A Message From Craig Hardinger, Executive Director

Hello! I know I’m stating the obvious but it must be said - these are exciting times.  Exciting, but not in the way of unicorns and rainbows or another SF Giants’ pennant.  The kind of excitement to which I’m referring has to do with the mission of God.   At the risk of channeling Eeyore, perhaps we could agree that this world appears to be getting darker.  The outrage, vitriol and across-the-board devouring of each other appears to be accelerating at warp speed (yes, I’m a Trekkie).  In view of that trend, would it not stand to reason that the light of Jesus’ followers must be ever brighter? And wouldn’t you agree, the work that must be done in your fellowship can only be enhanced when combined with other like-minded local fellowships?  

 I suppose that’s the primary reason why I am so excited about the association of NextGen Churches.  As the new Regional Executive Director, it is my sincere pleasure to serve the churches of Northern California/Nevada and to carry out the mission God has for us - together.  Our former director, and now President of CBAmerica, Dave Whitaker reestablished for us a network of churches – new and old – that are prepared to take on the next season of church planting and revitalization.  It is my privilege to carry on the work God accomplished through Dave’s leadership.  When you get the chance, please take the time to thank him. Through his influence and pastor’s heart, Dave tilled up a lot of ground that is now Gospel-ready.  

 Fellow NextGeners, we exist to be a pebble in the shoe of our culture.  We may look insignificant -   inconsequential even - kind of like a pebble.  But when God’s people live out the presence of Jesus - individually, locally, regionally and globally - lives change. (Acts 1:8)  The task of being a Christian is growing more difficult. Therefore, as leaders of local churches, it is imperative that we train, equip and encourage our individual congregations to stand firm in the beauty of Jesus Christ and his heart-transforming, mind-blowing Gospel.  I’m thinking we can do that more effectively locally if we band together regionally.    

 Can the work be done as individual churches?  Sure! I think it’s probable that each of us church leaders has a little Lone Ranger just dying to bust out – free from the confines of boards and oversight.  Yes, it’s true we can fulfill whatever God has for us individually. But think of the damage that could be done to the systems that produce nothing but broken lives if we band together for the sake of Christ and his Gospel.  I get absolutely energized to know that such a gospel and the fellowship of the saints serves as a one-two punch to the throat of the kingdom of darkness.   

 I encourage you to join with NextGen Churches.  If you would like to kick the tires a bit and take the association for a test drive, I can’t think of a better place than at our Leadership Gathering May 6-8.   Each year this gathering has become a respite for me along with the staff I lead at Arcade Church. It is also a very active reminder that we are not alone.  I am not waxing hyperbolic when I say, because of the fellowship of NextGen Churches, I am a better equipped pastor and Arcade Church is a far more effective fellowship. 

 Since I’m so new to the role of Director, my goal in the next few months is to get to know you.  Lord willing, I will visit your general community this coming year and would love to spring for a cup of coffee at your favorite spot.   If you’re thinking about partnering with NextGen then I would love to have an initial phone or skype conversation with you.  Please don’t hesitate to call or email.  You can reach me at 916-489-3900, or by email.

I know it’s cliche, but it’s so true - we really are better together.

 Craig Hardinger

Regional Executive Director

Lead Pastor Arcade Church