Why Outreach is Important

We believe we have been changed for a change. God calls every believer to be a witness for Jesus Christ to their world and every church to do their part in reaching the world. To accomplish this, we equip every Northwooder to share their story with those around them, and give time and attention to the following categories.


Love Refugees

We have a biblical call to be hospitable to the orphan, widow and what the Bible refers to as the ‘sojourner.’ We pursue this call through refugee ministry.

Bless Our Community

We work for the good of the community to which we have been called. We serve Maple Grove, Minnesota and the greater NW Metro of Minneapolis.

Make Disciples

The change we experience in our own lives is about more than just us. We’ve been changed in order that we might help others become more like Jesus too.

Outreach Partner Spotlight

Pastor Jean Pierre Gatera

Pastor Jean-Pierre Gatera was born a refugee in Rwanda and passed through several refugee camps before ending up in Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwest Kenya for 19 years. After pastoring churches in one of the world’s largest refugee camps, God called Pastor Gatera and his family to Minneapolis in 2016, where he continues to do ministry as an emerging global voice in Refugee Ministry through International Association for Refugees (IAFR). Northwood is proud to have been the Gatera’s resettlement church and enjoys continuing to support Pastor Gatera in his ministry with churches in America and beyond. Pastor Gatera and family attend Northwood Church.

Sarah Miller

Sarah Miller has been serving refugees in Europe and America since the 1990’s, most recently through International Association for Refugees (IAFR). God used Sarah to launch Jonathan House which offers safe and stable housing for asylum seekers in the Twin Cities, helping them find hope and healing in community. Currently, Sarah serves as International Ministries Director for IAFR, serving, coaching and helping IAFR’s global missionaries in Europe, Africa and the U.S. God has used Sarah’s presence and voice at Northwood Church to help lead us into greater compassion, understanding and love for forcibly displaced persons. Sarah is our longest tenured Outreach Partner.

John Cherico

John Cherico is a 5-year, full-time chaplain, for Good News Jail & Prison Ministry. John is assigned to Hennepin County Jail, in downtown Minneapolis, the largest county jail in Minnesota. This facility houses an average of 700-800 individuals, awaiting trial or sentencing. Chaplain John assists the volunteers who work with inmates, as they lead 40 Bible studies occurring each month. As Senior Chaplain, John distributes a variety of religious literature, including 70 Bibles, given monthly to inmates. Chaplain John counsels between 3-6 inmates each day, who are suffering from the effects of incarceration, as well as struggling with emotional and spiritual issues.

James Medina

James Medina is the National Director of CRU Destino, coaching and helping CRU staff reach and disciple Latino students on college campuses across America. James himself was heavily influenced by CRU as a student at the University of Minnesota, so working with collegians was something he felt God calling him to do following his own graduation. In addition to being National Director of CRU Destino, James also works with Latino students in the TC metro area, especially at the U of M. James is a new Northwood Outreach Partner and is the son of Northwooders, Gary and Blanca Bivans.

Tom Albinson

Tom is President of International Association for Refugees, a ministry he founded in 2009 after working with refugees in Europe since the 1980’s. Tom is recognized as an authoritative evangelical voice on forcibly displaced persons and IAFR is a growing ministry and influence in refugee work around the world. One of Tom’s most persistent words is, “Refugees are more than people in need, they are partners in ministry.” Tom is a regular speaker at Northwood, particularly around World Refugee Sunday in June.

Serve Day

Serve Day is an annual event at Northwood where we “let our service be our worship and our worship be our service.” Instead of gathering for our usual Sunday worship service we gather and spread out to 12-15 service projects in our community. Projects range from trash pickup to house repairs, home painting, landscaping, yard raking, food packing, blanket making, diaper bundling, clothes collecting, prayer walking, community center cleaning, and others. We always include a Food Drive for CROSS as part of our efforts and wear specially designed T-Shirts created for Serve Day.

Sonlight Community Church

Sonlight Community Church is a sister TCMBA Church we support with prayer and finances led by Pastor Sam Asuma and his wife, Gladys. Sonlight is primarily an African Church with a satellite location in Kenya. We recently gave Sonlight a Christmas Offering to help them locate a suitable worship and ministry space.

Christmas Offerings

Northwooders love to bless others and every year since 2012 we have received a special Christmas offering for ministries we are in relationship with and who need a boost or help. To date, $272,000 has been given to provide Bibles and shelters for refugees, dig a well for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s), purchase a truck for CROSS, help NLFS build a Pregnancy Care Center in Mpls Philipps Neighborhood, assist IAFR with launching Jonathan House for asylum seekers, fund an educational building in Kakuma Refugee Camp (KISOM), assist the Gatera’s with purchasing a home and providing needed start-up funds for NAOMI House in the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

The Timothy Initiative (TTI)

The Timothy Initiative is a church planting and multiplication ministry bringing the good news of Jesus to the farthest corners of the world and the hardest places in the world. Working through indigenous evangelists and planters, TTI has planted thousands of house churches that reach millions of people. The Timothy Initiative is one of the most amazing modern-day missions stories and Northwood is thrilled to help bring the good news to people and places we’ll never get to.

CROSS (Christians Reaching Out in Social Services)

Northwood does two food drives a year benefitting CROSS, which is the local social service agency serving the communities of Maple Grove, Dayton, Osseo, Rogers, Corcoran and Champlin. CROSS has “wrap-around” programs helping people with food insecurity, housing and job instability, clothing, school supplies, Christmas gifts and children’s needs.

Kingdom Collective

Northwood teams with eight other Maple Grove and Dayton churches to collaborate on ministry projects. Currently, these include an Ash Wednesday Lenten Service and Summer Town Green Worship Service. Senior and staff pastors from the churches meet monthly for prayer and encouragement as we dream about ways Jesus’ name can be glorified in our area.

New Life Family Services (NLFS)

New Life Family Services is a Christian ministry that provides life-affirming services through five First Care Pregnancy Centers, New Life Adoptions (licensed adoption services) and Conquerors (post abortion recovery groups for men and women). NLFS staff compassionately open their hearts and doors to men and women who believe abortion is the “only” solution to an unplanned pregnancy. Through practical and spiritual counsel, NLFS provides education and support for clients with the hope they will make life-affirming decisions for their unborn child.

Twin Cities Metro Baptist Association (TCMBA)

The TCMBA is our local denominational partner. Northwood supports church planting and church revitalization through the efforts of the TCMBA and its director, Chris Reinertson.

Minnesota/Wisconsin Baptist Convention (MWBC)

The MWBC is our regional denominational partner and they were used by God to birth Northwood in April 2000 with funding, coaching and Northwood’s first pastor, Phil Faig.

Pastor Jean Pierre Gatera

Sarah Miller


James Medina

Tom Albinson


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