MAGAZINE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1 | WINTER 2016
THE STORY OF THE RAINBOW, Page 3
TABLE OF CONTENTS
COLUMN. A few words of 02 PASTOR’S introduction and encouragement to “be the church.”
about our vision for our Im03 Learn measurably More campaign.
2015 REVIEW: A YEAR OF INVESTMENT #BIGsmallGroup was a summer refreshment, and December Nights were back.
MEET THE BLASZAKS AND LEARN THEIR ADOPTION STORY.
SPOTLIGHT: Learn how Northstar alum are continuing to “be the church” in 06 ALUMNI their new home in Georgia.
The church is not a building, nor is it a large group gathering. Rather, the church is a group of people who call upon Jesus Christ as their Lord and God, agreeing to join together for the purpose of following the teachings of Jesus in their homes and local context. At Northstar, you’ll often hear us remind each other, “Don’t Go to Church; BE the Church.” It’s our way of encouraging one another to remember that being a Christian is not about being comfortable. We seek to humbly apply the teachings of Jesus to our lives and tell everyone who will listen that they too may have real life in Jesus Christ.
was a big year for Northstar! From Easter services at BHS to a Bowl Bash in 04 2015 the new Frank Theaters to Steppin’ Out, we were the church all over the NRV. Our
Newlywed Erin Briele shares her faith journey and how God has worked in her life.
WHO WE ARE
Northstar Pulaski makes the news as it launches “Community Bags of Joy.”
Learn how Northstar youth helped launch Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Blacksburg High School and meet our newest staff members.
Northstar may be called “contemporary” by some, but that is not our goal as a people of God. Rather, we implement purposeful structures and strategies in order to bring all people to a knowledge of God through Christ Jesus, to help them mature in their faith as a disciple and to equip them to proclaim the truth and joy of life in Christ to others.
YOUR FIRST VISIT We meet at Blacksburg Middle School (3109 Prices Fork Road, Blacksburg), and we currently have two identical services on Sunday mornings, 9:00 a.m. with full children’s ministry (0-5th grade) and nursery available. The 11:00 a.m. also has a nursery available. If you haven’t visited yet, we’re very casual, so come comfortable. We suspect you may also come a little nervous, but you’ll be refreshed and feel like you’ve been among friends. We trust you’ll experience a vibrant worship experience. Leave your information with us (we promise not to spam your inbox) and receive a free gift, too! 200 Country Club Drive SW Suite D-1 Blacksburg VA 24060 | www.dontgo.be 540-443-0099 | email@example.com
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NOBLE THOUGHTS Everyone has a story to tell. I’ve never found it difficult to get most people talking about themselves. It’s actually hard to get them to stop. It’s a sad reality, however, that the things that most people talk about are trivial and empty of significance. Sports, weather, politics, reality TV, and music too often dominate our conversations. These may be
helpful distractions, but they are not ultimately what make life sweet. Love, faith, hope, joy, forgiveness, courage, truth, restoration... these are the topics that thrill a soul. Even in the latest Star Wars movie, you see these topics evident. They are what make for great, epic stories. If you ask people the right questions, they’ll begin talking about things that matter. “What’s something that made you forget your problems for a day?” Ask a question like that and lean in. You’ll hear their story. “Who has made the most positive impact on you this year and why?” Lean in. Listen. Another chapter is added.
THE YEAR OF “STORY”
At Northstar, we want 2016 to be “the year of story.” We have an incredible story to tell - of how ordinary, screwed-up people have found life in Jesus Christ. His story has become our story. It’s an epic tale of amazing grace and powerful redemption. Because we are “churched,”
we grow overly familiar with the wonder of our story. We forget that there are people interested in hearing our story, and unfortunately, some have ceased telling it. Add to that the fact that our culture is overwhelmed with the trivial and addicted to entertainment, and what you get is an overly connected and busy society in which loneliness is rampant. Consider for a moment the story we can tell... of a God who wants to transform mundane to meaningful, to bring hope out of sorrow, to restore relationships, to heal hurts, and reconcile a culture that seems intent on destroying itself.
LET THE CHURCH SPEAK
We want to see God work in our lives. We also want to see Him work in the lives of the people around us, and around our world. The Northstar Magazine is one small way that our church wants to tell our story well. In 2016, we’ll be focusing on “let the church speak.” It’s an effort to encourage every single member at Northstar to tell their faith story. We’ll be hearing, reading and watching stories all year. We’ll be posting articles on our website, videos on our YouTube channel, and sharing
JEFF NOBLE Lead Pastor
live in our worship services. It’s going to be a year in which the church speaks. Help us tell His story by telling your story of His work in your life.
THE NEXT CHAPTER
As 2016 rolls forward, we are eager to hear all that God has done in your lives. As you share your story, imagine the impact that your specific chapter will have in someone else’s life! Your story will intersect with theirs, and new chapters of faith will be written. It’s our belief that as we share with joyful clarity how Jesus has changed us and is changing us, we’ll see Him do the same in countless others - both here in the NRV and around our world. The gospel is an old, old story, but it still gives new life.
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BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE On Sunday, September 13 Northstar launched its Immeasurably More building campaign. The day was Vision Sunday, and it included a message by Jeff that cast a vision for the future ministry facility for Northstar, as well as promising the church that the campaign would be centered on helping people find all their contentment in a love relationship with Jesus. It was (and is) an unorthodox way to begin a building campaign. Yet, the leadership of the church was determined to our future in our purpose as a church. We are excited about building a ministry facility that will be a tool for the faith family for generations to come, but the campaign’s intention was to mobilize resources while also prioritizing our mission to be His church. Vision Sunday was an exciting day and included a Prayer Walk on the 10 acres of land that we had purchased in 2014. Over the next month, Jeff preached six messages focused on how God is an immeasurably more God. We encourage you to listen to the podcasts on the website. As the campaign progressed, we distributed commitment cards and asked for a three-year commitment for the campaign. We have three goals: Starter Goal: $1 million Challenge Goal: $2 million Build Goal: $5 million On October 4, we hosted a StewARTship Show in which our kids and members brought crafts and art to auction. All proceeds went to the campaign. They raised over $2600! Commitment Sunday was October 25, and we encouraged all our members and guests to turn in their commitment cards. In the meantime, we’ve been working hard to contact former Northstar members, parents of students and other friends, inviting them to participate in our faith adventure through letters, social media and phone-a-thons. On November 11, we invited a representative of National Bank of Blacksburg to our Celebration Sunday. From the money given in just six weeks, combined with what had been given to our Next Location Fund, we were able to pay off our land - a $575,000 accomplishment! In addition, we announced that
through the campaign so far, God had provided $1,509,783.20 in pledges and gifts! That meant that we’d already reached our Starter Goal and were on our way towards seeing God do immeasurably more. As of January 10, 2016, the campaign receipts and pledges now total $1,750,000. You can keep track of the campaign progress at: northstarfamily.org/ more/give.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
1. Please visit our Immeasurably More campaign site at northstarfamily.org/more 2. Pray for us! This project is beyond what we are able as a church family to accomplish. We are depending on God to provide. 3. Give as you as God leads you, with a joyful heart. 4. Share our project with friends, churches and family through and share our website via social media.
THE STORY OF THE RAINBOW
by Carolyn Noble
I was on my way to the new land before church on Sunday. I needed to hang up the posters on the boards we had stationed for the prayer walk. When I made it to University City Boulevard intersection on Prices Fork Road, I saw a rainbow off in the distance. I texted a photo of it to Jeff flippantly telling him that it looked like there was a rainbow on the church land. I kept my eye on the rainbow the whole way there. Once I got to the land, I could not pull my car in fast enough. My heart was racing as to what I saw. I fumbled with my phone to take a photo. I had to capture what I saw for some might not believe it. There was rainbow, a big beautiful rainbow on the church land. Literally, on the church land. The trees on the property line in the distance were in the shadow of the rainbow, doused in the bright colors. It was simply amazing. READ MORE AT: http://northstarfamily.org/vision-sunday-rainbow/
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2015 IN REVIEW
For Northstar, 2015 was full of loving and serving the people around us! From Easter morning, to a summer packed with MOVE, Youth Camp and BIGsmallGroup, to Harvest Hoedown, to December Nights, it was a year full of excitement for Northstar. Easter | Northstar kicked off the Easter celebration with an Easter Egg Hunt at Caboose Park. It included free pictures with a real bunny and was a great opportunity for us to meet our community and celebrate the Easter holiday with their children. Our Easter services were held at Blacksburg High School. Bowl Bash | As a way to encourage Northstar members to be intentional and build relationships, we hosted a Bowl Bash on April 19. For one night, we rented the bowling lanes at the new Frank’s Cinebowl and provided food to anyone in the community who wanted to attend. It was a simple, fun way for us to meet one another, make new friends, and enjoy life. Send Off Sunday | Northstar is a sending church. On this special Sunday in ReVerb Youth went to camp ! May, we prayed over all those who would be leaving Blacksburg in the coming months and sent them off to be the church in new places. Interested in hearing more about what Northstar Alumni are doing? Check out the Alumni Spotlight on page 6. MOVE | This past summer, Northstar hosted MOVE Summer Kids Camp for a week. This VBS-like ministry served as an opportunity for children all over the NRV to MOVE forward in their relationship with Jesus in a fun, engaging and relevant way. Over 80 children and their families participated in camp from our church and community. BsG | When the college students go home and summer comes, Blacksburg is a totally different town. Summer serves as an opportunity to change the way we do small groups as we transition to #BIGsmallGroup. Everyone met together on Wednesday nights at Grace Covenant Church. It allowed us to meet those in other small groups, and hear testimonies all summer. The month of July served as a time for us to take discipleship “electives” and training breakouts to prepare for the fall. Our children’s ministry also cel-
By Kaylee Waldrop
ebrated a different theme each week while learning how to grow closer to Jesus! Kings & Chronicles series | Over the summer, we ended our K&C series! It was a 2.5 year investment into the rich history of God’s work with the people of Israel. Harvest Hoedown | A pumpkin patch, line dancing, food, and friends, what more could one ask for to make a perfect Fall evening?! On October 10, we partnered with Sinkland Farms for the Harvest Hoedown. “We were amazed at the response we had for the Harvest Hoedown! I think everyone had a great time line dancing, hanging out and just enjoying God’s creation in such a beautiful place,” said Julie, Northstar Children’s Director. “ The Collegiate Times of VT ran an article about the event, and we loved having over 250 people show up to have fun. December Nights | This was our 7th Christmas season hosting “December Nights!” We love these warm, worshipful evenings during Christmas. This year, our kids Christmas concert had a Peanuts theme, complete with Linus (Kayden Hagedorn) sharing Luke 2 from memory. Star Wars Movie Party | Our last “Next” event of the year was December 18. We rented a screen at Frank’s Cinema in Blacksburg and enjoyed the opening weekend of Star Wars together. As part of our goodwill initiatives, we also provided tickets for about 20 Virginia Tech police officers, rescue workers and their families. So in 2016, our heart as a church is to continue to love and serve our community, to bring them into our faith family. So, who will you invite? Who will you invest in? Who will you love and serve and grow with? How will your outreach impact the people around you?
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by Whitney Blaszak
You’re going to have a sister…but there is no baby growing in Mommy’s tummy…she’s growing in Mommy’s heart. God makes families many different ways.” Explaining adoption to a 2 year old can be tricky, but now, 3 and a half years later, our 2 year old is 5 and talk of adoption is just a normal part of her life. When we followed God’s call to go on a mission to Ethiopia as our 5 year anniversary trip in 2012 instead of taking the cruise we had been dreaming about, we had no idea how He would radically change our lives. Our hearts were not only broken for the vast amount of extreme poverty and suffering in the world beyond our borders, but He also flooded our hearts with love for a precious little girl that He had brought us half way around the world to meet. From the moment she jumped into my arms, I knew she was my daughter. We had no intention of adopting at that time in our lives; we were just about to celebrate our daughters second birthday, had plans for growing our family biologically, and were by no means financially prepared for the cost of international adoption. We knew nothing
about international adoption when we began this process, but it was quickly evident that this would be nearly impossible and we were strongly discouraged by everyone who knew anything about adoption from Ethiopia to NOT pursue this child. But God. His plans were different than ours. It didn’t make sense. It was scary. But it was very clear. He was speaking to the core of both of our hearts, telling us that she was our daughter. We knew the only option was to surrender it all, trust Him, and pursue her relentlessly. The obstacles and trials that we would face over the next 3.5 years were…overwhelming..tremendous..impossible. We have been with three different adoption agencies due to various reasons (the most shocking of them all was when everyone at our second agency was indicted for defrauding the United States and child trafficking). We were lied to, stolen from, told “No” countless times. SO many documents had to be gathered… then were lost..then were gathered again.. then more were needed. If something could possibly go wrong, it did.
But God. He brought us through each and every obstacle. Each and every impossible task. Each and every betrail. Each and every “No.” Each and every lost paper. Each and every penny. Each and every tear. He overcame. On December 12, 2015 we received our final approval from the United States. We will now be submitted to court so we can go to Ethiopia and Filling out adoption papers legally adopt our sweet, now 10 year old, girl. We will finally be able to be a family. So much of this journey has opened our eyes to how MUCH God loves us. He pursues us relentlessly and sent his son to die for us so that we could be adopted into his family. Sometimes I don’t think I realize (or maybe I just take for granted) the depth of what He did for us. When we think about our adoption journey, we realize that we have been through so much to bring her into our family, yet God sacrificed his own PERFECT SON so that we (completely undeserving) could be adopted into His family. There is no greater gift than being a part of His family. No greater love. No greater joy. No greater hope. Our prayer is that you don’t look at our story and see us, but rather you look at it and see Him.
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ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: THE MILLERS by Adam Wilson
lipping back through the pages of great memories with Northstar, there are many incredible people that jump off of the pages of my mind but Paul and Allie Miller are deeply special to me. Paul and Allie came to Virginia Tech in 2009 and became involved in Northstar as students. They met for the first time as they both became involved in a ministry reaching Greek students called Legacy. As individuals and a dating couple, Paul and Allie were very involved in Northstar. It was not a rare occurrence to find Paul doing his own flamboyant twist with the Sunday morning announcements or to be encouraged by his teaching from the Bible for small group trainings. Allie ministered to many women around her and was a huge influence for Christ in her sorority during her undergrad years. After finishing Paul’s Master’s degree, they moved to the University of Georgia for him to pursue his PhD in meteorology. Soon after arriving in Georgia, they added one to their family with the birth of Hayden June. I wanted to follow up with them for this issue of the Northstar Magazine to find out how they were invested in life and ministry in Georgia.
How are you being the church now in Athens?
Paul and Allie wasted no time getting involved in a local church and are now very involved in Classic City Church. Paul has continued using his ministry gifts in many of the same ways that he did here at Northstar. Paul serves as the church’s small group coordinator and has helped their church grow its small group ministry in great ways. Paul still finds that God is using him to reach fraternity men through being an advisor in Beta Theta Pi and discipling Greek men. On top of being a great mother and working, Allie has taken up helping lead in the women’s ministry at Classic City.
How have you grown spiritually since arriving in Georgia?
Paul shared how the largest area of spiritual
growth has been his prayer life. “Spending prolonged time with the Lord in prayer used to be awkward but now spending time with Him in prayer is refreshing and comfortable.” It was encouraging to hear Allie’s growth in her view of biblical community. “Since coming to Georgia, the importance of biblical community has risen to a new level and plugging into our church has been a huge catalyst of growth.”
How did your time at Northstar prepare you for your current service in church?
Both Paul and Allie explained how they have a large appreciation for their time at Northstar and how that time benefited their transition. Paul commented, “It is hard to pinpoint all the exact ways in which we grew during our time at Northstar. It was such a formative time for our walks with the Lord.” Paul said that their time at Northstar helped dramatically with their transition in helping them find a great local church in Georgia that they are able to serve in. In their time helping their current church family grow, Allie mentioned how her experience at Northstar has helped their current church grow. “There are many times during ministry strategy conversations where we will share ideas that we got during our time from Northstar.” Both Paul and Allie are reminded of how well Northstar does ministry and that is very helpful to them as the Be the Church in Athens, GA.
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PULASKI CAMPUS FOCUS by Hayley Childress
LAKE WORSHIP |
2015 was our third year to move our summer location for worship to Claytor Lake State Park. We enjoy being outdoors together and providing an outreach opportunity for campers and those in the park on Sunday mornings. COMMUNITY OUTREACH | The Meadowview Apartment complex is located just outside of downtown Pulaski. On Sunday, October 28, we hosted a chili cook-off there to give an opportunity for the residents to enjoy a few warm bowls of chili and fellowship with our members. We returned to Meadowview on Saturday, November
The chili cookoff at Meadowview.
7 to host a Christmas crafting event. BLOCK PARTIES | On Saturday, October 31, we continued our tradition of hosting Halloween block parties. This year, we had two block parties - one in the Highland Park area of Dublin and the other in the Twin Oakes area of Pulaski. These block parties have been a big hit the past two years, and they were a hit again this year. Trick-ortreaters and their families enjoyed hot dogs, hot chocolate, and lots of candy. Block parties are an opportunity for families to experience the love Northstar Pulaski members have for their community. SERVICE | Northstar Pulaskiâ€™s bright green diaper-changing station can be seen at many events around Pulaski County. Parents were able to use the station as a convenient, safe and clean spot during PulaskiFest and the Claytor Lake Festival. MINISTRY | In collaboration with local businesses and churches, we launched a Community Bags of Joy drive to collect used clothing, canned food, and toys for local non-profit organizations. People brought their donations to the Pulaski Christmas parade and put them on our float as it went by! This project gave us a way to model the love of Christ to our community by providing for those in need.
Eve of the Eve Christmas community Christmas service.
See the WSLS story here: http://wsls.com/2015/12/03/pulaski-church-uses-town-parade-to-help-needy/
The folks at Northstar Pulaski have made it their mission to connect deeply with the community in and around Pulaski County. Over these past few months, Northstar Pulaski has hosted a chili cook-off at Meadowview Apartments, Halloween block parties at two locations in Pulaski County, provided a diaper-changing station at various events and gathered Community Bags of Joy.
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Some Northstar youth played a key role in launching Fellowship of Christian Athlete chapters this year in Blacksburg Middle and High Schools. We’ve been excited to see their initiative and zeal in beginning this strategic ministry.
by Alex Kacere
Amy Stevens, Faith Beyer, Adelyn Noble, Leah Beyer, Anna Beyer, Jordan Stevens
Last fall, Fellowship of Christian Athlete (FCA) tchapters were launched at both Blacksburg Middle School and Blacksburg High School. Both were led by students from Northstar. A high school team of Anna Beyer, Leah Beyer, Adelyn Noble, and Savannah Searels and Middle School team of Jordan Stevens and Faith Beyer began conducting regular meetings at their schools. BHS Teacher Amy Stevens agreed to serve as the organization’s sponsor. FCA is a parachurch organization that was founded in 1954 by Eastern Oklahoma A&M Basketball Coach Don McClanen. The student-driven organization operates to give Christian athletes the opportunity to freely share their faith in school. It provides them a community in which to engage in faith conversations that they may not have otherwise. Its stated mission is to “present to coaches and athletes, and all whom they influence, the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving Him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church.” BHS Senior Anna Beyer said she felt called to launch FCA in Blacksburg. When asked why she helped start the club, Anna said, “I felt like God wanted me to do something bigger than just living like Jesus in my school, and then He just keeps opening up doors to make it happen.” She said that FCA has provided ways for her to talk about her beliefs. “FCA has allowed me to open up to more people about my faith who I didn’t have the opportunity to talk to before. It’s become a fun environment that people feel comfortable in and are able to open up as well.” Anna needed a teacher to be a sponsor for the club for it to be a recognized organization. She approached Amy Stevens, a history teacher at BHS, who
readily agreed. Amy said, “I struggled with the tension (of being a public school teacher and a Christian organization sponsor) for two seconds when Anna approached me last year. It is not hard though. My students know where I stand, and we have a mutual respect for one another. Although other staff and I may not agree with the club, I feel like any question asked or conversation started is a seed planted for the future.” The students lead all aspects of the club. Student leaders invite outside speakers to give a message of hope to the clubs. Blacksburg High School has a “club period” about once a month in which students at the school can sign up for a club to attend during that time period. BHS FCA meets during that club period, and they have 35 students who attend. BMS FCA meets before school at 7:00 a.m., and at their first meeting, they had 20 students. A wonderful addition to the middle school meeting is the high school leaders, who come early to the middle school to lead the FCA meeting and then drive back in time to be present for classes at BHS. We’re proud of the vision and passion of our Northstar youth for helping launch this key ministry in their schools. Keep them in your prayers!
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MEET OUR STAFF
Since our last issue was published, we’ve had staff transitions. We’re grateful for the leadership that the Lord continues to bring to Northstar and are excited to see how these new leaders will influence and assist us in our ministries. Read about each of them below.
MEGAN EVANS ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
JOE HOLMAN MINISTRY INTERN
Hometown: Rocky Mount, VA Hobbies: Biking, hiking, napping, reading and playing with her dog Winston College: Radford University firstname.lastname@example.org
Hometown: Gastonia, NC Hobbies: Hiking, running, shooting, fishing College: Virginia Tech email@example.com
Megan was born and raised in Southwest Virginia. She moved to the New River Valley in 2003 when she entered Radford as a freshman. Megan has been a member of Northstar since November 2014 and is “extremely thankful to be part of such a close-knit church family.” Megan’s husband John works at VPT, Inc. in Blacksburg as a Senior Design Engineer. John and Megan are expecting their first child in February 2016.
Joe is currently a senior at Virginia Tech studying Industrial and Systems engineering. He is also cadet colonel. Joe serves in Northstar’s youth ministry as a student leader. Joe says there’s nothing like spending a day in the wondrous mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. The Lord can be seen in many ways, but Joe believes His creation is the most powerful of these. Humbled by His glory, Joe desires to serve and share the Lord’s infinite love and wisdom in all he does.
They said... “I love investing at NorthStar especially the kids ministry’s because it opens you to a different group within the church other than your own age group. I especially love my preschoolers because they are so full of life and God is so simple to them. It is a good reminder to me what it means to have a child like faith. It has also helped me foster relationships with their families and given me such special relationships who I have been able to be mentored by in the process of mentoring their kids!” - Jessica Bellefeuille, Intellectual Disabilities Case Manager “I made Northstar my church because I was seeking a community that was focused on running towards Christ and truly impacting lives - not a place that I could just show up and check off a box but to really invest and thrive. - Kyle Pfeifer, VT Senior “When Sarah called and told us she was getting baptized, I almost cried. She told us kind of as an FYI, never expecting us to rearrange our schedule so we could make the trip down for the event. I don’t think she realized what it meant to us.” - Rick Sweeten, College Student Parent “Northstar was the catalyst (besides the Holy Spirit) in growing my faith. At that point in life, I had recently been saved, moved 800 miles, was engaged, and began my marriage. I’m grateful God provided Northstar for me/us during that time.” - Charles Watkins, Northstar Alumni