises, is also similar to many Church services.
What NRF’s position on speaking in tongues?
As a community, we encourage people to come to their own conclusions from their own studies. We try to be open to people having varying views of many different issues, this being one of them. As a policy, we do not forbid someone who claims to have the gift of tongues. However, as the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:40, all things must be done in order. If another tongue is spoken in, its interpretation must also be given, or else it is inappropriate. Additionally, the freedom to address the entire congregation is reserved for NRF members.
Does NRF have membership? How do I become a member?
Indeed, we do. Once every quarter we have a 3-week class on Shabbat after oneg, with each session lasting roughly 90 minutes. The first week we will walk you through our Statement of Faith in more detail. The second week we cover the material explained and taught during our Foundations of our Faith series. The third and final week covers what membership means, and what the Biblical foundation for it is. In week 3 we discuss what we expect from our members in terms of participation in Shabbat and on the Feasts, as well as what members can expect from NRF and its leaders. There will be ample time in each session for all manner of questions and responses. It is a great time for new prospective members to get to know leadership, as well as the leaders to get to know them.
No one is required to go through the process of membership to attend NRF, however we do encourage it for anyone who decides to make NRF their home congregation. It is not a matter of control, as NRF leaders are servants of the congregation who do not “lord it over” the members. We do this as a means of recognizing those who voluntarily submit to leadership, and one unto another in the congregation. Membership helps us maintain order in our service, as the Apostle Paul said, “Let all things be done in order.” (1 Cor. 14:40) It also helps to ensure that working and assisting the congregation in an official capacity (worship team, kid’s class teacher, etc.) are well-known and endorsed in that role by the congregation.
Membership is required for the following activities:
· Being added to the congregational directory
· Direct addresses to the congregation
· Serving as deacon or elder (overseership)
· Playing with the praise and worship team
· Participating in the Torah service and/or processional
· Participating in one of our mikveh (immersion) services. This does not mean we consider someone’s immersion (baptism) to be improper if they are not members. We merely want to maintain integrity in only publicly affirming the life and worship and practice of those that we have gotten to know well.
If you would like to apply for membership, be sure to ask a member of our leadership team.
Is NRF a 501c(3) Organization?
NRF is officially incorporated in the State of Tennessee as an organization. In addition to this, we are in the final stage of having our application approved by the IRS to become a 501c(3) tax-exempt charitable organization. We believe this will be completed no later than February, 2022.
Doesn't being a 501c(3) mean NRF is prohibited from preaching on certain topics?
This seems to be one of the primary misunderstandings by people regarding the 501c code. For a list of the various 501c types of organizations, click here. For a more in-depth look specifically at 501c(3) rules, click here.
In short, NRF being a 501c(3) means:
- The goal of the organization must not be to make money for any private interests such as the founders or their families.
- All the funds received must be used to accomplish the mission of the organization.
- The organization must remain true to its founding purpose.
- Finance reports must be made available to the public including all expenses and any salaries.
- The organization is forbidden from using its activities and funds to influence legislation, including making donations to political campaigns.
None of this is an issue, as NRF intends to use all funds for support of the local congregation and ministry efforts. There is no need to make donations from the congregational account to political candidates.
The benefit to such an arrangement means that donations made to NRF are not taxed by the IRS, so that the full amount donated can be used for ministry. Additionally, donations made to 501c(3) organizations are themselves tax deductible.
The common misunderstanding with a 501c(3) is that Pastors or Rabbis are prohibited from preaching on political or social (read: moral) issues. This is untrue. The organization itself cannot be utilized by special interest groups to advance the cause of a politician or political agenda. There is no language in the 501c(3) code that would stifle a Pastor/Rabbi from preaching the Word of God.
We are aware there are a number of terms that you may not be familiar with if you're not used to a Messianic Jewish service. So we have provided the following glossary to hopefully explain many - if not most - of the terms you will encounter at our service.
Adonai - A special form of the Hebrew word adon, meaning "Lord" or "Master." Adonai is used exclusively to refer to God.
Bimah - The raised platform at the front of the sanctuary and/or the table from which the Torah scroll is read.
B'rit Chadashah - Hebrew for "New Covenant." Most often used in reference to the New Testament (Apostolic) Scriptures. Includes the 27 books of the Protestant canon: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, Ya’aqov (James), 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2, & 3 John, Jude, and Revelation.
Challah - Traditional braided bread enjoyed on Shabbat and used during kiddush.
Elohim - Hebrew word for "God."
Elyon - Hebrew word for "Most High."
Haf'Tarah - The weekly readings from the Prophets of the Tanakh as it relates to the Torah portion. (Note: Some have confusedly referred to this as Half Torah; that is not correct).
Ketuvim – Hebrew word meaning “writings.” Most often used in reference to the writings of the Tanakh, which include: Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1 & 2 Chronicles.
Kiddush & Motzi - Special blessings for joy and sustenance pronounced over wine and bread at the end of service (just prior to the beginning of oneg). [Note: See also the Blessings page for most of the blessings we recite weekly, so as to practice them yourself]
Mashiach – Hebrew word meaning “anointed one” or “Messiah.” Commonly used in lieu of the Greek “Christ” as the title of Yeshua. (eg. Yeshua Ha’Mashaich or Yeshua Messiah, instead of Jesus Christ).
Mikveh – Commonly used by people to mean “Baptism” though a mikveh is actually the place (river, stream, immersion pool, etc.) where a Baptism (“tevilah”) takes place.
Nevi’im – Hebrew word meaning “prophets.” Most often used in reference to the books of the prophets of the Tanakh: Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. The largest single division of books in the entirety of Scripture.
Oneg – A word meaning “delight,” oneg is a fellowship meal (think potluck) shared after services have concluded on Shabbat.
Parashah | Parsha – Weekly reading from the Torah, aka the Torah Portion.
Ruach Ha’Qodesh – Hebrew for “The Holy Spirit.”
Shabbat – Sabbath. Refers to the weekly Sabbath (which begins at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday), as well as annual Sabbaths like Shavuot, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot (among others).
Shalom – Hebrew for “peace,” “wholeness,” or “completeness.” Also used as a salutation (Hello, Goodbye). Commonly used in the phrase “Shabbat shalom” (sabbath peace) when greeting others on Shabbat.
Shofar – A ram’s horn, typically blown on Shabbat to call service to order. Also used for the shofar service on Yom Teruah / Rosh Hashanah (Day of Trumpets).
Tanakh – A Hebrew acronym, from the three letters ת-נ-ך T-N-Kh (tav-nun-khaf). These stand for Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim, respectively. The word Tanakh is most often used in all places where one would commonly say “Old Testament.”
Tevilah – Hebrew for immersion, or “baptism” as it pertains to the initial rite of water immersion after a proclamation of faith.
Torah – Hebrew word meaning “law” or “instruction.” Most often used in reference to the first five books of Scripture: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. (Aka The Law of Moses).
Yeshua – The Hebrew name of Jesus.