From the beginning of the formation of this church, God moved a group of people to join together who saw a great need to offer this community a Bible based, Christ-centered, non-denominational local church.
It was the heart of the people to worship God, mature in Christlikeness and to reach out into the unchurched community with the life-changing gospel of Christ.
In accomplishing this goal, it was imperative that creative freedom be encouraged in the light of God’s Word – not bondage to forms, structure, methods (cultural, denominational, or traditional) which would restrict maximum development and outreach.
The Calling of a Pastor
A call was extended to Ben Blackiston as a result of prayer and interaction. Ben and Nancy spent a week at Navigator headquarters in Colorado Springs counseling with Church Discipleship staff and looking to the Lord in the Word and prayer. By the end of that week, the decision became clear to Ben and Nancy to accept the responsibility at Northland Community Church and become NCC’s first pastor. Ben’s background with the Navigators and his training, vision and gifting well suited him to serve in this position.
On Sunday, June 23, 1991, we had our first service at the Country Kitchen – Lake City. One hundred thirty-seven attended and it was evident that we needed to move to a larger facility. McBain Public School was available to rent. The following Sunday, June 30, we had our worship service in the multi-purpose room and 144 people attended. We continued to meet at the school through December 1st, 1996.
Shortly in that same year an Office was set-up, sound equipment was purchased, an application for non-profit status was filed, a leadership team was established, work on a constitution was initiated, a membership class was started, and both treasurer and secretary positions were established.
1992 witnessed the official acceptance of our charter members. The constitution continued to be completed along with job descriptions for various church offices. The constitution was officially adopted on July 19, 1992. July of that same year saw the Church purchase land in its present location. In August, the new blessing of land was officially dedicated to Christ and celebrated with a pig roast and the launch of a building committee.
By the end of the summer 1993 a rough land excavation had been completed, a pavilion built, and services were being held in the new pavilion.
In June 1994 the finance committee held a pledge drive and laid out a 5 year giving plan. Forty-one pledges kicked off the drive. By fall of 1994 NCC was in talks with architects and the design of our first building was being completed. We received legal recognition as a church in November 1994.
An auction / fund-raiser was held to kick off the building fund which brought in $12,784.00. The new 8,000+ square foot building would cost in excess of $300,000.00. Prayerfully, NCC moved forward to borrow what was needed to complete the building and contractors were hired.
Robert Cole, Inc. broke ground on the new facility in May 1996. By November the parking lot had been paved and the Church held its first worship service in the new facility on December 8, 1996 with a dedication service that laid out a Vision for the future on December 15.
Life Brings Changes
1998 witnessed more changes for NCC that would chart her course for many years. Pastor Ben accepted a call to Berrien Springs, Michigan which necessitated that we begin seeking God’s will for a new pastor. After much prayerful consideration, the Lord led Randy Jenkins to become NCC’s next pastor. Pastor Randy was officially installed on December 6, 1998. This same year, the ball diamond and backstop, volleyball court, children’s playground, and prayer garden were all constructed. The Church also purchased and installed a sign near the road. We commissioned the Pattons as our missionaries to Spain this same year.
Over the next several years many changes came to NCC. The old pavilion was re-constructed into a youth center. The Church hired both church custodians and a secretary. Lord supplied the Church with more land from an anonymous donor which positioned NCC to be a gospel force unmatched in the greater community. NCC began its commitment to missions and has seen many lives impacted both at home and abroad with the gospel of Jesus Christ through its support of quality missionaries and its personal engagement in both foreign and domestic gospel endeavors.
Having been challenged by Pastor Randy to become debt free, the congregation faithfully and sacrificially gave toward that goal. NCC paid off its mortgage and become completely debt free by December 2010.
The Next Phase of Life
After more than 15 years of faithful leadership at NCC, Pastor Randy transitioned into a new phase of life and ministry; entering the full-time interim pastor ministry. This brought the opportunity for a new phase of life to NCC as well. Much prayer and seeking God’s leading brought NCC to call Dr. David Smith to become NCC’s next pastor. Pastor Dave, his wife Heather, and their children began their ministry at NCC on January 25, 2015.
Throughout our history, God has proven Himself faithful as we’ve trusted Him to lead and provide. From the outset it was clear why NCC needed to exist – to bring people to Jesus through the faithful proclamation of the gospel. This need and mission has not waned at NCC. It’s still what drives us and gives us vision and purpose.
As we move forward in this next phase of life, we are committed to continue to live by faith and follow the Spirit’s leading. We will be challenged to see disciples made and grown in an era and social climate with unsurpassed difficulty, but with one of the richest opportunities for the success of the gospel Christianity has ever seen. Our commitment to creative freedom in the light of God’s Word affords NCC the flexibility to meet the challenges of the coming years with the ability to minister the truth through variety without compromise.