In the Beginning
In November 1995, Andy Stanley stood in front of a gathering of believers at a North Atlanta convention center and cast the vision for a new church. He said, "Atlanta does not need another church. What Atlanta does need is a safe environment where the unchurched can come and hear the life-changing truth that Jesus Christ cares for them and died for their sins." So began North Point Community Church.
When Andy talks about those early years, he focuses on the unique opportunity the unusual schedule afforded them. "We made a strategic decision not to focus on growth but instead to focus on leadership development. As a result, when we moved to our own facility and began regular Sunday morning services, we had a core of leaders who knew exactly what we were trying to do and exactly where they fit in."
In December 1996, North Point purchased an 83-acre site in the middle of Alpharetta, a small town fifteen miles north of Atlanta. Six months later, construction began on what was to be the first of three building phases. The first phase of construction included a 2,700-seat auditorium, along with a small theater, offices, and education space for preschoolers and children. On September 27, 1998, the congregation of North Point Community Church moved into its new home. That first Sunday, over 2,000 adults attended two morning worship services. By Christmas, attendance had grown to 3,000. By the end of the first year, North Point was averaging over 4,000 in worship. As a result of this growth, the church leadership decided to experiment with the idea of developing multiple worship environments, rather than one large auditorium. This was a faster and less costly way to meet the growing demand. By spring of 2001, the second phase of construction was completed. A second auditorium stood directly behind the original one. With the additional seating, North Point is able to accommodate over 5,000 worshipers at one time.
A group of people in the Buckhead area wanted a relevant church similar to NPCC where they could safely bring their friends who did not go to church. In the spring of 2001, they began meeting every other Sunday night in rented facilities, much like the early days of North Point. Andy Stanley and the leadership team encouraged and advised Buckhead Fellowship, and in August 2001 asked them to become the first satellite location of North Point Ministries. Buckhead Fellowship became Buckhead Church. They continued meeting every other Sunday night until they moved into a renovated grocery store on Roswell Road on Easter Sunday of 2003. Buckhead Church moved to a permanent facility at Tower Place in the heart of Buckhead in May 2007.
A third location, Browns Bridge Church, opened on October 8, 2006. Browns Bridge was fully programmed and showed NPCC prerecorded messages with the same technology used at Buckhead Church. A fourth and fifth location were added in 2011. Woodstock City Church, formerly a strategic partner of North Point Minstries, was added in April followed by Gwinnett Church later that same year. Decatur City Church, also a former strategic partner of North Point Ministries, was added as a sixth location in November 2014. The messages are now simulcast every Sunday to all six church locations.
When asked to comment on the amazing growth at North Point, a member of the leadership team said, "We can't explain it. We don't try to explain it. We just pray that God will keep us from getting in the way of what he's up to."
Beyond the Numbers
Currently, North Point Ministries has over 23,000 adults participating in worship at six churches each Sunday. In addition, over 14,000 children and students meet in small groups while their parents attend worship. However, the numbers don't tell the whole story. Changed lives are what drive the leadership at North Point.
Another member of the leadership team said,"Our real mission is to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. That's not just a slogan on our wall. We have measured our success by that standard from the beginning. If we ever stop hearing stories of life change, I guarantee we will stop what we are doing and regroup, no matter how many people are attending."