This year’s Central Bible College Distinguished Alumnus has a simple philosophy, “Pastoring is about being a friend — it’s not being afraid to get into somebody’s life; it’s not being afraid to listen to somebody and hear their story; it’s being available,” he says.
The Rev. Dary Northrop encourages his congregation, Timberline Church in Fort Collins, Colorado, to do the same. In fact, the theme of his church, “Let Love Live,” is almost visible in his passion to reach others, particularly as he demonstrates it with community involvement and a little old-school “management by walking around.”
Dary says that, as a young pastor, he determined to be strategic about getting out into the community.
“I met with the mayor, city council people, school board people, medical hospital people,” he said in an interview with the Church Multiplication Network. He asked them, “How can we make a difference? What do you need a church like Timberline to be able to do? How can I come alongside you? What do you need?”
At 28, he was voted in as senior pastor of an established church with a 65-year history, after serving as a youth pastor for eight years elsewhere in Colorado. During the 30 years of ministry at Timberline, attendance has grown from 125 to 5,500.
“When we connect with people, they need to see that we are genuine,” he said. As a young pastor, he joined Rotary as an opportunity get “outside the walls,” and says, “Here’s what I learned: If you’re their friend without strings attached, without an agenda, when they have their crises, they will call you.”
He added, “I think sometimes pastors forget that one of the best gifts they can give the church is just to hang out with people, walk around, be available—not hide up in their office.”
Creativity attracted Dick Foth
In addition to walking around, he is known for his love of riding his motorcycle. That form of recreation has turned into a unique opportunity for ministry. For several years, Timberline has hosted Motorcycle Sunday, a service dedicated to the motorcyclist.
In June, the church Facebook page announced, “We will be having a BBQ after the 11:30 service, a Blessing of the Bikes, and a Memorial Ride up to Estes. We hope you invite everyone you know who enjoys riding their bikes. This is one of the best services of the year!” Following the service, members of the church meet the guests in the parking lot and pray for them, their bike and their safety.
Creative efforts like this attracted Dick Foth, the legendary author, speaker, storyteller, collector/connector, after decades of ministry in the nation’s capital.
“When Ruth and I moved from Washington D.C. to Fort Collins in the summer of 2008, we did so in no small part because of Dary Northrop’s vision,” said Foth, who now serves as a member of the Timberline Church Teaching Team.
“Dary had shown, for almost 30 years, that pastoring beyond the walls of the church was something that blessed a whole city. All of northern Colorado has been impacted by Dary’s investment!”
For his years of service and ministry, the Rev. Dary Northrop, class of ’80, will be named CBC’s 2017 Distinguished Alumnus. The presentation will be made at Evangel University’s Homecoming Celebration, during an 11 a.m. luncheon, on Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Bass Pro White River Conference Center.
The Distinguished Alumnus Award is presented annually to one who has made significant contributions to their chosen field, church, community, state, nation, or to the university.
Dary met is wife-to-be in high school. He enrolled at CBC in 1976, and he and Bonnie were married in 1978. While he hit the books on North Grant, she worked in the Missions Department at the Assemblies of God Headquarters.
As a student, Dary was impacted by Dr. Charles Harris, his commitment to his students and to him personally. “I remember a class talking about platform etiquette. It was so practical and fun and I still reflect on that sometimes, even though our pastors don’t sit on the platform,” he said.
Since their college days, Dary and Bonnie have worked closely together in the church and community. They have a passion to help other pastors lead their churches in making changes that are healthy and that will lead them to be able to impact their cities.
Dary grew up in Colorado loving the outdoors. He and Bonnie share a passion for hiking and many outdoor activities with their three children, Ryan, Erica, and Brooke, and now their three grandchildren as well. Together they share many fond (and fun) memories, including bungee jumping off a bridge in New Zealand on a vacation in 2009!
Northrop family travel often includes stops in Springfield, Missouri, where he still has family. Dary’s mother, Regina, worked as the secretary in the Behavioral Sciences Department at Evangel from 1982 to 1994, and remains active with the Evangel Ladies Auxiliary today.
EU Homecoming 2017 Honorees
Four additional alumni awards will be given during this year’s Homecoming celebration. The recipients were chosen by the Evangel University Alumni Association Board of Directors.
- EU Distinguished Alumnus – Doug Broxson ’71
- EU Outstanding Young Alumnus – Julia Armstrong ’02
- AGTS Alumnus of the Year – Doug Oss ’80
- CBC Outstanding Young Alumnus – Dan Wootton ’05
For more information, contact Evangel University Alumni Relations Department at (417) 865-2811, ext. 7333.