“I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.” – Ezekiel 34:26

When I look back at 2012, I am amazed at what God has done at Northstar. When people ask me what our secret is I simply say, “We can’t explain it. We don’t try to explain it. We just pray that God will keep us from getting in the way of what he’s up to.” We believe what God is up to is calling us to create new campuses over the next few years, allowing people to have an interwoven body of Christ experience in their own neck of the woods. People will be able to worship in and serve the communities where they work, play and live. But with every new campus, there are staffing, resource and logistics changes we have to make to get better. And those changes don’t end when the doors open.

As you know, we have East Bay up and running and we are poised to open our beach campus at Surfside Middle School in February. We use the same Sunday morning environments at our new campuses with live worship, drama, and announcements. The messages are simulcast to each campus.  No matter how many campuses we open or where they are located, our mission will be to help the whole world find and follow Jesus Christ. That’s not just a slogan on our wall. We have measured our success by that standard from the beginning. If we ever stop hearing stories of life change, I guarantee we will stop what we are doing and rethink our vision for the future, no matter how many people are attending.

Having multiple campuses has changed the way we look at staffing. Especially when you consider the ongoing need for church leaders. So one of our goals is to give people the experience and training they need to fill those roles in the future.  To that end, we made the decision to make some staff changes. These changes were announced in last Sunday’s service at East Bay. If you were not there or have not heard, here’s a quick recap.

First, Ray Woodard and Sam Brown are moving onto new responsibilities after successfully launching and building East Bay. They have been there since we flipped the light switch on at Rutherford High School.  We thought their experience would help us as we open up new locations. We also are interested in giving as many people possible the broad experience of being a campus pastor in order to fill the roles we envision in the future. Ray will aid us in the Beach opening and Sam will work in arts at the Panama City campus. I can’t let this opportunity go by without thanking them. When we first launched East Bay, it was the tireless efforts of Ray and Sam and volunteers that made it hum. East Bay would not be where it is today without the contributions of both these guys. With the foundation in place they created, we expect East Bay to continue making progress in our mission of helping people find and follow Jesus.

While seeing Ray and Sam move on is bittersweet for the people of East Bay, we have no doubt that every campus is going to benefit. The leadership team of Northstar could not be more thrilled to make the announcement that our own Adam Carter will be taking on a dual role as your new Campus Pastor and Arts Pastor at East Bay. For those who don’t know Adam, he has been on the staff for years and is instrumental in leading our worship environments.  Adam has been wrestling for some time about what God has next for his life and when we approached him about the opportunity to lead a campus in his home community, he nearly jumped out of his shoes. I ask that you give Adam a very warm welcome, your love and your support.

We know how much responsibility it is for one person to carry and that is why there is now additional staff at East Bay. Dan Chaplik will be joining East Bay as your Associate Campus Pastor. Dan grew up here and has been at Northstar for years. Dan and his wife Kristi volunteer as small group leaders and youth leaders. Dan has a lot of ministry experience serving in the past as a youth pastor and pastor. Also there is the addition of Kim Griglen as the Kids Director at East Bay. Kim has been faithfully dedicated to serving. She and her husband were baptized at East Bay and a direct result of the life change happening at this campus.

Which brings me to our Bold Love Initative and our people. Thank you. Your Bold Love giving is set to have a big impact on our campuses. It is one of the major components in making things like this possible. I can’t wait to will communicate more on Bold Love as we progress into the year.