“So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the Gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” -1 Thessalonians 2:8

A little less than a year ago, God called our family to Minnesota to know, love, and serve the pastors, church leaders, and churches of the North Central District. It has been an amazing year, filled with wonderful experiences and faith building challenges, as we have sought to walk with Jesus and serve his church in our newly adopted home state. Highlights from this 1st year include:

  • Our family has loved our time with the NCD Staff, who have been so gracious in welcoming and serving alongside us.
  • I have been blessed to visit many of our NCD churches in Greater Minnesota and the Twin Cities, seeing first hand a vibrant passion for the Gospel, the Scriptures, the church, and the communities we serve.
  • I have spent time with pastor clusters, church staff teams, church boards, and many individual church leaders. Each meeting has given me a deeper appreciation for our family of churches.
  • Our family started the process of settling into our new hometown of Cottage Grove and our new church home at Rockpoint Church, a Free church in the northeast suburbs of the Twin Cities.
  • I have been especially thankful for the opportunity to listen to so many of you share your hearts and dreams with me. What you have shared has shaped my understanding of our mission and helped me gain a clear picture of the opportunities that are before us.
  • In all of this, I have been focusing on (1) building trust with NCD pastors, church leaders, and churches, (2) clarifying and renewing our mission as a District, (3) refining what we “count and celebrate”, and (4) being “churches first,” which means we prioritize service to NCD pastors, church leaders, and churches over new projects and initiatives.

Looking forward to the coming year (and beyond), I am optimistic about health and vitality of our churches and eager to see what we can accomplish locally and collectively. Along these lines (with input from NCD pastors, church leaders, District staff, our NCD Board of Directors, and everyday believers in our local churches), five key areas of opportunity have come into focus.

  • Leadership Pipeline: We have an urgent need to find, develop, and empower next generation pastors and church leaders (especially in Greater Minnesota).
  • Personal Evangelism: In accordance with our Biblical convictions about eternity, NCD pastors and church leaders need to greatly increase our practice of personal evangelism and increase our emphasis on corporate evangelism.
  • All People: Flowing from our commitment to make disciples among all people, we must expand our impact among ethnic minorities, singles, and senior adults.
  • Gospel and Scripture: Because it can never be taken for granted, we must continue to emphasize our love for God’s Word and confidence in the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Church Revitalization: While we have clear pathways for church planting and leadership transitions, we do not yet have a clear, understandable plan or resources for ongoing church revitalization.

In the year ahead, our District leadership will follow the Holy Spirit’s leading as we work to develop a clear, strategic plan to help us keep “churches first” and guide us forward in these five key areas.

In conclusion, we remain grateful that God has called us to our NCD family of churches. We look forward to serving alongside you all in the coming years, praying and trusting that God will use our combined efforts to make a Gospel-shaped difference in the North Central District.

In Christ,
Brian Farone
District Superintendent
North Central District
Evangelical Free Church of America