You’re probably already aware (or if not, here’s some news for you…) that Phil and Kath are finishing their role as Senior Pastors of Northridge in March. They’ll be passing the role onto Rob and Bonnie Giles, who pastor our Morning Community. For some of us this might be a big deal, for others (seeing as Phil and Kath are sticking around in the Evening with us) it might not seem like much. Regardless of how you’re feeling, it’s important to recognise that this change is a big deal for us as a church community.
You see, whether you realise it or not, we’re approaching an important turning point. It’s one of those moments where we leave behind the way things were, and we step into something new. It’s important to call these moments as they are, and navigate them well.
Let me illustrate this in a couple of ways.
First… this morning, Jen and I dropped Davey for his first day of daycare. In every way, this is a good thing. He’s going to thrive as he explores a new environment, makes new friends, and interacts with his carers. It’s also great for us to have the extra support in looking after him. It’s a win-win — yet it’s a big step entrusting him into someone else’s care for the first time. It means leaving behind our old rhythms and embracing new ones. There’s a certain amount of emotion in recognising that one season has come to a close and another has begun. Jen and I went out for a coffee after we dropped him off, giving us a chance to process and appreciate the significance of this moment.
Another time we come across this feeling is when someone we love passes away. Grief has many layers which happen all at the same time, so don’t think I’m trying to oversimplify it! But one of those layers is this sense that someone we love isn’t around any more. We have to learn what life looks like without them around, and accept that things will be different moving forward. This is one of the reasons it’s so important to farewell someone well. Even though we have an incredible eternal hope in Jesus, this process helps us to acknowledge the turning point (and of course, to honour the person’s life!).
When we look at the story of the bible, we see that the people of God constantly had to embrace change. Abraham had to leave behind his hometown in Ur to seek the land God promised (Genesis 12:4-5). The Israelites had to leave Egypt to follow the promise (Exodus 13:17-18), and they had to leave behind their wilderness life to enter Caanan (Joshua 3:17). There are turning points as kings come and go, as Israel is exiled in Babylon, and as they return. It can be tempting, knowing the whole story, to minimise the experience of change they must have felt. Yet in having the benefit of hindsight, we recognise that every one of these turning points was necessary in order for God to carry out the plans he had to redeem all humanity through Jesus.
As we lead up to this major moment of transition in our church’s life, we’ll be partnering with the Morning Community in a new teaching series looking at just a few of these important turning points in the story of scripture. We hope that this shared journey will ‘make level the paths for our feet’ (Hebrews 12:13) and set us up to mark this change of seasons well.
Importantly, Jen and I want to affirm that we believe this is the right move for our church, at the right time. We believe Rob and Bon are the right people to be stepping into the role. God has done amazing things through Northridge, and this transition begins a new chapter in the story he is writing. We hope you’ll be with us in the lead up, the change, and in the new season. We can’t wait to see what God will do next.
Chris and Jen