The last time Donald Miller, a nationally known Christian author and speaker, visited Davidson College, student Michael Flake introduced him to the audience.
Miller is returning to the Lake Norman area at the end of January, and for one Sunday he'll preach at the church Flake now leads.
"It will be a fun, new rekindling of a relationship there," said Mitch White, pastor of spiritual growth at Lake Forest Church in Huntersville. Flake is the pastor for Lake Forest Church's Davidson campus.
Miller's weekend in North Carolina will coincide with the beginning of Lake Forest Church's annual Hope in a House of Blues, a four-week sermon and music series that addresses hurt, hate, hope and healing.
Miller, author of "Blue Like Jazz" and "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years," will be in town for a leadership conference at Lake Forest, which will train church leaders to make churches a safe place for people to deal with feeling hopeless, White said.
On Jan. 28, Miller will speak during the intermission of a concert by Mike Farris and the Roseland Rhythm Revue, and on Jan. 29 he will speak during the two services at Lake Forest's Davidson campus.
Farris' band will kick off Hope in a House of Blues on Jan. 29 at Lake Forest Church in Huntersville.
White said the church will ask people to not "give up on people who are in hard and difficult places" and to "recalibrate their hearts for those in hopeless places."
"(That theme) has always been a big part of our church," White said. "From the beginning, our church has been wired for those who have given up on church but not given up on God.
"The church tends to sometimes give up on people if they don't have their entire act together, and we believe God just doesn't give up on people."
This will be Lake Forest's fourth annual Hope in a House of Blues, and this year the church is extending the message and follow-up for several months, White said.
Lake Forest will offer counseling, support groups, leadership training and other places for people to receive help and support. "We're trying to get better at caring for those who walk in the door for the first time carrying some pretty heavy blues," White said.
Lake Forest in Huntersville also will be transformed during Hope in a House of Blues, including changes to the church's exterior and parking lot attendants dressing as blues artists.
Tickets for the concert on Jan. 28 are $12 and only available in advance. For information about tickets and Lake Forest Church, visit lakeforest.org.