Strategic Responses to NL Moore Recommendations
Developed November 2019 – Reviewed May 2020
In November of last year, NL Moore presented recommendations, and the Leadership Team provided responses to address each one. There were 12 areas of recommendation and we developed 35 responses, with multiple responses to individual recommendations. Since that time the Leadership Team, consisting of the Elders and Pastors, have been working on implementing the responses. Shortly after our responses were presented further changes occurred with the departure of two of our staff and one elder. Early this year the tragic events that impacted three of our families occurred.
We have seen God’s hand at work during this time, teaching us lessons as a church body and bearing witness of our faith to the community. We have responded as we see the Lord beginning to bring health back to our body and new opportunities in staffing. Progress has slowed somewhat due to the current pandemic, but again the work of God and our ministries continue.
There has been much advancement on many of the recommendations from NL Moore. We have learned a great deal. We hold on to these valuable lessons and we continue to consider how to use the advice provided by the report. The recommendations have driven change and the responses continue to shape our future.
Here is a detailed update on each response that was presented to the congregation back in November. Each response is numbered. At the end of each update, we defined the status as “Addressing”, “In Process” or “Completed”, so you know where we stand. “Addressing” means that we are still discussing or unfolding a plan to address that item. “In Process” means that the plan is defined and is progressing. “Completed” means that the majority of this response has been finished or is in place and continuing. With each category, we intend to continue our reflection and refinement as needed in order that we will continue to learn from our past and become healthier in the future.
We are going to be as brief as we can, while still covering every recommendation we provided. Please bear with us.
Executive summary: We have reviewed our responses again and refined the numbers that were mentioned at the Congregational Meeting in January and May. Out of the 35 specifically defined responses, 23 have been completed and continue, 5 are in process and actively being worked on, and 7 are being discussed/addressed.
We will continue to work through these items and will be extra diligent in communicating progress to the church body. We invite your feedback and trust that we will continue to seek the Lord together as we follow His lead into the next chapter of Northpoint.
NL Moore Recommendation: Place a pause on the Senior Pastor search. It is clear, Northpoint is not yet ready to call their next pastor. The congregation needs to take steps to mend, rebuild trust and prepare for what’s next.
Our Strategic Response:
- We will set aside the Lead Pastor search process for approximately 12-18 months, removing the pause upon improved health of the church as reflected in the NL Moore report.
Update: Even before the November presentation or our responses, the pastor search was put on hold after discussions with NL Moore. Since then much has happened to restore the gracious nature of our fellowship and our striving for unity and brotherly love among believers. In early December, Tony indicated to the Leadership team that, when the time was right, he would like to be considered for the position of Lead Pastor. The Leadership Team also felt that his coming on board would contribute to the continued healing of the church. We still have opportunity for improvement, but we feel that bringing Tony on is our best road forward to restore us to health. He has been part of the church’s life for nearly two years and is fully aware of the issues we face. (Addressing)
- We will keep the search committee intact and they may meet in anticipation of calling a pastor at the appropriate time.
Update: This was completed. The committee has met on multiple occasions and has completed its interview and recommendation of Tony to the Elders as Lead Pastor. Expansion of the search to include an Executive Pastor has been presented to the church for congregational approval. (Completed and in Process)
NL Moore Recommendation: Hire a full-time interim to work with both the staff and the elders. Hire a full-time interim to work alongside Pastor Tony, the staff and elders. Pastor Tony is doing an exceptional job, but Northpoint needs more.
Our Strategic Response:
- We will expand Tony Chute’s role and bring him onto the leadership team to assist with decision making, unity and provide guidance. He will continue to provide pulpit continuity.
Update: Tony’s role was expanded in October to include full participation on the Elder Board and extended staff interactions. While retaining the role of Interim, he has increased his focus and interactions on many levels. The working relationship between Tony and the Leadership Team has been very encouraging. We are working together with purpose and unity, seeking to serve the whole church. While there are several areas still being addressed, the team’s unity and chemistry have been evident in many ways. (Completed)
- We will hire an interim pastor for staff oversight to assist and unify the staff, provide structure, and recommend organizational changes. He will lead the process of corporate conflict resolution by teaching, modeling and interacting with all who need assistance. He will also be part of the leadership team. He will work alongside Tony as a ministry partner.
Update: After hearing of Tony’s openness to become Lead Pastor, we decided that rather than hire another interim to assist staff, we would move toward permanent staffing. Having staff develop connections with another interim person that would not be staying, then connecting to another new person that might come would be detrimental to the staff. Tim East is working directly with staff during this transitional period and the staff are now coordinated and working well, even to the point of functioning successfully offsite during the Stay-at-Home orders. We now see the new staffing model and a permanent Executive Pastor as the best path forward. (Addressing)
- We will hire part time resources for specific duties (TBD) to support staff.
Update: We have begun the process of a Lead Pastor search and have recommended an Executive Pastor search. With staff currently off campus, additional hiring is on hold. (Addressing)
NL Moore Recommendation: Northpoint Church needs to be pastored – Address spiritually unhealthy behaviors and attitudes. Northpoint Church wants to be taught, but it needs to be pastored. People believe they are spiritually and biblically mature, but the evidence of the body-life would suggest otherwise. Northpoint needs an infusion of humility, kindness and love.
Our Strategic Response:
The Leadership Team will strive to:
- Model humility, kindness and a loving desire to work together.
- Lead in the area of repentance by personally and openly confessing our shortfalls, sinfulness or self-centered behaviors.
- Follow the lead of our interim pastor(s) and focus on confession, repentance, forgiveness leading toward restored relationships.
- Effectively communicate with the congregation to hear about and respond to topics that are important to the body at Northpoint.
- Shepherd the congregation to follow our lead as we follow Christ.
Update (6-10): We accept these five points as our ongoing responsibility and goal in all that we do as we work with the congregation and lead our church. The Leadership Team is unified and there is a renewed joy in serving the Lord. Although we will not reach the point where we fully complete these five points, we have embraced them as our specific call from the church as leaders. The Leadership Team strives to model humility and confess our faults, but even with the best of intentions we may fall short of this ideal. We have pledged, therefore, to personally apologize to anyone we let down and we will strive to learn from our mistakes. We will also strive to respond to one another and our church with thoughtfulness and respect. By modeling this behavior we hope to lead by example and strengthen the trust of the congregation.
Communication with the congregation is difficult while we are not on campus, but regular updates have been provided to the congregation. Since December 2019, we have sent 12 email updates to the congregation. We have announced progress on Sunday mornings and replied to numerous individuals via email and phone calls. And yet, we realize the need for increased communications and increased means of communication. We are open to ideas and instruction from the congregation as we seek to improve in this area. (Continuing as an ongoing task)
NL Moore Recommendation: Increase the number of elders and implement term limits. Fresh perspectives and energy are needed within this group.
Our Strategic Response:
- The Leadership Team will expand by adding multiple men to the Elder Board.
Update: This Committee has completed its work and three candidates have been selected. We started with 26 possible men from suggested names the congregation provided. We asked them if they would pray about participating. Some did not see the Lord calling them to this level of ministry, others had commitments that precluded their involvement and others may be considered for our next expansion needs. The 3 candidates are now attending Elder meetings and participating in discussions and conversations at the meetings. We will also continue to develop the process for recognizing and engaging potential elders in the church for future additions. (In Process)
- We will expedite the process in vetting Elders.
Update: We have compressed a process that usually takes 9 months and is being expedited as we move forward. (In Process)
- We will initiate a process of Elder rotations subject to congregational approval.
Update: When the Elder Board has additional men added, we will finalize the rotation process. (In Process)
NL Moore Recommendation: Pray. When one part of the Body of Christ is hurting, the others need to come to its aid (Phil 2:4). Sharing our burdens (Gal. 6:2) and encouraging one another (Heb. 3:3; 1 Thess. 5:11) is God’s way.
Our Strategic Response:
- The Leadership Team will prioritize prayer individually and corporately
- We will establish regular prayer reminders for the congregation
- We will engage in regular corporate prayer events
- We will encourage Home Groups to be in prayer
- We will encourage Ministry Leaders to incorporate more prayer
- The Leadership Team will remain teachable, open and accessible to the people, actively serving and participating with them in key ministries of the church.
Update (14-19): We continue to encourage our congregation, ministries, home groups, and individuals to be in prayer, submit prayer requests and to hold our community and world in prayer. There are many ways to stay connected. Go to https://northpointcorona.org/ministries/prayer/ and find a list, plus the regular Prayer Life posts by our Prayer Team. (Completed – and continuing)
The Elders and Pastors stay connected via emails to Elders@northpointcorona.org, Leadership@northpointcorona.org and individual emails as needed. We are also involved in many ministries of the church, have defined elder/ministry connection points, and hold weekly meetings with ministry staff. (Completed – and continuing)
NL Moore Recommendation: Pursue conflict resolution, including equipping for leadership in conflict resolution, decision-making and healthy communication. Church leaders need help. Also, they must learn how to resolve conflict with one another and engage difficult conversations in healthy ways so Northpoint can move toward greater peace. Congregants much also intentionally engage these resources so they are ready to welcome a healthy leader when the time is right.
- We will initiate Elder training from outside sources to equip us for leadership of a church our size.
Update: The EFCA has provided training in Elder processes and recommended a few items. We have incorporated these items as well as the NL Moore recommendations. (Completed)
21+22. The Congregation will be taught on topics related to one-anothering, unity, deference, graciousness and conflict resolution. This will come from the pulpit (21) and in special classes and sessions (TBD).
Update: Tony and others have incorporated biblical focuses that remind us and encourage us to gracious living and Christian character. Tony has also contacted several pastors and professors who have agreed to provide conflict resolution sessions for the Leadership Team and the congregation. There have not been any scheduled classes or sessions due to the tragedies and the pandemic. After we return to campus activities, and as the speakers’ schedules permit, we will have classes and sessions to address these issues. (Addressing)
- Growth Groups will be taught and encouraged to grow in these areas.
Update: Our Growth Group leaders have done a wonderful job of encouraging our people to love and good deeds. Many continue to meet even when it is only virtual. (In Process)
NL Moore Recommendation: Do not reinstate the choir. It will not resolve conflict, as it is not the root issue. The root issue is the bitterness that has taken hold in Northpoint because of how previous decisions have been made and implemented. For now, it is best to incorporate choral music only for special services such as Christmas 2020 or beyond.
- We will work with the entire congregation, at all levels, who have unresolved conflict, lack of trust and may have descended into bitterness.
- As we move forward as a congregation our prayer is that each member of the body would join us in pursuing healthy God-honoring relationships with one another.
- We will not reinstate the choir. We will revisit this topic after we are once again healthy.
Update: Since the NL Moore report was given, we experienced a vacancy in the position of Worship Director. We have since stabilized the Worship Ministries under Steve Dahlgren. His leadership is renewing our love of worship and music and unifying our focus. We will continue to address any issues of unresolved conflict as needed. (Completed – and continuing)
NL Moore Recommendation: Improve communication. Northpoint leadership must establish new patterns of transparent, authentic, two-way communication. This includes sharing faith-stories that encourage people about the good things that are happening within the body. Encourage everyone to use the T.H.I.N.K acronym when speaking in any setting: Is it Truthful? Is it Helpful? Is it Inspiring? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind?
- The Leadership Team will dedicate themselves to full transparency tempered by confidentiality
Update: We continue to invite conversations and bring clarity to where we are and where we are heading. We will increase written communication in order to keep the church informed. The Elders and Pastors are also available to anyone who wishes to talk and we also invite NP members to assist us in this endeavor by suggesting ways in which communication can continue to improve. (Completed and continuing)
- We will establish quarterly guided focus group meetings
Update: We had our last face to face congregational meeting in February and completed a virtual meeting this past Sunday. We are researching ways to stay connected even if we cannot meet on campus. (In Process)
- We will share uplifting stories more often
Update: You hear these from the pulpit as Tony and others bring encouraging stories from our body. Church events, groups, ministries and individual members will continue to be recognized and celebrated during our services, sermons and newsletters. (Completed and continuing)
- We will communicate our desire and hope for the future – rooted in where God is leading
Update: As you hear the Elders and Pastors communicate, you hear us talking about the future with great hope in the Lord. As we follow His lead, we expect to soon be back on campus and renew our efforts to extend the love of Christ to our community and beyond. We are seeing the Lord move us toward filling our staff needs, revitalize worship and reach people via live streaming than we never could on campus. We are eager to continue where the Lord is focusing our congregation.
NL Moore Recommendation: Clarify the vision. Once conflict resolution has occurred, and prior to the search and selection of a new pastor, it is essential that church leadership work with an interim to clarify the vision of the church. Then the church can call a pastor into the flow of where the church feels God is calling it. This clarity will help all ministries to align in the same direction too.
- When the time is right, we will review and clarify our Philosophy of Preaching and Teaching, Constitution and Philosophy of Worship.
Update: We have begun the review of these documents and have found that, while they may require clarifications on some items, the general direction will remain in place. Tony Chute and Steve Dahlgren have demonstrated a deep connection with our existing philosophy of preaching and worship, which has been very encouraging to the body. As we bring on additional staff, we will again look at what the Lord might do with a new blend of talents and gifts and review our focus for refinement. (Addressing)
NL Moore Recommendation: Create a before and after moment. The resurrection power of Jesus needs to fill the hearts and minds of the people to overcome the hurts and disappointments of this recent season. Once conflicts have been addressed, and when the time is right, Northpoint will benefit from an intentional, prayer-filled gathering to lay down all past grievances at the foot of the cross and agree together to turn the page.
- We will follow the lead of Tony and the Interim Pastor in defining congregational events focused on restoration and renewal.
Update: Tony has gently led the congregation through a time of prayerful contemplation of our individual roles, approaches and communication tone from the pulpit. We have received testimonies of repentance and renewal on many levels, yet we realize that we still have room to grow together. (Completed and continuing)
- We will look to the future and not dwell on the past and encourage the congregation to follow.
Update: As we turn our attention to what the Lord is going to do through our people as we keep our eyes on Him. We strive to uncover the will of God for our congregation and encourage each of you to look to the Lord for where He might be calling you. (Completed and continuing)
NL Moore Recommendation: Don’t rush the process. Healing, unity, trust, transparency, kindness, love. All these things take time.
- We understand that healing takes time. We are praying that through God’s help and our desire to repent and heal, we can and will make progress, but only through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Update: We feel that the Lord has granted progress in this area, yet it is not always possible to measure where individuals are in this process. There will always be an ongoing need to stay vigilant and to constantly take a stance of repentance, driven by love for Christ and followed obedience. As we all seek to “one-another” those around us, we will continue to see healing over time. (Addressing)
- This may take 12-18 months before we are healthy enough to reinstate a pastor search process.
Update: This recommendation was made prior to the departure of two staff members and one elder and before any consideration of Tony as Lead Pastor. Since Tony is open to being considered and is familiar with the issues we face, it is no longer desirable by the leadership that we would wait 12-18 months to call a Lead Pastor. Tony has offered to come aboard with full awareness of our past and is fully committed to our healing. We also strongly believe that bringing Tony aboard permanently will help expedite our efforts. (Addressing)
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21