XPastor tries to help churches by providing some of the essentials for running a church—one of these items is an Opportunity Profiles. An Opportunity Profile should be prepared to aid in orienting candidates to the characteristics of a church during the time of searching for a new hire. Below is a 2004 Opportunity Profile of Northwest Bible Church in Dallas, Texas.
Northwest is one of the leading Bible churches in Dallas. The church has a national reputation due to its teaching, ministry, and ties to Dallas Theological Seminary; it has an international reputation stemming from its large and active missions program.
During the 1990’s, the church enjoyed solid growth, culminating in the construction of a new worship center, education and office complex in 1998. Northwest has a strong men’s and women’s ministry. Particularly strong are the church’s singles ministry, children education, youth program and missions.
History of the Church
Founding to 1965: The church was founded in 1951 as Northwest Presbyterian Church (unaffiliated) with Dr. S. Louis Johnson as Pastor. Shortly thereafter, land was purchased where the church is currently located and the Chapel was constructed. The church had several pastors in this period and maximum attendance was 150-175.
1966-1975: Lou Schneider became Pastor and saw the first period of great growth. In this period, the church changed its name to Northwest Bible Church, adopted its current Constitution and Doctrinal Statement. Multiple worship services began in 1972. A gym and Christian Education building were built in 1972. Attendance climbed to 750 per Sunday. The church was benefiting from growth in the Dallas area, an ideal location at the intersection of two major roads, and stability under a relationally-oriented pastor.
1975-1987: Jim Rose became the Senior Pastor and the church continued to grow. He was noted as an outstanding preacher and Northwest became known as a leading church in this regard. Drama was added to the worship services. Average Sunday attendance was 1,500 adults; there were three morning services and a small evening service to meet the demand. Ministers were added to Christian Education, Jr. High, Sr. High, Singles, Men’s Ministry, Missions and Women’s Ministry.
1988-1992: These were transitional years. Following the departure of Pastor Rose there was a year and a half search period. Dr. Bill Lawrence served as interim pastor through this period. Dr. Rick Yohn was named Senior Pastor and served in that role for 18 months. Throughout this time, attendance at Northwest remained stable at about 1,500. The church was blessed with outstanding regular preachers and well-known visiting preachers. In addition there was great stability in staff and Elders, new ministries were begun, and a 50,000 sq. ft. Christian Life Center was completed.
1992-1998: Dr. Howard Clark became the Senior Pastor and growth continued. 3,000 households were regularly attending Northwest and 2,400 adults were worshipping on Sunday. The singles ministry took on a greater focus, with a Sunday morning Singles Class that quickly drew over 700. A Sunday evening contemporary service was also started which attracted over 800. In 1998, a new worship center was completed which seats 1,300. Dr. Bill Lawrence served as interim pastor from 1998-2001.
2001-present: In March 2001, Neil Tomba was installed as the Senior Pastor. Over the last 25 years, Northwest has been greatly blessed by a number of factors. It is in an ideal location in the growing city of Dallas. Most importantly there has been a heritage of great teaching and an emphasis on equipping the congregation to minister. With the opportunity to minister to more people created by the new worship center, the leadership of Northwest believes the church is poised for another period of growth to minister more effectively to the congregation, the community and the world.
The congregation is well educated, with 75% having a college degree. There are many business professionals in the church. The congregation is 45% married couples, 38% singles and 17% youth. This reflects the high number of singles in Dallas. Northwest does not represent the ethnic diversity of Dallas.
The church membership has been exposed to outstanding teaching through Dallas Seminary, various para-church organizations and other pastors. The congregation is united doctrinally. The church has experienced none of the debates over doctrinal issues that have created tensions in other congregations.
About half of the congregation comes from the five contiguous zip codes surrounding the church. This figure is unchanged since the early 1980’s.
Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior; we do now, in the presence of God, most solemnly and joyfully enter into a covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.
We purpose, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church, in knowledge, holiness and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.
We also purpose to maintain personal devotions; to spiritually educate our children; to seek the salvation of our families and acquaintances; to walk uprightly in the world; to be just in our dealings, to avoid all backbiting and excessive anger; to abstain from every appearance of evil; to submit to the spiritual discipline of the Elders as outlined by Christ in Matthew 18:15-20; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.
We further commit to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in grace and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the instruction of our Savior to seek it without delay.
When we move from this place, we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church, where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant, and the principles of God’s Word in fellowship with others who follow our Lord Jesus Christ.
Current Worship Services
There are two Sunday morning worship services. The first is more traditional and the second service, called Impact, is contemporary. The emphasis in these services is sincere worship with strong Bible teaching—Northwest has been known for excellence in this area.
Sunday School and Ministry Programs
Children’s and Youth Programs: Sunday Schools have been a major strength of Northwest over the years. Children’s programs start with nursery and go through High School. The church is blessed with a large and gifted ministerial staff and dedicated lay people. The current sizes of the programs are:
- K-3rd Grade—100-125 children in Sunday School, then Children’s Church.
- 4th-6th Grade—75-100 children in Club 456 then, Sunday School.
- Junior High—60-100 youth at the 9:25 hour in a room dedicated to Junior High ministry.
- High School—60-120 youth at the 10:55 hour in a newly redesigned and “state of the art” High School facility.
- There is also Mother’s Day Out, Preschool Learning Center, FW Friends and other programs.
- Adult Sunday Schools – There are currently over 15 different adult Sunday Schools targeting various members of the body. The church is blessed with very gifted teachers for these classes (Seminary faculty, para-church leaders and experienced lay people). They range in size from 10-200 people. Some examples:
- Berean Class – Lecture series on topics and books of the Bible – 80-100 people.
- Foundations Class – Young couples – 90-110 people.
- Salt and Light – Emphasis on knowing and praying for church missionaries – 30 people.
- Other classes include Agape, Ambassador, Barnabas, Builders, Grace, Hesed, Sojourners, and other small group classes.
- Men’s and Women’s Ministries: Northwest has had very active Men’s and Women’s Ministries with staff positions focused on each of these areas.
- Women’s Ministry meets on Tuesday mornings and evenings and offers a small group discussion time, followed by a Bible lecture. Typically there are 70-110 women in attendance.
- Men’s Ministry also offers small group Bible studies on Wednesday nights, as well as several elective studies.Both women’s and men’s groups offer additional programs such as retreats, mission trips, service projects and outreach dinners.
- Worship and Music Ministries—Northwest has a wide ranging worship ministry which encompasses groups of all ages, size and worship styles:
- Adult Choir—50 members
- Children’s Choirs—three different children’s groups organized by age group ranging from preschool to 6th grade
- Hand Bell Choir—20 members
- High School contemporary band
- JAM band—4th-6th grade worship band
- Impact Worship Team—10 members
- Specialty Ministries—Northwest offers a variety of ministries targeted at specific needs and life stages. These include:
- Marriage Equipping
- Marriage Enriching
- MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers)
- Someone Cares (abortion recovery)
- Uplifters (Women with breast cancer)
- Three Score or More (support fellowship for senior citizens)
- Dallas Life Ministries (unwed mothers)
- Stephen Ministries
- Hospital visitation training
- Men’s Fraternity (men seeking to grow into authentic biblical manhood)
- Encuentro (a ministry to Hispanics in east Dallas)
- Evangelism Training
- West Dallas children’s tutoring and mentoring program
- Crown Ministries – biblical principles of financial stewardship
- There is also a home church program designed to foster a more intimate and accountable environment for the purpose of worshipping God, examining scripture, enjoying fellowship and evangelism.
- Northwest’s Library has over 14,000 items that can be borrowed for Bible study and other Christian education and edifying entertainment. In addition to books, the library offers videos, audio cassettes, and CD’s.
- Without question one of the areas of focus and strength for Northwest Bible Church is missions. Two major areas:
- Foreign Missions—Northwest supports 50 families serving cross-culturally with a long- term commitment in countries across the world. In addition, each year over 100 people from the church go out as short-term missionaries in areas such as Central Asia, Russia and Spain.
- Local Missions—includes outreach programs with local churches in the area. There are also church-wide community outreach programs such as the Fall Fun Festival, Project Bethlehem (Christmas) and Angel Tree.
Church Governance, Staffing and Budget
Northwest’s governing document is its constitution, which outlines requirements for membership, serving as Elders and the role of the pastor. Northwest is an Elder-led church and the role of the pastor outlined in the constitution is primarily feeding the congregation through expounding the Word of God and prayer. The current active Elder Board is made up of six Elders. The Senior Pastor is also an Elder and serves alongside the other Elders. Elders are ordained for life, so there are more than twenty inactive Elders in the congregation.
The church has 22 ministers and directors, 34 support staff, 30 facility workers and 20 Mother’s Day Out/Learning Center teachers and aides and other employees in full time support roles. The church’s operating budget is $3.5 million.