A New Youth Pastor @ Northridge Church

I'm excited to announce that we have a new youth pastor at Northridge Church beginning in September!

You will learn more about Aaron & Lauren Hixson in the coming weeks, but let me tell you why we hired a new youth pastor.


Over four and a half years ago, when we hired Mark Nelson, one of our first meetings was about a transition plan. We've always followed the Jim Collins "Good to Great" advice that we need to get the right people on the bus and then get them in the right seat. I know it may seem like an exaggeration, but truly one of our first meetings was about transitioning from youth ministry – the "if" and "when" that might happen.

We felt we needed to get Mark on the Northridge bus even though we didn't know how long he would fill the role of youth pastor on our staff. From the beginning, we were brainstorming on other roles that Mark could fill. Although he is still very effective and he still enjoys it greatly, we have had a continual conversation about the future.

Recently, we determined that Mark should be one of our campus pastors. Although Mark loves his current role, he is also excited about the option of leading one of our multi-site locations. 

Mark came to me a few months ago and mentioned that considering the timing of our next multi-site (2014) and his potential role as a campus pastor – that a young man had come to his attention that we really needed to consider. So we have brought him here twice and put him through multiple interviews. On Thursday, the Oversight Team unanimously voted to ask Aaron to come onto our staff and he has accepted.

Although we know Mark is doing a great job and could continue doing so for a long, long time – we think this is the right time and the right person. This is a hard decision for both Mark and for me. Mark loves what he is doing and wishes he could play both roles. It is hard for me because Mark has had a huge influence on my daughters and I will be forever grateful for his role (and his wife's role) in shaping their character. My daughters love God more because of Mark & Gretchen. 

It is rare that a youth pastor changes roles internally in a church. I'm so happy that Mark's transition from youth ministry doesn't mean a transition from Northridge Church.

I look forward to having you meet Aaron & Lauren very soon. They plan to move here in the next few weeks. He is young with a huge heart for God and great skills and abilities. His wife is a great blessing and they will be a great team. Although it is his first pastoral position, we do have four former youth pastors on staff to help him succeed (Mark, Dave Boehm, Andy Woodall, and me). But more importantly, we have an all-star team of youth volunteers to team with them.

We all will be guiding him and cheering him on as he continues the youth ministry success that God has granted through the leadership of Dave Boehm and Mark Nelson!

More info on them coming soon!

  1. I’m so glad Mark is on the bus and I’m super excited to see him in the role of campus pastor! I’m also pumped to meet Aaron!

    It is very exciting to see Northridge grow and recruit capable people who are passionate about God’s Church.

  2. Welcome aboard Hixson’s! To say I’m excited about having this couple join the Northridge team would be an understatement. Can’t wait to get to know you guys better and to see what role God would have you play here!

    And congratulations Mark — I’m also very happy that you’re transition plan doesn’t also include your departure! 😉

  3. Great News!
    Going forward, once a third multi-site location is added, will all of the youth ministry activities still be based in Irondequoit or will they eventually be specific to each location? I’m curious since by the time my kids get involved I am assuming Northridge will have grown by a lot!

  4. That is great news. I am still very new to Northridge, but I am very impressed and excited about the advances and changes that I have seen everyone make. It makes me very proud to say I go to Northridge. Congratulations to Aaron and Lauren and I am excited to meet them.

  5. Erin – 

    We just arent sure. It depends on how each site is doing… How large are they? How many teens? Etc… We want critical mass for it to have its own youth ministry. So we will play it by ear as we grow.


  6. This is exciting! I think I remember meeting Aaron (he was part of a traveling BBC worship band) on a youth weekend trip. What a great addition to the team and our community! Welcome, Aaron!

Add Comment

Required fields are marked *. Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.