The session was blessed with helpful guidance during the planning phrase. Elder Bill Johnson, a renowned landscape architect led us in thinking about the use of our land and the impact of construction on the environment, our neighbors and community. Then, architect Charlie Wenzlau translated our mission priorities and financial limitations into a beautiful and efficient design.
With a plan in hand, we launched a capital campaign, New Horizons, with the assistance of the Generis stewardship ministry. The congregation was pleased with the vision and the response exceeded our hopes. With over $1,000,000 pledged, we felt we could move forward.
The planning phase went very well. The congregation followed through on their pledges and we were finally issued a building permit. But two challenges to our faith immediately followed. Our general contractor, Mike Stimac was diagnosed with a serious melanoma cancer, and the banking crisis hit—no banks were making construction loans! It seemed as if God were telling us, “Not now.” But, within the year Mike was given a clean bill of health and a newly chartered local bank with money to lend told us they were interested in our project. However, with two years left on the capital pledge period, they asked for more money up front. So we raised an additional $500,000 by selling debentures (promissory notes) with a better than average rate of interest. The bank was pleased and construction began in the Spring of 2010.
During this past year the congregation has been faithful in prayer, giving, and leadership. We deepened our life together and grew in ministry even as we watched the construction progress. When the project was completed, we rejoiced that it had been finished ahead of schedule and under budget!
We had been hearing from the community that many were interested in attending North Point when our building was completed, but it was hard to know whether this was polite conversation or genuine interest. Yet we sensed that God was doing something special. On our grand opening Sunday, we saw it—over 340 people were present. Every seat was taken, the nursery full to overflowing, and the children’s ministry classrooms were packed.
We are so grateful to God for what He is doing, and deeply desire to be faithful to what he is entrusting to us. From the beginning, when North Point was an idea in our hearts, we have said that we believe that the Church exists for others and not just for ourselves. We have pledged to one another that we will use what God enables us to build as a platform for serving the people he loves, both locally and beyond. To that end, we are stepping up our commitment to service.
Locally, we provide lunches for high school students during the fall and spring. We prepare great lunches on designated weeks for students to enjoy as a way of telling them that they matter to us. On a typical “Jesus Food” Monday, about 250 students walk across the street for food and conversation. Starting this fall, we are becoming a job site for the Life Skills class of special needs kids at the High School. We are also the distribution center for weekend lunches, school supplies and Christmas gifts for low income
families through our partnership with our local food bank. We also put together an annual “Big Band Christmas” concert and dance as a fundraiser for the food bank. Most recently, we began a ministry for homeless women who live in cars, providing comforters and personal hygiene items.
Internationally, we have committed support to Oasis India an organization which ministers to women and child victims of sexual trafficking in Bangalore. We visit Oasis every other year for on-site evaluation and encouragement, and raise funds through art auctions and personal gifts in support of their work. Currently, we are establishing a sister church covenant with two South African congregations for mutual support and encouragement. We hope to contribute to the post-apartheid efforts at racial reconciliation and support the ministry of these two dynamic churches and their outreach to the poor, children, and victims of HIV/Aids. The pastors of these congregations visited us this summer, and we signed a formal covenant of mutual support on Sunday, July 10th.
In addition to our South African and Indian missions, we support a member of our congregation, Beth Roadarmel, who is doing geriatric medical missionary work in Thailand.
In conclusion, we need to say that we are aware that North Point has prospered because God wanted it to happen. We give Him the glory, and commit ourselves to do the hard work of love and service that constitute something of what Jesus means when he calls us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him.