For the first time in the 97-year history of Northpoint Bible College, the school will develop an intercollegiate sports program, with men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, cross-country, and men’s and women’s golf all currently under consideration to begin this fall.
According to Northpoint President David Arnett, he has remained in contact and been in consultation with former Central Bible College (CBC) basketball coach Kirk Hansen to help guide the Haverhill, Massachusetts, school into its initial foray into athletics.
“I knew Kirk for many years, and worked with him and his wife at CBC,” Arnett says, whose been leading Northpoint since 2013. “But what got my attention concerning sports was a lunch I had with a former CBC basketball player. He told me, ‘Anyone who has played for Kirk for two years can pastor any church in the country.’ He then explained to me how Kirk used basketball to train and equip ministers through learning teamwork, self-respect, discipline, the ability to cooperate and excel, and about giving your very best effort every time. And I knew Kirk also involved his players in a creative bucket drum team, missions trips, and even a handbell choir for a time.”
After inquiring with students, who made several recommendations, Arnett says the students ended up choosing Eagles as the school’s mascot. “We have a lot of bald eagles up here in the Northeast,” Arnett explains, “so I think that’s where it originated from.” Other student suggestions included squirrels, skunks (both abundant in the Northeast), and pointers (type of dog).
One of the big challenges for Northpoint is facilities. Doing COVID-19 protocols one better, the current gymnasium doesn’t even have room for fans. Although the facility could be arranged to allow for some for volleyball matches, Arnett is working on an arrangement for using a nearby athletic facility for home basketball games. The school is also located nearby a golf course for the potential golf teams to practice and play on and, he adds, that the school is also investigating the possibility of fielding esports (electronic sports) teams.
“We plan on competing in the National Christian Colleges Athletic Association (NCCAA), which is designed for small Christian Bible colleges,” Arnett says. “As we work on getting compliant for being an NCCAA school, it may mean our first year we just play exhibition games — it really all depends on how quickly we can get things done.”
Currently the school is conducting a national search for coaches, who, like Hansen, will not only develop athletic abilities, but make instilling and developing ministerial giftings a priority as well. The school is also beginning to spread the word concerning its new sports program to prospective ministry students who have a passion for athletics, as interest has already been building on campus.
As an NCCAA program, which only permits non-scholarship athletes, Northpoint will join Trinity Bible College and Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) as NCCAA members, both who also have other affiliations, and SAGU American Indian College, along with more than 80 other Christian colleges.
“Every student who attends Northpoint is training for ministry, whether that be a local evangelist, pastor, or missionary,” Arnett says. “My goal is to use sports in a variety of ministries, including conducting camps and church ‘takeovers’ — where a team will come in for a week, teach Sunday School, lead worship, and speak while the pastor and his or her family stay in our campus guest suite for several days of relaxation and rejuvenation.”
For those interested in learning more about the Northpoint sports programs as a potential coach or player, send your contact information, interest, and experience to Ian Cunningham at firstname.lastname@example.org.