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





Newly Appointed NextGen Regional Executive Director

Craig Hardinger has been a pastor since 1982, and is currently the Lead Pastor at Arcade Church in Sacramento, CA. He has a heart for all to hear and understand the truth of the gospel. His powerful preaching makes plain the deep truths of God’s word. Craig desires to equip people to become disciple-makers.

 He holds a B.S. from Corban University, an M.Div. from Golden Gate Theological Seminary, as well as a D. Min. from Bakke University. He is also a practicing biblical counselor, certified through ACBC.

 Craig and his lovely wife Debbie have been married since 1981 are the proud parents to Scott and his wife Steph, grandparents to Silas, and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their first granddaughter. He is an avid cyclist and enjoys reading and roasting coffee in his free time.


Message From David Hong NextGen Board Search Chairman

"Whenever we get to be a part of something where we clearly see God's hand having gone before us, it's fun to be a part of the process.  

 When our NextGen board first heard from David Whitaker that he would be resigning his role as Regional Executive Director to accept the national leadership role for CBAmerica, we were at once excited for David, confident of the strategic guidance he could provide to the national team, but immediately also aware that his would be big shoes to fill in finding our next regional leader.  David's visionary and steady hand at the helm has laid a great foundation for our current health and direction.

 But even as that first announcement settled in, our collective attention turned to Craig Hardinger, president of our board and lead pastor of Arcade Church in Sacramento.  With Craig's deep involvement in the leadership of our region and his "boots on the ground" role as lead pastor of Arcade, we immediately sensed that God had prepared Craig for our need of a regional director.  With one voice we asked Craig to prayerfully consider taking on our region's leadership.

 Over the next few weeks, Craig had the opportunity to pray with his wife, Debbie, confer with his church elder team and take a realistic look at what the new responsibilities would require.  All of this with an eye to God's leading,  so when the board extended an official call for Craig to come on as our executive director, Craig gave us the thumbs up (with humble acknowledgement), and we gratefully welcomed him, recognizing God's preparation and involvement all along the way.  What a delight to be involved where we have seen God's good hand going ahead to prepare the way!

On behalf of your regional NextGen board as search team chairman, I'm excited to commend Craig Hardinger to you as our next Executive Regional Director.  Let's stand with him in prayer and partnership to see what God may be pleased to do as we together continue to work for the glory of Jesus and the advancement of His church in our Northern California/Nevada region.

 With thanksgiving,

Dave Hong
NextGen Board Search Chairman