When God gives a vision, it often comes in pieces. It starts slowly, appearing in the hearts of a few until it spreads like a wildfire across the hills. So it was, and still is, with NorthStar Church in Saltillo.
NorthStar began as an idea in the hearts of the people of Lee County. Over ninety percent of young adults in this county were unchurched and uninterested. Some were dechurched, having left the church earlier in life. Some were three of four generations away from a regular church attendance. Some had never heard the name of Christ before. However, as God gave vision, his people responded and NorthStar church was born.
Marc Howard, associational mission director for the Lee/Itawamba Association, saw God working in several different areas to bring together a core of people to plant and build a church to reach this generation.
“As I would preach and minister in different churches, I would have people share with me their burden to see churches started that would help reach future generations,” he said.
As the dream continued to grow, church planter and pastor Terry Ledbetter emerged to run with the vision God had planted. As Ledbetter gathered the people God was calling to form NorthStar, God was gathering the people that were to be reached. The church first met in the Lee County Baptist Association’s office, averaging about 45 people. However, at the launching service on Easter Sunday of 2006, 356 people gathered to witness the vision of a church planted to reach this generation of a small town in Mississippi.
Now, over 600 people are attending regularly, and these people are reaching their community for Christ and changing the world one step at a time.
“I heard someone ask if the community your church is in would mourn if you were to suddenly leave. This is a powerful thought. I have personally seen literally hundreds of lives changed since the conception of NorthStar Church,” Ledbetter says.
This church has also left an impression statewide. Ed Deuschle, director of the Church Planting Department for the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board said, “I am proud to say that this church has been very evangelistically effective and a church with an authentic mission strategy. They are making a difference in the community, state, nation and the world.”
As NorthStar continues to move forward, it can only be said that “they have a bright future.”
NorthStar was founded financially with the help of the Margaret Lackey State Missions Offering. Now financially self-supporting, NorthStar has grown to incredible proportions and is now also starting to seek their own opportunity to plant a new church in the surrounding counties.
“Our vision is to Reach Up, Reach Out, and Reach In,” Ledbetter says. “Reach Up in worship, Reach out in ministry, Reach in with discipleship.”
This is the heart and soul of the NorthStar’s purpose. It all started with a vision to reach a generation. The financial support of the Margaret Lackey State Missions Offering gives feet to the vision God places in the hearts of his people to reach others within Mississippi. For more information on church planting in Mississippi, contact David Michel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-748-1651, ext. 224.