On Wednesday, April 21, Pastor Jeff announced that he will be leaving Northview Community Church to take a Lead Pastor position at another church in the United States. He and his family will be moving this summer.
Our staff and elders are sad to see our dear friend depart and at the same time excited for our dear friend to respond to God’s call on his life. We believe God has big plans for Jeff and his new church and are eager to see where God will take them in the coming years.
At the same time, Jeff has helped this church get to a place where we are prepared like never before to continue boldly pressing forward in making disciples through the multiplication of healthy local churches.
Why are you leaving Northview? Is there something wrong?
There’s nothing wrong at all with Northview. In fact, there’s so much right with it that I felt like now is a good time for me to go and leave the church in really capable hands. The truth is that I’m the kind of guy who likes a good challenge and I really have a passion to see churches renewed. The challenge for renewal at the ministry I am going to is pretty big, so it has gotten me pretty excited. I have spent the last 15 years at Northview learning how to lead a church from difficulty to flourishing and I just want to do the same thing for another church. So, I wouldn’t say I’m “going from” Northview so much as I’m “going to” another ministry (if that makes sense).
It’s the pandemic, isn’t it?
It’s true that I don’t like the pandemic any more than anyone else. I have prayed for awhile for the Lord to relieve us all of the burden it places on us, especially when it comes to meeting as a church. But, it would be wrong to say that I am leaving Northview because of the pandemic. Again, the driving force behind my departure is a vision for the renewal of another church.
You and the elders must not get along or something, right?
Actually, I really love our elders and consider them my friends. We have spent lots of time together over the last number of years and I can easily say it’s pretty much all been fantastic. I don’t really love meetings much in general, but I found our elder meetings to be bearable at least ;). They are a strong team of godly men who love Northview. They are the perfect guys to facilitate a pastoral transition.
You’ll miss Northview, though, right?
Will I ever. The years I have spent here have been some of the most influential of my life. My daughter was born here. The rest of my family became citizens of Canada here. I learned about hockey here (kind of). And I learned how rich a blessing it is to be loved by the church you pastor. I’m not sure I will ever find a place like this one and I don’t really expect to. You’ve all been such a joy to serve and serve with. We will have years and years on the New Earth to remember all that God has done in the last 15 years. By then, we will probably be able to gather without masks. I hope.
Any final thoughts for the church?
In the last few years especially, I have tried to instill in our church the idea of gaining by losing. Our leadership read a book by that title a little while ago and the argument made in that book really struck a chord with us. Northview is only one little part of God’s kingdom and our focus should be not on making the name of our church great, but on making the name of our King great. I may be leaving Northview, but it’s only because I’ve been reassigned by the King.
Parting ways may be sad for all of us, but our lives before eternity are short and we are obliged to double our Master’s money through faithful risk taking as much as we can. His love for us demands no less. So, in this weird way, Northview is truly embodying its values by blessing me to leave. Like the Pisidian Antioch church in Acts 13 who gladly sent Paul and Barnabas out in response to the Spirit’s call, you are sending me to a new project in the Kingdom at significant cost to yourselves. But, any loss you feel will certainly be overcome with the gain that the Kingdom gets. I pray that you never lose this generous, sacrificial attitude. The Lord is on his way. Let us continue to risk it all until he comes.
Encourage Jeff & Jeanne: The Bucknams have called Northview home for the past 15 years and they have had a great impact at Northview Community Church. Pray for them as they move out of Abbotsford, transition to a new church, and serve a new community. If you would like to send a note of encouragement, share a story, or bless them in any way email firstname.lastname@example.org
We know this news is surprising and saddening. We also understand that the departure of Jeff feels like a loss of a loved one. Jeff has led and embodied the values of our church and has transformed us through his ministry. If you need any support or prayer during this time, our Care Team is available and ready to talk with you. Email email@example.com to get in touch.
When is Jeff stepping down as Lead Pastor of Northview Community Church?
Jeff will be here until the end of June.
Will we be having a gathering to celebrate the Bucknams before they leave?
Yes! Details to follow.
Where is Jeff going?
Jeff will be the new Lead Teaching Pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago, IL.
Could the next Lead Pastor be an existing staff member?
Yes, Northview has been blessed with an amazing team of pastors who have been largely hired by Jeff over the years with our Multiplication vision. We would be wise to consider internal candidates who know our church family and are committed to our vision.
The elders are firming up the job description and key results area and will begin working through the process next week.
Will there be a period of time when we don’t have a Lead Pastor?
Northview believes in broad stable leadership and we have an amazing team of pastors and staff working together to lead us through this transition. Our goal is to take the time necessary to get the right person who has the qualifications to move our Multiplication vision ahead in new and exciting ways. We would love to have a person in place by the time Jeff leaves but the process may take longer. We have a wonderful team in place that has and will continue to shepherd our congregation.
Who will make the final decision about who the next Lead Pastor will be?
The elders will strike a lead pastor search committee next week. This committee will include pastors and elders. They will be tasked to bring a candidate to the elders who will in turn bring a recommendation to the congregation for affirmation.