Rev. and Mrs. Ralph Dale and their son Marc came to Charlotte, NC to plant a new Assembly of God church in the spring of 1977. The church was named Evangel Temple Assembly of God. The first meeting took place at the Holiday Inn, located on Sugar Creek Rd. The group met here for a short while, using the swimming pool as their baptism pool. A few months later, the fellowship would move to the Tryon Mall and establish a place of ministry in rented space inside the mall. Although the church retained her name, Evangel Temple, many came to know the fellowship as “The church in the market place”. A prayer chapel was established and kept open for anyone who came to the mall that might want to stop by for prayer or to just share a concern.
From the mall, the church family would move to the McCrory YMCA on Beatties Ford Road. Each Sunday morning, a group from the church would meet early to set up chairs and prepare for the worship service. While meeting at the YMCA, the church purchased 16 acres of land and preparation began to build the first building on the property. The site for the new church was located at 2632 Sunset Rd. and the congregation moved in during 1983.
Pastor Dale announced his plans to step down as Sr. Pastor of Evangel Temple in February of 1984 to accept a ministry position south of Charlotte where he would serve in an active Pastoral counseling ministry. He later accepted a staff ministry position at First Assembly of God, Gastonia, NC as the Pastoral Care Minister and remained there until his passing in September of 2016.
Evangel Temple issued a call to Rev. Lee Russell, who was pastoring Heritage Cathedral Assembly of God in Marianna, Fl., to accept the Pastorate of Evangel Temple. The church membership elected him in March of 1984 and he and his family relocated to Charlotte and began their Pastoral duties on the first Sunday of June, 1984.
Under Pastor Russell’s leadership, the church completed the basement area of the building and began Sunday School. The church experienced rapid growth and soon attendance was near 200. The building was crowded and new people continued to attend. Children were placed in the Education wing for special children’s services and the Chapel area was filled on Sunday mornings. The need for a larger building was evident.
There was a 100 percent vote of the membership to move forward with a new building that was designed to seat 600 people. A date was set for ground breaking and a celebration service was planned. Former Mecklenburg County Sheriff, C.W. Kidd was invited to attend and address the congregation.
On dedication day, the building was packed. The song service was lively and exciting. Songs like “I’m so glad Jesus set me free” and “I’ve got a river of life” were sung by the zealous congregation. When Sheriff Kidd was introduced and addressed the people he stated, “I’m a little nervous here this morning … my job as Sheriff is to make sure that prisoners stay locked up … and you folks have been singing about opening prison doors and setting prisoners free.” He included in his address that having grown up in this part of Mecklenburg County and living not far away, he was glad the church had chosen this part of the county to build their new sanctuary and do the work of the Lord. He wished the church great success. Following his address and the close of the service, those in attendance marched to the Sunset Rd. side of the church property and concluded the service with a ground breaking ceremony to commemorate such a wonderful embarkation on the journey of building the new Sanctuary.
On Sunday October 6, 1987, the church moved into the new Sanctuary. It was a very happy day. New ministries were developed and the doors of the church were opened with a welcome for all to come.
Soon the word was out in the community and the city that Evangel Temple was a church where all people were welcomed to come and worship the Lord Jesus Christ. A morning prayer service began and people from various churches in the city came at 6am to pray and seek God’s blessings. This early prayer time continued daily for months- men and women coming to pray for the city of Charlotte, her leaders, our State and our Nation. Evangel Temple quickly became known as the church where people could bring their burdens and find the Lord’s help in their time of need. Many who never became members would attend special revival services and leave the church refreshed and with renewed hope. Lives were changed. People were set free from addictions as they discovered new hope and a reason for living. The church was like a hospital where the hurting could come and find friendship, fellowship and a congregation that would love them and accept them as they were.
a new name
Change is something that is constantly taking place in our lives, our community, the world and the Church. Sunset Rd. for many years had been a rural area but that would suddenly change as Charlotte began its ever-increasing sprawl. What was once farm land and pasture land was quickly purchased and business and housing developments began to rise up everywhere. This process of change would eventually affect everyone. The church’s approach to outreach began to evolve. Worship music began to reflect changing styles but continued in Evangel Temple’s tradition of excellence. With the building of the new Northlake Mall just one exit beyond Sunset Rd. on I-77, the church began to study the effects that a name change might have upon our church. When the membership was polled, it was surprisingly awakening to discover that many in the fellowship felt that we needed a name that would give us regional identity. The name Northlake Assembly of God was presented and the membership voted strongly in favor of the name change.
It was the dream of the membership to build additional facilities that would enable the church to expand her ministries within the community. In June of 2007, the church moved in to a beautiful new family life center building which houses a gym and a kitchen. In addition, a new foyer entrance connecting the sanctuary to a new Education wing was completed with four additional classrooms and two restrooms.
A new era
After 43 years pastoring, of which 26 years had been as Senior Pastor at Northlake Assembly of God, Pastor Lee Russell announced that he would be retiring from pastoring on Sunday morning April 25, 2010. He said, “The time has come for another change.” He and his wife, Wilma, felt a strong calling to minister hope and encouragement to small congregations and their Pastors.
With the guidance of North Carolina AG Superintendent, Dr. Charles Kelly, the Northlake Board of Directors began a national search for the next Lead Pastor. Rev. David and Peggy Norris were a tremendous blessing to the church from May-July of 2010, as Interim Pastors, while the Pastoral Search Committee completed its process of searching for and presenting a Pastoral candidate.
Northlake Assembly of God hired only the third Pastor in its then 33 year history, when the Board of Directors presented Rev. Jeremy Faughn, his wife Stephanie and their four children as candidates to a congregational vote in July of 2010. Rev. David Scruggs, Pastor of First Assembly in Gastonia, presided over the voting process. District Superintendent Dr. Charles Kelly participated in Pastor Faughn’s installation service and charged Pastor Faughn with continuing the strong legacy of Northlake in preaching the Gospel, and ministering to the church family and the community.
Under the direction of Pastor Jeremy, Northlake grew and changed in ways that were once unimaginable. While the core beliefs and vision remained the same, Pastor Jeremy brought with him a new set of ideas on how to move the church forward in the present age. Under Pastor Jeremy’s leadership, Northlake’s missions giving increased exponentially and its international membership increased as well. Northlake’s worship style has grown to include more variety and new elements, including more instruments, lighting, and audio. In 2016, Northlake launched it’s online streaming of services to reach people all over the world.
A new transition
Following the leading of the Holy Spirit for a new direction, Pastor Jeremy announced his resignation as Lead Pastor in November of 2019. After nearly 10 years of growth and ministry at Northlake, the Faughn family stepped down to pursue other ministry opportunities.
Following Pastor Jeremy’s resignation, the search has begun for Northlake’s next Lead Pastor. The Board of Directors is working closely with District Superintendent Dr. Rick Ross in seeking out the person God has ordained for this new season. In the transition period, Pastors Bruce and Beth Johnson are serving as Interim Pastors for the duration of the pastoral transition.