Connecting The Dots For You in 2018

Rebecca Lang

Every new year we host a Connections weekend in the foyer around all the worship services. The new year is a time of reflection, when we can consider places in our lives where we’d like to improve, stretch and even change. As believers, many times those areas include growing our relationship with Christ so we are more like Him every day. That’s what the Connections weekend is all about – finding a place to engage whatever part of your life you feel needs a little more equipping and a lot more Jesus!

Class, ministry and group leaders will be on-site to talk to you about the ways they resource, support and care for the congregation. Be sure to linger a while after worship that weekend and check out the resources our leaders (some staff but most volunteers) offer from a desire to see you grow abundantly in your Christian walk.

Supporting our equipping efforts is our adult equipping team, which ensures our ministry leaders have all they need to serve you throughout the year. From room assignments to registration forms, from promotion and marketing to classroom materials, the equipping team is passionate about ensuring the environment you experience is conducive to a positive experience of personal growth and learning. Let’s meet that team now!

Barbara Olsen is the adult equipping director and has been on staff for more than ten years. She’s been married to her best friend, Roger, for 37 years. She is passionate about the gospel, and in her role she works to help ministry leaders come alongside others, helping them grow deeper in their understanding and maturity in Christ. She enjoys assisting, encouraging and mentoring believers to faithfully respond to God for the benefit of others, worshiping together, reading the Bible, sharing stories, being in relational community, praying, serving others, and living generously and growing in their faith every day!

“I am excited about the stories that folks share about how lives have been changed and impacted through classes, groups and care ministries,” Barb shares. “God has been using me to encourage believers who are determining what their gifting and calling are and what their next God assignment might be.

“One woman shared with me that I had been able to help her sift through and pinpoint experiences where she participated in a group and where she served and felt God was so present in her life. This enabled her to take exciting new steps in her faith journey, which allowed her to continue to grow in her relationship with Jesus Christ and with others.”

Barb enjoys learning and studying new things and is an ardent believer that lives are changed when our relationship with God deepens and we become better equipped to serve God and others to whom He calls us.

Another team member, Patti Harshey, has been part of our Northland family for 18 years, spending the last 10 on staff working in several areas, including global missions and adult equipping. You might have seen her during worship because she can sing! She’s married to her best friend, Tim, and is the mom to 16-year-old triplets. She works hard on the administrative side of equipping, ensuring that classes and ministry events are on our website and that there’s a quick and easy way for folks to sign up.

In the first half of the year, Patti also works to support congregants who are gearing up to go on short-term mission trips during the summer.

“It is a joy to assist congregants in fulfilling what is sometimes a lifelong goal of going on a mission trip,” she shares. “So many times congregants come back from their first journey with a heart that has been changed into a true servant’s heart, and they continue to make an impact by serving locally in their own communities for the rest of their lives.

“Many continue serving globally as well and are year-after-year mission trip participants. It is also very rewarding to help our group, class and Bible study leaders grow in their roles as they give so unselfishly of their time and gifts to serve others, helping them come to maturity in Christ.”

Rounding out the equipping team is me. My best friend, Jeff, and I have been married for 17 years, and our two kids are very active with Student Ministries. My family has been attending Northland since the summer of 2011. We have found tremendous community and lifelong friendships at Northland.

The love I have for connection and relationship-building is what draws me to my role in equipping. While I enjoy the administrative aspect of equipping and the direct support of the ministry leaders, Patti and Barb do those things very well! My contribution to the team is geared more toward connecting our congregation to the incredible people who are part of the adult equipping ministry at Northland.

I know the amazing group and class leaders, and I see the drive and devotion they have for the benefit of others. Knowing the scope of knowledge, love and care they have for their ministry compels me to point congregants to their classes, events and studies. Not only do they equip others; they enrich the lives of our Northland community through their work. My favorite part of my role is meeting folks over a cup of coffee and listening to their stories, how God has worked and moved in their lives. Through that time, God often reveals to me the right place to connect them for their best next step. It is a wonderful encounter to be part of!

We are excited about Connections weekend and hope you will stop by January 6 through 8 to say “hi” and explore the many ways you can grow deeper in your relationship with Christ and others.

Even if you can’t join us, you can find out more about classes and ministries at or find community through our small groups at

Happy new year!