Creating effective church environments and a church culture doesn’t happen by accident. In fact, if somebody walked into Northstar and asked several people “Why do you do that?” (that being any of our programs or environments at Northstar) we would probably give any number of answers or reasons as to what makes Northstar Northstar. I would bet that one of those answers would be, “That’s just the way we do things around here.” Our culture in the simplest terms is “the way we do things around here.”
There is one answer we would all agree on. Our success is the result of God’s grace. God’s grace through Jesus Christ is our bedrock and power supply for every ministry at Northstar. His secure love enables us to be His conduit to love others without fear. I have been accused of being melodramatic, but I sense the intensity of God’s presence on Sundays. I don’t know how to adequately describe it and I don’t know how to “make” it happen. I don’t even know how to explain it theologically. What I do know is: It happens and I praise God for his faithfulness to Northstar. Jeremiah said, ““Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.” – Jeremiah 9:23-24.
Northstar is where it is because of God, but it would be unfair not to mention that we are blessed to have an amazing staff at Northstar Church who commit their time and energy to build and coordinate teams of volunteers who carry out our ministries in all three campuses. Get to know them, they play a huge role in the cool stuff taking place in the life of our church. And I would be amiss not to mention the significant contributions of the members and regular attenders of Northstar.
Ok, by now you are wondering where I am going with this. Those of you who know me understand I place a high value on developing a vision for our church and implementing that vision. My reasons are simple. I believe we always need to be more proactive – than reactive. That’s one of the reasons that we initiated the Bold Love initiative. We are preparing for our future and rightfully so. I believe a proactive church trusts God to move – not bail us out. I believe a proactive church creates plans and then prepares and looks forward instead of living in the present. I also know that regardless of how great things are now, this moment will pass. The successes created today will soon fade and don’t necessarily indicate future success.
Since we opened our doors, we have been committed to carrying on Christ’s mission by reaching out to those who are far from God, coaching those who follow Christ by equipping them for their spiritual journey, and trying hard as we can to mirror God’s love to all those we come in contact with.
As we move forward in our vision to impact the city, region and world for Jesus Christ, we want to be more than just a series of satellite locations. We want to move out from these locations and into the streets and serve the greater needs of the communities surrounding each of our locations. One of our core beliefs is that people matter to God. As a result, they matter to us because Jesus Christ came to earth to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). But, Jesus went beyond a mere rescue mission; he transformed lives. Jesus came to redeem this broken world, and that is our mission.
The larger we become, the larger the role of the congregation in connecting with our communities and fulfilling our vision to help the world know and follow Jesus. As we grow, we need people who are members or regular attenders of Northstar to understand our vision and culture and connect to the communities we serve. That’s what happens when we bring ourselves, when we bring the church to an onlooking world that is desperate to hear and experience something unique – the possibility of God with them.
Jeremiah 29:7 says,“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Where is your church going in the next five years? What will it look like in ten years? If nothing changes, will we still be as equipped to reach the community around us? We have a singular opportunity before us, and an even greater responsibility, to prepare for the future.
Over the next few blog posts, I will talk about the future of Northstar and your role in that future.