October 2023 | Alan Cooper
Hello Northside family!
For those of you that don’t know me yet, my name is Alan Cooper and I’m one of nine Shepherds here at Northside.
A number of years ago we developed a method of keeping you up to date on the “behind the scenes” happenings here and we called it Shepherd Sharing. At its highpoint, we were gathering quarterly on Sunday evenings to give you updates and to answer your questions, but we’ve come to realize two major problems with that method of communication:
First, in today’s culture, it’s unrealistic to expect large gatherings on Sunday evening, especially when you’ve all have already committed to participating in Lifegroups at various times during the week and to being here on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings.
Second, the format of a one-hour meeting with us all seated in the Worship Center just doesn’t lend itself well to Shepherd Listening and to good, productive, question and answer sessions.
With that in mind, our new plan is multi-faceted and my job today is to kick that plan off with a video communication that, while is only providing one-way communication, will at least keep you up to speed on what’s going on with your Leadership Team. Look for other opportunities for two-way communication soon, but with that said, I’d like to get this new plan underway with what will be at minimum monthly videos from your Northside Shepherds on topics such as vision, pastoral care, generosity, and other important topics.
Undoubtedly, the biggest thing that’s happened since our last Shepherd Sharing event, outside of the Sessions family joining us, is the implementation of the Northside Vision and its Strategic Plan and Initiatives. Beginning back in the pre-COVID timeframe with the Vision Workgroups that many of you participated in, we’ve been very intentional with the development and communication of the Northside Vision. Even the selection of David Sessions to be our Minister of the Word was Vision driven. We intentionally front loaded the strategic plan with initiatives related to spiritual formation, and the Shepherds are working on ways to recognize and cultivate spiritual maturity in themselves and in the church as a whole. As an example, David just led us through an exercise in our last meeting in which we all shared a time when we saw the Spirit working on and through us, both individually and as a church family.
As you’ve heard over the past few weeks, an Executive Minister Search Committee has been formed and their goal is to find the best candidate possible to step into this vital role that Jack Reese is preparing to leave behind. Northside has benefitted greatly through Jack’s work as our executive minister. I’ll mention that just one of those ways has been the freedom that it’s given the Shepherds to focus less on business and more on the pastoral care of the church family. The Committee is now busy working on job description, qualifications and personal characteristics for our next executive minister, all with the intentionality for that administrative position to be able to work ever so closely with David on the implementation of our Vision and Strategic Plan.
I want to keep this message as brief as possible, but before closing, I do want to mention that we are approximately $200,000 behind in our budgeted giving as we enter the 4th Quarter. Now, that’s not totally unusual for our giving patterns here. But some of you have already committed your year end givings towards the finish out of the Adult Ed area upstairs, and that means we’ll need everyone to step up and help us make up this year-end shortfall.
As an FYI, the finish out is long overdue because our Youth Ministry is once again busting at the seams under the leadership of Ben Crain and his team. And our original intention when we built this facility was to borrow the Youth area classrooms for Adult Ed only for the first few years. All in all, our future is bright and each and every one of you is a big part of the reason for that.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance in what we do not see.” Be confident and assured Northside!
From the Shepherds