Meet Jeff Bell! We are excited to announce the arrival of Northland at Mount Dora’s new site minister. Jeff brings with him 14 years of ministry experience, having most recently served as teaching pastor at Westport Church in Portland, Oregon, which he co-founded in 2004. Before that, Jeff served as the site minister at Granger Community Church (Granger, Indiana), where he launched its first multi-site campus in Elkhart, Indiana. The son of a Baptist pastor, Jeff earned his degree in pastoral theology and ministry at Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri.
Jeff is an inspirational leader with a friendly, energetic personality and a pastor’s heart that will serve Mount Dora’s needs. We hope, in turn, to help meet Jeff and his family’s needs … like helping them adjust to the Florida heat by finding them a place to store their parkas and snow gear! Here, Jeff talks more about himself, his family … and Wheat Chex?
Q: You just had your first weekend with the congregation at Mount Dora. What was that like?
A: A thrill. You always come in with certain hopes and expectations, right? Mine have been exceeded. This is a great group of people—energized, welcoming, hungry to see God do a great work in and through them. My kind of people!
Q: Can you tell us about your wife and kids?
A: Leslee and I have known each other since grade school. So I married my best friend and "grade school sweetheart" 18 years ago this summer. And what a gift she is to me! I pray Northland will like me … but I know Northland will love her! God has blessed us with two amazing kids—Lauren (age 11, also known as "the princess") and Garrett (age 4, also known as "the tank" ... just wait 'til you meet him). Lauren loves music and zebras; Garrett loves Cars and Legos. We're just a fun-loving, laughter-loving family jazzed to be a part of Northland.
And the fact that Disney World is only 30 minutes away has nothing to do with my kids' excitement in moving here. Nothing at all ...
Q: Where do your passions lie ministry-wise?
A: If you cut me, I bleed three things (well, besides blood): life-change, multiplication and team building. Encountering Jesus always results in life change: hope, joy, brokenness, freedom, awe, a new awareness, a new assignment. We should always expect to be changed, to come away different, to become more of what His great plan is for us. And truly transformed lives result in more transformed lives—that's multiplication. The good news of Jesus is too good to keep to ourselves—we've got to reproduce it in others! And I'm all about team building. A team outperforms the individual—every time. Whatever we do, we do together. I love dreaming and working with a team that's on fire for Kingdom work. So I'm passionate about life-change, multiplication, and team. Also saving seal pups.
Q: Robert Johnson has been faithfully serving as interim site minister for the last six months. Anything you’d like to say about him?
A: Aside from modeling amazing faith and commitment to the folks in Mount Dora, Robert has already been a great encouragement and help to me personally. I've been leaning on him quite a bit for insights and wisdom from his time there. And his heartbeat for what God is doing at Northland shines through. Grateful for you, Robert!
Q: Can you give us a sneak preview of what’s in store for Northland at Mount Dora moving forward?
A: It's classified.
Well, ok ... a peak. The first thing I want to do is hear from the people at Mount Dora. Again, I love team building! I want to hear from the people who have put a stake in the ground and said "this is my church. I'm in. I believe God is up to something, and I'm ready to be part of making it happen." There are a number of gifted people at Mount Dora who are energized by what God is doing—and I want to hear from them. I need to hear from them!
We're actually lining up a few vision nights where we'll invite everyone to speak into and help shape the expression of Northland that God has for this site. Together we'll discover and shape what God has in store moving forward. Between that and converting everyone to rooting for Notre Dame football, it should be an exciting couple of months.
Q: Quick! What’s your favorite song, book … and breakfast cereal?
A: Song: Right now I can't stop playing “With Everything,” by Hillsong United.
Book: The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan
Breakfast Cereal: Wheat Chex. Yeah, nobody at my house fights me for them.
Q: Do you have a special talent that we should know about?
A: You mean other than my amazing dance skills?
Q: Do you have a favorite Bible passage?
A: I love Romans 8.
Q: Anything else we should know about you?
A: Hmmm....some random facts about me? I'm a huge Notre Dame football fan. I'm the oldest of four brothers (Jason, Jeremy, James ... and my dad's name is Jerry. Yep.) Our dog's name is Potato. My dad started a church in Ft. Lauderdale when I was in high school. I think country music is an oxymoron. And I love dark chocolate.
Q: How can we be praying for you and your family at this time?
A: We would love to know that Northland is praying for us! Pray for our kids as we transition here and make this home; for wisdom in starting well; for God to give us a love for the people we've been called to serve—both in the church and in the community.
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