Northridge Leadership Transition

Phil and Kath Henry founded Northridge Vineyard Church in 1997, and over 23 years have done a wonderful job of leading the church as Senior Pastors. In more recent years, they have overseen a team of Community Pastors who have taken pastoral leadership over each of the Northridge Communities.

In October of 2020, it was announced that Phil and Kath will be stepping down as Senior Pastors at the end of March 2021. Their farewell services will be held on the 21st of March. Rob and Bonnie Giles, who have pastored the Morning Community, accepted the offer from the Northridge Board to become the new Senior Pastors, and will be commissioned on the 28th March 2021.

This is, of course is a big moment in the life of Northridge. The Board is tremendously grateful to God for Kath and Phil. Their witness has been a great blessing to so many people and organisations in so many ways.

The Board is equally grateful for the provision of Rob and Bonnie as our new Senior Pastors, and Chris and Jen Gresham-Britt who have committed to continue as the Pastors of the Evening Community. They all share the same Vineyard DNA and understanding of the Northridge culture. They also have deep connections into the Northridge community and are outstanding pastors. The Board is excited about what God has in store for our church under our new leadership.

Phil and Kath strongly support and bless Rob and Bonnie as the incoming Senior Pastors. They are also grateful to the Board for their support through this process.

We hope you will be able to join us for these special services on the 21st and 28th of March. Click here to view more details on our events page.

Morning Community

Evening Community

Northridge Leadership Transition FAQs

Why are Phil & Kath Henry stepping down as Senior Pastors?

Phil & Kath have been serving as Senior Pastors since they planted Northridge 23 years ago. For many years they have been thinking about succession planning and actively engaged in leadership development. Given the outstanding leaders we now have in Rob & Bonnie Giles and Chris & Jen Gresham-Britt, Phil & Kath believe now is the time to hand on the leadership of Northridge. Formal discussions with the Board about a planned transition commenced about 18 months ago.

What's next for Phil & Kath?

Phil & Kath want to be an ongoing blessing to the Vineyard movement in Australia and internationally, and to other denominations. Their focus will be on training and mentoring both existing and potential leaders within the Vineyard movement, continuing their roles with the Vineyard College, organising and leading retreats, supporting church growth across the Vineyard movement in Australia and other tasks and roles (such as conducting weddings and funerals) as invited.

To this end, Phil & Kath will each be engaged for one day a week in the role of ‘founding pastors’. Essentially, this is an outward facing role into the broader Vineyard movement (i.e. they will not be a part of the Northridge leadership team, will not have a role in supervising Northridge employees and will not be involved in any of the administration of Northridge). The Northridge Board believes Phil & Kath will be a great blessing to the Vineyard movement in this new role which will help all Vineyard churches in Australia to become stronger and more impactful for the Kingdom.

Phil & Kath’s role of founding pastors has an initial period until the end of 2022. They will remain valued members of the Northridge Evening Community. They will continue to serve on the Board of Vineyard Churches Australia (the organisation which supports all Vineyard Churches in Australia).

How can I financially support Phil & Kath in their new role?

Northridge has set up a separate bank account for anyone who would like to financially support Phil & Kath in their new role as founding pastors (BSB 032087 A/C 379362). Funds in this account will be separate from the regular Northridge budget. We suggest your support for Phil & Kath would be in addition to your regular giving to Northridge so that the existing ministries of Northridge are not impacted.

Kath & Phil would value prayers for them in their new role and would be delighted to stay in touch. They can be contacted at [email protected]

How were the new Senior Pastors selected?

The Northridge Board briefly considered searching externally to find new Senior Pastors but were unanimously of the view that the far better option was to appoint our new Senior Pastors from our existing leadership team. Rob & Bonnie and Chris & Jen all share the same Vineyard DNA, understand the Northridge culture, have deep connections into the Northridge community and are outstanding pastors. This is a great blessing to Northridge and a wonderful leadership development legacy passed on to us by Phil & Kath.

The Board interviewed both couples (without Phil & Kath). Northridge is wonderfully blessed to have four passionate, talented and capable pastors with huge potential. After prayerful consideration we were delighted to appoint Rob & Bonnie to the role of Senior Pastors.

When will Rob & Bonnie take over as Senior Pastors?

A transition plan has been developed which maps out a gradual handover of responsibilities from Phil & Kath to Rob & Bonnie from October 2020 through March 2021. There will be special services on Sunday 28 March 2021 when Vineyard Churches Australia National Directors, Kirk & Nicole Delaney, will thank Phil & Kath as they step down and commission Rob & Bonnie as the new Senior Pastors.

Will Rob & Bonnie continue in their role as Community Pastors of the Morning Community?

Yes. The Senior Pastor roles will be additional to their current roles as Community Pastors of the Morning Community.

What additional responsibilities will Rob & Bonnie have as Senior Pastors?
  • A core role of the Senior Pastors is to set the overall vision of Northridge and ensure Northridge stays true to the Vineyard Statement of Faith.
  • The Senior Pastors also have ultimate responsibility for the pastoral oversight of Northridge.
  • One of the Senior Pastors functions as Chair of the Northridge Board.
  • The Senior Pastors also have ultimate leadership responsibilities in maintaining a collaborative and friendly culture among all staff and volunteers and maintaining relational connection with other Vineyard churches, the Board of Vineyard Churches Australia and with other denominations, particularly local churches.
What does this mean for Chris & Jen and the Evening Community?

We are truly blessed and delighted to have Chris & Jen continuing to serve as Community Pastors of the Evening Community. Chris & Jen also will remain valued members of the Northridge leadership team.

What does this mean for Northridge? Will it change?

The overall mission and direction of Northridge will remain the same, embedded in the Vineyard DNA.

Rob & Bonnie will bring their own leadership flavour to the mix and we look forward to seeing them working closely with Chris & Jen as the new Northridge leadership team. The Board are confident this team will serve the Church very well.

The current Communities model (two Communities, one Church) will continue.

Will there be changes to the Board?

Rob & Bonnie will replace Phil & Kath on the Board at the March 2021 Board meeting. Dave de Jonge will be stepping down from the Board at its November 2020 meeting after many years of wonderful service. He will be replaced at that meeting by Mike Carruthers. The other existing members of the Board (Chris Chilton, Ted Kerr, Kym Sherlock and Stephen Thompson) recognise the value of stability and continuity and don’t have plans to step down in the foreseeable future. In due course there will be further appointments made to fill vacancies left recently by Cath Udy stepping down and Roberta Tsai becoming a Board member of the new Viva Vineyard church.

How can I pray?

It is always good to be praying for our church but now is an especially important time to be praying for all our wonderful leaders. For Phil & Kath as they transition from being Senior Pastors to the new role of founding pastors. For Rob & Bonnie as they prepare to step into the role as Senior Pastors. For Chris & Jen as they continue to lead and care for the Evening Community during this transition time. For Andrew & Sarah as they launch their new Viva Vineyard Church plant in Hornsby. For everybody in positions of leadership throughout the Northridge family.

Other questions?

If you have any other questions and wish to speak to somebody please email [email protected] and a member of the Northridge Board will respond to you.