• Connecting people to an abundant life with Jesus Christ and preparing them for His return

Northern Lights

A Service Journey

A Service Journey 3834 2197 Ken Miller

Sixty-nine NCC educators and pastors, each boasting 25 years or more in service, were honored during the recent Mark Blue Lecture Series.

Each recipient was presented with a distinguished service pin commemorating their unwavering commitment to ministry.

Reflecting on this remarkable milestone, Jose Marin, NCC Executive Secretary, remarked, “We are privileged to celebrate the remarkable dedication of our pastors, teachers, and principals who have devoted their careers to serving Jesus within the Northern California Conference.”

25 Years of Service

Melbert Baga, Owen Bandy, Shawn Brummund, Jaime Calvo, David Carreon, Heather Denton, Jason Eyer, John Gilley, Robert Kurtz, Linda Lamb, Janice Leigh, Donald Mackintosh, JoAnn Moon, Lisa Nuss, Ira Parrish, Ricardo Rincon, Michael Rosich, Michael Thompson, Aubrey Scarbrough, Darren Smith, Susan Walters. James Wood Jr., Glen Wahlman

30 Years of Service

Tania Duncan, Tonya Greenwood, David Goymer, Vernon Jeske, Timothy Judson, Robert Kearbey, Hyun Kim, Esther Melgar, Guadalupe Negrete, Jerry Nelson, Lyly Nguyen, J Williams, Gerald Speyer, Tamara Turk, Cheryl Wood,

35 years of Service

Thomas Adams, Edwin Brown, Frederick Dana, Bradley Davis, Kris Dunlap, Walter Groff, George Hilton, Carole LeBarre, John Linhares, Richard Maloon, Robert Mason, Albert Miller, Richard Nelson, Robert Robinson

40 years of Service

Douglas Brown, Daniel Freedman, George Jackson, Nancy Matthews, Lisa Paulson, David Peckham, James Pedersen, Dorothy Phelps, Mason Philpot, Ronald Pickell, Larry Unterseher, David Vixie, Marvin Wray, Bruce Yingling

Data from the NCC Secretariat

Featured in Northern Lights, April 11, 2024

Uniting Teachers, Pastors, and Principals for Mission-driven Collaboration

Uniting Teachers, Pastors, and Principals for Mission-driven Collaboration 2000 1125 Ken Miller

NCC is committed to supporting our entities in becoming relevant to their communities, mission-driven, and organizationally healthy. One of the key foundations to achieving this is cultivating trust, which is essential to our collaborative efforts. It empowers us to fulfill our mission with integrity and effectiveness.

The NCC wishes to foster a culture of collaboration, innovation, and excellence through initiatives such as the Mark Blue Series. This annual event brings together teachers, pastors, and principals in a unique effort to coordinate ministry and promote collaboration. It serves as a rallying point for our team, uniting us with a singular purpose of connecting people to an abundant life with Jesus Christ and preparing them for His Second Coming.

This year’s Mark Blue Series was particularly impactful. It introduced a practical productivity tool, the Working Genius. Rooted in harnessing personal work styles to build trust and enhance teamwork, the Working Genius framework gave our attendees invaluable insights into effective planning processes and collaborative leadership development.

With over 200 individuals in attendance, the event served as a dynamic platform for learning and growth. Participants delved into strategies for creating and managing leadership teams, emphasizing the importance of clear communication, effective change management, and organizational alignment at the local level.

At its core, the NCC believes in the power of unity—a shared commitment to rowing in the same direction toward our collective mission. By equipping our members and employees with the tools and resources needed to be engaged and enthusiastic ambassadors for spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, we are cultivating a culture of purpose-driven excellence within our organization.

Featured in Northern Lights, April 11, 2024

Young Women Organize to Serve

Young Women Organize to Serve 1895 981 Ken Miller

Recently, the Young Women’s Ministry gained a new and passionate organizer, Sophia Suisala, a member of the Antioch Church.

Suisala stated, “This ministry for young women, ages 17-25, has languished since the pandemic. But recently, our core group has been meeting in person and online to outline our goals and move forward. I am very excited!” It was in these small meetings that the team developed a mission statement to “Love God, Love Yourself, and Serve Others.”

Suisala continued, “Our team is dedicated to creating an atmosphere of inclusivity for all young women while still being authentic to who they are as individuals.” The team is working collaboratively to create a newsletter that champions the contributions of young ladies in creative ministries, serving others, social activism, and entrepreneurial pursuits.

The core group has committed to visiting churches throughout the NCC to grow the ministry and help young women organize and serve their community together.

Featured in Northern Lights, March 14, 2024

33 Schools and a Million Success Stories

33 Schools and a Million Success Stories 1921 1007 Ken Miller

Northern California Conference (NCC) schools, totaling 33 institutions and catering each year to an average of 2,300 students over the past three years, exhibit diverse approaches to meet their communities’ multifaceted needs.

In cultural enrichment, schools like Paradise Academy, Pine Hills, and Orangevale shine in their pursuit of theater and visual arts, garnering recognition in local media outlets. Meanwhile, institutions such as Rio Lindo, Sacramento, and PUC Preparatory excel in athletics, showcasing the distinctiveness of Adventist athletes.

Paradise Elementary, Redwood Academy, and Napa champion innovative educational experiences, pioneering outdoor education initiatives that illustrate the value of holistic learning. The spirit of evangelism thrives across campuses like El Dorado, Pleasant Hill, and Lodi Academy and at elementary schools, where a collective effort has led to many student baptisms.

In schools like Ukiah, Yreka, Crescent City, Middletown, Red Bluff (ACES), Yuba City, Bayside, and Hilltop, there is a high percentage of non-SDA or unchurched children, which highlights a commitment to embracing diversity in the entire community.

The commitment to providing dynamic and creative learning environments remains unwavering in schools like Echo Ridge, Chico Oaks, Redding Academy, Tracy, Galt, Westlake, Clearlake, Vacaville, and PUC Elementary. This dedication is mirrored across small rural schools like Feather River, Foothills, and Fortuna, demonstrating a shared commitment to educational excellence.

Featured in Northern Lights, March 14, 2024

The Precipice of Eternity

The Precipice of Eternity 2028 1086 Ken Miller

On March 1-2, The Northern California Conference, in collaboration with the Pacific Union’s Church State Council, sponsored a Religious Liberty Summit at Pacific Union College.

Distinguished speaker Dwight Nelson delivered a powerful message: “We live on the precipice of eternity and must not sleep through these critical times.” Throughout the two-day summit, Nelson underscored the growing trend of political and religious leaders attempting to combine church and state power.

Religious liberty has been a focal point of the NCC, co-sponsoring similar events for several years. Jose Marin, NCC Executive Secretary, expressed, “I was encouraged to see collegiates participate in this religious liberty summit. They are engaged in understanding the times we live in and how we can be agents of love and freedom to our community.”

Throughout the weekend, Nelson outlined essential goals for navigating this challenging trend. He urged staying focused on Jesus, extending grace, radiating joy, extending assistance to the unhoused, embracing migrants, and staying relevant in society—all cornerstone practices of leading people to an abundant life in Jesus Christ.

Featured in Northern Lights, March 14, 2024

Organizational Health Successes

Organizational Health Successes 2000 1125 Ken Miller

The Oakland Emmanuel Temple and Pittsburg churches are dedicated to fostering community relevance and connecting with their neighbors through compassion and diligence—a mission that aligns with the conference’s strategic anchors.

Each church embarked on this journey toward organizational health in the last year. Their leadership teams have crafted thematic goals that resonate with their congregation and the surrounding community. With a fresh perspective, they evaluate church initiatives to ensure they align, maximizing their impact and effectiveness.

Damon Washington, the district pastor, articulated, “We understand that our internal practices reflect the message we send to our community. Recently, our team addressed a broken chair lift that prevented our access-challenged members from getting around easily. During this process, we realized that we were not projecting a message of care and consideration for our infirm community by not fixing this issue. As a result of this realization, we fixed the chair lift immediately.”

Every leadership team member is empowered to shape the churches’ outreach efforts through inclusive decision-making processes. For instance, a community service day initiative unveiled a neglected weekly service program, a casualty of the pandemic. Through collaborative efforts, they’re revitalizing this program, laying a robust foundation for community engagement.

Washington concluded, “Organizational health and its process has provided a leadership structure that creates a more streamlined approach, member ownership, and efficient, well-planned paths to serving our communities.”

<em>Featured in Northern Lights, March 21, 2024</em>


New Women’s Ministries Director Selected

New Women’s Ministries Director Selected 2316 3041 Ken Miller

We are pleased to welcome Lisa Marsh, MSW, as our next NCC Women’s Ministry Director.

As a distinguished speaker and graduate of Loma Linda University, Lisa has over 25 years of experience as a California Public Child Welfare System social worker. For over a decade, she has secured “forever homes” for hundreds of foster children throughout California.

In 2015, Lisa joined the faculty in the Division of Social Work at California State University-Sacramento, where she teaches and trains future social workers. She is currently the Director of Field Education. She truly enjoys preparing, guiding, and coaching individuals as they transition from social work students to competent and ethical social work professionals.

In addition to her professional career, Lisa is passionate about sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, particularly with women in various seasons of life.

Expressing her enthusiasm for her new role, Marsh emphasized her heartfelt desire for women to recognize and embrace God’s intentional love for them. She firmly believes that God sees, redeems, restores, and loves each woman as His daughters—young or seasoned, married or single, working or stay-at-home, broken or victorious. Her goal is to encourage and equip women to overcome shame, self-doubt, and fear and live their lives to the fullest potential of their God-appointed roles with courage and confidence through Jesus Christ.

Marc Woodson, NCC President, expressed his delight in Marsh’s selection, affirming her as a valuable addition to the NCC team. With her extensive experience and commitment to women’s empowerment, Marsh is poised to impact the ministry’s initiatives and outreach efforts significantly.

Outside her professional endeavors, Marsh finds fulfillment in her family life. She shares a loving bond with her husband of 26 years, Gerald, and they cherish the joys of raising their children, Hannah, Noah, and Paige.

As Marsh steps into her new role, her dedication to serving women with compassion and understanding will inspire and uplift countless lives within the NCC community and beyond.

Featured in Northern Lights, March 21, 2024

Ministering To The Least of These

Ministering To The Least of These 2002 1125 Ken Miller

Embracing its commitment to being community-relevant, the Oakland Market Street Church recently hosted an impactful Prison Ministry Sabbath featuring Anthony Lewis, a pastor from Florida.

Lewis shared his journey from his role as an SDA conference conference departmental director to a decade-long prison term. During his incarceration, Lewis underwent a transformative shift. Mundane Sabbath School lessons became precious moments of spiritual connection, and he longed for visits, religious services, materials, and interaction. This was a great contrast to his former indifference.

His testimony underscores the importance of extending outreach to marginalized communities like those within the prison system. The NCC Prison Ministry Department seeks individuals who are passionate about serving this overlooked community. It offers opportunities for involvement, such as letter writing, supporting local families, and ministering within correctional facilities.

If you are interested in serving this community or are already involved in a prison ministry, please email the team here.

Featured in Northern Lights, March 28, 2024

Intentional Church Building at Home

Intentional Church Building at Home 2000 1125 Ken Miller

The NCC is dedicated to church planting through the Assessment, Coaching, Training, and Sending method, commonly referred to as ACTS. This approach has seen significant adoption and success, both within the country and internationally.

Kevin Robert, director of church growth and evangelism, emphasizes the importance of church planting for the sustainability and growth of congregations. According to Robert, “Churches that fail to produce new church plants tend to decline over time. The ACTS method focuses on initiating churches in homes, initially serving the local community, and then expanding to cover larger areas as they grow.”

The process begins with trained individuals establishing churches in their own homes, reaching out to and serving their immediate neighbors. These newly formed churches are deliberately designed to be flexible and adaptable to the specific needs and cultural context of their surroundings.

Thanks to the training seminars and dedicated members, the ACTS efforts have helped establish six church plants, four of which are local and two located out of state. This success underscores a commitment to planting churches and being community-relevant, mirroring the early Christian church depicted in the Book of Acts.

Featured in Northern Lights, March 28, 2024

The Power of Prayer Ministry

The Power of Prayer Ministry 1907 995 Ken Miller

The NCC Prayer Ministries team recently held their annual prayer retreat at Leoni Meadows, which attracted over 120 attendees.

Esme Ross, the ministry director, expressed her satisfaction with the turnout and highlighted the impact of the event, particularly the blessing brought by speaker Melody Mason.

Reflecting on the retreat, Vince Saunders, pastor of The Haven, remarked on the abundance of insights shared regarding various forms of prayer—corporate, personal, and intercessory. He noted that the experience left everyone feeling more deeply connected to God.

Ross concluded, “Overall, the retreat was a spiritually enriching and transformative experience for all who participated.”

Featured in Northern Lights, March 28, 2024