Sunday, February 6, 2011

the good news continues

What an awesome weekend! Here's just a glimpse of what happened in Northstar.

Yesterday Northstar launch team members passed out invite bags to the Coon Rapids community to let people know about our grand opening next Sunday. It was a great success and we believe that God will use those popcorn bags, notes from the church, and invite cards to bring someone to Northstar who wouldn't otherwise come.

This morning was our third (and last!) sneak preview service, and again, it was a great success. We continued to have visitors (already!) and are smoothing out the final details before next week's big launch. The launch team (volunteers who help set up and tear down service) has been hard at work to make sure the details of each service come together.

After this week's service, Pastors John and Shannon had a special surprise as they found out that news of today's service and next week's grand opening had hit the Associated Press. That means the story of Northstar's grand opening has gone to newsrooms all over the state and region, possibly even beyond that. Here's a link to just one of the newsrooms who published it.

KSTP picked up the story and developed it further; their coverage ran during tonight's broadcast. Here's a link to that story. (Nice sound bite, Pastor John!)

We believe that the right people saw this coverage and will be intrigued and come to Northstar in the future!

Please be praying for us this week as we prepare for the grand opening. Pray for all aspects of the service, but especially that the right people are there and that God's presence impacts hundreds next Sunday, February 13, 2011, the day of Northstar's official grand opening.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

1/30/11 Recap

Today's service was a huge blessing. Things are starting to run a little smoother and details are coming together. It was our second sneak preview service and our first baby dedication service. Pastor John talked about the vision of Northstar: helping people navigate life through Christ.

Every week, on the back of the connection card people receive, it includes "my next steps." The next steps for this week are:
___ I commit to allowing the the Lord to navigate my life
___ I would like more information about the GPS 101 (God's Positioning System) coming up in February
___ I would like to consider hosting a community group in my home.

Here's a look at this week's faces of Northstar!

We're two weeks away from our grand opening. Can you believe it? God is certainly doing a work navigating people to Northstar. We are excited and honored to be a part of His work!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sneak Preview #1: Highly Sucessful!

The journey of starting a church has become a reality.

This morning was our first sneak preview service and it was awesome. Yes, there were some basic bumps in our "dress rehearsal," but God was clearly orchestrating all the details. Fifty-five people attended, many from our launch team, but we even had some visitors from outside of our launch team--something that was definitely more than we expected! Thank you, everyone, who visited. We loved having you with us.

The transformation of a movie theater into a church was interesting. Here's a look at what the morning looked like....

A cold, but beautiful Sunday morning

Hidden behind our welcome sign is the reason we're the church that smells like popcorn!

Yes, it's true. You get donuts at our church.
Our hospitality table
The theater for our children's ministry
A glimpse inside our children's area
Our children's theater
Our main theater
Our team setting up the church
Band practice
Pastor John hard at work
Service begins
Pastor John Velsor pointed out in his message that the DNA of Northstar is our community gatherings (Sunday mornings), community groups, and community outreaches. From setting up mike stands to putting out donuts to practicing for praise and worship, everything Norsthar does is aimed at leading people to the fullness of Christ.

What an awesome start to our future!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tomorrow: Our First Sneak Preview Service!

We are so excited that our first sneak preview service is tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the Showplace Theater in Coon Rapids. All the details for our service are falling into place from our main service to the children's ministry.

Our children's ministry - Navigation Station - is led by Pastor Krista Clausen. She's been hard at work pulling toys, games, and all sorts of other things together so that the Navigation Station will be a fun and safe place for your children.

We are so excited to launch our church. Tomorrow morning is the next step. We'll post an update and pictures after tomorrow's service and if you haven't already marked your calendar, go grab your pen and calendar and write "Go to Northstar's Grand Opening" on February 13 at 10 a.m.

Hope to see you soon!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Now Showing: Church at 10 a.m. (Official Press Release)

For most people, movie theaters only have one purpose: a place to enjoy the latest films. For Pastor John and Shannon Velsor, the AMC Showplace Theater in Coon Rapids is going to become something more in 2011. It will become the site of their new church.

The vision for Northstar Community Church started around a year ago. After being a pastor and traveling speaker for 10 years, John found his interest in ministry moving toward church planting, a direction he had never considered before. As he and Shannon pondered and prayed over what this potential church plant might look like, they began to get excited.

“I was driving down Highway 10 one day, and saw variations of ‘Northstar’ on a number of different signs,” John explained. “It stood out to me, especially since I realized the cultural significance of the North Star to Minnesota.

“As I continued to think about it, I remembered that the Magi followed a star to reach the baby Jesus. A star led the men closer to Christ. That’s the kind of church we want to be. We want to be that navigational tool that leads people closer to God and help them walk through life.”

After the name and the vision for the church became clear, John and Shannon researched the potential places to start Northstar. They finally landed on the AMC movie theater in Coon Rapids. The diverse demographics of Coon Rapids fit them well since the Velsors had recently been on staff at a culturally diverse church in Chicago. The predominant number of young families also suited them, since they are a thirty-something couple raising their almost two-year-old son, Aiden.

The Velsors stated that they chose a movie theater because it provides a safe, neutral area for un-churched people to learn about God. It also reminds Christians that church services aren’t about a building, but about the people gathered together. John explained, “We don’t want to limit church to a particular building. We want to think outside the box.”

The idea of holding church in a movie theater isn’t new to them. In fact, the Velsors’ friends, Tory and Elizabeth Farina, are pastors of High Point Church, a church plant that has been meeting at the AMC Showplace Theater in Inver Grove Heights for the past few years.

The official launch date for Northstar Community Church is February 13, 2011. Everyone who attends that day will receive a free bag of popcorn. “We do not feel like we are going to be another replica in the area, but rather something new, innovative, and relevant to those who live here.”

Pastor John and Shannon will start “sneak preview” services three weeks prior to that date. Their family and the 39 members they’ve recruited for their launch team will use these services as their opportunity to learn the behind-the-scenes operations for their services.

If you’re interested in coming, you can find more information about Northstar at, or if that’s difficult to remember, simply go to


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Prayer and Praise Recap

Tonight was awesome. We had around 25 people attend as we worshiped the Lord and prayed. God came and met us there as we prayed for ourselves, our families, our church, and our community. Here's a picture of fearless leader, Pastor John Velsor, giving us some last minute thoughts before the evening ended. If you attended, tell us one thing that blessed you about tonight.

Tonight Is Night of Prayer and Praise!

In 20 years, yes, we'll be able to tell our children that Northstar Community Church started meeting in a hotel.

For the past few months, John and Shannon Velsors, our fearless leaders, have been meeting with our launch team at the Wingate hotel in Coon Rapids. We've been talking about the vision for the church, our desire to reach our community, and many other things as we have been getting ready for our grand opening on February 13, 2011. 

We're only a few hours away from our last meeting. Tonight is going to be a night of prayer and praise. We'll be praying through a wide variety of things, so it'll be exciting to see how God moves.

Next weekend we'll start meeting at the movie theater at 10 a.m. on Sunday mornings. The first three weekends will be "sneak preview" services as we try to figure out exactly how service will run in a movie theater. Pastor John will be talking about the vision and purpose of the church. Those three services lead up to our grand opening service... by the way, did I tell you that Northstar's grand opening is on February 13, 2011?

In case you didn't catch the emphasis on February 13, 2011, the date of our grand opening, we're emphasizing February 13, 2011, because we want you to come! We want you to join us for our grand opening, the big launch, the official beginning of our church in Coon Rapids on February 13, 2011.

Prayer and praise in a few hours. Grand opening in a few weeks. It's going to be an awesome month!