Seven Thoughts on Church “Competition”

Northgate is getting a new neighbor! Eagle Brook, a multi-site megachurch in the north metro, is opening a new campus in Anoka in the old Kmart building sometime next year.

Truth be told, some pastors in the community may be getting a little nervous. Me? I’m excited!

Here’s why:

1.  Churches aren’t in competition with each other. They’re in competition with the world.

Less than 20% of people in our community attend church on a given weekend and some 50% never darken the doors of a church at all. “There are plenty of fish in the sea!” If churches start thinking survival and not service, we’ll never help people become who God purposed them to be.


2.  God is answering prayers.

For several months now, I’ve been asking God to give Eagle Brook favor with the city and to bring their site to Anoka. That’s right! They’ll reach people we’ll never reach, just as we’ll reach people they’ll never reach. Our community needs more churches of every shape and size. Pray for the churches in our community as you pass them by and ask God to start new ones too. The more the merrier.


3.  “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

When a new department store rolls into town, mom and pop shops start to worry. The shortsighted store owner cries, “Foul!” The visionary improves his product. There have always been a handful of churches in the area larger and better resourced than Northgate, including Eagle Brook. Substance Church, another multi-site church, just opened a beautiful, state-of-the-art campus near Northtown a couple of months ago. While I don’t know any of the staff at Substance personally, I couldn’t be any happier for them. . . even if it was my own church. Great churches make other churches greater!  


4.  Church hopping is just a part of our culture. Get over it.

Like it or not, people don’t stay in one church all their lives. They don’t even stick with the same spouse these days! How can we expect them to stick with a church? No church leader I know encourages church hopping. It’s a serious character flaw in the Body of Christ and it grieves the Lord. That being said, Northgate benefits from this kind of thinking much more than we suffer from it. We send people to other churches and they send people to ours. That’s just the way it is. Sorry.


5. “Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality.”

Eagle Brook has invested a lot of time and energy in Northgate over the past 5 ½ years through the Eagle Brook Association. In fact, Bob Merritt, senior pastor of Eagle Brook, was one of the very first people to encourage me to start Northgate. I still remember sitting in his office at a crossroads in my life getting his blessing to start this church. Bob’s wisdom and prayers that day encouraged me more than I can say.


6.  We’re building God’s Kingdom, not our own.

Northgate Church, or any other church for that matter, will come and go. The Kingdom of God goes on forever. Any success in the Kingdom is a success for Northgate, no matter where it happens.


7.  God is doing something very unique at Northgate.

Northgate Church is in a remarkable place! Our 11 o’clock service is just about standing-room-only lately. After just 5 ½ years of ministry, we’re averaging almost 1200 people in weekly attendance, we’ve built on our very own facility, and most importantly, God has used us to lead well over 900 people to Christ! That just doesn’t happen. Only God!


Jesus, the Head of the Church, is doing something very special in the North Metro right now. Revival is coming! I can feel it! Hang on! God is on the move!


And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it. Matthew 16:1


Northgate Church is passionate about helping people become who God purposed them to be.