So the question is, “how do we impact the world from Panama City, Panama City Beach, Callaway and Pensacola?”

The Coca-Cola Company operates in more than 200 countries and markets more than 500 brands and 3,500 beverage products. The Coca-cola Annual Report describes the company as a “global business that operates on a local scale in every community where we do business. We are able to create a global reach with local resources because of the strength of the Coca-Cola system which comprises our company and our bottling partners.”

No, I am not a spokesperson for Coca-Cola nor am I recommending that you invest in some Coke stock. I could make the same point using any number of multinational companies. Here’s the point: Not one of the bottling companies can impact the entire world by itself. But when they are working in connection with all the other bottlers, with the systems and processes of the total company, they can impact the entire world.

You probably can guess where I am going with this. There are 3.7 million Christian worship centers, churches or congregations in the world. Globally, there are millions of Christians who form part of the worldwide Church. Even China Petro-Chemical, the largest corporation in the world with a labor force of around 1,190,000 employees, is still at least a thousand times smaller than the global movement of God. What is exciting is that this global body has local churches in virtually every nation on earth made up of individuals who meet regularly for worship and to encourage each other to live out their faith. A major asset of the Christian faith is the capacity to mobilize millions of volunteers who come with diverse expertise and have an intimate knowledge of their communities. No company on earth can match that reach or marketing ability. And it isn’t even close.

At Northstar we are part of the global movement of God and as such participate in the the integral mission of Christianity to “be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)  Local churches know the needs of their communities, and this is why we believe the church is such a vital agent of change.

The Northstar leadership has spent a lot of time in prayer and discussion trying to figure out how the pieces of the puzzle might fit together to reveal the bigger picture of God’s will for our church. It has become increasingly apparent that we cannot remain the church that we were just several years ago. The bigger picture prohibits that. We may have to do something new if we are to be faithful to God’s mission and purpose for our church. We are coming to terms with the fact that we need to think outside the geographical boundaries of the Panhandle. What or when this will unfold is yet to be determined. As it does, the church leadership is in constant prayer for God’s will for our church. And at the same time, we are imagining our future.

Continued in part 3