the History of North Bay

The Twin Ports of Superior and Duluth are a scenic port community at the Head of Lake Superior that is recognized as a major port for ships from around the world and a vacation destination for visitors from all over the country. Built on turn of the century businesses of shipping, mining, and lumber, the twin ports community has a metro population of over 150,000 and a broadening economic base with growing educational, medical, recreational, and manufacturing opportunities.


Despite all the potential in the community, for the past several decades it has become recognized as a spiritually dark place with churches that have struggled. In fact, our denomination, the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA), as of 1996, had only one very small, aging congregation in Duluth and the next closest churches were both 15 to 20 miles outside of Duluth. For the EFCA this community was a strategic opportunity for church planting.

1996 – 1997

In September of 1996 North Bay called its first pastor and began a Bible study which met at a local retirement home. After much prayer and planning, public services were launched as an extension of the Forest Lakes District in September of 1997. By then our congregation had grown so much that they no longer fit in the retirement home so our services, along with nursery care and children’s ministry, were held at one of the local middle schools. North Bay used contemporary worship and solid teaching to bring a message of hope to Superior, WI and the Twin Ports.


During the fall of 1997 Pastor Jeff Sorvik was beginning work on a plan called “Duluth and Beyond” with the North Central District of the EFCA. This plan included a pioneer church plant in Duluth and a vision to establish a base from which a number of church plants in Northeastern Minnesota could be started. During a time of pastoral transition, it was evident that the vision of Duluth and Beyond and North Bay Community Church were closely allied. After a period of several months of prayer, and discussion, the North Central District and the Forest Lakes District agreed that merging Duluth and Beyond and North Bay into a cooperative effort was an exciting opportunity.


In July of 1998, Pastor Jeff Sorvik was called as the Pastor of North Bay Community Church, and the merged vision was underway. Like any new church planting effort, North Bay has had its share of challenges, but God has proven Himself faithful through it all. In September of 1998 God provided a lease on an older church building that was no longer in use. This building had two unique features; it included a small gymnasium and a walnut paneled library filled with character. God, in His sovereignty, provided a building uniquely suited to the Twin Ports community.

North Bay discovered that the language of music and athletics were keys to the unchurched community. And so, the library (which sits adjacent to a large Kitchen) was converted into North Bay Cafe where the church would host small acoustic coffee house concerts and the gym was used to host volleyball, floor hockey, basket ball and a variety of other athletic events designed to bring unchurched people to a place where they can find real relationships with Christians and real hope in Christ.


In May of 2000, North Bay began working closely with both the North Central District and the Forest Lakes District to plan the early stages of giving birth to a new church plant in Duluth.

North Bay was growing, and in 2004 Pastor Jeff Sorvik led a group of families in planting another church in Duluth. This ministry that was launched out of North Bay became known as Anchor Point Community Church.

Following Pastor Jeff we had a handful of interim pastors until 2007. From 2007 to 2012 Pastor Curt Vanderstelt was our lead pastor. Pastor Glenn accepted the call to be the lead pastor in 2012 and then retired in May 2020.

Through a series a God directed connections with Rock Hill Community Church (the daughter church of Anchor Point and the granddaughter Church of North Bay), the search team extended the call to be pastor to Darin Lund, which he accepted and began serving as lead pastor on June 2020. Three years after that, on August of 2023, Pastor Darin resigned as being pastor. North Bay is now looking for a new lead pastor.

The purpose of North Bay Community Church is to lead people into a love relationship with God and each other that grows in depth and empowers them to go serve their families, neighbors and community.