About

ABOUT NORTHWOOD

Our Purpose:

 To glorify God by developing  mature disciples through worship, study of the Word, prayer, fellowship and outreach to others.

We are a family of Christ followers in Clearwater, Florida. We believe the body of Christ is comprised of all generations and therefore the local church should be cross-generational as well.  We are committed to sharing the good news of Christ with those who don't know Him as well as reminding those who do that the whole Christian life is dependent upon the grace we have in Christ. No matter what you’ve been through, what questions you might have, or where you are on your spiritual journey, at Northwood you’ll find the grace, mercy, and forgiveness Jesus offers to everyone.

Our Staff

Mitchell portrait image

Mitchell Cruit, Lead Pastor
Mitchell joined Northwood as the Lead Pastor in 2019. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida before earning a Master of Divinity at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Mitchell is passionate about helping others taste and see the goodness of God’s grace through Jesus Christ in preaching, teaching, pastoral care, small groups, discipleship, and pastoral leadership. Mitchell and his wife, Rebecca have one young daughter. In their free time they enjoy reading, searching for the best local food and drinks, and sharing good meals and conversations with others in their home.

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Rory Dardich, Youth & Worship Pastor
Rory has been serving Northwood since 1997. He graduated from Clearwater Christian College with a bachelor’s degree in Church Ministries. He longs to see middle and high school students know Jesus and fully embrace their role now as members of the Kingdom of God. Rory also has an overwhelming desire to see God’s people worship Him with passion, sincerity, and intentionality, both corporately and individually, with and without song. He and his wife, Amy have three children in youth group and college. In their free time they enjoy relaxing or adventuring with family.

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Tricia Stalter, Office Manager
Tricia has attended Northwood since 2004 and joined the staff as Office Manager in 2016. Tricia attended the University of South Florida where she earned a Bachelor’s in Business. Tricia oversees the day-to-day operations of the church and finds it a joy to support the Northwood staff, ministries and church family. Tricia and her husband, Scott, have one daughter in college. Tricia enjoys spending time with her family, playing boardgames, and reading.

WHAT WE BELIEVE

“Now I would remind you, brothers,of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”
1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-4 (ESV)

"Gospel" simply means good news. The Bible is the story of God's Gospel, which is centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is the story of a Holy Creator God’s rescue plan to save the world, culminating with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He died in our place, taking the punishment for our sin, and He rose three days later, conquering death, so that we may experience life and eternity the way God made us to experience it. In the end, God will restore and renew all things. The Gospel is the Good News that, while there is nothing we can do to earn our way to God and none of us deserve it, Jesus died to make a way for us because God loves us, and He rose to give us hope and a part to play in God's work of restoration and renewal. It's all about Jesus.

Northwood is affiliated with the Evangelical Free Church of America, which is an association of autonomous, interdependent churches united around this gospel expressed in the same Statement of Faith articulated below.

1. GOD: GOD'S GOSPEL ORIGINATES IN AND EXPRESSES THE WONDROUS PERFECTIONS OF THE ETERNAL, TRIUNE GOD
We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.

2. THE BIBLE: GOD'S GOSPEL IS AUTHORITATIVELY REVEALED IN THE SCRIPTURES
We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.

3. THE HUMAN CONDITION: GOD'S GOSPEL ALONE ADDRESSES OUR DEEPEST NEED
We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.

4. JESUS CHRIST: GOD'S GOSPEL IS MADE KNOWN SUPREMELY IN THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST
We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus-Israel’s promised Messiah-was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate.

5. THE WORK OF CHRIST: GOD'S GOSPEL IS ACCOMPLISHED THROUGH THE WORK OF CHRIST
We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation.

6. THE HOLY SPIRIT: GOD'S GOSPEL IS APPLIED BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of its guilt. He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God. He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.

7. THE CHURCH: GOD'S GOSPEL IS NOW EMBODIED IN THE NEW COMMUNITY CALLED THE CHURCH
We believe that the true church comprises all who have been justified by God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone. They are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ, of which He is the Head. The true church is manifest in local churches, whose membership should be composed only of believers. The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer.

8. CHRISTIAN LIVING: GOD'S GOSPEL COMPELS US TO CHRIST-LIKE LIVING AND WITNESS IN THE WORLD
We believe that God’s justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed. With God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed.

9. CHRIST'S RETURN: GOD'S GOSPEL WILL BE BROUGHT TO FULFILLMENT BY THE LORD HIMSELF AT THE END OF THIS AGE
We believe in the personal, bodily and glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission.

10. RESPONSE AND ETERNAL DESTINY: GOD'S GOSPEL REQUIRES A RESPONSE THAT HAS ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES
We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.

What to Expect

On a Sunday morning:

Our worship gatherings begin at 10am.  You will find people wearing anything from shorts and jeans to business casual and some occasionally a little dressier than that.  Our church feels and functions like a family whose loving community is noticeable. Our services include worshipping God with music from a variety of genres - anything from hymns to brand new worship songs in order to express our love to God, give Him the glory He deserves, and encouraging each other with "spiritual songs".  Our services also include a time where a passage of the Bible is taught with the aim of explaining what that passage means, how it points us to Christ, and what difference it makes in our lives.  Services are a little over an hour long and are followed by an opportunity to get to know one another over a cup of coffee and to dive a little deeper through Sunday School and adult Growth Group.

For children under age 3 years of age, we have a team of loving volunteers who serve in our nursery.  Everyone else is together at the beginning of the service.  Just before the message children 3 years old through 5th grade are dismissed to "Junior Church" - interactive activities and a Bible lesson taught at their level.  Children should be picked up from their classes immediately following the service.

On a Wednesday night:

Wednesday night is all about the kids and teens!  Our AWANA Club is for 3 year olds through 5th graders.  This is a fun, up-beat time that includes games, scripture memorization, and a lesson time. Our Souled Out Student Ministry is for middle and high school students.  Meeting in the "youth house" at the back of our property they spend time hanging out, playing group games, worshipping God with student-led worship music and learning from God's word.  During the school year both ministries meet from 6:30-8pm.

NORTHWOOD COMMUNITY CHURCH

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